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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: August 2008
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Mosaic of Enceladus provinges broad regional context for the ultra-sharp, close-up views that Cassini acquired minutes earlier, during its flyby on Aug. 11, 2008. Credit: NASA/JPL
Cassini pinpoints source of jets on Enceladus
(Aug 15, 2008)


In a feat of interplanetary sharpshooting, Cassini has pinpointed precisely where the icy jets erupt from the surface of Saturn's geologically active moon Enceladus. New carefully targeted pictures reveal exquisite details in the prominent south polar "tiger stripe" fractures from which the jets emanate. The images show the fractures are about 300 meters (980 ft) deep, with V-shaped inner walls. The outer flanks of some of the fractures show extensive deposits of fine material.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Martian dust particle. Credit: NASA
Phoenix microscope takes first image of Martian dust particle
(Aug 14, 2008)


NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has taken the first-ever image of a single particle of Mars' ubiquitous dust, using its atomic force microscope. The particle – shown at higher magnification than anything ever seen from another world – is a rounded particle about one micrometer, or one millionth of a meter, across.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Enceladus close-up. Credit: NASA
Probe gets close up to Enceladus
(Aug 13, 2008)


The Cassini spacecraft has returned some remarkable new close-up images of the Saturnian moon Enceladus. They were captured during a flyby on 11 August, with the probe passing above the icy terrain at a distance of just 50km at closest approach. The pictures show previously unseen detail in the so-called tiger stripes that mark the south pole of Enceladus.

Read more. Source: BBC

Orion spacecraft. Credit: NASA
NASA moonship flight target slips
(Aug 13, 2008)


NASA has pushed back by a year its internal target date for flying the successor to the shuttle. Agency officials say they are now aiming for September 2014 for the first crewed mission of the Orion ship. This is a year later than NASA had hoped for, but still inside its March 2015 absolute deadline.

Read more. Source: BBC

Region of star formation near the Tarantular Nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio (STScI)
JPL camera marks Hubble's 100,000th orbit
(Aug 12, 2008)


In commemoration of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope completing its 100,000th orbit, scientists used the JPL-built Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 to take a snapshot of a dazzling region of a nebula 170,000 light-years away (near the Tarantula Nebula). Hubble peered into a small portion of the nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074 (upper, left).

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL/STScI

Artwork of an invisibility cloak
Invisibility cloak 'step closer'
(Aug 11, 2008)


Scientists in the US say they are a step closer to developing materials that could render people invisible. Researchers at the University of California in Berkeley have developed a material that can bend light around 3D objects making them "disappear". The materials do not occur naturally but have been created on a nano scale, measured in billionths of a metre. [See cloaking device]

Read more. Source: BBC

Artwork of Enceladus flyby. Credit: NASA/JPL
Cassini prepares to swoop by Saturn's geyser-spewing moon
(Aug 9, 2008)


Fractures, or "tiger stripes," where icy jets erupt on Saturn's moon Enceladus will be the target of a close flyby by the Cassini spacecraft on Monday, Aug. 11. Cassini will zoom past the tiny moon a mere 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the surface.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Putative phyllosilicates in Mawrth Vallis. Credit: NASA/Univ. of Arizona
Martian clays tell of a wet past
(Aug 9, 2008)


Layers of clay-rich rock have been found in Marsí Mawrth Vallis, a potential landing site for future rovers. This work, published in the August 8 issue of Science, suggests that abundant water was once present on Mars and that hydrothermal activity may have occurred.

Read more. Source: SETI Institute

Earthlike planet
Solar systems like ours may be rare
(Aug 8, 2008)


Our solar system is a Goldilocks among planetary systems. Conditions have to be just right for a disc of dust and gas to coalesce into such a set of neatly ordered planets, a new computer model suggests.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Large Hadron Collider
CERN lab set for beam milestone
(Aug 8, 2008)


A vast physics experiment – the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) – reaches a key milestone this weekend ahead of an official start-up on 10 September. Engineers had previously brought a beam of protons – tiny, sub-atomic particles – to the "doorstep" of the LHC. On 9 August, protons will be piped through LHC magnets for the first time.

Read more. Source: BBC

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