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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: July 2009
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Tracks left by the rover Spirit on Mars
Clingy Martian dust guilty as charged
(Jul 20, 2009)


The Mars rover Spirit, now bogged down in the Red Planet's soil, will need all the power it can muster if NASA scientists manage to get it moving again. So it's timely that researchers are getting a handle on why dust that collects on the vehicle's solar panels sticks so stubbornly. Martian dust is particularly clingy.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Spacewalker Tim Kopra works in the payload bay of space shuttle Endeavour as the International Space Station's Canadarm2 robotic arm hands the Japanese Exposed Facility to the shuttle's Canadarm robotic arm. Photo credit: NASA TV
2010: A new space odyssey beckons
(Jul 19, 2009)


This weekend, 40 years after man first landed on the Moon, more human beings than ever before are orbiting on a single spacecraft. In 1969, three men squeezed into Apollo 11's command module, a craft little bigger than a Mini. Yesterday, the International Space Station, now as large as a four-storey house, yet speeding at 17,239mph, took on board the crew of the shuttle Endeavour.

Read more. Source: The Independent

The lunar module Eagle, which was used to carry Armstrong and Aldrin down to the lunar surface is the small bright dot near the center of this image; its shadow can be seen stretching to its right. Image: NASA/GSFC/ASU
Spy probe images Apollo landing sites
(Jul 18, 2009)


Those who suspect the Apollo lunar landings were faked may have trouble arguing with new orbital images of hardware and tracks left in the lunar dust by Apollo astronauts in the 1960s and '70s. The images were taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) less than a month after it launched.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

artist's impression of dust and planetesimals in the early solar system
Pluto's kin may have invaded asteroid belt
(Jul 17, 2009)


Millions of objects in the solar system's main asteroid belt may be icy interlopers from beyond Neptune that were flung into their present orbits after a violent migration of the giant planets, a new simulation suggests. The results come from simulations using a theory called the Nice model, which suggests the solar system's giant planets were born closer together and were surrounded by a vast disk of leftovers from the planets' formation called planetesimals.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

launch of Endeavour
Space shuttle finally blasts off
(Jul 16, 2009)


The US space agency NASA has successfully launched the space shuttle Endeavour – at the sixth attempt. Earlier launches at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida were called off because of bad weather and fuel leaks. The crew will spend 11 days on the International Space Station, finishing work on a Japanese research laboratory, Kibo.

Read more. Source: BBC

Venus Express
Probe hints at past Venus ocean
(Jul 15, 2009)


A European probe orbiting Venus has new data that indicates the planet may once had a lot of water on its surface and even had a system of plate tectonics. The Venus Express craft has returned infrared maps that show heat variations among the surface rocks. Scientists say some highland areas are slightly cooler, suggesting they have a different composition.

Read more. Source: BBC

Falcon 1
SpaceX launches first commercial satellite to orbit
(Jul 15, 2009)


PayPal founder Elon Musk's civilian spaceflight company, SpaceX, achieved its first commercial success this week after its Falcon 1 rocket lofted a Malaysian Earth-imaging satellite into orbit. The launch took place at 0335 GMT on Tuesday from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Marshall Islands inserted the RazakSAT spacecraft into a near-equatorial orbit at an altitude of 695 kilometers.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

pedestal crater on Amazonis Planitia
Martian 'egg cups' could trace past climate
(Jul 14, 2009)


Craters embedded on pedestals that tower above the Martian landscape like giant egg cups could be used to trace the planet's climate history, a new study suggests. 'Pedestal' craters were gouged out by impacts, like other craters, but stand out because they sit atop plateaus that loom an average of 50 meters above the Martian surface.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Endeavour on the launchpad
Endeavour launch postponed again
(Jul 13, 2009)


The launch of the space shuttle Endeavour has been postponed for a fourth time, because of thunder storms in the area. The decision was made only minutes before the shuttle was due to take off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. An earlier launch was called off after NASA investigated lightning strikes around the launch pad while two were scrapped in June over hydrogen leaks.

Read more. Source: BBC

Infrared image of M74 by Herschel
Herschel shows breadth of vision
(Jul 11, 2009)


Europe's Herschel space observatory is set to become one of the most powerful tools ever to study the Universe. The "first light" data from its three instruments demonstrates a remarkable capability even though their set-up is still not complete. Galaxy images released on Friday by the European Space Agency show detail previously unseen in the objects.

Read more. Source: BBC

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