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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: September 2009
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Protons carried by the solar wind could be responsible for creating water molecules across the lunar surface. Illustration: University of Maryland/F. Merlin/McREL
Widespread water may cling to Moon's surface
(Sep 24, 2009)


A large portion of the Moon's surface may be covered with water. That is the surprising finding of a trio of spacecraft that have turned up evidence of trace amounts of the substance in the lunar soil.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

A Perseid meteor filmed over Colorado
Found: 62 meteor showers new to science
(Sep 23, 2009)


Researchers in Canada report finding an incredible 62 new meteor showers that recur every year when Earth passes through the trail of debris left behind by a comet or asteroid. Team leader Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario He credits the wealth of discoveries to the nature of his survey, which detects incoming debris about 10 times as small as can generally be seen by eye, catching objects about 0.1 millimeters across.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Saturn at equinox
Cassini reveals new ring quirks, shadows during Saturn equinox
(Sep 22, 2009)


NASA scientists are marveling over the extent of ruffles and dust clouds revealed in the rings of Saturn during the planet's equinox last month. Scientists once thought the rings were almost completely flat, but new images reveal the heights of some newly discovered bumps in the rings are as high as the Rocky Mountains. NASA released the images Monday.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Launch of CARE experiment
Artificial cloud created at the edge of space
(Sep 21, 2009)


The study of Earth's mysterious noctilucent clouds got a boost on Saturday, when a rocket was launched to create an artificial cloud at the edge of space. "Noctilucent", or night-shining, clouds float dozens of kilometres higher than other clouds, at an altitude of about 80 km. Because of their height, they can be seen glowing before sunrise or after sunset as the sun illuminates them from below the horizon.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Mars
Wind, not water, may explain Red Planet's hue
(Sep 20, 2009)


Mars' distinctive red hue may be the result of thousands of years of wind-borne sand particles colliding with one another – and not rust, a new study argues. Scientists generally agree that Mars' red color is caused when a dark form of iron called magnetite oxidises into reddish-orange hematite. Just how the transformation came about is a matter of debate.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

lunar south pole
Moon is coldest place in the solar system
(Sep 19, 2009)


Poor Pluto. First it gets kicked out of the planet club, now it's not even the coldest place in the solar system. Dark craters near the Moon's south pole have snatched that title – which is good news for the prospects of finding water ice on Earth's companion.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

H-II Transfer Vehicle
Station grabs Japanese freighter
(Sep 18, 2009)


Japan's new unmanned space freighter has been safely berthed to the International Space Station (ISS). The H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) moved itself to within 10m of the ISS to allow itself to be grabbed by the platform's robotic arm. The arm, operated from inside the station by astronauts Nicole Stott and Bob Thirsk, then moved the freighter to a docking port to lock it in place.

Read more. Source: BBC

Planck images
Planck telescope's first glimpses
(Sep 17, 2009)


The European telescope sent far from Earth to study the oldest light in the Universe has returned its first images. The Planck observatory, launched in April, is surveying radiation that first swept out across space just 380,000 years after the Big Bang. The light holds details about the age, contents and evolution of the cosmos.

Read more. Source: BBC

Artist's impression of CoRoT-7b
First rocky planet found outside solar system
(Sep 17, 2009)


Scientists have discovered the first confirmed Earthlike planet outside our solar system, they announced Wednesday. "This is the first confirmed rocky planet in another system," astronomer Artie Hatzes told CNN, contrasting the solid planet, which is known as CoRoT-7b, with gaseous ones like Jupiter and Saturn.

Read more. Source: CNN

Allen Telescope Array
Ear to the Universe starts listening
(Sep 17, 2009)


A large array of radio telescopes has begun its first sustained search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) and at rates faster than ever before. Even so, the project has scrambled to find money to stay open and reach its planned size. The ATA has 42 six-meter dishes swivelling in the high desert, far fewer than the 350 dishes planned.

Read more. Source: Nature

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