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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: October 2007
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Turing machine
Simplest 'universal computer' wins student $25,000
(Oct 25, 2007)


A 20-year-old computer science undergraduate has claimed a prestigious $25,000 mathematics prize by proving that a simple mathematical calculator can be used as a "universal computing machine". The proof involves a kind of mathematical calculator known as a Turing machine, a concept originally studied by mathematician Alan Turing in the 1930s.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Chang'e 1
China launches first Moon orbiter
(Oct 24, 2007)


China has launched its first lunar orbiter, on a planned year-long exploration mission to the Moon. The satellite, named Chang'e 1, took off from the Xichang Centre in south-west China's Sichuan province at 1800 local time (1000 GMT). It is expected to send back 3D images of the Moon's surface.

Read more. Source: BBC

Foton M3
Life from Mars theory put to test
(Oct 24, 2007)


A rock quarried on Orkney was blasted into space to find out if meteorites could carry primitive life from one planet to another. One theory being tested is whether life could have arrived on Earth from Mars. University of Aberdeen experts had the rock attached to an unmanned Russian craft and found life would probably only survive in a large meteorite.

Read more. Source: BBC

International Space Station
Shuttle heads for space station
(Oct 23, 2007)


Space Shuttle Discovery has begun a 14-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS), after a successful launch from the Kennedy Space Center. Despite earlier concerns about poor weather, the shuttle blasted off at 11:38 local time (16:38 BST). Its seven-strong crew will install the "Harmony" node to the space station.

Read more. Source: BBC

Supermassive black hole jets. Credit: NASA
Magnetic cocoons power energetic cosmic rays
(Oct 23, 2007)


Vast magnetic cocoons associated with galaxies whose black holes have stopped eating may be responsible for accelerating charged particles called cosmic rays to within a whisker of the speed of light. It could explain one of the great mysteries of astrophysics – how enormously energetic cosmic rays make it to Earth, when common sense says they should long ago have run out of steam.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Genesis capsule
Crashed spacecraft yields data
(Oct 21, 2007)


An ill-fated spacecraft that unintentionally crashed into the deserts of Utah in 2004 is yielding results to the scientists who carefully picked up the pieces. Researchers have been able to salvage usable material from the Genesis mission, whose aim was to collect samples from the solar wind and bring them safely back to Earth.

Read more. Source: Nature

Titan balloon
Europe floats future space ideas
(Oct 20, 2007)


A mission could be launched before the end of the next decade to put a balloon on Titan, the hazy Saturnian moon. The balloon is one of several ideas being considered by the European Space Agency as it sketches out where its science should be focussed in future. Other proposals include an X-ray telescope that flies in two parts; and a sample-return mission to an asteroid.

Read more. Source: BBC

artist's imprssion of the K-1 and the International Space Station
NASA cuts funding to private spaceship developer
(Oct 19, 2007)


NASA has terminated an agreement with Rocketplane Kistler, one of two private companies that had won agency funding to develop supply ships for the International Space Station. Now, it plans to use the money it had set aside for RpK to fund competing proposals.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Chris Pine
Star Trek film names Kirk actor
(Oct 18, 2007)


Little-known actor Chris Pine has been chosen to play the young Captain Kirk in the new Star Trek movie. Pine had to turn down a role opposite George Clooney in the film White Jazz in order to play Kirk because of a clash of filming schedules. Lord of the Rings actor Karl Urban will play Leonard "Bones" McCoy, the Starship Enterprise's medical officer.

Read more. Source: BBC

black hole and companion star
Heavyweight black hole is a record breaker
(Oct 18, 2007)


A black hole as heavy as almost 16 Suns has set a new weight record for black holes that form from collapsing stars. Its discovery suggests that there may be even heavier ones lurking out there, spawned in the death throes of the universe's most massive stars.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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