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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: February 2010
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The initials SH in the cosmic microwave background
Found: Hawking's initials written into the universe
(Feb 8, 2010)

Is Stephen Hawking a galactic graffiti artist? Hidden away in the cosmic microwave background, the afterglow of the big bang, the initials "SH" are clear to view (see picture). We took a closer look and spotted a donkey, a deer and a parrot.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Node 3
Shuttle Endeavour delayed in night flight to ISS
(Feb 7, 2010)

Low cloud at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida has prevented shuttle Endeavour from launching on its latest mission to the space station to deliver a connecting unit and a large observation window. NASA officials stood the orbiter down with under 10 minutes left on the countdown clock. Endeavour encountered no technical issues as it prepared to lift off and will try again on Monday morning.

Read more. Source: BBC

Could life exist on Jupiter moon?
(Feb 5, 2010)

Are we alone in the Solar System? In his novel, 2010: Odyssey Two, the sequel to the hugely successful 2001, Arthur C Clarke imagined a manned space mission discovering biological life on one of Jupiter's icy moons, Europa. And 400 years after Galileo first discovered Europa, scientists believe that more recent data on this icy moon might just prove Clarke right.

Read more. Source: BBC

Color variations seen on Pluto by the Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble spots Pluto blushing in space
(Feb 5, 2010)

NASA scientists say that dwarf planet Pluto, on the edge of our solar system, is becoming increasingly red. Images taken by the Hubble space telescope show that the planet is some 20% redder than it used to be. Experts say they believe this is because of changes in Pluto's surface ice as it enters a new phase of its 248-year-long rotation.

Read more. Source: BBC

NASA extends Cassini's tour of Saturn
(Feb 5, 2010)

NASA will extend the international Cassini-Huygens mission to explore Saturn and its moons to 2017. The agency's fiscal year 2011 budget provides a $60 million per year extension for continued study of the ringed planet. This second extension, called the Cassini Solstice Mission, enables scientists to study seasonal and other long-term weather changes on the planet and its moons.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Artist impression of HD 189733b
Exoplanet gas spotted from Earth
(Feb 4, 2010)

Astronomers have used a new ground-based technique to study the atmospheres of planets outside our Solar System. The work could assist the search for Earth-like planets with traces of organic, or carbon-rich, molecules. Astronomers spotted evidence of methane gas in the atmosphere of an exoplanet (HD 189733b).

Read more. Source: BBC

Close-up of comet-like asteroid P/2010 A2
Suspected asteroid collision leaves trailing debris
(Feb 3, 2010)

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has observed a mysterious X-shaped debris pattern and trailing streamers of dust that suggest a head-on collision between two asteroids. Astronomers have long thought the asteroid belt is being ground down through collisions, but such a smashup has never been seen before.

Read more. Source: NASA

Chinese astronauts (left to right) Jing Haipeng, Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming during a training mission in 2008 at the satellite launch centre in Jiuquan
China leads way in race to return to Moon
(Feb 3, 2010)

The Chinese space agency could land its first astronauts on the Moon within a decade in a move that would mark the beginning of a new age of lunar exploration, experts said today. The decision by the Obama administration to scrap NASA's plans to return to the Moon leave China well placed to become the second nation to land humans on the lunar surface.

Read more. Source: The Guardian

Part of the Large Hadron Collider
Large Hadron Collider to jump to maximum energy
(Feb 3, 2010)

The Large Hadron Collider is going to skip medium-energy proton collisions, jumping straight to its maximum energy in 2013, after it finishes collecting lower-energy data and has its circuitry upgraded. The particle accelerator has recovered from its 2008 accident, and in 2009 broke the world record for particle collision energy when its two oppositely directed proton beams each reached 1.18 TeV, for a total energy of 2.36 TeV.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Ares I test launch
Obama cancels Moon return project
(Feb 1, 2010)

US President Barack Obama has cancelled the American project designed to take humans back to the Moon. The Constellation program envisaged new rockets and a new crewship called Orion to put astronauts on the lunar surface by 2020. But in his federal budget request issued on Monday, Mr Obama said the project was "over budget, behind schedule, and lacking in innovation".

Read more. Source: BBC

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