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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: September 2011
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Tevatron
Tevatron demise could coincide with that of the Standard Model
(Sep 6, 2011)


The world's second largest particle accelerator, the Tevatron at Fermilab in Illinois, is scheuled to shut down at the end of this month. By then, researchers are hoping to have amassed enough data to either prove or, more likely, disprove the existence of the Higgs boson in the form most strongly predicted by physicists. At present it looks like the Tevatron's results are trending the same way as those of the Large Hadron Collider, almost certainly forcing theorists to rethink the so-called Standard Model.

Read more. Source: Reuters

ATLAS experiment at CERN
Hunt focuses on a slimmed-down "God particle"
(Sep 5, 2011)


In the hunt for the Higgs boson, the world’s most powerful particle collider has tightened the net. Data collected this year by the Large Hadron Collider narrow the range of allowable masses for the hypothetical particle, whose existence would confirm the mechanism thought to give mass to other particles. To fit with the standard model, the cornerstone of modern particle physics, the Higgs must now be lighter than 145 billion electron volts, or GeV.

Read more. Source: Science News

pumice rafts on Santorini
Volcanic rock rafts 'could have been cradles of life'
(Sep 3, 2011)


Volcanic rock rafts could have played a key role in the origins of life on Earth, a team of scientists suggests. Researchers say the buoyant rock pumice has the right properties to have provided the conditions for early life to emerge more than 3.5 billion years ago. Pumice "rafts" are found today on shores of islands such as the volcanic Greek island of Santorini.

Read more. Source: BBC

The volcano Idunn Mons shows up as a hot spot in this thermal map taken by the Venus Express probe.  Image: ESA/NASA/JPL
Why doesn't NASA like Venus?
(Sep 3, 2011)


Venus would seem to be a tempting destination for planetary probes: conveniently close, and an extreme laboratory for atmospheric processes familiar on Earth. So why won't NASA send a mission there? That was the frustrated question coming from scientists at the annual meeting of NASA's Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG) near Washington, D.C., on August 30-31.

Read more. Source: Scientific American

orbital debris
Space debris at critical level
(Sep 2, 2011)


There are thought to be over half a million bits of junk between 1 and 10 cm in size, and more than 20,000 bigger than 10 cm in orbit around the Earth. Those figures are climbing rapidly – as are the risks of serious collision damage to the ISS and unmanned satellites.

Read more. Source: BBC

Rock called Tisdale 2 on the rim of Endeavour Crater
Opportunity rover begins study of Martian crater
(Sep 1, 2011)


Right off the bat, the Opportunity rover finds a rock "different from any rock ever seen on Mars" during its first geological investigation on the rim of Endeavour Crater. Observations by Mars orbiters suggest that rock exposures on Endeavour's rim date from early in Martian history and include clay minerals that form in less-acidic wet conditions, possibly more favorable for life.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

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