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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: February 2008
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NASA calls for ambitious outer solar system mission
(Feb 5, 2008)

NASA is planning a major new mission to the outer solar system, along with three new robotic missions to the Moon, and two new Earth science missions, according to its 2009 budget request. President George W Bush requested a total of $17.614 billion dollars for the agency in fiscal year 2009, up 2.9% over NASA's actual budget for 2008.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

X-rays betray giant particle accelerator in the sky
(Feb 4, 2008)

ESA's orbiting gamma-ray observatory, Integral, has made the first unambiguous discovery of highly energetic X-rays coming from a galaxy cluster. The find has shown the cluster to be a giant particle accelerator.

Read more. Source: ESA

The Beatles
Beatles hit to be played in space
(Feb 3, 2008)

Across the Universe by the Beatles will become the first song ever to be beamed directly into space next week, US space agency NASA has announced. The track will be transmitted through the Deep Space Network – a network of antennas – on the 40th anniversary of the song being recorded. It will be aimed at the North Star, Polaris, 431 light-years from Earth.

Read more. Source: BBC

Cassini interactive
Journey to Saturn from your computer
(Feb 2, 2008)

Want a peek at Saturn as seen from space? A new interactive 3-D viewer that uses a game engine and allows users to travel to Saturn and see it the way the Cassini spacecraft sees it is now online at and NASA's Cassini page.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

conjoined space telescopes
Conjoined space telescopes could see alien worlds
(Feb 1, 2008)

A pair of infrared telescopes attached together in space could determine the chemical makeup of alien planet atmospheres at a fraction of the cost of NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF), which has been delayed indefinitely, a new study says.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

disruption of a white dwarf as it falls into a black hole. Credit: U. of California at Santa Cruz
Unusual supernovae may reveal intermediate-mass black holes
(Feb 1, 2008)

A strange and violent fate awaits a white dwarf star that wanders too close to a moderately massive black hole. According to a new study, the black hole's gravitational pull on the white dwarf would cause tidal forces sufficient to disrupt the stellar remnant and reignite nuclear burning in it, giving rise to a supernova explosion with an unusual appearance.

Read more. Source: U. of California, Santa Cruz

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