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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: June 2012
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aboard Tiangong-1
Shenzhou-9 docks with Tiangong-1
(Jun 18, 2012)


China's Shenzhou-9 capsule, with its crew of three, has docked with the Tiangong-1 space lab. The coupling of the vehicles occurred at 14:07 Beijing time (06:07 GMT; 07:07 BST). The latest Shenzhou mission was launched on Saturday, taking the nation's first female astronaut into orbit.

Read more. BBC

Launch of Shenzhou-9 carrying China's first female astronau7
China launches space mission with first woman astronaut
(Jun 16, 2012)


China has launched its latest manned space mission – whose crew includes its first female astronaut, Liu Yang. The Shenzhou-9 capsule rode to orbit atop a Long March rocket from the Jiuquan spaceport on the edge of the Gobi desert. Ms Liu and her two male colleagues are heading to the Tiangong space lab.

Read more. BBC

Voyager artwork
Data from Voyager 1 point to interstellar future
(Jun 15, 2012)


Data from NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft indicate that the venerable deep-space explorer has encountered a region in space where the intensity of charged particles from beyond our solar system has markedly increased. Voyager scientists looking at this rapid rise draw closer to an inevitable but historic conclusion – that humanity's first emissary to interstellar space is on the edge of our solar system.

Read more. NASA/JPL

Titan
Tropical lakes on Titan could expand options for life
(Jun 15, 2012)


Nestling among the dunes in the dry equatorial region of Saturn's moon Titan is what appears to be a hydrocarbon lake. The observation, by the Cassini spacecraft, suggests that oases of liquid methane – which might be a crucible for life – lie beneath the moon's surface. The work was published yesterday in Nature.

Read more. Scientific American

protoplanetary disk
Low-metal stars may nurture many Earth-like worlds
(Jun 14, 2012)


Rocky planets can form without heavy elements, suggests a survey of planets the size of Neptune and smaller. That means Earth-size planets could be found all over the Galaxy instead of just round stars with plentiful supplies of "metals", elements heavier than helium.

Read more. New Scientist

NuSTAR
NASA's black-hole hunter rides into orbit
(Jun 14, 2012)


NASA has launched its latest orbiting X-ray observatory. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) was sent into space on a Pegasus rocket operated out of the Kwajalein Atol in the central Pacific. Nustar will study high-energy X-rays coming from exotic sources such as black holes, exploded stars and the hot gas in galaxy clusters.

Read more. BBC

Curiosity target landing area
Mars rover team aims for landing closer to prime science site
(Jun 13, 2012)


NASA has narrowed the target for its most advanced Mars rover, Curiosity, which will land on the Red Planet in August. The car-sized rover will arrive closer to its ultimate destination for science operations, but also closer to the foot of a mountain slope that poses a landing hazard. "We're trimming the distance we'll have to drive after landing by almost half," said Pete Theisinger, Mars Science Laboratory project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "That could get us to the mountain months earlier."

Read more. NASA/JPL

EELT
European Extremely Large Telescope given go-ahead
(Jun 12, 2012)


Construction of world's biggest optical telescope has been approved. The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) will have a primary mirror some 40m in diameter, and will be built on top of a mountain in Chile. Member states of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) organisation declared their support for the project on Monday at a meeting in Garching, Germany.

Read more. BBC

Chinese launch vehicle
China to carry out manned space flight
(Jun 11, 2012)


China has announced it will carry out a manned space flight at some point in the middle of June. A rocket carrying the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft has been moved to a launch pad in the north-west of the country. According to state news agency Xinhua, it will carry three astronauts – possibly including a woman – to the Tiangong 1 space station module.

Read more. BBC

OPERA experiment
Neutrinos don't outpace light, but they do shape-shift
(Jun 9, 2012)


The faster-than-light neutrino saga is officially over. Yesterday, at the Neutrino 2012 conference in Kyoto, Japan, the OPERA collaboration announced that according to their latest measurements, neutrinos travel at almost exactly the speed of light. The team also announced that they have found the second-ever instance of a muon neutrino morphing into a tau neutrino, strengthening the case that neutrinos have mass.

Read more. New Scientist

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