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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: November 2011
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Impact cratering and erosion combine to reveal the composition of the Martian underground by exposing materials from the subsurface. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHUAPL
Study of clays suggests watery Mars underground
(Nov 3, 2011)


A new NASA study suggests if life ever existed on Mars, the longest lasting habitats were most likely below the Red Planet's surface. A new interpretation of years of mineral-mapping data, from more than 350 sites on Mars examined by European and NASA orbiters, suggests Martian environments with abundant liquid water on the surface existed only during short episodes. These episodes occurred toward the end of a period of hundreds of millions of years during which warm water interacted with subsurface rocks. This has implications about whether life existed on Mars and how the Martian atmosphere has changed.

Read more. NASA/JPL

Shenzhou-Tiangong docking
Chinese spacecraft dock in orbit
(Nov 2, 2011)


China has joined two space vehicles together in orbit for the first time. The unmanned Shenzhou 8 craft, launched earlier this week, made contact with the Tiangong-1 space lab at 1729 GMT. The union occurred over China itself. Being able to dock two space vehicles together is a necessary capability for China if it wants to start building a space station towards the decade's end.

Read more. BBC

Shenzhou 8 launch
Chinese Shenzhou craft launches on key space mission
(Nov 1, 2011)


China has taken the next step in its quest to become a major space power with the launch of the unmanned Shenzhou 8 vehicle. The spacecraft rode a Long March 2F rocket into orbit where it will attempt to rendezvous and dock with the Tiangong-1 lab, launched in September. It would be the first time China has joined two space vehicles together.

Read more. BBC

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