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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: August 2006
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Lockheed is awarded NASA contract Aug 31, 2006
Magnetars may power 'wimpy' gamma-ray bursts Aug 31, 2006
Supernova captured in 'real time' Aug 30, 2006
Sky survey nabs four new Milky Way galaxies Aug 29, 2006
Storm threatens Atlantis launch Aug 28, 2006
Lightning delays Atlantis launch Aug 26, 2006
Pluto vote 'hijacked' in revolt Aug 25, 2006
Alien life might arise quickly, study suggests Aug 25, 2006
Pluto loses status as a planet Aug 24, 2006
Space station set for massive expansion Aug 24, 2006
Fortune smiles on space race sponsor Aug 24, 2006
NASA names new spacecraft 'Orion' Aug 23, 2006
New telescope reveals white dwarf gluttony Aug 23, 2006
Mystery of Quintuplet stars in Milky Way solved Aug 22, 2006
Team finds 'proof' of dark matter Aug 21, 2006
Pluto may yet lose planet status Aug 21, 2006
Voyager 1: "The Spacecraft That Could" hits new milestone Aug 20, 2006
First sunspot of next solar cycle glimpsed? Aug 18, 2006
Hubble glimpses faintest stars Aug 18, 2006
Shuttle Atlantis to launch as soon as possible Aug 17, 2006
Sand geysers could explain mystery spots on Mars Aug 17, 2006
Planets plan boosts tally to 12 Aug 16, 2006
Thousands of planet-forming discs discovered Aug 16, 2006
Baby star found near galaxy's violent centre Aug 15, 2006
Experts meet to decide Pluto fate Aug 14, 2006
Burt Rutan on civilian spaceflight, breakthroughs, and inside SpaceShipTwo Aug 14, 2006
Neutron star clocked at mind-boggling velocity Aug 12, 2006
Space tourism company still aiming for space station Aug 11, 2006
Tiny icy objects revealed in outer solar system Aug 10, 2006
Winter solstice sees Mars rovers in good shape Aug 9, 2006
Reflections of Hyperion: an irregular, dark place Aug 8, 2006
Record mirror for Euro telescope Aug 8, 2006
Pre-life molecules present in comets Aug 7, 2006
One giant blunder for mankind: how NASA lost Moon pictures Aug 6, 2006
Big bang pushed back two billion years Aug 5, 2006
First pair of 'planetary mass objects' to roam alone Aug 4, 2006
Dwarf survives in stellar furnace Aug 3, 2006
How to tell Earthlings that Martian life is here Aug 2, 2006
Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon? Aug 1, 2006


Orion spacecraft
Lockheed is awarded NASA contract
(Aug 31, 2006)


A consortium led by Lockheed Martin will build the next spaceship to take humans to the Moon. NASA has awarded a multi-billion-dollar contract to the group to develop the Orion vehicle, which will replace the space shuttle when it retires in 2010.

Read more. Source: BBC

weak gamma-ray burst recorded on Feb. 18, 2006
Magnetars may power 'wimpy' gamma-ray bursts
(Aug 31, 2006)


Powerful cosmic explosions called long gamma-ray bursts are not always created by the birth of black holes, as previously thought, several new studies suggest. Instead, most may be the birth cries of much more humble objects – magnetised neutron stars... [A] nearby burst has provided the best view yet of a GRB-related supernova.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

supernova
Supernova captured in 'real time'
(Aug 30, 2006)


Astronomers say they have witnessed a stellar explosion – or supernova – unfolding in real time. Supernovae occur when a huge, mature star effectively runs out of fuel and collapses in on itself. Their observations, outlined in the journal Nature, offer the most detailed picture yet of these cosmic explosions.

Read more. Source: BBC

Milky Way dwarf galaxy
Sky survey nabs four new Milky Way galaxies
(Aug 29, 2006)


Four new satellite galaxies of the Milky Way have been discovered, bringing the total known to about 20. The pace of new discoveries suggests that many more such satellites remain unknown, which would present a serious challenge to models of dark matter as "warm", fast-moving particles. The satellites are dwarf galaxies a few hundred to a few thousand light years across.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Atlantis on launch pad
Storm threatens Atlantis launch
(Aug 28, 2006)


NASA is set to move the space shuttle Atlantis back off the launch pad if Tropical Storm Ernesto, heading towards the Gulf of Mexico, worsens. If the orbiter returns to the Vehicle Assembly Building lift off would probably be delayed more than a week. The shuttle's launch has already been pushed back from Monday to Tuesday to allow engineers more time to examine the effects of a lightning strike.

Read more. Source: BBC

crew of shuttle mission STS-115
Lightning delays Atlantis launch
(Aug 26, 2006)


Sunday's planned launch of the US space shuttle Atlantis has been put back by a day, NASA has announced. Officials said they wanted more time to evaluate the effects of a lightning strike on the site, and to ensure that weather conditions had improved. Atlantis is due to undertake a construction mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Read more. Source: BBC

Pluto
Pluto vote 'hijacked' in revolt
(Aug 25, 2006)


A fierce backlash has begun against the decision by astronomers to strip Pluto of its status as a planet. On Thursday, experts approved a definition of a planet that demoted Pluto to a lesser category of object. But the lead scientist on NASA's robotic mission to Pluto has lambasted the ruling, calling it "embarrassing". And the chair of the committee set up to oversee agreement on a definition implied that the vote had effectively been "hijacked".

Read more. Source: BBC

extrasolar planet
Alien life might arise quickly, study suggests
(Aug 25, 2006)


Scientists have found that oxygen and the life that generates it might have enriched the Earth far earlier than currently supposed. The discovery, sure to be controversial, suggests life could arise earlier than now thought on alien planets, too.

Read more. Source: LiveScience.com

Pluto, artist's impression
Pluto loses status as a planet
(Aug 24, 2006)


Astronomers meeting in the Czech capital have voted to strip Pluto of its status as a planet. About 2,500 experts were in Prague for the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) general assembly. Astronomers rejected a proposal that would have retained Pluto as a planet and brought three other objects into the cosmic club.

Read more. Source: BBC

Atlantis will carry up the massive P3/P4 truss segment (silver section at right) and a second pair of solar arrays (darkened) that will span 73 m
Space station set for massive expansion
(Aug 24, 2006)


With the space shuttle Atlantis scheduled to launch on Sunday, construction of the unfinished International Space Station (ISS) is set to pick up again after a 3.5-year hiatus. The mission marks the beginning of a packed launch schedule for the shuttles – the only vehicles large enough to carry up station components – because they will be retired in 2010. [Image: Atlantis will carry up the massive P3/P4 truss segment (silver section at right) and a second pair of solar arrays (darkened) that will span 73 m]

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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