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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: July 2007
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Electrically-charged dust storm on Mars, artwork
Mars dust storms threaten rovers
(Jul 22, 2007)


Huge dust storms raging on Mars pose the worst threat yet to NASA's robot rovers, the US space agency has said. Dust is starving the rovers of power by blocking out the sunlight needed to charge their batteries. The six-wheeled, solar-powered rovers – Opportunity and Spirit – are operating at two distant sites just south of the Martian equator.

Read more. Source: BBC

Saturn's sixtieth moon
Saturn's sixtieth moon discovered
(Jul 21, 2007)


A new moon has been discovered orbiting Saturn – bringing the planet's latest moon tally up to 60. The body was spotted in a series of images taken by cameras onboard the Cassini spacecraft. Initial calculations suggest the moon is about 2km-wide (1.2 miles) and its orbit sits between those of two other Saturnian moons, Methone and Pallene.

Read more. Source: BBC

dust disk around HD 15115
Stars play tug-of-war with dusty disc
(Jul 20, 2007)


A passing star may have plundered matter from a debris disc around a young star and left it lopsided, astronomers say. About 15% of ordinary stars are thought to have dusty debris discs around them. Such discs are thought to be made of dust created when small comet- or asteroid-like objects collide with one another around their parent stars.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

black hole devouring a star
Black holes trigger stars to self-destruct
(Jul 19, 2007)


The fate of stars that venture too close to black holes could be even more violent than previously believed. Not only are they pulled apart by the black hole's tremendous gravity, but the process can also trigger a nuclear explosion that tears the star apart from within, a new study says.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

artist's concept of geysers on Charon
Icy geysers may erupt on Pluto's largest moon
(Jul 18, 2007)


Geysers of liquid water and ammonia are erupting on Pluto's large moon Charon, new observations suggest. The work bolsters the idea that Charon may harbour a liquid ocean beneath its surface and just possibly, life.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Iapetus
Early roasting gave Saturn's walnut moon its shape
(Jul 18, 2007)


A burst of radioactivity warmed and softened Saturn's moon Iapetus soon after it formed, allowing it to be moulded into its walnut-like shape, a new study says. Iapetus has a broad bulge around its equator capped by a narrow ridge, giving it the appearance of a walnut. Scientists have been puzzling over how it acquired its distinctive shape since the ridge was discovered in 2004 in images from the Cassini spacecraft.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Victoria Crater
Martian dust storm continues to affect rovers
(Jul 17, 2007)


A Martian dust storm that began in late June is still reducing the power available to NASA's two rovers, though both are still doing science, mission officials say. They say it is impossible to predict when the storm will break, allowing the rover Opportunity to descend into a deep crater called Victoria [shown in photo].

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle being prepared for launch
Europe's new space cargo ship heads to launch site
(Jul 16, 2007)


The European Space Agency's Jules Verne automated cargo ship has begun the journey to its launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. The ship will deliver cargo to the International Space Station. Jules Verne is the first in a series of Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATVs) that ESA plans to launch to the space station.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Great Canary Telescope
Tests begin on Canaries telescope
(Jul 15, 2007)


Tests have begun on one of the world's largest optical telescopes, installed on a mountain in the Canary Islands. Situated on a 2,400m-high (7,900ft) peak on the island of La Palma, the huge telescope consists of a mirror measuring 10.4m (34.1ft) in diameter. The Spanish-led Great Canary Telescope (GTC) is extremely powerful and will be able to spot some of the faintest, most distant objects in the Universe.

Read more. Source: BBC

artist impression of hidden dimensions
Is dark energy lurking in hidden spatial dimensions?
(Jul 14, 2007)


The mysterious cosmic presence called dark energy, which is accelerating the expansion of the universe, might be lurking in hidden dimensions of space. The idea would explain how these dimensions remain stable – a big problem for the unified scheme of physics called string theory.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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