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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: March 2009
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Giant laser experiment powers up Mar 31, 2009
Subsurface ice on Mars exposed by recent impacts Mar 31, 2009
Methane-producing mineral discovered on Mars Mar 30, 2009
Discovery returns to Earth Mar 29, 2009
Giant ice flows bolster case for volcanoes on Titan Mar 28, 2009
Space shuttle ready to head home Mar 28, 2009
Erratic black hole regulates itself Mar 27, 2009
Slower spin 'made moon's bulge' Mar 27, 2009
Home computers to search for tangoing pulsars Mar 26, 2009
How to save the world from an asteroid impact Mar 26, 2009
Tracked asteroid debris collected Mar 26, 2009
Briny pools 'may exist on Mars' Mar 25, 2009
Life-friendly worlds may snap, crackle and pop Mar 25, 2009
UK ships super-telescope's 'ears' Mar 25, 2009
Massive young star explodes 'before its time' Mar 24, 2009
Cold fusion debate heats up again Mar 24, 2009
Is life bubbling up in Mars mud? Mar 23, 2009
A black hole in Medusa's hair Mar 23, 2009
Space station unfurls solar wings Mar 21, 2009
Finding twin Earths: Harder than we thought! Mar 20, 2009
Mars Express zeros in on erosion features Mar 20, 2009
NASA may send fleet of spacecraft to Venus Mar 19, 2009
Faster-than-light 'tachyons' might be impossible after all Mar 18, 2009
Hearts of galaxies close in for cosmic train wreck Mar 18, 2009
Gravity satellite heads skyward Mar 17, 2009
Watery asteroids may explain why life is 'left-handed' Mar 17, 2009
Space station may move to dodge debris Mar 16, 2009
Russia to approve new Moon rocket Mar 16, 2009
Concept of 'hypercosmic God' wins Templeton Prize Mar 16, 2009
Higgs boson not a heavyweight, study suggest Mar 16, 2009
Shuttle launched after delay Mar 16, 2009
Antique maps, latest streaming satellite images now viewable with Mars in Google Earth Mar 15, 2009
Moon hides scars of a violent past Mar 14, 2009
Galactic dust bunnies found to contain carbon after all Mar 13, 2009
Junk alert for space station crew Mar 12, 2009
Martian moon Deimos in high resolution Mar 11, 2009
Life could have survived Earth's early pounding Mar 10, 2009
Space station to be fitted with final set of solar arrays Mar 10, 2009
Did Phoenix find liquid water on Mars? Mar 9, 2009
Cannibalistic Jupiter ate its early moons Mar 8, 2009
Kepler mission rockets to space in search of other Earths Mar 7, 2009
Telescope 'cousins' meet at last Mar 6, 2009
Stars forced to relocate near the Southern Fish Mar 5, 2009
Dancing black hole twins spotted Mar 4, 2009
Newfound moon may be source of outer Saturn ring Mar 4, 2009
Tunguska-sized space rock buzzes Earth Mar 3, 2009
Mars had 'recent' running water Mar 2, 2009
Dawn finishes Mars phase Mar 2, 2009
Mega-laser to probe secrets of exoplanets Mar 1, 2009


Artist's impression of laser fusion
Giant laser experiment powers up
(Mar 31, 2009)


The US has finished constructing a huge physics experiment aimed at recreating conditions at the heart of our Sun. The US National Ignition Facility is designed to demonstrate the feasibility of nuclear fusion, a process that could offer abundant clean energy. The lab will kick-start the reaction by focusing 192 giant laser beams on a tiny pellet of hydrogen fuel.

Read more. Source: BBC

Formed sometime between January and September 2008, this fresh crater has dredged up barely buried water ice and splashed it onto the Martian surface. The HiRISE camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter</a> recorded this color close-up image on 1 November 2008. The scene is about 30 metres across. Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.
Subsurface ice on Mars exposed by recent impacts
(Mar 31, 2009)


Small, freshly gouged craters on Mars, seen in images taken by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2008, have been to contain ice. Suspicions were raised by splashes of white in and around a handful of these craterlets (typically 3 to 6 meters across and a third to two-thirds of a meter deep). Spectral analysis of the largest of them by the spacecraft's CRISM instrument confirmed that ice was present.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Nili Fossae
Methane-producing mineral discovered on Mars
(Mar 30, 2009)


Surprises keep coming from Nili Fossae, a long, deep scar in the surface of Mars. Scientists have recently reported evidence there for carbonates (minerals that typically form in the presence of water) and a large plume of methane (a gas that on Earth is made mostly by animals as a by-product but can also be produced chemically). Now Bethany Ehlmann of Brown University in Providence, RI, is finding evidence for a mineral – sepentine – that could tie these observations together.

Read more. Source: Nature

Discovery returns to Earth
Discovery returns to Earth
(Mar 29, 2009)


NASA's space shuttle Discovery has landed after a 13-day mission to the International Space Station. The shuttle touched down at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, hours after its return was postponed because of concerns about poor weather conditions. Discovery's seven crew members installed an extra pair of solar wings on the International Space Station.

Read more. Source: BBC

Investigators suspect the domed feature shown is an ice volcano, or cryovolcano, seen in infrared light through the hazy atmosphere on Titan. Image: USGS/JPL/NASA
Giant ice flows bolster case for volcanoes on Titan
(Mar 28, 2009)


Slushy water from a hidden ocean may be pooling onto the icy surface of Saturn's moon Titan . The most recent evidence for this comes from radar images by Cassini which are consistent with 200-meter-tall structures having formed when slushy water and ammonia squirted onto the surface and froze.

Read more. Source: New Science

Discovery
Space shuttle ready to head home
(Mar 28, 2009)


The seven crew members on space shuttle Discovery have been packing away equipment and making final preparations to come home. The crew also spoke with students at a school in Hawaii on Friday, as two of the team are former teachers. Discovery launched on 15 March, docking with the International Space Station to deliver a final set of solar arrays.

Read more. Source: BBC

GRS 1915+105
Erratic black hole regulates itself
(Mar 27, 2009)


Observations of the microquasar GRS 1915+105 by the Chandra X-ray Observatory have revealed that this type of black hole has a mechanism for regulating the rate at which it grows. Self-regulation is a common topic when discussing supermassive black holes, but this is the first clear evidence for it in a system containing a stellar-mass black hole.

Read more. Source: NASA/Harvard/Chandra

Iapetus
Slower spin 'made moon's bulge'
(Mar 27, 2009)


Scientists have come up with a novel theory to explain the unexplained terrain on one of Saturn's icy moons. The most striking feature of Iapetus is a bulging ridge, which encircles the moon's equator and reaches an altitude of 20km in places. A new theory suggests the ridge formed when the moon went from a relatively fast-spinning body to one spinning more slowly.

Read more. Source: BBC

Artwork of pair of condensed objects. Illustration: Daniel Cantin/DarwinDimensions/McGill University
Home computers to search for tangoing pulsars
(Mar 26, 2009)


The idle time of hundreds of thousands of computers will be put to work to look for pulsars orbiting black holes or other neutron stars. The search, part of a distributed computing program called Einstein@Home, could turn up extreme pairs of astrophysical objects that could put general relativity to the most stringent tests yet.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

artwork of asteroid collision
How to save the world from an asteroid impact
(Mar 26, 2009)


Astronomers have found thousands of asteroids that pass near Earth's orbit, and a few of these are on trajectories that give them a small chance of hitting Earth. The most worrying is a 270-meter-wide asteroid named Apophis, which has a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting us in 2036.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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