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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: April 2010
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Astronauts on Mars
Obama sets Mars goal for America
(Apr 16, 2010)


Barack Obama says it should be possible to send astronauts to orbit the planet Mars by the mid-2030s and return them safely to Earth. The US president made the claim in a major speech to staff and guests at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He was laying out the details of his new policy for the US space agency.

Read more. Source: BBC

M82
Mysterious radio waves emitted from nearby galaxy
(Apr 15, 2010)


There is something strange in the cosmic neighborhood. An unknown object in the nearby galaxy M82 has started sending out radio waves, and the emission does not look like anything seen anywhere in the universe before.


This image shows the light from three planets orbiting a star 120 light-years away. The planets' star, called HR8799, is located at the spot marked with an 'X.' Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Palomar Observatory
Small, ground-based telescope images three exoplanets
(Apr 15, 2010)


Astronomers have snapped a picture of three planets orbiting a star beyond our own (HR8799) using a modest-sized telescope on the ground. The surprising feat was accomplished by a team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, using a small portion of the Palomar Observatory's Hale Telescope.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

ATLAS detection of W boson
First blood to ATLAS at the Large Hadron Collider
(Apr 15, 2010)


It's first blood to the massive ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider. Just days after the physics program started, ATLAS has reported its first detection of W boson particles. W bosons have been seen at other colliders, but before any of the detectors at the LHC can attempt to discover new particles they must "rediscover" established ones.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

exoplanets in retrograde orbits
Backward planets may have flipped into place
(Apr 14, 2010)


A bevy of backward-orbiting exoplanets could challenge theories of planet formation, new research suggests. The planetsí wonky orbits might also rule out the presence of Earthlike bodies in some planetary systems.

Read more. Source: Science News

Earthlike planet
Stellar 'pollution' may be remains of watery planets
(Apr 13, 2010)


A lost generation of planets may now be no more than a whiff of pollution in the atmospheres of their dead parent stars. If so, it would suggest that rocky planets are common, and hints that most such planets have water.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Earth's magnetic field
Magnetic poles may once have been at equator
(Apr 13, 2010)


Did the Earth's magnetic poles once lie near the equator? That could explain puzzling changes in the magnetism of rocks millions of years ago. In both North America and eastern Europe, there appear to be rocks that were at the equator at some points between 550 and 600 million years ago and near the poles for other parts of this time period.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Cayman Trough black smoker
World's deepest undersea vents discovered in Caribbean
(Apr 12, 2010)


What are believed to be the world's deepest undersea volcanic vents have been discovered in the Caribbean. The vents, known as black smokers, were located 5,000m (3.1 miles) down in the Cayman Trough. The volcanic chimneys, which spew out water hot enough to melt lead, were caught on film by a British-led team.

Read more. Source: BBC

Artist impression of the binary system 2M J044144
Small companion to brown dwarf challenges simple definition
(Apr 11, 2010)


The latest example of an object that defies conventional wisdom is a planet-like object circling a brown dwarf. It's the right size for a planet, estimated to be 5–10 times the mass of Jupiter. But it formed in less than 1 million years – the approximate age of the brown dwarf – and much faster than it takes to build planets according to some theories.

Read more. Source: STScI/Hubble

Artist impression of a brown dwarf
'Dark sun' is one of our nearest neighbors
(Apr 9, 2010)


A dim object less than 10 light years from Earth appears to be the closest brown dwarf yet found. The "star" is so cold that any residents on an orbiting planet would see a dark sun in their starry "daytime" sky. The discovery suggests that brown dwarfs are common and that the objects could exist even closer to Earth.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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