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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: March 2009
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Aram Chaos region
Mars Express zeros in on erosion features
(Mar 20, 2009)


Mars Express has uncovered geological evidence suggesting that some depositional process, revealed by erosion, has been at work on large scales in the equatorial regions of the planet. If so, this would provide another jigsaw piece to be fitted into the emerging picture of Marsí past climate.

Read more. Source: ESA

Venus
NASA may send fleet of spacecraft to Venus
(Mar 19, 2009)


Two high-altitude balloons built to hover in sulfuric acid clouds could be part of a future fleet of spacecraft sent to Venus, a NASA advisory team says. The multi-billion-dollar mission concept – which is being considered for launch in the next fifteen years – could help reveal more about Venus's runaway greenhouse effect, any oceans it may once have had, and possible ongoing volcanic activity.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

particle tracks
Faster-than-light 'tachyons' might be impossible after all
(Mar 18, 2009)


Faster-than-light particles, or tachyons, may be fundamentally impossible, according to two mathematical physicists. If they're right, their new theory would also imply that time – seemingly one of the most fundamental facets of nature – is no more than a mirage.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

NGC 6240
Hearts of galaxies close in for cosmic train wreck
(Mar 18, 2009)


A new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope offers a rare view of an imminent collision between the cores of two merging galaxies, each powered by a black hole with millions of times the mass of the sun. The galactic cores are in a single, tangled galaxy called NGC 6240, located 400-million light years away in the constellation Ophiuchus.

Read more. Source: NASA/Spitzer

GOCE
Gravity satellite heads skyward
(Mar 17, 2009)


The European Space Agency has launched its GOCE gravity mapping satellite. GOCE left Earth at 1421GMT on a modified intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in north-west Russia. The mission will give scientists new insights into how the interior of the planet is structured and provide key information on how the oceans move.

Read more. Source: BBC

amino acids in space graphic
Watery asteroids may explain why life is 'left-handed'
(Mar 17, 2009)


Soggy rocks hurtling through the solar system gave life on Earth an addiction to left-handed proteins, according to a new study. The research suggests that water on asteroids amplified left-handed amino acid molecules, making them dominate over their right-handed mirror images.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

ISS
Space station may move to dodge debris
(Mar 16, 2009)


The International Space Station may be moved on Monday to avoid a possible collision with a piece of debris from a Russian satellite, NASA says. The danger comes just days after space station crew members took refuge in a docked Soyuz spacecraft due to the close pass of another piece of space junk. Tracking data suggests the debris is a 10cm portion of Russia's Cosmos 1275, a military navigation satellite launched in 1981. Update: After further study, NASA determined no evasive action would be needed

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Angara-7
Russia to approve new Moon rocket
(Mar 16, 2009)


Russian space officials are to select the winning proposal for a new rocket intended to carry cosmonauts on missions to the Moon. This will mark the first time since 1964 that the Russian space program has made the Moon its main objective. It will be only the second time since the collapse of the Soviet Union that Moscow has endorsed the development of a new space vehicle.

Read more. Source: BBC

Bernard d'Espagnat
Concept of 'hypercosmic God' wins Templeton Prize
(Mar 16, 2009)


This year's Templeton Prize goes to French physicist and philosopher of science Bernard d'Espagnat for his "studies into the concept of reality". D'Espagnat, 87, is a professor emeritus of theoretical physics at the University of Paris-Sud, and is known for his work on quantum mechanics. He boasts an impressive scientific pedigree, having worked with Nobel laureates Louis de Broglie, Enrico Fermi and Niels Bohr.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Tevatron
Higgs boson not a heavyweight, study suggest
(Mar 16, 2009)


The possibility of a high-mass Higgs boson may have just evaporated with new data released today by the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, in Batavia, Illinois. The result could mean a tougher, more protracted search for a welterweight version of the Higgs, the much-sought-after subatomic particle whose discovery would be a major triumph for particle physics and bring fame to the team who finds it first.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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