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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: June 2009
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Automated Transfer Vehicle leaving the ISS
Europe to study freighter upgrade
(Jun 22, 2009)


The European Space Agency is about to look in detail at how it might upgrade its space station freighter so it can return cargo safely to Earth. At the moment, the Automated Transfer Vehicle is discarded after delivering supplies to the orbiting platform. The agency will ask industry in the coming weeks to define the requirements for a far more capable ship.

Read more. Source: BBC

Spaceport America
Work starts on New Mexico spaceport
(Jun 21, 2009)


Ground has been broken on the construction site of Spaceport America, the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Those behind the project say that it will help provide a new chapter in space exploration. When finished in 18 months' time, the facility will house Virgin Galactic's space tourism business and other firms working in the commercial space arena.

Read more. Source: BBC

Herschel Space Observatory image of Whirlpool Galaxy. Image: ESA/PACS Consortium
Herschel gives glimpse of power
(Jun 20, 2009)


Europe's new Herschel Space Observatory has provided a demonstration of its capability with a first image of the iconic Whirlpool Galaxy. The billion-euro telescope opened its "eyes" to the cosmos last Sunday when a command was given to lift a protective hatch covering the instrument bay. Herschel spied the galaxy, also known as M51, with its Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer.

Read more. Source: BBC

future Moon landing. Image: NASA
Doubts grow about NASA moon return
(Jun 19, 2009)


A senior NASA official expressed doubt on Wednesday that the agency could send astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit without extra money or using vehicles radically different form those it is currently working on. NASA's space shuttle program manager John Shannon made the remarks in a presentation to a committee reviewing NASA's human spaceflight plans at the request of the White House and chaired by former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

LRO
Lift off for NASA's lunar probes
(Jun 18, 2009)


NASA has successfully launched two spacecraft to the Moon on missions that will pave the way for a return to the lunar surface by US astronauts. LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) and a crater observation mission blasted off from Florida on an Atlas V rocket. Data gathered by LRO will help mission planners select future landing sites and scout locations for lunar outposts.

Read more. Source: BBC

Io
Solar system's most volcanic body to go dormant
(Jun 18, 2009)


The most volcanically active body in the solar system has just received a death sentence. Jupiter's moon Io, whose surface erupts with active volcanoes, will one day become dormant, a new study analysing more than 100 years of observations suggests.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

IXV re-entry test vehicle. Image: ESA
High-speed 'wedge' for re-entry
(Jun 17, 2009)


A contract has been signed at the Paris air show that will lead to the development of a remarkable spacecraft to test re-entry technologies. Thales Alenia Space in Italy has been given the authorisation to build the wedge-shaped Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV). The European Space Agency (Esa) demonstrator will be launched in 2012.

Read more. Source: BBC

By accelerating atoms across the dark gap at the center of this image, researchers think they might be able to create an acoustic black hole capable of producing the first detectable Hawking radiation. Image: O. Lahav et al.
Physicists create 'black hole for sound'
(Jun 17, 2009)


An artificial black hole that traps sound instead of light has been created in an attempt to detect theoretical Hawking radiation. The radiation, proposed by physicist Stephen Hawking more than 30 years ago, causes black holes to evaporate over time.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

carpet cloak
Magic carpets hide objects in plain sight
(Jun 16, 2009)


The latest twist on invisibility cloaks won't hide Harry Potter in the middle of a room, but it might just let spies conceal microphones under the rug or the wallpaper. So called "carpet cloaks" are the first technology to succeed in hiding objects by deflecting light across a range of wavelengths. Two groups described different cloaks last week at the International Quantum Electronics Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Herminiimonas glaciei
'Resurrection bug' revived after 120,000 years
(Jun 15, 2009)


A tiny bacterium has been coaxed back to life after spending 120,000 years buried three kilometers deep in the Greenland ice sheet. Researchers who found it say it could resemble microbes that may have evolved in ice on other planets. Officially named Herminiimonas glaciei, the bug consists of rods just 0.9 micrometers long and 0.4 micrometers in diameter, about 10 to 50 times smaller than the well-known bacterium, Escherichia coli.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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