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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: February 2007
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new universes forming
New universes will be born from ours
(Feb 9, 2007)

What gruesome fate awaits our universe? Some physicists have argued that it is doomed to be ripped apart by runaway dark energy, while others think it is bouncing through an endless series of big bangs and big crunches. Now these two ideas are being combined to create another option, in which our universe ultimately shatters into billions of pieces, with each shard growing into a whole new universe.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

James Webb Space Telescope
Telescope mirror nears completion
(Feb 8, 2007)

A giant mirror that will fly on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) – NASA's next space observatory – is a step closer to completion. Engineers have finished making the 18 hexagonal elements that will come together to form the telescope's 6.6m primary mirror.

Read more. Source: BBC

Milky Way
Three new types of object found in Milky Way
(Feb 7, 2007)

Three new types of object have been discovered in our galaxy: huge gamma-ray clouds, dense X-ray engines almost hidden in cocoons of dust, and bubbles blown by the wind from giant stars. All three discoveries were reported on Monday at a conference at Stanford University in California.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Ares I launch
Budget cuts may delay shuttle replacement
(Feb 6, 2007)

NASA may not be able to launch the space shuttle's replacement by 2014 as promised, according to the agency's 2008 budget request to Congress. This could increase the gap between the retirement of the space shuttles in 2010 and the launch of their successors, the Orion spacecraft and Ares I rocket, forcing NASA to rely on Russian Soyuz and future commercial spacecraft to send astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Computer model of a six-dimensional shape. Image: courtesy Andrew J. Hanson, Indiana University
Physicists find way to ‘see’ extra dimensions
(Feb 5, 2007)

Peering backward in time to an instant after the Big Bang, physicists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have devised an approach that may help unlock the hidden shapes of alternate dimensions of the universe. A new study demonstrates that the shapes of extra dimensions can be "seen" by deciphering their influence on cosmic energy released by the violent birth of the universe 13 billion years ago.

Read more. Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

lunar base
Moon too static for astronauts?
(Feb 4, 2007)

Lunar colonists could be in for a nasty shock – literally. A team of US scientists has found that the Moon's surface can become charged with up to several thousand volts of static electricity. This charging could release sparks that disable electronic equipment – including monitors, space buggies or even the front door of a Moon base.

Read more. Source: Nature

Mars gully imaged by MRO
Mars probe snaps dramatic new images of gullies
(Feb 2, 2007)

Dramatic new images of gullies and dried-up streambeds bolster evidence that water once gushed across the surface of Mars. The images are the latest from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which boasts the most powerful camera ever sent to Mars.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Giant cloud over Titan's north pole. Image acquired on Dec. 29, 2006, by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer
Cassini images mammoth cloud engulfing Titan's north pole
(Feb 2, 2007)

A giant cloud half the size of the United States has been imaged on Saturn's moon Titan by the Cassini spacecraft. The cloud may be responsible for the material that fills the lakes discovered last year by Cassini's radar instrument. Cloaked by winter's shadow, this cloud has now come into view as winter turns to spring.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Large Hadron Collider
New particle accelerator could rule out string theory
(Feb 2, 2007)

String theory could be ruled out by experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a particle accelerator scheduled to open by the end of 2007, a new study says. The finding offers a new approach for testing this potential "theory of everything", a goal that has so far proven elusive. According to string theory, particles like electrons and photons are actually tiny, vibrating strings.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

HD 209458b
Hubble probes layer-cake structure of alien world's atmosphere
(Feb 1, 2007)

The powerful vision of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has allowed astronomers to study for the first time the layer-cake structure of the atmosphere of a planet orbiting another star. Hubble discovered a dense upper layer of hot hydrogen gas where the super-hot planet's atmosphere is bleeding off into space. The planet, designated HD 209458b, is unlike any world in our solar system. It orbits so close to its star and gets so hot that its gas is streaming into space, making the planet appear to have a comet-like tail.

Read more. Source: Space Telescope Science Institute

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