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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: January 2010
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Three Martian meteorites triple evidence for Mars life
(Jan 12, 2010)

The team that found evidence of Martian life in a meteorite that landed in Antarctica believes that during 2010, by using advanced instrumentation on now three Martian meteorites, it will be able to definitively prove whether such features are truly fossils of alien life on the Red Planet. This new information goes well beyond the updated findings released by NASA in November 2009 about signatures for magnetic type bacteria.

Read more. Source: Spaceflight Now

Orientale basin
Crystal mountains speak of Moon's molten past
(Jan 12, 2010)

Superman's sparkling Fortress of Solitude they're not, but giant outcrops of crystals, found on the Moon by India's Chandrayaan-1 probe, prove that a roiling ocean of magma once engulfed the rocky body of our satellite. The spacecraft detected vast outcrops of plagioclase crystal along a mountain range inside the 930-kilometer-wide Orientale basin.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Small Magellanic Cloud
Missing matter mystery in small galaxies
(Jan 11, 2010)

Diminutive they may be, but the smallest galaxies seem most able to muscle out visible matter, and so are darker than their larger cousins. This deepens a mystery about where all of the universe's visible matter has gone. Now there's another twist in the mystery: the smaller a galaxy, the smaller its proportion of normal matter to dark matter, says Stacy McGaugh of the University of Maryland in College Park.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

artist impression of Epsilon Aurigae
Centuries-old star mystery coming to a close
(Jan 9, 2010)

For almost two centuries, humans have looked up at a bright star called Epsilon Aurigae and watched with their own eyes as it seemed to disappear into the night sky, slowly fading before coming back to life again. Today, as another dimming of the system is underway, mysteries about the star persist. However, new observations from the Spitzer Space Telescop point to one of two competing theories, and a likely solution to this age-old puzzle.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Paul Dirac
Quivering ions pass quantum test
(Jan 9, 2010)

Trapped ions masquerading as high-speed particles have been used to confirm a bizarre 80-year-old prediction of quantum mechanics. Quantum particles racing at close to the speed of light were first predicted to jitter violently as they moved the Erwin Schrödinger. The prediction was based on the Dirac equation, developed by Paul Dirac [see photo] in 1928.

Read more. Source: Nature

artist impression of CoRoT-7b
Super-Earth 'began as gas giant'
(Jan 8, 2010)

The smallest-known planet outside our Solar System, Corot-7b, probably began as a Saturn-sized "gas giant" planet, say researchers. They say the planet, which orbits at one-sixtieth the distance from the Earth to the Sun, has had much of its mass boiled away by the star's heat. The team also suggests that, if its orbit is not exactly circular, Corot-7b is a hotbed of volcanic activity.

Read more. Source: BBC

artist impression of the flattened halo of dark matter than surrounds the Galay
Dark matter 'beach ball' unveiled
(Jan 7, 2010)

The giant halo of dark matter that surrounds our galaxy is shaped like a flattened beach ball, researchers say. It is the first definitive measure of the scope of the dark matter that makes up the majority of galaxies' masses. The shape of this "dark matter halo" was inferred from the path of debris left behind as the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy slowly orbits the Milky Way.

Read more. Source: BBC

artist impression of an electroweak star
Exotic stars may mimic big bang
(Jan 6, 2010)

A new class of star may recreate the conditions of the big bang in its incredibly dense core. Neutron stars were once thought to be the densest form of matter that could resist collapsing to become black holes. More recently, physicists have argued that some supernovae may leave behind even denser quark stars. Now, a study led by De-Chang Dai of the State University of New York in Buffalo says the deaths of very massive stars may lead to "electroweak" stars that creep even closer to the black hole limit.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

hot Jupiter
Kepler's first five exoplanets
(Jan 5, 2010)

NASA's Kepler space telescope, designed to find Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of sun-like stars, has discovered its first five new exoplanets – all so-called "hot Jupiters." Kepler's high sensitivity to both small and large planets enabled the discovery of the exoplanets, named Kepler 4b, 5b, 6b, 7b and 8b. The discoveries were announced Monday, Jan. 4, by the members of the Kepler science team during a news briefing at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington.

Read more. Source: NASA/Kepler

A channel connects two depressions in this MRO image
Mars' ancient lake beds spied by NASA probe
(Jan 4, 2010)

New images of Mars suggest the Red Planet had large lakes on its surface as recently as three billion years ago. The evidence comes from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which spied a series of depressions linked by what look like drainage channels. Scientists tell the journal Geology that the features bear the hallmarks of being produced by liquid water.

Read more. Source: BBC

The faintest and reddest objects in this Hubble Space Telescope image, taken in August 2009, may date from only about a half billion years after the Big Bang. Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth, R. Bouwens and the HUDF09 Team
New-found galaxies may be farthest back in time and space yet
(Jan 4, 2010)

By pushing the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope to its very limits as a cosmic time machine, astronomers have identified three galaxies that may hail from an era only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. The faint galaxies may be the most distant starlit bodies known, each lying some 13.2 billion light-years from Earth.

Read more. Source: Science News

possible lava tube in the Marious Hills region
Moon hole might be suitable for colony
(Jan 1, 2010)

Building a home near a moon crater or a lunar sea may sound nice, but moon colonists might have a much better chance of survival if they just lived in a hole. That's the message sent by an international team of scientists who say they've discovered a protected lunar lava tube hole that might be well suited for a lunar base. The vertical hole, in the volcanic Marius Hills region, is 213 feet wide and may be more than 260 feet deep, according to findings published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Read more. Source: CNN

'Lifeless' prion proteins are 'capable of evolution'
(Jan 1, 2010)

Scientists have shown for the first time that "lifeless" prion proteins, devoid of all genetic material, can evolve just like higher forms of life. The Scripps Research Institute in the US says the prions can change to suit their environment and go on to develop drug resistance. Prions are associated with 20 different brain diseases in humans and animals.

Read more. Source: BBC

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