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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: March 2008
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The extremely luminous afterglow of GRB 080319B was imaged by Swift's X-ray Telescope (left) and Optical/Ultraviolet Telescope (right) Image: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler et al.
Universe's most powerful blast visible to the naked eye
(Mar 22, 2008)


The most powerful blast ever observed in the universe detonated on Wednesday. That day, a record four gamma-ray bursts were detected by NASA's Swift telescope. If you knew exactly when and where to look, you could have seen the bright burst with the naked eye, despite its enormous distance of 7.5 billion light years.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Cassini and Titan
Saturn moon may have hidden ocean
(Mar 20, 2008)


Saturn's moon Titan may have a deep, hidden ocean, according to data published in the journal Science. Radar images from the Cassini-Huygens mission reinforce predictions that a reservoir of liquid water exists beneath the thick crust of ice. If confirmed, it would mean that Titan has two of the key components for life – water and organic molecules.

Read more. Source: BBC

False-color, composite image showing possible chloride salts (in blue)
Mars is 'covered in table salt'
(Mar 20, 2008)


Mars appears to be covered in salt crystals from ancient dried-up lakes, new evidence suggests. A NASA probe has found signs that the southern hemisphere is dusted with chloride mineral, perhaps "table salt". US scientists think the mineral formed when water evaporated from salty lakes or soil billions of years ago.

Read more. Source: BBC

extrasolar planet
Methane found on distant world
(Mar 19, 2008)


A carbon-containing molecule has been detected for the first time on a planet outside our Solar System. The organic compound methane was found in the atmosphere of a planet [HD 189733Ab] orbiting a star some 63 light years away. Water has also been found in its atmosphere, but scientists say the planet is far too hot to support life.

Read more. Source: BBC

Arthur C. Clarke
Writer Arthur C. Clarke dies at 90
(Mar 19, 2008)


British science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke has died in Sri Lanka at the age of 90. Born in Somerset, he came to fame in 1968 when a short story The Sentinel was made into the film 2001: A Space Odyssey by director Stanley Kubrick. Sir Arthur's vision of future space travel and computing captured the popular imagination.

Read more. Source: BBC

Severn bore
First unchanging 'soliton' wave found in space
(Mar 19, 2008)


An unusual electrical disturbance has been spotted in space, travelling unchanged through the ionised gas surrounding Earth. A European space mission called Cluster detected a soliton wave, a phenomenon similar to the self-contained solitons that can travel along optical fibres and channels of water on Earth. This is the first known soliton in space.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Geysers erupting from a crack in the Cerberus Fossae region apparently threw muddy deposits (red bars) up to several kilometers away. Image: NASA/JPL/ASU
Fizzy water powered 'super' geysers on ancient Mars
(Mar 18, 2008)


Huge fountains of carbonated water once erupted on Mars, hurling hailstones and mud several kilometres into the air, a team of scientists says. It has found signs of ancient geysers on Mars that would have dwarfed those in Yellowstone. Towering a couple of kilometres above the surface, Martian geysers rained hailstones and muddy water for several kilometres around.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

spaceplane concept
Space planes 'to meet big demand'
(Mar 17, 2008)


Aerospace giant EADS says it will need a production line of rocket planes to satisfy the space tourism market. The European company's Astrium division, makers of the Ariane rocket, has plans for a commercial vehicle to take ticketed passengers above 100km. Its market assessment suggests there would be 15,000 people a year prepared to part with some 200,000 euros (160,000) for the ride of a lifetime.

Read more. Source: BBC

crashed Genesis probe
Crashed probe yields Sun secrets
(Mar 16, 2008)


Scientists have measured the composition of oxygen at the birth of the Solar System. The discovery is a vital piece of data for reconstructing the evolution of our cosmic neighbourhood. NASA's Genesis spacecraft spent more than two years collecting oxygen from the outermost layers of the Sun.

Read more. Source: BBC

Ithaca Chasma
Saturn moon 'once had ocean'
(Mar 15, 2008)


One of Saturn's moons may once have harboured a liquid ocean beneath its icy surface, scientists have told a major conference in Houston, Texas. Tethys is a mid-sized satellite with a density close to that of pure ice. But a large valley system visible today must have formed when the crust was being heated and under great strain.

Read more. Source: BBC

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