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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: August 2008
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Gliese 581c, artist's impression
Can our TV signals be picked up on other planets?
(Aug 7, 2008)


A television company has joined forces with a social networking site to send a message to the nearest theoretically inhabitable planet (around Gliese 581). But can our television and radio broadcasts already be picked up in space? There is no widely accepted evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. And yet the idea of sending messages to whoever is out there has been a recurrent theme over the years, whether it has been the plaques on Pioneer 10 and 11, Blur's call-sign for Beagle 2, the Arecibo message of 1974 or the Soviet "Mir" message of 1962.

Read more. Source: BBC

NGC 4458
Globular clusters tell of star formation in nearby galaxy metropolis
(Aug 7, 2008)


Globular clusters, dense bunches of hundreds of thousands of stars, have some of the oldest surviving stars in the universe. A new study of globular clusters outside our Milky Way Galaxy has found evidence that these hardy pioneers are more likely to form in dense areas, where star birth occurs at a rapid rate, instead of uniformly from galaxy to galaxy.

Read more. Source: NASA

Trenches dug by Phoenix
Open science promised for Phoenix
(Aug 6, 2008)


NASA has quashed any idea that it is hiding information related to discoveries made on Mars. It has acknowledged that its Phoenix probe has seen an unexpected compound – perchlorate – in the Martian soil but says the analysis is incomplete. Scientists said they had not discussed the issue publicly earlier because they were unsure of the data's significance. They said the discovery – if confirmed – was fascinating but made life on Mars neither more nor less likely.

Read more. Source: BBC

Hanny's Voorwerp
Green mystery blob may reveal black hole's last meal
(Aug 5, 2008)


A strange green blob in the nearby universe may be a 'light echo' from a long-dead quasar – an extremely bright object powered by a colossal black hole. Future studies of the blob could give astronomers insight into the quasar's dying days. For months, astronomers have been working to pinpoint what illuminates 'Hanny's Voorwerp', a mysteriously lit cloud that sits close to a spiral galaxy 700 million light years from Earth.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Phoenix robot arm extended
Phoenix Martian soil data being analyzed
(Aug 5, 2008)


Scientists are analyzing results from soil samples delivered several weeks ago to science instruments on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander to understand the landing site's soil chemistry and mineralogy. Within the last month, two samples have been analyzed by the Wet Chemistry Lab of the spacecraft's Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and Conductivity Analyzer, or MECA, suggesting one of the soil constituents may be perchlorate, a highly oxidizing substance.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Falcon 1
SpaceX launch fails a third time
(Aug 4, 2008)


A private rocket carrying three satellites, including a NASA space sail, has failed to reach orbit. It is the third unsuccessful launch attempt for the Falcon 1 rocket, built by private space firm SpaceX. The vehicle's two stages failed to separate two minutes and 20 seconds into launch from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

Read more. Source: BBC

Mars
White House briefed on potential for Mars life
(Aug 3, 2008)


The White House has been alerted by NASA about plans to make an announcement soon on major new Phoenix lander discoveries concerning the "potential for life" on Mars, scientists tell Aviation Week & Space Technology. Sources say the new data do not indicate the discovery of existing or past life on Mars. Rather the data relate to habitability – the "potential" for Mars to support life – at the Phoenix arctic landing site, sources say.

Read more. Source: Aviation Week

Part of the panorama view acquired by Phoenix
Phoenix Lander confirms Martian water, mission extended
(Aug 1, 2008)


Laboratory tests aboard the Phoenix Mars Lander have identified water in a soil sample. The lander's robotic arm delivered the sample Wednesday to an instrument that identifies vapors produced by the heating of samples. With enticing results so far and the spacecraft in good shape, NASA also announced operational funding for the mission will extend through Sept. 30.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

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