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Moon 'too dry to have life', say scientists
(Aug 6, 2010)

Contrary to recent reports about water content in lunar rocks, the Moon may be quite dry, say scientists. A study by US researchers, published in Science, analyzed chlorine isotopes of the much-studied samples, brought to Earth by the Apollo space missions. They added that there was no or very little hydrogen in the magma ocean during the Moon's formation.

Read more. Source: BBC

Rachmaninoff Basin, photographed during MESSENGER's third and final flyby of Mercury, appears to have been shaped by volcanism in the relatively recent past
Mercury rising: Volcanism, magnetic storms, and a complex exosphere on the innermost planet
(Aug 5, 2010)

MESSENGER, a NASA spacecraft that flew by Mercury in the past year and will go into orbit in 2011, has confirmed Mariner 10's observations by imaging young lava plains indicative of recent volcanic activity on the planet. MESSENGER has also detected rapid variations in Mercury's magnetic shield and found a surprising distribution of elemental atoms and ions in its exosphere, the extremely tenuous atmosphere of gases that surrounds the planet.

Read more. Source: Scientific American

Exploding star 'viewed in 3D'
(Aug 4, 2010)

Astronomers have for the first time obtained a 3D view of the aftermath of a star exploding (which is known as a supernova). The team used the Very Large Telescope in Chile to study the supernova 1987A, which lies 168,000 light-years away. The results show the original blast was very powerful and concentrated in one particular direction.

Read more. Source: BBC

giant solar flare
The Sun sends a charged cloud hurtling our way
(Aug 3, 2010)

An unusually complex magnetic eruption on the Sun has flung a large cloud of electrically charged particles towards Earth. When the cloud hits, which could be anytime now, it could spark aurorae in the skies around the poles and pose a threat to satellites – though probably not a particularly severe one.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

interacting galaxies
Is a cosmic chameleon driving galaxies apart?
(Aug 3, 2010)

Some inconsistencies in recent astrophysical observations, easy to dismiss as blips if taken on their own, might invite a startling conclusion when looked at together: that the cosmos is suffused by a fifth force in addition to the canonical four of gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. What is unusual about this force is that its range changes according to its environment – a cosmic chameleon that might just explain the mysteries of dark energy.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Cooling system fault hits International Space Station
(Aug 2, 2010)

The crew of the International Space Station have been forced to reduce power after half the cooling system suddenly shut down over the weekend. NASA officials insisted the three Americans and three Russians aboard were not in danger. Urgent spacewalk repairs are being discussed for this week.

Read more. Source: BBC

Apollo escape rocket
What's the best way to eject astronauts during lift-off?
(Aug 1, 2010)

What's the best way to whisk astronauts to safety if their rocket were to explode on the launch pad? For about 60 years, most spacecraft designs have used a complex arrangement of solid rocket boosters mounted on top of the crew capsule to pull the capsule to a safe parachute height. But some engineers are developing what they say is a smarter, more efficient "pusher" system.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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