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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: June 2009
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shadow of Opportunity rover on Mars
Mars missions get in line
(Jun 8, 2009)


For much of the past two decades, the Mars science community in the United States has enjoyed special treatment. It had its own program office at NASA, with a budget equal to almost half of that given to all planetary science. All of that is changing. Now, Mars scientists will have to compete with everybody else.

Read more. Source: Nature

Clouds on Titan shown in infrared
Cassini finds Titan's clouds hang on to summer
(Jun 7, 2009)


Cloud chasers studying Saturn's moon Titan say its clouds form and move much like those on Earth, but in a much slower, more lingering fashion. Their forecast for Titan's early autumn – warm and wetter. Scientists with NASA's Cassini mission have monitored Titan's atmosphere for three-and-a-half years, between July 2004 and December 2007, and observed more than 200 clouds.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

SCP 06F6
Free-floating black hole may solve space 'firefly' mystery
(Jun 6, 2009)


A wandering black hole may have torn apart a star to create a strange object that brightened mysteriously and then faded from view in 2006, a new study suggests. But more than three years later, astronomers are still at a loss to explain all the features of the strange event. The object, called SCP 06F6, was first spotted in the constellation Bootes in February 2006.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Opportunity rover found this 6-cm-wide rock, called Santorini, about 800 m south of Victoria Crater. Its composition resembles that of a handful of other rocks spotted in the vicinity, suggesting they may all be part of the impactor that gouged out the crater. False-color image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/C. Schröder et al.
Rusty space rocks could signal Mars water
(Jun 5, 2009)


Fist-sized stones scattered around Victoria Crater on Mars appear to be meteorites – and might be fragments of the object that punched out the crater, researchers say. Because the rocks contain iron, which rusts in the presence of water, they could provide a sensitive gauge of how much weathering has affected the region in recent times.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Neil Armstrong
Armstrong's 'poetic' slip on Moon
(Jun 4, 2009)


Neil Armstrong missed out an "a" and did not say "one small step for a man" when he set foot on the Moon in 1969, a linguistic analysis has confirmed. The researchers show for the first time that he intended to say "a man" and that the "a" may have been lost because he was under pressure. They say that although the phrase was not strictly correct, it was poetic.

Read more. Source: BBC

earth bombardment
Space rocks turned tide for Earth
(Jun 3, 2009)


A storm of meteorites that pounded Earth and Mars four billion years ago may have made the planets warmer and wetter. Researchers superheated younger space rocks to measure the gases that would have been shed as meteorites entered fledgling atmospheres during the storm. There would have been enough to create warmer and wetter planets more amenable to life, they say.

Read more. Source: BBC

ISS spacewalk. Image: NASA
Space headache a real phenomenon
(Jun 2, 2009)


Astronauts need to add space headache to their list of occupational hazards, say researchers. After quizzing 17 seasoned astronauts they found more than two-thirds suffered from headaches on missions yet were headache free back on earth. The disabling headaches appeared unique – described by the crew as "exploding" – and were generally unrelated to common space motion sickness.

Read more. Source: BBC

Photons traveling from active galactic nuclei, such as at the heart of the galaxy M87, could reveal the proposed chameleon particle. Image: NASA/CXC/CfA/W. Forman et al.; Radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF/W. Cotton; Optical: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and R. Gendler
Dark-energy particle spotted?
(Jun 1, 2009)


A model that postulates the existence of a 'chameleon' particle – which would change its mass depending on its surroundings – is gaining attention. A new paper claims to have spotted signs of this elusive particle, whose existence was first postulated in 2003 to explain the accelerating expansion of the Universe, which has been attributed to some unknown dark energy.

Read more. Source: Nature

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