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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: December 2007
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Uncertainty over shuttle launch Dec 28, 2007
Ariane rocket ends 2007 on high Dec 23, 2007
Alien astronomers could discern Earth's features Dec 22, 2007
Asteroid may hit Mars in January Dec 21, 2007
Greenhouse clue to water on Mars Dec 21, 2007
Moon is younger and more Earth-like than thought Dec 20, 2007
'Active glacier found' on Mars Dec 19, 2007
Cosmic explosion detonates in empty space Dec 19, 2007
Small asteroids can pack a mighty punch Dec 19, 2007
ET too bored by Earth transmissions to respond Dec 19, 2007
Galaxy is 'blasted' by black hole Dec 17, 2007
Sodium issue clouds Enceladus Dec 17, 2007
Antarctic sub to test waters for Jupiter moon mission Dec 15, 2007
Saturn's rings 'may live forever' Dec 13, 2007
Milky Way's two stellar halos have opposing spins Dec 13, 2007
Great beasts peppered from space Dec 12, 2007
Mars robot unearths microbe clue Dec 11, 2007
'Twilight zones' on scorched planets could support life Dec 11, 2007
Voyager 2 probe reaches solar system boundary Dec 10, 2007
Shuttle launch delayed until 2008 Dec 9, 2007
Intergalactic particle beam is longest yet found Dec 8, 2007
Saturn's 'flying saucer' moons built of ring material Dec 7, 2007
Roiling magnetic waves explain solar enigma Dec 7, 2007
Meteorite dates lunar volcanoes Dec 6, 2007
Planets can survive extreme roasting by their stars Dec 6, 2007
Embryonic star captured with jets flaring Dec 6, 2007
Mars rover Spirit escapes from sandy 'dungeon' Dec 5, 2007
Sun-like stars get a kick out of death Dec 5, 2007
European lab 'is ready for space' Dec 5, 2007
Universe's first stars may have been dark Dec 4, 2007
Is Mercury's magnetic field sapped by solar wind? Dec 3, 2007
Probing the nurseries of miniature planetary systems Dec 2, 2007
Massive black hole smashes record Dec 1, 2007

Atlantis on launch pad
Uncertainty over shuttle launch
(Dec 28, 2007)

While NASA reassesses plans to launch Europe's Columbus laboratory, preparations continue for the debut flight of Europe's cargo ship to the International Space Station. Repairing the space shuttle's faulty fuel sensor system will probably postpone Columbus' arrival at the orbital outpost to late January or February.

Read more. Source: BBC

Ariane V launch in December 2007
Ariane rocket ends 2007 on high
(Dec 23, 2007)

Europe's Ariane 5 rocket has completed its sixth and final flight of 2007. The vehicle, launched from Kourou in French Guiana, lofted two satellites with a combined mass of 5.5 tonnes. The RASCOM-QAF1 spacecraft will deliver TV and other telecom services to Africa while the Horizons-2 platform will do the same for North America.

Read more. Source: BBC

Alien astronomers could discern Earth's features
(Dec 22, 2007)

Aliens spying on us from another star system might be able to discern continents and oceans on our planet, using technology barely more advanced than our own. In imaginary form, these inquisitive extraterrestrials have been helping astronomers work out how much detail the next generation of space telescopes could reveal on Earth-like planets orbiting other stars.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Asteroid may hit Mars in January
(Dec 21, 2007)

A newly discovered asteroid has a 1 in 75 chance of hitting Mars on 30 January, according to preliminary calculations of its orbit. If it does hit, it will offer scientists an unprecedented opportunity to observe a brand new crater from orbit, and possibly even the impact itself.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

water ice in a crater on Mars photographed by Mars Express
Greenhouse clue to water on Mars
(Dec 21, 2007)

A new idea could explain how the climate of early Mars became warm enough to support oceans. Scientists believe sulphur dioxide released from ancient volcanoes created a balance similar to Earth's carbon cycle, which controlled the climate. The notion, outlined in the journal Science, could explain why Mars rovers have found sulphur minerals on the surface but no limestone like on Earth.

Read more. Source: BBC

Moon is younger and more Earth-like than thought
(Dec 20, 2007)

It's a good thing the Moon doesn't have any feelings to hurt. New research suggests it is actually 30 million years younger than anyone had thought, and that it is merely a 'chip off the old block' of Earth rather than being made up of the remnants of a Mars-sized body that slammed into Earth billions of years ago.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

possible active glacier on Mars
'Active glacier found' on Mars
(Dec 19, 2007)

A probable active glacier has been identified for the first time on Mars. The icy feature has been spotted in images from the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft. Ancient glaciers, many millions of years old, have been seen before on the Red Planet, but these ones may only be several thousand years old.

Read more. Source: BBC

Two galaxies lie in the vicinity of the burst, about 9.4 billion light-years from Earth. These galaxies may have interacted gravitationally in the past, leaving a tail of gas in their wake. A star that formed in that tail may have exploded as GRB 070125. Image: B. Cenko et al/W. M. Keck Observatory
Cosmic explosion detonates in empty space
(Dec 19, 2007)

Astronomers are puzzling over a powerful cosmic explosion that seems to have detonated in a region of empty space, far away from any nearby galaxy. It may have been the death cry of a star that was born from debris strewn out of a past galactic dustup.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

small asteroid approaching Earth
Small asteroids can pack a mighty punch
(Dec 19, 2007)

Beware the blast from above: small asteroids that explode before they hit the ground may be more dangerous than we thought. Asteroids a few tens of metres in diameter rip through the atmosphere at between 40 and 60 times the speed of sound, and many explode before they hit Earth.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

ET too bored by Earth transmissions to respond
(Dec 19, 2007)

Messages sent into space directed at extraterrestrials may have been too boring to earn a reply, say two astrophysicists trying to improve on their previous alien chat lines. Humans have so far sent four messages into space intended for alien listeners. But they have largely been made up of mathematically coded descriptions of some physics and chemistry, with some basic biology and descriptions of humans thrown in.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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