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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: March 2009
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Debris from asteroid 2008 TC3 in Sudan's Nubian desert
Tracked asteroid debris collected
(Mar 26, 2009)


Debris from an asteroid tracked as it fell to Earth has been recovered by scientists for the first time, a report in the science journal Nature says. Nearly 50 fragments of the asteroid were collected from the desert in Sudan where it fell last October. Scientists say the discovery offers a unique opportunity to study the asteroid's route and chemical make-up.

Read more. Source: BBC

Phoenix Lander image of the surface of Mars
Briny pools 'may exist on Mars'
(Mar 25, 2009)


Pools of salty water might be able to exist just below the surface of Mars, planetary scientists believe. Researchers previously thought water existed largely as ice or as vapor on Mars, because of the low temperatures and atmospheric pressure. But NASA's Phoenix lander has shown the presence in Martian soil of perchlorate salts, which can keep water liquid at temperatures of minus 70C.

Read more. Source: BBC

exoplanet
Life-friendly worlds may snap, crackle and pop
(Mar 25, 2009)


Alien worlds that are friendly to life could reveal themselves by radio signals crackling from their magnetic fields. When struck by high energy particles in the solar wind, an exoplanet's magnetic field may produce radio signals from auroras in the planet's atmosphere. While current telescopes have yet to pick up these crackles, it's an area worth exploring, argue Joseph Lazio at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC and colleagues.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

ALMA receiver. Image: RAL
UK ships super-telescope's 'ears'
(Mar 25, 2009)


The first European-built receiver for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) is due to leave the UK for its permanent home in Chile. ALMA will be the largest radio telescope array to be built, comprising 66 12m-wide antenna dishes. The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire will assemble and test 26 of the receivers that detect the faint signals from the antennas.

Read more. Source: BBC

Archival images suggest that a 2005 supernova was caused by the explosion of a luminous blue variable. Illustration: A Gal-Yam/Weizmann Institute of Science/D Leonard/San Diego State University
Massive young star explodes 'before its time'
(Mar 24, 2009)


A massive young star seems to have exploded before its time, new Hubble Space Telescope images reveal. The star, the heftiest to have been linked to a supernova explosion, could challenge models of when stellar furnaces end their lives.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Radiating tracks of alpha particles, said to be evidence for cold fusion. Source: Pam Boss, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center
Cold fusion debate heats up again
(Mar 24, 2009)


The long-standing debate about cold fusion is receiving new impetus at the American Chemical Society's national meeting in the US this week. Cold fusion, first announced 20 years ago on Monday, was claimed to be a boundless source of clean energy by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons. Attempts to replicate their experiments failed, but a number of researchers insist that cold fusion is possible.

Read more. Source: BBC

Mounds at a site in the northern plains of Mars bear a striking resemblance to mud volcanoes on Earth. Image: University of Arizona/JPL/NASA
Is life bubbling up in Mars mud?
(Mar 23, 2009)


Is life bubbling onto the Martian surface in muddy squirts? The discovery of what could be mud volcanoes on the planet suggest it is possible, providing a new focus in the hunt for alien microbes. Using images from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, Dorothy Oehler and Carlton Allen, of NASA's Johnson Space Center, identified dozens of mounds at a site in the northern plains of Mars that bear a striking resemblance to mud volcanoes on Earth.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Medusa Galaxy (NGC 4194)
A black hole in Medusa's hair
(Mar 23, 2009)


This composite image of the Medusa Galaxy (NGC 4194) shows X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in blue and optical light from the Hubble Space Telescope in orange. Located above the center of the galaxy and seen in the optical data, the "hair" of the Medusa is a tidal tail formed by a collision between galaxies. The bright X-ray source towards the left side of Medusa's hair is a black hole.

Read more. Source: NASA/Harvard

ISS solar array unfurling
Space station unfurls solar wings
(Mar 21, 2009)


Ten years after its construction began, the International Space Station now has full power capability. Mission controllers commanded the unfurling on Friday of the platform's fourth and final pair of solar arrays. The huge solar wings had been delivered to the ISS by the Discovery shuttle and installed by its astronauts with the help of the station's robotic arm.

Read more. Source: BBC

hypothetical Earth twin
Finding twin Earths: Harder than we thought!
(Mar 20, 2009)


Does a twin Earth exist somewhere in our galaxy? Astronomers are getting closer and closer to finding an Earth-sized planet in an Earth-like orbit. NASA's Kepler spacecraft just launched to find such worlds. Once the search succeeds, the next questions driving research will be: Is that planet habitable? Does it have an Earth-like atmosphere?

Read more. Source: Harvard-Smithsonian

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