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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: April 2008
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ET contact
ET contact odds 'extremely low'
(Apr 19, 2008)


The odds of intelligent life arising on another Earth-like planet are low, a British scientist has calculated. He argues that humans evolved via a series of four "critical steps" and that the likelihood of all these occurring elsewhere is less than 0.01%. Discoveries of new planets outside the Solar System, has boosted the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence.

Read more. Source: BBC

communicating with extraterrestrials
'Babelfish' to translate alien tongues could be built
(Apr 19, 2008)


If we ever make contact with intelligent aliens, we should be able to build a universal translator to communicate with them, according to a linguist and anthropologist in the US. Such a "babelfish", which gets its name from the translating fish in Douglas Adams's book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, would require a much more advanced understanding of language than we currently have.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

M83
Stars born in galactic wilderness
(Apr 18, 2008)


Baby stars have been discovered spawning in the otherwise barren outskirts of a galaxy. The finding has surprised astronomers because the galactic periphery was assumed to lack high concentrations of ingredients needed to form stars. The stars can be seen in a new image of the Southern Pinwheel galaxy, or M83, obtained by a NASA space telescope and a ground-based observatory.

Read more. Source: BBC

lunar base
Plants 'thrive' on Moon rock diet
(Apr 17, 2008)


Scientists with the European Space Agency (ESA) say the day when flowers bloom on the Moon has come closer. An ESA-linked team has shown that marigolds can grow in crushed rock very like the lunar surface, with no need for plant food. Some see growing plants on the Moon as a step towards human habitation.

Read more. Source: BBC

Pioneer
Pioneer spacecraft mystery may be laid to rest
(Apr 16, 2008)


What is making NASA's twin Pioneer spacecraft mysteriously drift off course, apparently defying the laws of physics? A rigorous new analysis suggests ordinary heat emission can at least partly explain the wayward probes' strange trajectories. [See Pioneer anomaly.]

Read more. Source: New Scientist

galactic core
Milky Way's giant black hole awoke from slumber 300 years ago
(Apr 15, 2008)


A team of Japanese astronomers using ESA's XMM-Newton, along with NASA and Japanese X-ray satellites, has discovered that our galaxy's central black hole let loose a powerful flare three centuries ago.

Read more. Source: ESA

coronal mass ejection imaged by STEREO
Visions of Sun's great 'belches'
(Apr 15, 2008)


NASA's STEREO orbiters have captured stunning new images of spaceborne debris thrown out from the Sun. The twin spacecraft have seen coronal mass ejections (CMEs) hurling material into a comet, ripping off its tail. Scientists hope the probes will allow better forecasting of CMEs, which sometimes disrupt communication systems on Earth.

Read more. Source: BBC

Rocket Racing League
Rocket Racing League announces first exhibition race
(Apr 14, 2008)


The Rocket Racing League, the new entertainment sports league that combines the exhilaration of racing with the power of rocket engines, today announced that the First Exhibition Race of the Rocket Racing League will take place on August 1st and August 2nd at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Read more. Source: Rocket Racing League

Hayabusa
Crippled probe may send cargo drifting into space
(Apr 14, 2008)


Even if Japan's problem-plagued Hayabusa spacecraft makes it back to Earth as planned in 2010, a pointing problem may prevent it from dropping a capsule – which may contain asteroid dust – safely to Earth. Instead, it may send the capsule careening off into space, or hurtling to a fiery death in Earth's atmosphere, mission members say.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

The afterglow of the most powerful explosion ever recorded is shown in this Hubble Space Telescope image. Image credit: NASA/ESA/N Tanvir/U of Leicester/A Fruchter/STScI
Why is the universe's brightest blast still blazing?
(Apr 12, 2008)


The most powerful explosion ever observed may have been even more powerful than first thought. Nearly three weeks after the bright gamma-ray burst occurred, it is still outshining its host galaxy, dumbfounding astronomers with its amazing longevity.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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