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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: October 2010
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path of 2010 TD54
Small asteroid to pass within Earth-Moon system Tuesday
(Oct 12, 2010)


A small asteroid will fly past Earth early Tuesday within the Earth-moon system. The asteroid, 2010 TD54, will have its closest approach to Earth's surface at an altitude of about 45,000 kilometers (27,960 miles) at 6:50 EDT a.m. (3:50 a.m. PDT).

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

SpaceShipTwo
Virgin Galactic achieve first solo glide flight
(Oct 11, 2010)


Virgin Galactic's space tourism rocket SpaceShipTwo achieved its first solo glide flight, marking another step in the company's eventual plans to fly paying passengers. SpaceShipTwo was carried aloft by its mothership to an altitude of 45,000 feet and released over the Mojave Desert.

Read more. Source: The Independent

Melas Chasma
Evidence of water in megacanyon on Mars
(Oct 9, 2010)


Melas Chasma, a huge canyon forming part of the 4000 km Valles Marineris rift valley on Mars, plunges 9 km below the surrounding plains in this image, which was taken by the Mars Express orbiter, making it one of the deepest depressions on the planet. Released today by the German Aerospace Centre, the image also shows evidence that water once flowed and lakes once stood on the Martian surface.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

black widow pulsar
Black widow pulsar is fattest collapsed star yet
(Oct 8, 2010)


A cannibalistic collapsed star is growing so fat from the partner it is slowly devouring that it is likely to be the most massive neutron star yet measured. The observation suggests that neutron stars can grow much bigger than previously thought before collapsing to become a black hole.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Saturn's rings
Giant moon collision 'may have formed Saturn's rings'
(Oct 6, 2010)


Saturn's rings may have formed when a large moon with an icy mantle and rocky core spiralled into the nascent planet. A US scientist has suggested that the tidal forces ripped off some of the moon's mantle before the actual impact. The theory could shed light on the rings' mainly water-ice composition that has puzzled researchers for decades.

Read more. Source: BBC

Europa
Europa's hidden ice chemistry
(Oct 6, 2010)


The frigid ice of Jupiter's moon Europa may be hiding more than a presumed ocean: it is likely the scene of some unexpectedly fast chemistry between water and sulfur dioxide at extremely cold temperatures. Although these molecules react easily as liquids-they are well-known ingredients of acid rain-Mark Loeffler and Reggie Hudson at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center now report that they react as ices with surprising speed and high yield at temperatures hundreds of degrees below freezing.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Lutetia
Asteroid Lutetia has thick blanket of debris
(Oct 5, 2010)


Lutetia, the giant asteroid visited by Europe's Rosetta probe in July, is covered in a thick blanket of dusty debris at least 600m (2,000ft) deep. Aeons of impacts have pulverised the space rock to produce a shattered surface that in terms of texture is much like Earth's Moon, scientists say. The finding is one of the first to emerge from the wealth of data gathered by Rosetta during its close flyby.

Read more. Source: BBC

WhiteKnightTwo
Virgin Galactic slows satellite launcher plans
(Oct 4, 2010)


Virgin Galactic's satellite launching rocket LauncherOne that once attracted $110m in investment is now in doubt. LauncherOne's manager has departed and the space tourism company's chief executive is talking only about future possibilities for the rocket. The rocket would take satellites weighing up to 200kg (440lbs) into low-Earth orbit for $1-2m.

Read more. Source: BBC

Chang'e-2 launch
China launches Moon mission
(Oct 2, 2010)


Chinese rocket carrying a probe destined for the Moon has blasted off. A Long March 3C rocket with the Chang'e-2 probe left Xichang launch center at about 1100 GMT. The rocket will shoot the craft into the trans-lunar orbit, after which the probe is expected to reach the Moon in about five days.

Read more. Source: BBC

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