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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: November 2011
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Large Hadron Collider
Proof found for unifying quantum principle
(Nov 15, 2011)

When John Cardy proposed a far-reaching principle to constrain all possible theories of quantum particles and fields, he expected it to be quickly rebutted. But for almost 25 years that hasnít happened – and it now seems that his theorem may have been quietly proved earlier this year. If the solution holds, it is likely to guide future attempts to explain physics beyond the current standard model, and will certainly have implications for any previously unknown particles that may be discovered at the Large Hadron Collider.

Read more. Nature

Expedition 30 crew
Russia resumes manned Soyuz flights after crash
(Nov 14, 2011)

A Russian spacecraft carrying three astronauts – two Russians and one American – has launched successfully from Kazakhstan. They are the first to travel on a Russian Soyuz craft since a similar unmanned rocket carrying cargo crashed shortly after launch in August. All manned space travel was suspended after that crash for almost three months.

Read more. BBC

Tarantula Nebula
The Tarantula on our doorstep
(Nov 11, 2011)

The star-forming region, 30 Doradus, is one of the largest located close to the Milky Way and is found in the neighboring galaxy Large Magellanic Cloud. About 2,400 massive stars in the center of 30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula, are producing intense radiation and powerful winds as they blow off material.

Read more. NASA/Chandra

Tharsis Tholis. Image credit: ESA
Battered Tharsis Tholus volcano on Mars
(Nov 10, 2011)

The latest image released from Mars Express reveals a large extinct volcano that has been battered and deformed over the aeons. By Earthly standards, Tharsis Tholus is a giant, towering 8 km above the surrounding terrain, with a base stretching over 155 by 125 km. Yet on Mars, it is just an average-sized volcano. What marks it out as unusual is its battered condition.

Read more. ESA

Launch of Fobos-Grunt
Russian Mars mission stuck in low Earth orbit
(Nov 9, 2011)

Russia's Fobos-Grunt mission, an audacious effort to retrieve samples from a Martian moon, is stranded in low Earth orbit following a successful liftoff Tuesday from Kazakhstan, according to Russian reports. If the problem is software related there's still a slim chance the spacecraft's rocket engine can be fired. However, engineers have only 3 days to resolve the issue.

Read more. Spaceflight Now

Radar image of asteroid 2005 YU55 obtained on Nov. 7, 2011, at 11:45 a.m. PST. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
New image of large asteroid passing Earth
(Nov 8, 2011)

NASA's Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, Calif. has captured new radar images of Asteroid 2005 YU55 passing close to Earth. The asteroid safely will safely fly past our planet slightly closer than the Moon's orbit on Nov. 8. The last time a space rock this large came as close to Earth was in 1976, although astronomers did not know about the flyby at the time. The next known approach of an asteroid this size will be in 2028.

Read more. NASA

Locations of Voyagers 1 and 2
Voyager 2 to switch to backup thruster set
(Nov 7, 2011)

NASA's Deep Space Network personnel sent commands to the Voyager 2 spacecraft Nov. 4 to switch to the backup set of thrusters that controls the roll of the spacecraft. Confirmation was received today that the spacecraft accepted the commands. The change will allow the 34-year-old spacecraft to reduce the amount of power it requires to operate and use previously unused thrusters as it continues its journey toward interstellar space, beyond our solar system.

Read more. NASA/JPL

Mission to Phobos due to blast off tomorrow
(Nov 6, 2011)

Although it hasn't received much publicity in the popular press, an exciting mission to Mars is due to blast off on Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The highlight of the Phobos-Grunt mission will be to put a lander on the surface of the larger martian moon, Phobos, and return a sample of it to Earth.

Read more. Wikipedia

millisecond pulsar
Youngest millisecond pulsar shines in gamma rays
(Nov 4, 2011)

The Fermi space telescope has spotted the youngest-ever millisecond pulsar – a fast-spinning cosmic "lighthouse" that is the leftovers from a supernova. It is the first pulsar from a globular cluster seen to shine in the highest-energy light we know of: gamma rays. The pulsar's gamma-ray brightness and evident youth challenge our notions of how such millisecond pulsars form.

Read more. BBC

Enceladus flyby
Cassini makes a new pass at Enceladus
(Nov 4, 2011)

The Cassini spacecraft will acquire the first detailed radar images of Saturn's moon Enceladus during a flyby on Sunday, Nov. 6. These will be the first high-resolution radar observations made of an icy moon other than Titan. The results will provide new information about the surface of Enceladus and enable researchers to compare its geological features as seen by radar with those of Titan. The spacecraft will fly past Enceladus at a distance of about 300 miles (500 km) at its closest point.

Read more. NASA/JPL

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