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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: October 2008
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Hubble works but servicing slips Oct 31, 2008
Phoenix Mission status report Oct 31, 2008
Serendipitous observations reveal rare event in life of distant quasar Oct 31, 2008
Mysterious dark patches dot Mercury's surface Oct 30, 2008
Is NASA's Ares doomed? Oct 29, 2008
New minerals point to wetter Mars Oct 29, 2008
No spacesuits needed in new lunar rover Oct 28, 2008
Nearest planetary system boasts two asteroid belts Oct 27, 2008
Phoenix Lander finishes soil delivery to onboard labs Oct 27, 2008
Mars craters might be scars from fallen moon Oct 25, 2008
COROT directly sees 'Sun-quakes' in other stars for the first time Oct 24, 2008
No ice rinks on the Moon after all Oct 24, 2008
Hubble telescope set to reawaken Oct 24, 2008
Plumes of methane identified on Mars Oct 23, 2008
ESA closes in on the origin of Mars' larger moon Oct 23, 2008
India launches first Moon mission Oct 22, 2008
Moving the Earth: a planetary survival guide Oct 21, 2008
India's Moon mission may launch race for lunar landgrab Oct 21, 2008
Newly released files contain UFO mysteries Oct 20, 2008
NASA launches IBEX mission Oct 20, 2008
Young planets stay hotter longer Oct 19, 2008
Satellite to study solar system's outer limits Oct 18, 2008
Astronauts could mix DIY concrete for cheap moon base Oct 18, 2008
Fermi Telescope discovers first gamma-ray-only pulsar Oct 17, 2008
Kuiper belt pair sets record for long-distance relationship Oct 17, 2008
New spark in classic experiments Oct 17, 2008
Spitzer gets sneak peak inside comet Holmes Oct 17, 2008
Star-hugging planet is hottest and fastest found Oct 16, 2008
Tides have major impact on planet habitability Oct 16, 2008
NASA engineers try to reboot Hubble telescope Oct 15, 2008
Milky Way's fastest stars may be immigrants Oct 14, 2008
Milky Way's fastest stars may be immigrantsVenus Express searching for life – on Earth Oct 13, 2008
US space tourist set for launch Oct 12, 2008
Goldmine bug DNA may be key to alien life Oct 10, 2008
Galactic hit-and-run leaves trail of destruction Oct 9, 2008
Mercury as never seen before Oct 8, 2008
COROT discovery stirs exoplanet classification rethink Oct 7, 2008
Cassini plans doubleheader flybys of Saturn's geyser moon Oct 7, 2008
Europe follows fusion twin track Oct 7, 2008
Space rock found on collision course with Earth Oct 6, 2008
One way up: U.S. space plan relies on Russia Oct 6, 2008
NASA spacecraft finds the Sun is not a perfect sphere Oct 5, 2008
What happened to the Kuiper Belt's smallest objects? Oct 4, 2008
Dark matter makes galaxy's stars live long and prospers Oct 3, 2008
Infrared echoes give Spitzer a supernova flashback Oct 2, 2008
Precocious galaxy's magnetic field is bizarrely strong Oct 2, 2008
Virgin Galactic to join climate experiment Oct 1, 2008
Martian fossils may be hiding inside white rocks Oct 1, 2008


Arp 147, Hubble photo. Image: NASA/ESA
Hubble works but servicing slips
(Oct 31, 2008)


The final mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope has slipped deeper into next year, NASA has announced. Officials said the delay would give engineers extra time to prepare a spare control unit needed to replace one that broke on the observatory last month. Hubble was taken offline for four weeks by the failure but has since been re-booted using a back-up system.

Read more. Source: BBC

Phoenix Lander artwork. Image: NASA
Phoenix Mission status report
(Oct 31, 2008)


NASA'S Phoenix Mars Lander entered safe mode late on Tuesday (Oct. 28th) in response to a low-power fault brought on by deteriorating weather conditions. While engineers anticipated that a fault could occur due to the diminishing power supply, the lander also unexpectedly switched to the "B" side of its redundant electronics and shut down one of its two batteries.

Read more. Source: NASA

Onset of gas outflow from a quasar. Image: University of Florida/Myda Iamiceli
Serendipitous observations reveal rare event in life of distant quasar
(Oct 31, 2008)


A bit of serendipity has given astronomers a surprise view of a never-before-observed event in the birth of a galaxy. University of Florida and University of California-Santa Cruz astronomers are the first to discover the onset of a huge flow of gas from a quasar, or the super-bright core of an extremely remote young galaxy still being formed.

Read more. Source: University of Florida

Dark material, shown in deep blue in the enhanced color image at right (a composite of visible and near-infrared images), was kicked up by impacts. Image: NASA/JHU APL/CIW
Mysterious dark patches dot Mercury's surface
(Oct 30, 2008)


The Messenger probe's second flyby of Mercury earlier this month has provided the first global view of the pockmarked planet, hinting at a complicated mineral structure beneath the surface and more glimpses of the planet's volcanic history. The pass revealed more patches of an unknown dark, bluish material that had previously been seen on the planet's surface.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Ares I. Image: NASA
Is NASA's Ares doomed?
(Oct 29, 2008)


Bit by bit, the new rocket ship that is supposed to blast America into the second Space Age and return astronauts to the moon appears to be coming undone. First was the discovery that it lacked sufficient power to lift astronauts in a state-of-the-art capsule into orbit. Then engineers found out that it might vibrate like a giant tuning fork. Now, in the latest setback to the Ares I, computer models show the ship could crash into its launch tower during liftoff.

Read more. Source: Orlando Sentinel

Valles Marineris region. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/U. of Arizona
New minerals point to wetter Mars
(Oct 29, 2008)


A NASA space probe has discovered a new category of minerals spread across large regions of Mars. The find, suggests liquid water remained on Mars' surface a billion years later than scientists had previously thought. The US spacecraft found evidence of hydrated silica, better known as opal.

Read more. Source: BBC

Small Pressurized Rover. Image: NASA
No spacesuits needed in new lunar rover
(Oct 28, 2008)


NASA unveiled a new lunar rover on Friday that aims to transform space exploration by allowing astronauts to roam large distances without cumbersome spacesuits when they return to the Moon by 2020. A team of scientists is testing the Small Pressurized Rover Concept vehicle, which resembles a small, futuristic recreational vehicle mounted on six sets of wheels.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Two asteroid belts have been discovered around Epsilon Eridani. Comets from an unseen third debris belt are illustrated in the upper-right corner. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Nearest planetary system boasts two asteroid belts
(Oct 27, 2008)


The nearest known planetary system to Earth, that of Epsilon Eridani, sports two asteroid belts, a new study suggests. The relatively young system could offer clues about how solar systems form and might be the ideal place to look for the faint glint of an Earth-like planet.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Phoenix Lander. Image: NASA
Phoenix Lander finishes soil delivery to onboard labs
(Oct 27, 2008)


NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has finished scooping soil samples to deliver to its onboard laboratories, and is now preparing to analyze samples already obtained. Scientists are anxious to analyze the samples as the power Phoenix generates continues to drop. The amount of sunlight is waning on Mars' northern plains as late-summer turns to fall.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

The alignment of two oval craters  10 km (right) and 3 km across  hints they might have been formed by fragments of a fallen moon. Image: NASA
Mars craters might be scars from fallen moon
(Oct 25, 2008)


An unusual pair of craters on Mars formed when a moon broke apart before crashing into the planet's surface about a billion years ago, a new study suggests. The craters could hint at what lies in store for Phobos, a potato-shaped moon that is expected to smash into Mars millions of years from now.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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