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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: October 2008
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star interior
COROT directly sees 'Sun-quakes' in other stars for the first time
(Oct 24, 2008)

Sounding the Sun through a technique similar to seismology has opened a new era for understanding the Sun's interior. The CNES/ESA COROT satellite has now applied this technique to three stars, directly probing the interiors of stars beyond the Sun for the first time.

Read more. Source: ESA

Shackleton Crater
No ice rinks on the Moon after all
(Oct 24, 2008)

Hopes for large lakes of frozen water at the Moon's poles have taken another bashing, with new images of a prominent crater revealing dull lunar dust instead of shiny pools of ice. A decade ago, NASA's Lunar Prospector spacecraft suggested the Moon's poles boast large concentrations of hydrogen near the surface, which could be in the form of frozen water deposited by comets.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble telescope set to reawaken
(Oct 24, 2008)

The Hubble Space Telescope should resume science operations on Saturday, say NASA officials. Engineers have rebooted the computer which controls most science instruments aboard the orbiting observatory. Hubble has been "blind" for three weeks after the failure of a command unit forced the telescope into "safe mode".

Read more. Source: BBC

Nili Fossae
Plumes of methane identified on Mars
(Oct 23, 2008)

More than four years after researchers first said they had found methane on Mars, a scientist claims that he has "nailed" the controversial detection and identified key sources of the gas. On Earth, methane is mostly biological in origin; on Mars, it could signal microbes living deep underground. The latest work suggests that at a handful of hotspots hundreds of kilometres across, plumes of methane bloom and dissipate in less than a year.

Read more. Source: Nature

ESA closes in on the origin of Mars' larger moon
(Oct 23, 2008)

European space scientists are getting closer to unravelling the origin of Mars' larger moon, Phobos. Thanks to a series of close encounters by ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, the moon looks almost certain to be a "rubble pile", rather than a single solid object. However, mysteries remain about where the rubble came from.

Read more. Source: ESA

Launch of Chandrayaan
India launches first Moon mission
(Oct 22, 2008)

India has successfully launched its first mission to the Moon. The unmanned Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft blasted off smoothly from a launch pad in southern Andhra Pradesh to embark on a two-year mission of exploration. The robotic probe will orbit the Moon, compiling a 3-D atlas of the lunar surface and mapping the distribution of elements and minerals.

Read more. Source: BBC

Artist's impession of the Sun as a red giant about to engulf the Earth. Credit: Mark Garlick/HELAS
Moving the Earth: a planetary survival guide
(Oct 21, 2008)

The Sun is slowly getting warmer as it burns the hydrogen in its core. In about 5 billion years, the Sun will begin evolving into a bloated red giant. Its outer gas shell will swell up, engulfing the Earth by the time it reaches its peak size and brightness 7 billion years from now. If our descendants or other intelligent life-forms that follow us – want to survive, they'll have to migrate elsewhere. But where and how?

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Chandrayaan-1 probe
India's Moon mission may launch race for lunar landgrab
(Oct 21, 2008)

In a boost to national prestige, India will launch its first unmanned Moon mission tomorrow – blasting its Chandrayaan satellite into space from an island off the Bay of Bengal, using a domestically produced rocket system. In doing so, it will match China, which last year became the first Asian nation to send a satellite to orbit the Moon, signalling the possibility of a race for mineral wealth on the lunar surface.

Read more. Source: Guardian

Newly released files contain UFO mysteries
(Oct 20, 2008)

Two US fighter planes were scrambled and ordered to shoot down an unidentified flying object (UFO) over the English countryside during the Cold War, according to secret files made public on Monday. One pilot said he was seconds away from firing 24 rockets at the object, which moved erratically and gave a radar reading like "a flying aircraft carrier".

Read more. Source: New Scientist

NASA launches IBEX mission
(Oct 20, 2008)

NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer mission, or IBEX, successfully launched from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean at 1:47 p.m. EDT, Sunday. IBEX will be the first spacecraft to image and map dynamic interactions taking place in the outer solar system. The spacecraft separated from the third stage of its Pegasus launch vehicle at 1:53 p.m. and immediately began powering up components necessary to control onboard systems.

Read more. Source: NASA

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