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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: August 2009
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California fire threatens historic observatory Aug 31, 2009
Tevatron tightens up the race for the Higgs Aug 31, 2009
India loses Moon satellite links Aug 30, 2009
Why future astronauts may be sent to 'gravity holes' Aug 29, 2009
Space shuttle lifts off for ISS Aug 29, 2009
Balmy water once bathed Mars rock claimed to host life Aug 29, 2009
Single molecule's stunning image Aug 28, 2009
Sunspots stir oceans Aug 28, 2009
Test for NASA's new rocket motor Aug 27, 2009
Space probes fly in tandem to search for lunar water Aug 26, 2009
Flashback to Triton Aug 26, 2009
Shuttle to deliver 'hot and cold' Aug 25, 2009
Landing sites on Europa identified Aug 25, 2009
Stopwatch found for Solar System Aug 24, 2009
Upwards lightning caught on film Aug 24, 2009
Mega black hole twice as big as we thought Aug 23, 2009
Saturn moon's mirror-smooth lake 'good for skipping rocks' Aug 21, 2009
A step closer to 'synthetic life' Aug 21, 2009
Gravity wave detectors home in on their quarry Aug 20, 2009
Galaxies demand a stellar recount Aug 20, 2009
SETI telescope array produces first science results Aug 19, 2009
First amino acid on a comet found Aug 18, 2009
Black hole parasites explain cosmic flashes Aug 18, 2009
NASA assembles Ares test rocket Aug 17, 2009
Meteorite found on Mars yields clues about planet's past Aug 17, 2009
US probe captures Saturn equinox Aug 16, 2009
Houston, we have a cashflow problem Aug 14, 2009
Second backwards planet found, a day after the first Aug 14, 2009
Milky Way may have a huge hidden neighbor Aug 14, 2009
Space telescopes find trigger-happy star formation Aug 14, 2009
New planet displays exotic orbit Aug 13, 2009
Earth could be blindsided by asteroids, panel warns Aug 12, 2009
Rovers rev up for Google's moonshot jackpot Aug 12, 2009
Planet smash-up sends vaporized rock, hot lava flying Aug 11, 2009
Equinox to reveal Saturn secrets Aug 11, 2009
Perseid shower to produce 'shooting stars' Aug 10, 2009
Fast-spinning black holes might reveal all Aug 9, 2009
Giant moon Titan resembles Earth Aug 8, 2009
Triple asteroid system triples observers' interest Aug 8, 2009
Kepler spacecraft sees its first exoplanets Aug 7, 2009
Large Hadron Collider to restart at half its designed energy Aug 7, 2009
Martian methane mystery deepens Aug 6, 2009
Crazy quilt' of moves may free stuck Mars rover Aug 5, 2009
Five snacks that are shaped like the universe Aug 4, 2009
Possible meteorite imaged by Opportunity rover Aug 3, 2009
Comets 'not cause of extinctions' Aug 3, 2009
Experts puzzled by spot on Venus Aug 2, 2009
Space shuttle touches down safely Aug 1, 2009


Mount Wilson Observatory
California fire threatens historic observatory
(Aug 31, 2009)


A rampaging fire in the Angeles National Forest in southern California is threatening a historic observatory at the summit of Mount Wilson, as well as a dense crowd of television transmitters there. The "Station Fire" fire began on Wednesday afternoon but has spread quickly, doubling in size overnight, to an area covering more than 345 square km. By Sunday evening, it had moved to within 3.2 km of Mount Wilson Observatory.

Read more. Source: New Scientist / Sky & Telescope

Tevatron. Image source: Fermilab
Tevatron tightens up the race for the Higgs
(Aug 31, 2009)


With the Large Hadron Collider still in the repair shop, the race to find the Higgs boson has become a lot tighter, thanks to the older and less powerful – but working – Tevatron collider near Chicago. "The Tevatron definitely has a chance," says Greg Landsberg of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, who works on one of the LHC's detectors.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Chandrayaan-1
India loses Moon satellite links
(Aug 30, 2009)


All communication links with the only Indian satellite orbiting the Moon have been lost, India's space agency says. Radio contact with the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was lost abruptly early on Saturday, said India's Bangalore-based Space Research Organization. The unmanned craft was launched last October in what was billed as a two-year mission of exploration.

Read more. Source: BBC

Lagrangian points in the Earth-Sun system
Why future astronauts may be sent to 'gravity holes'
(Aug 29, 2009)


With doubts brewing about the feasibility of returning to the moon or aiming straight for Mars, another option has emerged for our next steps into space: gravitational "sweet spots" called Lagrangian points that lie at least 1 million kilometers away. Lagrangian points are great swathes of space where the gravitational acceleration from the Earth and the Sun are exactly equal, letting objects stick there with very little effort.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Discovery on launch pad
Space shuttle lifts off for ISS
(Aug 29, 2009)


NASA has launched the US shuttle Discovery for a mission to the International Space Station, with seven astronauts on board. It lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2359 EDT Friday (0359 GMT Saturday). Two previous attempts to launch the orbiter had been postponed by a mix of bad weather and a technical glitch affecting its main propulsion system.

Read more. Source: BBC

Microscopic structures in the Martian meteorite ALH84001
Balmy water once bathed Mars rock claimed to host life
(Aug 29, 2009)


A 1996 claim of fossilized microbes in the ALH84001 meteorite from Mars has yet to be confirmed, but a new study does suggest the rock's Martian environment had conditions conducive to life. The study, led by Paul Niles of NASA's Johnson Space Center, concludes that the water involved in deposited the carbon-based substances in the rock was cool enough to allow for life.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

pentacene molecule image. Source: IBM
Single molecule's stunning image
(Aug 28, 2009)


The detailed chemical structure of a single molecule has been imaged for the first time, say researchers. The physical shape of single carbon nanotubes has been outlined before, using similar techniques – but the new method even shows up chemical bonds. Understanding molecular structure on this scale could help in the design of many things on the molecular scale, particularly electronics or even drugs.

Read more. Source: BBC

Sun
Sunspots stir oceans
(Aug 28, 2009)


Computer simulations are showing how tiny variations in the Sun's brightness can have a big influence on weather above the Pacific Ocean. The simulations match observations that show precipitation in the eastern Pacific varies with the Sun's brightness over an 11-year cycle. However, the model does not indicate a relationship between solar activity and the rise in global temperature over the past century.

Read more. Source: Nature

Ares I rocket
Test for NASA's new rocket motor
(Aug 27, 2009)


The first-stage rocket motor that US space agency (NASA) hopes will launch astronauts in future undergoes its first full-scale test on Thursday. The static firing will take place at a facility owned by manufacturer Alliant Techsystems Inc (ATK) in Utah. The five-segment booster is intended to power the early flight phase of NASA's Ares 1 rocket, the vehicle designed to loft its new Orion crew carrier.

Read more. Source: BBC

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
Space probes fly in tandem to search for lunar water
(Aug 26, 2009)


A delicate joint maneuver between the US Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Indian Chandrayaan-1 probe orbiting the Moon could turn up evidence for valuable lunar water. Some scientists suspect water ice – which would be a precious resource for future explorers – may be trapped in permanently shadowed craters at the Moon's poles.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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