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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: August 2011
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journey through a wormhole
String theorists suggest stable wormholes possible
(Aug 25, 2011)


A favorite of science fiction since the 1950s, wormholes are shortcuts through space and time theoretically allowed by Einstein's theory of gravity that would permit rapid travel across many light-years. However, the hope of exploiting wormholes for faster-than-light trips was dashed when physicists concluded that wormholes would collapse as soon as any mass tried to enter them. In the late 80's physicists such as Caltech's Kip Thorne, revived the idea by suggesting that wormholes built of exotic matter might be stable. Now a new study goes one better, finding that string theory allows stable wormholes using ordinary matter

Read more. Source: USA Today

Y dwarf
NASA's WISE mission discovers coolest class of stars
(Aug 24, 2011)


Scientists using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have discovered the coldest class of star-like bodies, with temperatures as cool as the human body. Astronomers hunted these dark orbs, termed Y dwarfs, for more than a decade without success. WISE's infrared vision allowed the telescope to finally spot the faint glow of six Y dwarfs relatively close to the Sun, within a distance of about 40 light-years.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Spaceport America, August 2011
Spaceport's first phase nearly done
(Aug 24, 2011)


A new gateway to space has sprouted in the southern New Mexico desert, 55 miles north of Las Cruces. Christine Anderson has plenty of reasons to be optimistic as the newest executive director and gatekeeper of New Mexico's Spaceport America.

Read more. Source: La Cruces Sun News

Robonaut 2
Human-like robot comes alive aboard space station
(Aug 24, 2011)


A 330-pound humanoid robot was electronically awakened aboard the International Space Station this week, beginning its life as an astronaut's assistant. The robot named Robonaut 2, or R2, will help with routine tasks such as holding tools and vacuuming air filters. The robot was sent up on space shuttle Discovery in February, but it wasn't powered up until now.

Read more. Source: LA Times

Star-forming region
Why the lights are going out in the Universe
(Aug 22, 2011)


A CSIRO study has shown why the lights are going out in the Universe. The Universe forms fewer stars than it used to, and a CSIRO study has now shown why: the galaxies are running out of gas. Robert Braun and his colleagues used CSIRO's Mopra radio telescope near Coonabarabran, NSW, to study far-off galaxies and compare them with nearby ones.

Read more. Source: Science Daily

Fossil microbes found at Strelley Pool in Western Australia
Fossil microbes discovered in Australia could be oldest known life form
(Aug 22, 2011)


The fossilized remains of microbes that lived beside the sea in the earliest chapter of life on Earth have been discovered in a slab of rock in Western Australia. Researchers found the tiny fossils in rock formations that date to 3.4bn years ago, making them strong candidates to be the oldest microbes found. Some clung to grains of sand that had gathered on one of the first known stretches of beach.

Read more. Source: The Guardian

Launch Complex 17
Final launch for historic pads
(Aug 21, 2011)


A little piece of NASA history coming up in the next couple of weeks. The launch of the twin GRAIL satellites to the Moon, currently scheduled for Sep. 8, could be the last from historic Launch Complex 17 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station after more than half a century of service. LC-17 was originally used for launching Thor missiles, and more recently a variety of Delta rockets.

Read more. Source: Spaceflight Now

Ridout Rock on rim of Odyssey Crater
New rover snapshots capture Endeavour Crater vistas
(Aug 20, 2011)


NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has captured new images of intriguing Martian terrain from a small crater near the rim of the large Endeavour crater. The rover arrived at the 13-mile-diameter Endeavour on Aug. 9, after a journey of almost three years. Opportunity is now examining the ejected material from the small crater, named Odyssey. The rover is approaching a large block of ejecta for investigation with tools on the rover's robotic arm.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Independence Day
Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilizations, say scientists
(Aug 18, 2011)


It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim. Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilization growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.

Read more. Source: The Guardian

Jodie Foster in the movie Contact
Star of Contact helps keep search for real aliens alive
(Aug 18, 2011)


She played a scientist who uncovers evidence of extraterrestrial life in 1997's Contact. Yesterday it was revealed that the Oscar-winning actor Jodie Foster is engaged in a real-life bid to prove that we are not alone in the universe after the SETI Institute in California said she had made a donation to help it continue its work in the face of funding cuts.

Read more. Source: The Guardian

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