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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: April 2010
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X-37B
X-37B military spaceplane launches from Cape Canaveral
(Apr 23, 2010)


A prototype spaceplane developed for the US military has been launched into orbit from Florida. The X-37B, which has been likened to a scaled-down space shuttle, blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1952 EDT. The military vehicle is unpiloted and will carry out the first autonomous re-entry and landing in the history of the US space program.

Read more. Source: BBC

Carina Nebula
Hubble's new instant classic
(Apr 23, 2010)


With a smorgasbord of celestial targets to choose from, it wasn't easy picking a portrait to celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope's 20th anniversary. But after a debate that began last year, Hubble astronomers finally settled on taking a new, close-up portrait of part of the Carina Nebula, a dramatic star-forming region that Hubble first captured in 2007 with a less sophisticated camera.

Read more. Source: Science News

Artist's impression of GJ 436b
'This planet tastes funny,' according to Spitzer
(Apr 22, 2010)


NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered something odd about a distant planet – it lacks methane, an ingredient common to many of the planets in our solar system. The methane-free planet, called GJ 436b, is about the size of Neptune, making it the smallest distant planet that any telescope has successfully "tasted," or analyzed.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

solar prominence, SDO image
Solar Dynamics Observatory returns first images
(Apr 21, 2010)


NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has provided an astonishing new vista on our convulsing star. The first public release of images from the satellite record huge explosions and great looping prominences of gas. The observatory's super-fine resolution is expected to help scientists get a better understanding of what drives solar activity.

Read more. Source: BBC

A black smoker, where life may have started
Self-starter: Life got going all on its own
(Apr 21, 2010)


In the beginning there were Ida and Luca. The initial Darwinian ancestor – Ida – and the last universal common ancestor – Luca – assembled themselves from the spare parts sloshing around on the early Earth. Once all the ingredients were in place, it looks like life was all but inevitable.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Discovery landing on April 20, 2010
Space shuttle Discovery lands on Earth
(Apr 20, 2010)


The shuttle Discovery has landed back on Earth after a two-week mission to the International Space Station. The orbiter touched down on runway 33 at the Kennedy Space Center at 0908 local time (1308 GMT). Discovery had been held in space early in the day by some stubborn fog and showers in the Kennedy area, but was eventually given the "go" to descend.

Read more. Source: BBC

ALH84001
Famous Martian meteorite younger than thought
(Apr 20, 2010)


The oldest known Martian meteorite isnít so old after all. Though it's still the oldest chunk of Mars scientists have ever found, new research suggests the Allan Hills meteorite – officially known as ALH84001 – is about 400 million years younger than previously estimated.

Read more. Source: Science News

Discovery docked with International Space Station
Space shuttle may face rain delay
(Apr 19, 2010)


NASA has warned the crew of space shuttle Discovery to expect rain delays as they prepare to return to Earth after their visit to the space station. Discovery and its crew of seven are due to land at Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Monday. In the worst case, the shuttle could always aim for a back-up landing site in southern California on Tuesday.

Read more. Source: BBC

A fireball over Wisconsin. Image credit: University of Wisconsin. Image credit: AOS/SSEC
Wisconsin fireball caught on tape
(Apr 17, 2010)


A rooftop webcam at the University of Wisconsin-Madison captured the final seconds of a fireball's Wednesday, April 14 descent into the atmosphere. News reports in the area indicated that 911 call centers in at least six states began to light up with calls reporting the celestial visitor a little after 10 p.m. local time.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

3C321
When black holes go rogue, they kill galaxies
(Apr 16, 2010)


Supermassive black holes may be kicking the life out of galaxies by ripping out their vital gaseous essence, leaving reddened galactic victims scattered throughout the universe. While the case is not yet closed, new research shows that these black holes have at least the means to commit the violent crime.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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