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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: April 2012
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Did supernovas boost life on Earth? Apr 30, 2012
Meteorites from giant fireball over California found Apr 28, 2012
The strange spirals of Mars Apr 27, 2012
Meteor over California and Nevada was size of minivan Apr 25, 2012
Plans for asteroid mining emerge Apr 25, 2012
Cassini sees objects blazing trails in Saturn ring Apr 24, 2012
Cassini finds Titan lake is like a Namibia mudflat Apr 23, 2012
Meet the Sun's twin Apr 21, 2012
When it comes to solar storms, we don't know how bad it might get Apr 20, 2012
Neutrino no-show deepens cosmic ray mystery Apr 19, 2012
Electron 'split-personality' seen in new quasi-particle Apr 19, 2012
SpaceX's Dragon ship set for station visit Apr 17, 2012
Asteroid craters could provide clue to life on Mars Apr 16, 2012
How Earthly life could populate space by panspermia Apr 16, 2012
Majorana particle glimpsed in lab Apr 14, 2012
Herschel spots comet massacre around nearby star Apr 12, 2012
Stardust recycling mystery solved Apr 12, 2012
Astronomers spot a solar system more populous than ours Apr 10, 2012
Tides turn some habitable planets hellish Apr 9, 2012
Dark heart of a cosmic collision Apr 6, 2012
12-mile-high Martian dust devil caught in the act Apr 6, 2012
LHC is back with big energy boost Apr 5, 2012
Cosmic 'leaf blower' robs galaxy of star-making fuel Apr 4, 2012
The planets that survived being inside a star Apr 3, 2012
Is nature natural? Apr 2, 2012
Alien attack on Earth Apr 1, 2012


Crab Nebula
Did supernovas boost life on Earth?
(Apr 30, 2012)


Research by Henrik Svensmark of the Technical University of Denmark suggests that the explosion of massive stars – supernovae – near the Solar System has strongly influenced the development of life. Whenever the Sun and its planets have visited regions of enhanced star formation in the Milky Way Galaxy, where exploding stars are most common, life has prospered. Svensmark remarks in his paper, "The biosphere seems to contain a reflection of the sky, in that the evolution of life mirrors the evolution of the Galaxy."

Read more. Astrobiology Magazine

meteorite from the fireball that exploded over California in April 2012
Meteorites from giant fireball over California found
(Apr 28, 2012)


Tiny meteorites found in northern California were part of a giant fireball that exploded over the weekend with about one-third the explosive force of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War II. The rocks each weighed about 10 grams, or the weight of two nickels, said John T. Wasson, a longtime professor and expert in meteorites at UCLA's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics.

Read more. Daily Telegraph

Spirals on Mars's valley floor could only be formed by volcanic processes. Image: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University
The strange spirals of Mars
(Apr 27, 2012)


Some say the northern valley of Mars formed in fire, some say in ice: now curious spirals on the floor of the valley have been glimpsed – and hold with those who favor fire. Graduate student Andrew Ryan of Arizona State University and colleagues seem to have settled the debate with their discovery of these strange markings, which could only be formed from lava.

Read more. New Scientist

fireball over California
Meteor over California and Nevada was size of minivan
(Apr 25, 2012)


The fireball that streaked brightly across the daytime sky on Sunday, and was seen from Sacramento in the north to Las Vegas in the south, may have weighed 70 tons and measured 15 feet across. The meteor disintegrated before hitting the ground, releasing the energy of a five-kiloton explosion in the process, according to the NASA release.

Read more. CNN

scheme to mine asteroids
Plans for asteroid mining emerge
(Apr 25, 2012)


Details have been emerging of the plan by billionaire entrepreneurs to mine asteroids for their resources. The multi-million-dollar plan would use robotic spacecraft to squeeze chemical components of fuel and minerals such as platinum and gold out of the rocks. The founders include film director and explorer James Cameron as well as Google's chief executive Larry Page and its executive chairman Eric Schmidt.

Read more. BBC

Half-mile-sized (kilometer-sized) object punching through part of Saturn's F ring
Cassini sees objects blazing trails in Saturn ring
(Apr 24, 2012)


Scientists working with images from the Cassini spacecraft have discovered strange half-mile-sized (kilometer-sized) objects punching through parts of Saturn's F ring, leaving glittering trails behind them. These trails in the rings, which scientists are calling "mini-jets," fill in a missing link in our story of the curious behavior of the F ring.

Read more. NASA/JPL

A recent study finds that the lake known as Ontario Lacus on Titan (left) bears striking similarity to a salt pan on Earth known as the Etosha Pan (right). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech and NASA/USGS
Cassini finds Titan lake is like a Namibia mudflat
(Apr 23, 2012)


Data from Cassini suggests that the lake known as Ontario Lacus behaves most like what is called a salt pan on Earth. A group led by Thomas Cornet of the Université de Nantes found evidence for long-standing channels etched into the lake bed within the southern boundary of the depression. This suggests that Ontario Lacus, previously thought to be completely filled with liquid hydrocarbons, could actually be a depression that drains and refills from below, exposing liquid areas ringed by materials like saturated sand or mudflats.

Read more. NASA/JPL

alien sunrise
Meet the Sun's twin
(Apr 21, 2012)


Around 200 light years away in the constellation Draco is HIP 56948 – a star that took the title of most eerily similar solar twin in 2007, deposing the previous lookalike champion, 18 Scorpii. New observations show that HIP 56948 is even more of a doppelganger than previously thought, and improve the odds of Earth-like habitats.

Read more. New Scientist

coronal mass ejection
When it comes to solar storms, we don't know how bad it might get
(Apr 20, 2012)


When the Sun acts up, spewing out heaps of charged particles in a burst called a coronal mass ejection, space weather can get a bit rough, threatening to disable satellites and power grids – but just how bad could it get? The worst storm on record happened back in 1859. An even more severe one today could wreak havoc with communications, computer, and power networks across the globe.

Read more. Scientific American

IceCube telescope
Neutrino no-show deepens cosmic ray mystery
(Apr 19, 2012)


The failure of ghostly subatomic messengers called neutrinos to show up at an Antarctic telescope has knocked down a major astrophysical theory involving some of the most dramatic explosions in the universe. The instrument has failed to establish any connection between the occurrence of gamma-ray bursts and an increased flux of neutrinos on Earth.

Read more. New Scientist

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