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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: November 2008
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The light from the Beta Pictoris is 1000 times brighter than the bluish-white dot left of center, which may be a planet. Credit: ESO/A-M Lagrange et al.
Planet imaged closer to star than ever before?
(Nov 24, 2008)


A planet may have been imaged closer to its star than any photographed previously, astronomers say. The candidate planet, which might still turn out to be a foreground or background object, appears to lie at about the orbital distance of Saturn around the well-studied star Beta Pictoris.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

LAS abort motor test firing. Credit: NASA
NASA, ATK successfully test first Orion launch abort motor
(Nov 23, 2008)


Flames shot more than 100 feet high in a successful 5.5-second ground test firing Thursday, Nov. 20, of a launch abort motor for NASA's next generation spacecraft, the Orion crew exploration vehicle. NASA and the Orion industry team conducted the firing at the Alliant Techsystems, or ATK, facility in Promontory, Utah.

Read more. Source: NASA

Astronauts on a spacewalk outside the ISS on Nov. 21, 2008. Credit: NASA
Nothing lost in space – this time
(Nov 22, 2008)


Repairs to jammed mechanical joints on the International Space Station's solar collectors have been successful, says NASA. On Tuesday the space walkers lost an expensive tool bag while attempting similar repairs. This time they took no chances triple checking all their equipment to make sure it was all tied down.

Read more. Source: BBC

Artist concept of a glacier on Mars. Credit: NASA
Buried glaciers found on Mars
(Nov 21, 2008)


Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed vast Martian glaciers of water ice under protective blankets of rocky debris at much lower latitudes than any ice previously identified on the Red Planet. Scientists analyzed data from the spacecraft’s ground-penetrating radar and report in the Nov. 21 issue of the journal Science that buried glaciers extend for dozens of miles from edges of mountains or cliffs.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Each proton is made of three quarks. Image credit: Forschungszentrum Julich/Seitenplan/NASA/ESA/AURA-Caltech
It's confirmed: Matter is merely vacuum fluctuations
(Nov 21, 2008)


Matter is built on flaky foundations. Physicists have now confirmed that the apparently substantial stuff is actually no more than fluctuations in the quantum vacuum. The researchers simulated the frantic activity that goes on inside protons and neutrons. These particles provide almost all the mass of ordinary matter.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

NGC 1569. Credit: NASA
Hubble solves puzzle of loner galaxy
(Nov 21, 2008)


Astronomers have long puzzled over why a small, nearby, isolated galaxy is pumping out new stars faster than any galaxy in our local neighborhood. Now NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has helped astronomers solve the mystery of the loner starburst galaxy, called NGC 1569, by showing that it is one and a half times farther away than astronomers thought.

Read more. Source: NASA/STScI

Potential landing sites for Mars Science Laboratory. Credit: NASA
Site list narrows for NASA's next Mars landing
(Nov 20, 2008)


Four intriguing places on Mars have risen to the final round as NASA selects a landing site for its next Mars mission, the Mars Science Laboratory. The agency had a wider range of possible landing sites to choose from than for any previous mission, thanks to the Mars Science Laboratory's advanced technologies, and the highly capable orbiters helping this mission identify scientifically compelling places to explore.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Artist concept of a magnetar. Credit: ESA
XMM-Newton and Integral clues on magnetic powerhouses
(Nov 20, 2008)


X-ray and gamma-ray data from ESA's XMM-Newton and Integral orbiting observatories has been used to test, for the first time, the physical processes that make magnetars, an atypical class of neutron stars, shine in X-rays.

Read more. Source: ESA

Artist concept of interplanetary internet. Credit: NASA/JPL
NASA tests first deep-space Internet
(Nov 20, 2008)


NASA has successfully tested the first deep space communications network modeled on the Internet. Working as part of a NASA-wide team, engineers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, used software called Disruption-Tolerant Networking, or DTN, to transmit dozens of space images to and from a NASA science spacecraft located about more than 32 million km (20 million miles) from Earth.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Balloon-borne ATIC. Credit: Joachim B Isbert
Mysterious electrons may be sign of dark matter
(Nov 19, 2008)


Dark matter is proving less shadowy than its name suggests. Its signature may have been detected by a balloon-borne experiment that measured a surprisingly high number of energetic electrons streaming in from space.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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