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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: August 2007
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Bigelow space station
Commercial space station to launch before 2010
(Aug 15, 2007)


The world's first privately financed space station could be launched before 2010, a statement by Bigelow Aerospace suggests. The company is accelerating its schedule to save money. Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, Bigelow Aerospace has successfully placed two inflatable spacecraft, called Genesis I and Genesis II, in Earth orbit.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

repairs to the International Space Station
Space station fitted with new steering gyroscope
(Aug 14, 2007)


Spacewalking astronauts wrestled a 270-kilogram gyroscope into place on the International Space Station on Monday, while NASA managers assessed a small but deep pit in shuttle Endeavour's heat shield. In the second of four spacewalks planned for the mission, astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Dave Williams replaced one of the space station's four gyroscopes.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Foton M3
Fiery rock will test whether life came from space
(Aug 13, 2007)


A rock will be hurled into space on a rocket and subjected to the fiery heat of re-entry into Earth's atmosphere to test whether life could have hitched a ride from one planet to another in debris from an asteroid strike. The rock is one of 35 experiments to fly on a European Space Agency mission called Foton M3, which is set to launch on 14 September from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Perseid meteor
Stargazers enjoy meteor spectacle
(Aug 13, 2007)


Thousands of people in the northern hemisphere have witnessed a spectacular light show of shooting stars, known as the Perseid meteor shower. The annual event coincided with a new Moon, providing stargazers with the best viewing conditions for years. The shower lasts about two weeks, but reached its peak overnight on Sunday.

Read more. Source: BBC

astronaut helps attach a new girder to the ISS
NASA assesses damage to shuttle
(Aug 12, 2007)
Two astronauts from the US space shuttle Endeavour have attached a new beam to the International Space Station (ISS) on the mission's first spacewalk. Meanwhile, NASA experts on Earth are analysing pictures of the shuttle's heat shield to assess damage detected as the vessel docked with the ISS. A robot arm will be used on Sunday to further inspect the 3in (7.6cm) gouge.

Read more. Source: BBC

Saturn's rings - home to living ice grains?
Could alien life exist in the form of DNA-shaped dust?
(Aug 11, 2007)
Could alien life exist in the form of dancing specks of dust? According to a new simulation, electrically charged dust can organise itself into DNA-like double helixes that behave in many ways like living organisms, reproducing and passing on information to one another.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

RSGC2
Largest swarm of giant stars is a 'supernova factory'
(Aug 10, 2007)


The largest known swarm of red supergiant stars has been found near the central bulge of our galaxy. It offers a rare glimpse of massive stars on the verge of exploding. Red supergiants are among the largest stars in the universe – and in fact are second in size only to rare hypergiant stars such Eta Carinae.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Endeavor minutes after launch
Endeavour heads for space station
(Aug 9, 2007)


The space shuttle Endeavour has begun an 11 to 14 day assembly mission to the International Space Station. The shuttle blasted off as planned at 2336 BST (1836 EDT) on Wednesday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission is the second of four that Nasa plans this year to finish the $100bn (49.1bn) space station before the shuttle fleet retires in 2010.

Read more. Source: BBC

GRB 070610, artist impression
Nearby black hole caught burping gamma rays
(Aug 8, 2007)


A black hole has been spotted belching out a burst of gamma rays after gulping down part of a nearby star, something never seen before. Such violent burps may actually be the most common type of explosive gamma-ray burst in the universe. The event was named GRB 070610 after the date of its discovery by NASA's Swift satellite on 10 June 2007.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

R Coronae Borealis star
Astronomers close in on cause of 'smoking' stars
(Aug 7, 2007)


The smokescreen blown by a giant star is revealed in new images captured by an array of telescopes in Chile. The star, called RY Sagittarii, is about 60 times as wide as the Sun and lies about 6000 light years away. It is one of a rare class of variable objects called R Coronae Borealis stars, which are apt to suddenly fade away, almost to invisibility, before gradually brightening again.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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