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Stellar buckyballs
Stars reveal carbon 'spaceballs'
(Jul 22, 2010)

Scientists have detected the largest molecules ever seen in space, in a cloud of cosmic dust surrounding a distant star. The football-shaped carbon molecules are known as buckyballs, and were only discovered on Earth 25 years ago when they were made in a laboratory. These molecules are the "third type of carbon" – with the first two types being graphite and diamond.

Read more. Source: BBC

Tevatron main injector
Old faithful Tevatron collider leads race to Higgs
(Jul 22, 2010)

It could do with a lick of paint and may not break any records any time soon. But the Tevatron collider in Batavia, Illinois, which has been slamming protons and antiprotons together for the last 27 years, is poised to beat Europe's much-vaunted Large Hadron Collider in the race to find the first hints of a Higgs boson. How has an ageing workhorse come to have the edge on its successor?

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Stingy aliens may call us on cheap rates only
(Jul 22, 2010)

In alien civilizations, do accountants have the upper hand? If so, our strategy for searching for extraterrestrials could be misguided. A new study suggests that cost-effective galactic radio transmissions would be at higher frequencies than SETI projects traditionally monitor, and ET's attempts to make contact would be only few and far between.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Astronomers detect 'monster star'
(Jul 21, 2010)

They are among the true monsters of space – colossal stars whose size and brightness go well beyond what many scientists thought was even possible. One of the objects, known simply as R136a1, is the most massive ever found. Viewed today, the star has a mass about 265 times that of our own Sun; but the latest modeling work suggests at birth it could have been bigger, still.

Read more. Source: BBC

A team recovers the hybrid robotic vehicle Nereus aboard the research vessel Cape Hatteras during a partially NASA-funded expedition to the Mid-Cayman Rise in October 2009
NASA goes deep in search of extreme environments
(Jul 21, 2010)

An expedition partially funded by NASA, part of a program to search extreme environments for clues to the origin and evolution of life, has discovered the world's deepest known hydrothermal vent, nearly 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) below the surface of the western Caribbean Sea. The research will help extend our understanding of the limits to which life can exist on Earth and help prepare for future efforts to search for life on other planets.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Soyuz rocket being erected on launch pad
Russia to kick off construction of a new spaceport
(Jul 21, 2010)

Russia will invest US $800m (527m) into a new spaceport in the country's Far East, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced. The move is meant to ease the dependence on the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan, built during the Soviet-era. The future cosmodrome will be built near the town of Uglegorsk in the Far Eastern Amur region, close to the border with China.

Read more. Source: BBC

VSS Enterprise first crewed flight
SpaceShipTwo makes first crewed flight
(Jul 20, 2010)

Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise, which shares a name with the famous ship from Star Trek, has reached the stratosphere with a crew onboard. One day, the rocket will be released from the mothership and fly in an arc that reaches space for a few minutes – not high enough for orbit. But it's not yet ready to leave the nest: this time, the VSS Enterprise remained attached to its carrier, VMS Eve.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

NASA's WISE mission completes extensive sky survey
(Jul 19, 2010)

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has completed its first survey of the entire sky. The mission has generated more than one million images so far, of everything from asteroids to distant galaxies. Some of these images have been processed and stitched together into a new picture showing the Pleiades star cluster. The pictured region covers an area equivalent to 35 full moons, highlighting the telescope's ability to take wide shots of vast regions of space.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

star field in Sagittarius
Single star count ups odds of ET
(Jul 17, 2010)

Solitary suns like ours are not as rare as we once thought, boosting the likelihood that there are other life-friendly solar systems in the universe. It is not always easy to tell if a star has a companion, since they are often too close together to distinguish as separate objects with a telescope. But astronomers can look for other clues, such as periodic changes in the star system's light spectrum caused by the motion of the stars as they orbit one another.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

The enigmatic flash appears red and yellow in this view from Swift's X-ray and ultraviolet/optical telescopes. Image: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler
Deep space X-ray flash is most powerful ever recorded
(Jul 16, 2010)

It was bright, fierce and thankfully short. A mysterious event in a distant galaxy has blasted our solar system with the most powerful burst of X-rays ever recorded, temporarily blinding an astronomical satellite. At 0303 GMT on 21 June, a sudden burst of X-rays struck the Swift spacecraft, the mission team reported on Wednesday.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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