April 2003 Top Story Archives



Splashing down on Titan's oceans »» Splashing down on Titan's oceans

[Tuesday, April 01, 2003] ESA's Huygens probe, arriving at Titan in 2005, will help find answers. What will it land on - solid ground or in an ocean of methane?

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European Space Industry Discusses Green Paper in Madrid »» European Space Industry Discusses Green Paper in Madrid

[Tuesday, April 01, 2003] The European Commission's Green Paper on European Space Policy was discussed last week in Madrid. One of the key messages to emerge was the huge potential for space to benefit activities not traditionally associated with the space sector.

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Expedition 7 Crew Set for Launch to International Space Station »» Expedition 7 Crew Set for Launch to International Space Station

[Tuesday, April 01, 2003] Veteran Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and veteran NASA astronaut Ed Lu have been named as the primary crew for the planned April 26, 2003, launch of a Russian Soyuz TMA-2 spacecraft to the International Space Station.

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NASA and Carnegie Mellon to Test Mars Robot in Chile »» NASA and Carnegie Mellon to Test Mars Robot in Chile

[Tuesday, April 01, 2003] NASA and Carnegie Mellon scientists will travel to the Atacama Desert in northern Chile April 1 to conduct research that will help them develop and deploy a robot and instruments that may someday enable other robots to find life on Mars.

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A Galactic Wind of Low-energy Cosmic Rays »» A Galactic Wind of Low-energy Cosmic Rays

[Wednesday, April 02, 2003] A bit of Earth-bound chemistry has led scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, to conclude that there is an unsuspected wind of low-energy cosmic ray particles blowing through the galaxy.

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Embedded at NASA »» Embedded at NASA

[Wednesday, April 02, 2003] Last month a dozen reporters had a rather unique experience at NASA JSC: a one-day condensed course on the Space Shuttle. I was lucky to be among the dozen chosen for this event. More are planned.

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34th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign »» 34th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign

[Wednesday, April 02, 2003] A few of these passengers looked sickly, and all of them looked tired. But then for the last three hours they'd been working very hard in conditions like nothing on Earth.

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TDRS-1 Celebrates 20 Years of Service »» TDRS-1 Celebrates 20 Years of Service

[Thursday, April 03, 2003] NASA's original Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-1), launched from the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-6) in April 1983, celebrates 20 years of outstanding service and 'firsts.'

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New Launch Date for Deep Impact »» New Launch Date for Deep Impact

[Thursday, April 03, 2003] A new launch window is announced for the Deep Impact project, the first mission to look deep inside a comet. Technical and management issues resulted in delays in the pre-flight testing schedule.

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Giant Cosmic Lens Reveals Secrets of Distant Galaxy »» Giant Cosmic Lens Reveals Secrets of Distant Galaxy

[Thursday, April 03, 2003] Using the Very Large Array radio telescope, and helped by a gigantic cosmic lens, astronomers have discovered that a young galaxy had a central disk of gas in which hundreds of new stars were being born every year.

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NASA Releases Thousands of New Photos from Mars Global Surveyor »» NASA Releases Thousands of New Photos from Mars Global Surveyor

[Friday, April 04, 2003] The new batch of images, taken by Mars Global Surveyor between February and July 2002, brings the total number of images in the online gallery to more than 123,800.

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Nuclear Fusion Discovery: Implications for Life in the Universe »» Nuclear Fusion Discovery: Implications for Life in the Universe

[Saturday, April 05, 2003] Scientists have made the first unambiguous detection of a rare process, the fusion of two nuclei of heavy hydrogen to form a nucleus of helium and an uncharged pion. This symmetry violation makes hydrogen possible, a requirement for life.

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ISS Crew Completes Space Walk »» ISS Crew Completes Space Walk

[Tuesday, April 08, 2003] ISS Commander Ken Bowersox and Science Officer Don Pettit reconfigured critical power cables and continued the external outfitting of the International Space Station today during a 6 hour, 26 minute spacewalk.

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X-Rays Chart The Wakes of Supersonic Galaxies »» X-Rays Chart The Wakes of Supersonic Galaxies

[Tuesday, April 08, 2003] A new observation of the galaxy cluster Abell 160 is giving astronomers important insight into the motion of galaxies as they plough through tenuous gas in space at supersonic speeds.

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Stellar Census Detects More Red and Brown Dwarfs »» Stellar Census Detects More Red and Brown Dwarfs

[Tuesday, April 08, 2003] A team from Keele University and Exeter University applied a relatively simple test to pick out objects they thought might be faint red dwarfs and their even dimmer cousins, brown dwarfs.

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New View of X-ray Jet Blasting Through Nearest Radio Galaxy »» New View of X-ray Jet Blasting Through Nearest Radio Galaxy

[Tuesday, April 08, 2003] By combining radio and X-ray observations, astronomers have obtained their most detailed view yet of the effects a powerful galactic jet has as it blasts its way through stars and gas on its way out from the center of a galaxy.

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The Most Powerful Quasar in the Local Universe Blows its Top »» The Most Powerful Quasar in the Local Universe Blows its Top

[Tuesday, April 08, 2003] Material has been discovered moving at nearly 10% the speed of light away from the centre of the nearby quasar PDS456 - the most powerful object in the local universe.

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World's Biggest Digital Imager Ready to Explore the Universe »» World's Biggest Digital Imager Ready to Explore the Universe

[Tuesday, April 08, 2003] The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope is one of the oldest facilities on Mauna-Kea. A new instrument, MegaPrime, comes into operation this month placing CFHT once more on the forefront of optical astronomy in spite of its relatively small mirror size.

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Node 2 Passes Acceptance Review »» Node 2 Passes Acceptance Review

[Tuesday, April 08, 2003] Node 2 will be formally delivered to ESA by ASI in mid-May 2003. Last week the first activity related to that delivery, the Acceptance Review, was successfully conducted at the Alenia Spazio facility in Turin, with the participation of ESA, ASI and NASA.

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Go-ahead for New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt Construction »» Go-ahead for New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt Construction

[Wednesday, April 09, 2003] NASA has authorized the New Horizons mission to go forward with spacecraft and ground system construction. New Horizons is proceeding toward a January 2006 launch, with an arrival at Pluto and its moon Charon as early as the summer of 2015.

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Aerial Scouting of NASA Haughton-Mars Project Base Camp »» Aerial Scouting of NASA Haughton-Mars Project Base Camp

[Wednesday, April 09, 2003] Preparations are well underway for the coming field season for the NASA Haughton-Mars Project. This includes the aerial scouting of base camp last week.

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Really Hot Stars: Spectacular VLT Photos Unveil Mysterious Nebulae »» Really Hot Stars: Spectacular VLT Photos Unveil Mysterious Nebulae

[Wednesday, April 09, 2003] Quite a few of the most beautiful objects in the Universe are still shrouded in mystery. Even though most of the nebulae of gas and dust in our vicinity are now rather well understood, there are some which continue to puzzle astronomers.

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INSAT-3A Launched »» INSAT-3A Launched

[Wednesday, April 09, 2003] The multipurpose satellite, INSAT-3A, built by ISRO, was successfully launched by the Ariane-5 launch vehicle of Arianespace. INSAT-3A is the third satellite in the INSAT-3 series.

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The Radar Search For Martian Water	»» The Radar Search For Martian Water

[Thursday, April 10, 2003] A powerful new instrument is poised to probe the Martian soil, using an advanced radar system to penetrate the rust-red desert. The MARSIS experiment on board Mars Express will search for the elusive water beneath the planet's surface.

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Galileo Discovers New Jovian Moons »» Galileo Discovers New Jovian Moons

[Thursday, April 10, 2003] NASA's Galileo spacecraft serendipitously discovered seven to nine space rocks near Jupiter's inner moon Amalthea when Galileo flew past that moon five months ago.

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Giant Solar Tadpoles Born in Explosion »» Giant Solar Tadpoles Born in Explosion

[Thursday, April 10, 2003] Dark features resembling Earth-sized tadpoles were seen swimming in the atmosphere of the Sun after it was heated to millions of degrees following an enormous explosion, according observations NASA's TRACE spacecraft.

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Twin NASA Mars Rovers Landing Sites Selected »» Twin NASA Mars Rovers Landing Sites Selected

[Friday, April 11, 2003] NASA has chosen two scientifically compelling landing sites for twin robotic rovers to explore on the surface of Mars early next year.

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»» "MiniCog" - an Astronaut's PDA to Check Cognitive Function

[Friday, April 11, 2003] A new computer software package, currently under development, will give the term "personal digital assistant" (PDA) a new meaning, helping users quickly and easily evaluate if they are operating at their mental best.

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Safety Panel OKs Two Person Crew for Space Station »» Safety Panel OKs Two Person Crew for Space Station

[Friday, April 11, 2003] The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel has reviewed plans for operating the International Space Station (ISS) with two crew members. The Panel sought to understand the potential impact of such operations on crew and ISS safety.

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Russian President Putin Praises ISS Crew »» Russian President Putin Praises ISS Crew

[Saturday, April 12, 2003] During his address to the ISS crew, Putin said, "Now that shuttle flights have been suspended, it is important to preserve the ISS in operational condition. You've coped with the task brilliantly."

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INSAT-3A Placed in Geostationary Orbit »» INSAT-3A Placed in Geostationary Orbit

[Monday, April 14, 2003] In the third and final stage of orbit-raising operation conducted today at 09:39 am IST (April 14, 2003) from Master Control Facility (MCF), Hassan, INSAT-3A has been placed in its Geo Stationary Orbit (GSO).

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X-rays Found From a Lightweight Brown Dwarf »» X-rays Found From a Lightweight Brown Dwarf

[Monday, April 14, 2003] Using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, scientists have detected X-rays from a low mass brown dwarf in a multiple star system, which is as young as 12 million years old.

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Using SIRTF to Understand Planet Formation »» Using SIRTF to Understand Planet Formation

[Monday, April 14, 2003] Astronomers soon will look at dust disks evolving around Milky Way stars to learn if solar systems like ours are rare or commonplace.

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First Mars Exploration Rover Launch Delayed for a Week »» First Mars Exploration Rover Launch Delayed for a Week

[Monday, April 14, 2003] The beginning of the launch period for the first of NASA's two Mars Exploration Rover missions will be rescheduled until no earlier than June 6 to allow time to address a potential problem raised during pre-launch tests of the spacecraft over the weekend.

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The Science of Mars Express and Beagle 2 »» The Science of Mars Express and Beagle 2

[Wednesday, April 16, 2003] The world has postulated on Mars harboring life. This mission will answer this age-old question. A positive result would be the vital first step in answering an even more fundamental question: are we alone in the universe?

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Panel Approves 2 Person ISS Crew; Uncertain About Crew Skills »» Panel Approves 2 Person ISS Crew; Uncertain About Crew Skills

[Wednesday, April 16, 2003] Last week the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel approved a two person Expedition 7 crew aboard the International Space Station. In so doing, however, the panel was unsure of the exact training given a U.S. astronaut.

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Another NASA Panel Speaks: Who Is (Not) Talking to Whom? »» Another NASA Panel Speaks: Who Is (Not) Talking to Whom?

[Wednesday, April 16, 2003] Another advisory panel met at NASA recently to discuss the upcoming Expedition 7 mission to the International Space Station. When asked if they had spoken with the NASA safety panel which had studied the same topic last week, they said "No".

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Columbia Accident Investigation Board Issues Preliminary Recommendations »» Columbia Accident Investigation Board Issues Preliminary Recommendations

[Thursday, April 17, 2003] The Columbia Accident Investigation Board today issued two preliminary recommendations to NASA. Additionally, the Board issued several facts regarding the shuttle program.

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Boeing Launches Orbital Space Plane Design »» Boeing Launches Orbital Space Plane Design

[Friday, April 18, 2003] Under the Space Launch Initiative, Boeing will determine a technical and program approach for a future OSP. The concept definition phase is scheduled to last 16 months and includes a series of systems engineering trade studies.

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Commercial Manned Space Program Unveiled by Scaled Composites »» Commercial Manned Space Program Unveiled by Scaled Composites

[Friday, April 18, 2003] Scaled Composites today unveiled the existence of a commercial manned space program. This previously hidden, active research program has been in the works at its facility for two years.

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NASA Delays SIRTF Launch »» NASA Delays SIRTF Launch

[Friday, April 18, 2003] NASA managers have decided to postpone the launch of SIRTF (Space Infrared Telescope Facility) aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket until no earlier than mid-August 2003.

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Stardust Team Prepares for Comet Encounter »» Stardust Team Prepares for Comet Encounter

[Monday, April 21, 2003] Over the past week, the Stardust team completed the first Comet Wild 2 encounter sequence test in the Spacecraft Test Laboratory.

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Space Station Crew Prepares for Soyuz Arrival »» Space Station Crew Prepares for Soyuz Arrival

[Monday, April 21, 2003] The ISS crew awoke to words of appreciation for the task list items tackled over the weekend and a reminder: a last big push until the handover to Expedition 7 next week, today being the last Monday that they will have the station all to themselves.

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Black water turns the tide on Florida coral »» Black water turns the tide on Florida coral

[Monday, April 21, 2003] In 2002, a patch of "black water" spanning over 60 miles in diameter formed off southwestern Florida and contributed to severe coral reef stress and death in the Florida Keys, according to results published from research funded by NASA, EPA, and NOAA.

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Glowing Hot Transiting Exoplanet Discovered »» Glowing Hot Transiting Exoplanet Discovered

[Tuesday, April 22, 2003] This exoplanet has the shortest period found so far and it is very close to its parent star. The hemisphere that faces the star must be extremely hot, about 2000 degrees and the planet is obviously losing its atmosphere at high rate.

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Ten Possible Columbia Failure Scenarios »» Ten Possible Columbia Failure Scenarios

[Tuesday, April 22, 2003] Chart Released Showing Ten Possible Columbia Failure Scenarios

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Hurricane Winds Carried Ocean Salt and Plankton Far Inland »» Hurricane Winds Carried Ocean Salt and Plankton Far Inland

[Thursday, April 24, 2003] Researchers found surprising evidence of sea salt and frozen plankton in high, cold, cirrus clouds, the remnants of Hurricane Nora, over the U.S. plains states.

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Hubble Captures a Perfect Storm of Turbulent Gases »» Hubble Captures a Perfect Storm of Turbulent Gases

[Thursday, April 24, 2003] Resembling the fury of a raging sea, this image actually shows a bubbly ocean of glowing hydrogen gas and small amounts of other elements such as oxygen and sulfur.

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Pea Pods in Space »» Pea Pods in Space

[Thursday, April 24, 2003] It looks like an ordinary pea pod. And it is. That's what so amazing because this pod lives in space. It's a traveling companion of Cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin onboard the International Space Station.

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Titan Reveals a Surface Dominated by Icy Bedrock »» Titan Reveals a Surface Dominated by Icy Bedrock

[Thursday, April 24, 2003] Scientists who have peered through the smoggy orange haze of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, have discovered that the surface is not entirely covered by liquid and solid organic materials that rain out of the atmosphere.

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European Parliamentarians urge rapid deployment of GALILEO »» European Parliamentarians urge rapid deployment of GALILEO

[Friday, April 25, 2003] The Joint Sky and Space Committee of the European Parliament has presented a petition signed by over 200 European and national members of parliament to the Council and European Commission, urging the launch of GALILEO as soon as possible.

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Is This Martian Snow? »» Is This Martian Snow?

[Friday, April 25, 2003] Amidst the hummocky topography produced by the ejecta from Lyot crater, smooth patches of material fill shallow depressions. Is it ice rich sediment or ice covered by sediment?

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Expedition 7 Crew Launched on Mission to International Space Station »» Expedition 7 Crew Launched on Mission to International Space Station

[Friday, April 25, 2003] Expedition Seven crewmembers Commander Yuri Malenchenko and NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu began their journey to the International Space Station tonight from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

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Expedition Seven Crew Arrives at International Space Station »» Expedition Seven Crew Arrives at International Space Station

[Monday, April 28, 2003] After a successful docking early this morning, hatches between the ISS and the Soyuz TMA-2 spacecraft were opened and Expedition Seven Commander Yuri Malenchenko and NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu entered the ISS.

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Mars Rovers Ready to Go »» Mars Rovers Ready to Go

[Monday, April 28, 2003] "The science payload on both rovers is all done. The fix of the cable problem that made us delay our first launch a couple of weeks ago is done too. And it went so well that the launch date for MER-A has moved forward by a day."

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Space Station Crews Hold Press Conference From Orbit »» Space Station Crews Hold Press Conference From Orbit

[Tuesday, April 29, 2003] The combined Expedition 6 and 7 crews held a joint press conference from orbit today with reporters in The U.S. and Russia.

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Finding the Ashes of the First Stars »» Finding the Ashes of the First Stars

[Wednesday, April 30, 2003] Recent observations with the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that the first stars formed as little as 200 million years after the Big Bang. This is much earlier than previously thought.

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ISS Monthly Program Review »» ISS Monthly Program Review

[Wednesday, April 30, 2003] If you really want to know the state of Shuttle and ISS program planning post-Columbia accident, this is the document to read.

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NASA Is Considering Apollo Designs to Replace Space Shuttle »» NASA Is Considering Apollo Designs to Replace Space Shuttle

[Wednesday, April 30, 2003] A small team was chartered by NASA to make a top-level assessment of the viability of using the Apollo Command and Service Modules the basis for a Crew Return Vehicle, and potentially for a Crew Transfer Vehicle, for the International Space Station.

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Mercury to Transit the Sun »» Mercury to Transit the Sun

[Wednesday, April 30, 2003] An upcoming astronomical event will provide a rare opportunity for amateurs to observe a technique scientists are using to search for planets around stars. On May 7, Mercury will pass in front of the Sun, creating a tiny eclipse called a transit.

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