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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: November 2007
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Delta IV Heavy
Outing for giant military rocket
(Nov 11, 2007)

The Delta IV Heavy – the US military's biggest satellite launcher – has flown for only the second time. The huge rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida and successfully placed a spy spacecraft in orbit. The 2.3-tonne Defense Support Program (DPS) satellite will monitor missile launches and gather intelligence.

Read more. Source: BBC

Life could survive longer on a super-Earth
(Nov 11, 2007)

It seems super-Earths would be a pretty super place to live compared with our puny planet. These big rocky planets in other solar systems could stay warm enough for life up to 35 per cent longer than Earth.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

asteroid skims Earth's atmosphere
NASA blasted for ignoring smaller asteroids
(Nov 11, 2007)

NASA is being slammed for sacrificing public safety by resisting calls to enlarge its search for potentially dangerous asteroids which might strike the Earth. "NASA cannot place a new NEO [near-earth object] program above current scientific and exploration missions," maintained Scott Pace, associate administrator for program analysis and evaluation at the US space agency.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Phobos. Image taken by Mars Express
Mars's tiny moons – one small step for mankind?
(Nov 9, 2007)

Forget Mars – the Red Planet's moons Phobos and Deimos could be the next stop in the solar system for humanity, according to planetary scientists. During a conference at the agency's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, on Wednesday, scientists said astronauts could make their first footprints on one of them within 10 years.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

black hole artwork
Clue to cosmic rays discovered
(Nov 8, 2007)

Black holes are the most likely source of the mysterious ultra high-energy cosmic rays that bombard the planet, scientists have discovered. Observations at the world's largest cosmic ray detector suggest the particles are emitted by huge black holes in the middle of nearby galaxies. The findings, unveiled in Science, may solve a long-running puzzle.

Read more. Source: BBC

Some of Spirit's previous paths around Home Plate. Image: Science
Mars rover Spirit to head north for the winter
(Nov 8, 2007)

NASA's Mars rover Spirit will soon begin to trundle towards a slope on which it will try to ride out the coming winter – its third on the Red Planet. The slope will help maximise the sunlight reaching the rover's power-producing solar panels, which are still coated with dust from a global dust storm that darkened the planet's skies for much of July and August.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Discovery landing
Discovery shuttle returns safely
(Nov 7, 2007)

Space shuttle Discovery has landed in Florida after an eventful 15-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The crew touched down at 1301 ET (1801 GMT) at the Kennedy Space Center. During their time at the orbiting outpost, the shuttle's crew delivered a new unit, dropped off a new resident and completed a series of spacewalks.

Read more. Source: BBC

artist's impression of 5th planet of 55 Cancri
Largest extrasolar planetary system discovered
(Nov 7, 2007)

A fifth planet has been discovered around a nearby star, making it the largest planetary system known outside our own. The planet appears to be a gas giant like Saturn, but scientists say any large moons it may have could potentially host life, since the planet lies in the habitable zone around its star, where liquid water can exist. The planet was discovered around 55 Cancri, a star about 41 light years away from Earth and slightly cooler and dimmer than the Sun.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Earthlike planet
A new Earth?
(Nov 6, 2007)

Almost every week now, planet hunters are discovering new worlds, not in our solar system but in the far reaches of our galaxy. So how close are astronomers to finding a planet that supports life?

Read more. Source: The Guardian

launch of Chang'e 1
Chinese probe begins Moon orbit
(Nov 5, 2007)

China's first lunar module has begun orbiting the Moon, 12 days after blasting off, officials have confirmed. The satellite, named Chang'e I, slowed down as it reached lunar gravitational pull, 200km (120 miles) from the Moon. Scientists intend to keep the probe in orbit for one year while it studies the surface and beams back images.

Read more. Source: BBC

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