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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: February 2008
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Could meteorite discovery weaken dark energy's case? Feb 29, 2008
Spacecraft at Mars prepare to welcome new kid on the block Feb 29, 2008
Universe's biggest stars form in the densest gas clouds Feb 28, 2008
Spitzer's eyes perfect for spotting diamonds in the sky Feb 27, 2008
US team wins asteroid competition Feb 27, 2008
Galaxy portrait reveals a blaze of newborn stars Feb 27, 2008
Exoskeleton shows running, not walking, best on Moon Feb 26, 2008
International solar mission to end following stellar performance Feb 24, 2008
Hope dims that Earth will survive Sun's death Feb 23, 2008
Giant ropes of dark matter found in new sky survey Feb 22, 2008
Black hole defends its heavyweight title Feb 22, 2008
Martian crater records aftermath of Amazon-like flood Feb 21, 2008
Contract for private space cargo Feb 20, 2008
Cassini finds mingling moons may share a dark past Feb 20, 2008
First stars 'may have been dark' Feb 19, 2008
Atlantis undocks for journey home Feb 19, 2008
Many, perhaps most, nearby Sun-like stars may form rocky planets Feb 17, 2008
Early Mars 'too salty' for life Feb 16, 2008
Titan's surface organics surpass oil reserves on Earth Feb 15, 2008
First multiple planet system found by microlensing Feb 14, 2008
'Periodic table' organises zoo of black hole orbits Feb 14, 2008
Astronomers eye ultra-young, bright galaxy in early universe Feb 13, 2008
Columbus docks with space station Feb 12, 2008
Organic molecules found on alien world for first time Feb 11, 2008
Star eats star and builds planets from the crumbs Feb 10, 2008
NASA's Deep Impact begins hunt for alien worlds Feb 9, 2008
Is time travel possible, and will it ever take place? Feb 8, 2008
Space shuttle Atlantis blasts off Feb 7, 2008
Saturn has a 'giant sponge' Feb 7, 2008
Galaxy without dark matter puzzles astronomers Feb 6, 2008
NASA calls for ambitious outer solar system mission Feb 5, 2008
X-rays betray giant particle accelerator in the sky Feb 4, 2008
Beatles hit to be played in space Feb 3, 2008
Journey to Saturn from your computer Feb 2, 2008
Conjoined space telescopes could see alien worlds Feb 1, 2008
Unusual supernovae may reveal intermediate-mass black holes Feb 1, 2008


The tip of a graphite whisker protrudes from a calcium-aluminium inclusion in the Allende meteorite in this scanning electron microscope image. Credit: Science/AAAS
Could meteorite discovery weaken dark energy's case?
(Feb 29, 2008)


Whiskers of carbon found in ancient meteorites could hold clues to the earliest days of the solar system. More controversially, they might cast a shadow over the concept of dark energy, the unknown force that seems to be accelerating the expansion of the universe.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Phoenix spacecraft landing. Credit: NASA
Spacecraft at Mars prepare to welcome new kid on the block
(Feb 29, 2008)


Three Mars spacecraft are adjusting their orbits to be over the right place at the right time to listen to NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander as it enters the Martian atmosphere on May 25. Every landing on Mars is difficult. Having three orbiters track Phoenix as it streaks through Mars' atmosphere will set a new standard for coverage of critical events during a robotic landing.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

A massive star forms at the center of a gas cloud heated by protostars. Image: Mark Krumholz
Universe's biggest stars form in the densest gas clouds
(Feb 28, 2008)


What is the magic "X factor" that determines which stars become the biggest and brightest in the universe? The answer, new calculations suggest, is how dense their parent gas clouds are. Denser clouds heat up more evenly, preventing the clouds from fragmenting into lots of tiny stars and allowing one or two big stars to form instead.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Artist's concept of a multitude of tiny diamonds next to a hot star. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Spitzer's eyes perfect for spotting diamonds in the sky
(Feb 27, 2008)


Diamonds may be rare on Earth, but surprisingly common in space – and the super-sensitive infrared eyes of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope are perfect for scouting them, say scientists at the NASA Ames Research Center. Using computer simulations, researchers have developed a strategy for finding diamonds in space that are only a nanometer (a billionth of a meter) in size.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Foresight mission to Apophis
US team wins asteroid competition
(Feb 27, 2008)


A US team has won a $50,000 (25,000) competition to design a spacecraft to rendezvous with and track the path of an asteroid which may threaten Earth. The winning entry, led by SpaceWorks Engineering, will shadow asteroid Apophis for 300 days. The measurements it takes will be used to refine what is known about the orbit of this 300m-wide space rock.

Read more. Source: BBC

Triangulum Galaxy. Image: NASA/Swift Science Team/Stefan Immler
Galaxy portrait reveals a blaze of newborn stars
(Feb 27, 2008)


Newborn stars shine like celestial sparklers in a new portrait of the nearby Triangulum Galaxy – the most detailed ultraviolet image of a galaxy ever taken. Astronomers will use the image, taken by NASA's Swift telescope, to create an "age map" of the galaxy's components to understand how galaxies evolve over time.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Fiberglass exokeleton. Image: David Shiga
Exoskeleton shows running, not walking, best on Moon
(Feb 26, 2008)


Future astronauts should run, not walk, across the lunar surface to conserve energy, new laboratory tests suggest. The tests were done using an MIT-built exoskeleton that mimics the experience of moving around in a spacesuit.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Ulysses
International solar mission to end following stellar performance
(Feb 24, 2008)


The joint NASA and European Space Agency Ulysses mission to study the Sun and its influence on surrounding space is likely to cease operations in the next few months. The venerable spacecraft, which has lasted more than 17 years or almost four times its expected mission lifetime, is succumbing to the harsh environment of space.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

planet close to a red giant
Hope dims that Earth will survive Sun's death
(Feb 23, 2008)


The future looks bright for the Earth – but not in the way we'd hoped. The slim chance our planet will survive when the Sun begins its death throes has been ruled out.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Galaxy distribution in the universe. Credit: Center for Cosmological Physics/U. Chicago
Giant ropes of dark matter found in new sky survey
(Feb 22, 2008)


Huge filaments of dark matter have been detected in a survey of thousands of distant galaxies. The discovery supports the idea that dark matter drove the formation of galaxies and larger cosmic structures and resolves a discrepancy in previous studies about how much dark matter the universe contains.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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