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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: January 2010
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Hunt for Earth-like worlds looks in the mirror
(Jan 23, 2010)

To find Earth-like worlds around other stars, scientists should take a page from our own planet, a new study found. In particular, observers should look for glints of sunlight reflected by oceans or lakes, such as what's seen by spacecraft looking back on Earth. These glints are tell-tale signals of liquid, which could indicate the presence of liquid water, considered one of the fundamental necessities for life.

Read more. Source:

Asteroid approaching Earth
Hidden asteroids are stalking the Earth
(Jan 22, 2010)

A tiny asteroid that buzzed Earth last week highlighted our planet's vulnerability to objects whose peculiar orbits put them in a game of hide-and-seek with us. An Earth-based telescope spotted the 10-meter space rock hurtling our way just three days before a near miss on 13 January, when it flew by at just one-third of the distance to the Moon.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Cat's Paw Nebula. Image credit: ESO
On the trail of a cosmic cat
(Jan 22, 2010)

ESO has just released a stunning new image of the vast cloud known as the Cat's Paw Nebula or NGC 6334. This complex region of gas and dust, where numerous massive stars are born, lies near the heart of the Milky Way galaxy, and is heavily obscured by intervening dust clouds.

Read more. Source: European Southern Observatory

Artist concept of Mars Odyssey. Image credit: NASA/JPL
January listening period ends with no word from Phoenix Mars Lander
(Jan 22, 2010)

NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter has completed all 30 relay overflights of the Phoenix landing site that were scheduled for Jan. 18 to 21, and heard nothing from the lander. Additional listening campaigns will be conducted in February and March. The Phoenix landing site will be receiving more sunshine during those periods, but the lander is still unlikely to be able to reawaken after the harsh Martian winter conditions that it was not designed to withstand.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Public invited to pick pixels on Mars
(Jan 21, 2010)

The most powerful camera aboard a NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars will soon be taking photo suggestions from the public. Since arriving at Mars in 2006, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has recorded nearly 13,000 observations of the Red Planet's terrain. Each image covers dozens of square miles and reveals details as small as a desk. Now, anyone can nominate sites for pictures.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

asteroid color differences. Image: ESO
Approaching Earth makes asteroids go pale
(Jan 21, 2010)

We already know that asteroid impacts can cause cataclysms on Earth – now it seems that Earth can hit back. Close encounters with our planet appear to shake up the structure of some asteroids. The idea explains an old puzzle. Most asteroids are stained dark red by the relentless bombardment of space particles. But some asteroids that stray into the inner solar system are paler, like the interior of meteorites.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

P/2010. Image: Spacewatch/U of Arizona
Asteroid collision may have created comet-like object
(Jan 20, 2010)

A strange comet-like object discovered on January 6, 2010 may actually be the result of a collision between two asteroids. Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) sky survey in New Mexico spotted an object in the asteroid belt, called P/2010 A that looked "fuzzy," with a tail like a comet rather than a speck of light like a normal asteroid. But comets don't normally reside in the asteroid belt, and the object's orbit is all wrong for a comet.

Read more. Source: Universe Today

Satellite generating power in space. Image: EADS/Astrium
EADS Astrium develops space power concept
(Jan 20, 2010)

Europe's biggest space company is seeking partners to fly a demonstration solar power mission in orbit. EADS Astrium says the satellite system would collect the Sun's energy and transmit it to Earth via an infrared laser, to provide electricity. Space solar power has been talked about for more than 30 years. However, there have always been question marks over its cost, efficiency and safety.

Read more. Source: BBC

Tooling up ExoMars
(Jan 19, 2010)

ESA and NASA are inviting scientists from across the world to propose instruments for their joint Mars mission, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. Scheduled for launch in 2016, the spacecraft will focus on understanding the rarest constituents of the martian atmosphere, including the mysterious methane that could signal life on Mars.

Read more. Source: ESA

Space Shuttle Discovery
Deep discount on space shuttles
(Jan 18, 2010)

Here is a recession bargain: the Space Shuttle. NASA has slashed the price of the 1970s-era spaeships to $28.8 million apiece from $48 million. The shuttles are for sale one their flying days are over, which is scheduled to be this fall. Discovery is already promised to the National Air and Space Museum. Atlantis and Enterprise are still up for grabs.

Read more. Source: New York Times

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