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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: May 2011
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Mars is a stranded planetary embryo May 30, 2011
Final space-walk from the Shuttle at the ISS completed May 28, 2011
Green crystal rain falls on protostar May 27, 2011
NASA gives thumbs-up to new crewed spaceship May 27, 2011
Most distant object ever found May 25, 2011
Skylon spaceplane takes step forward May 25, 2011
Milky Way gains perfect symmetry May 24, 2011
Giant particle detector fixed to space station May 22, 2011
Dark energy is real May 20, 2011
Protein flaws may have led to complex life May 19, 2011
Rogue planets may be more common than previously thought May 19, 2011
Nearby exoplanet might support life May 17, 2011
Clearest map yet of the gamma-ray sky May 15, 2011
A magma ocean for Io May 13, 2011
Crab Nebula unleashes giant gamma flare May 12, 2011
Collisions and leaks at the LHC May 11, 2011
Was Titan's atmosphere made by comets? May 9, 2011
Searching for the antiuniverse May 6, 2011
Gravity probe results support general relativity May 5, 2011
Mysterious cosmic ray hotspots May 4, 2011
Coming to a space near you May 3, 2011
Quantum effects made visible May 2, 2011


Mars
Mars is a stranded planetary embryo
(May 30, 2011)


New calculations support the view that Mars completed its formation in a mere 2 to 3 million years compared with the Earth which grew to its present size over a period of tens of millions of years. It seems that whereas the Earth experienced a number of collions which gradually added to its bulk, Mars avoided bumping into other big objects and so remained small with only about 10 percent of Earth's mass – effectively a planetary embryo.

Read more. Source: BBC

Astronauts Mike Fincke and Greg Chamitoff on the final shuttle space-walk at the ISS
Final space-walk from the Shuttle at the ISS completed
(May 28, 2011)


Astronauts Mike Fincke and Greg Chamitoff have completed the last ever space-walk from the Space Shuttle at the International Space Station. The seven-and-half-hour exercise wrapped up NASA's part in the construction of the ISS.

Read more. Source: BBC

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope detected tiny green crystals, called olivine, thought to be raining down on a developing star. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Toledo
Green crystal rain falls on protostar
(May 27, 2011)


Crystals of the green mineral olivine have been seen falling onto a protostar called HOPS-68 by the Spitzer Space Telescope. The crystals may have formed near the protostar, then carried away by jets of gas, before falling down again like glitter. The discovery may help explain the presence of olivine in comets in our own solar system.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle approaching the International Space Station
NASA gives thumbs-up to new crewed spaceship
(May 27, 2011)


A spacecraft based on the Orion capsule will carry future astronauts to the International Space Station and beyeond, NASA has confirmed. The agency wants its new Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle to be evolved from Orion – a component of the abandoned Constellation Program – and thus take advantage of the $5 billion it has already spent on development.

Read more. Source: BBC

GRB 090429B
Most distant object ever found
(May 25, 2011)


A gamma-ray burst detected by the Swift Gamma-Ray Explorer may be the most remote single object ever seen in the universe. The massive stellar explosion lies 13.14 billion light-years away and is seen as it was a mere 520 million years after the Big Bang.

Read more. Source: BBC

Sklyon. Image credit: Reaction Engines
Skylon spaceplane takes step forward
(May 25, 2011)


The single-stage-to-orbit Skylon spaceplane, designed by UK-based Reaction Engines, has passed a critical design review of its revolutionary engine. European Space Agency propulsion specialists gave the vehicle, which is intended to takeoff and land using an ordinary runway, the green light. The next milestone is expected to be a ground demonstration of its Sabre integrated air-breathing and rocket engine.

Read more. Source: BBC

A newly discovered star-forming arm at the fringes of the Milky Way may be a vast, outer extension of the arm Scutum-Centaurus. Image credit: T. Dame, Robert Hurt
Milky Way gains perfect symmetry
(May 24, 2011)


The discovery of a huge extension of one of our galaxy's spiral arms appears to make the Milky Way a rare beast – an almost perfectly symmetrical spiral galaxy. The new structure, a star-forming region that is probably part of the Scutum-Centaurus Arm, was found by Thomas Dame and Patrick Thaddeus of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.

Read more. Source: Science News

AMS2 attached to shuttle robotic arm
Giant particle detector fixed to space station
(May 22, 2011)


The 7-ton Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer 2, designed to detect cosmic rays and hunt for signs of antimatter and dark matter, has been successfully attached to the International Space Station. Data has already begun streaming its way down to the instrument's temporary operations center in Houston, although it may be months before any preliminary scientific results are announced.

Read more. Source: BBC

Gravitational interactions between galaxies
Dark energy is real
(May 20, 2011)


Observations of more than 200,000 galaxies made with the Anglo-Australian Telescope and NASA's GALEX space telescope have shown that dark energy is real and not a mistake in Einstein's conception of gravity. The galaxy survey, called WiggleZ ("wiggles"), was set up to measure the properties of dark energy, a concept invoked in the late 1990s to explain why the Universe seems to be expanding at an accelerating rate.

Read more. Source: Anglo-Australian Observatory

Flaws in the strucrure of protein may have been responsible for the start of complex life
Protein flaws may have led to complex life
(May 19, 2011)


The jump from simple, single-celled life to complex life may have been sparked by tiny instabilities in the structure of protein molecules. These instabilities, called dehydrons, make proteins more likely to break up in watery environments and therefore more likely to adhere to other proteins.

Read more. Source: BBC

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