August 2006 Top Story Archives



Lowell Observatory, UA Optical Sciences to Complete Discovery Channel Telescope Primary Mirror »» Lowell Observatory, UA Optical Sciences to Complete Discovery Channel Telescope Primary Mirror

[Tuesday, August 1, 2006] Lowell Observatory and the University of Arizona's College of Optical Sciences (OSC) have finalized a $3 million, three-year contract to complete the Discovery Channel Telescope primary mirror.

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Discovery of the Nearest L Dwarf: The Intrinsically Faintest Object at Visual Wavelengths Known Beyond Our Solar System »» Discovery of the Nearest L Dwarf: The Intrinsically Faintest Object at Visual Wavelengths Known Beyond Our Solar System

[Tuesday, August 1, 2006] Astronomers have determined the distance to DEN 0255-477 and discovered that it is the nearest-known L dwarf. This body is now also the faintest object outside our solar system for which its intrinsic visual brightness has been measured.

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New Image of Genesis I »» New Image of Genesis I

[Tuesday, August 1, 2006] A new, highly detailed image of the outside of Bigelow Aerospace's Genesis 1 spacecraft has been released.

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Underwater robots work together without human input »» Underwater robots work together without human input

[Tuesday, August 1, 2006] This August in Monterey Bay, Calif., an entire fleet of undersea robots will for the first time work together without the aid of humans to make detailed and efficient observations of the ocean.

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Mars Institute HMP EVA Medical Evacuation Simulation Update 1 August 206 »» Mars Institute HMP EVA Medical Evacuation Simulation Update 1 August 206

[Wednesday, August 2, 2006] The 2006 HMP Lunar Medical Contingency Simulation demonstrated that an injured suited crewmember could be safely extracted from difficult terrain, similar to what might be expected in a lunar EVA, and transported to a remote site for medical care.

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NASA MSFC's Lunar e-Library Puts Space History to Work »» NASA MSFC's Lunar e-Library Puts Space History to Work

[Wednesday, August 2, 2006] The Lunar e-Library - a searchable DVD collection of electronic documents and other resources - is now available to help managers, engineers and scientists put space history to work as they implement the Vision for Space Exploration.

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ESA Huygens Scientific Archive Data Set Released »» ESA Huygens Scientific Archive Data Set Released

[Wednesday, August 2, 2006] ESA's Huygens probe successfully descended through the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, and safely landed on its surface on 14 January 2005. An extraordinary new world has been unveiled.

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Are We Alone? SETI Institute Science Radio: 9 August 2006 Edition: Sex: What is it Good For? »» Are We Alone? SETI Institute Science Radio: 9 August 2006 Edition: Sex: What is it Good For?

[Thursday, August 3, 2006] "Maybe our microbial brethren have the right idea; reproduce asexually. In fact, we could be a step closer to this amoeba-like way of producing progeny. Scientists have managed to create sperm in the laboratory."

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NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis Moves to Launch Pad »» NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis Moves to Launch Pad

[Thursday, August 3, 2006] The Space Shuttle Atlantis arrived at its launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 8:54 a.m. EDT Wednesday on top of a giant vehicle known as the crawler transporter.

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A Sub-Stellar Jonah - Brown Dwarf Survives Being Swallowed »» A Sub-Stellar Jonah - Brown Dwarf Survives Being Swallowed

[Thursday, August 3, 2006] Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have discovered a rather unusual system, in which two planet-size stars, of different colours, orbit each other.

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The 'Planemo' Twins - Astronomers Discover Double Planetary Mass Object »» The 'Planemo' Twins - Astronomers Discover Double Planetary Mass Object

[Thursday, August 3, 2006] Astronomers have discovered a 7- Jupiter-mass companion to an object that is only twice as hefty. Both objects have masses similar to those of extrasolar giant planets, but they are not in orbit around a star – instead they appear to circle each other.

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NASA Space Station Status Report 3 August 2006 »» NASA Space Station Status Report 3 August 2006

[Thursday, August 3, 2006] Jeff Williams and Thomas Reiter worked quickly through scheduled spacewalk tasks Thursday, then completed three get-ahead jobs, or extra tasks, and were ready for more. Mission Control assigned two more jobs, which the astronauts also completed.

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Astronomers Crunch Numbers, Universe Gets Larger »» Astronomers Crunch Numbers, Universe Gets Larger

[Thursday, August 3, 2006] An Ohio State University astronomer and his colleagues have determined that the Triangulum Galaxy, otherwise known as M33, is actually about 15 percent farther away from our galaxy than previously measured.

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NASA Funds Development of Destiny: The Dark Energy Space Telescope »» NASA Funds Development of Destiny: The Dark Energy Space Telescope

[Thursday, August 3, 2006] A team led by NOAO and NASA GSFC has been selected by NASA to develop a concept for a space mission to characterize the mysterious "Dark Energy'' that permeates the Universe and causes its expansion to accelerate.

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Senators Collins and Lieberman Raise Concerns about Changes to NASA Mission Statement »» Senators Collins and Lieberman Raise Concerns about Changes to NASA Mission Statement

[Friday, August 4, 2006] Senators Collins and Lieberman sent a letter to NASA Administrator Dr. Michael D. Griffin expressing concerns about the organization's elimination from its mission statement of the phrase "to understand and protect the home planet."

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Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) 2006 »» Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) 2006

[Saturday, August 5, 2006] The objective of AMASE is to characterize the geology, geophysical features, biosignatures, and possible life forms of volcanic centers, warm springs, and perennial rivers, settings thought to be analogous to sites on ancient Mars.

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Hyperion, Eroded Moon »» Hyperion, Eroded Moon

[Sunday, August 6, 2006] This extreme false-color view of Hyperion shows color variation across the impact-blasted surface of the tumbling moon.

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ESA's SMART-1 towards final impact »» ESA's SMART-1 towards final impact

[Sunday, August 6, 2006] SMART-1, the successful first European spacecraft to the Moon, is now about to end its exploration adventure, after almost sixteen months of lunar science investigations.

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Kirsten Fristad's NASA Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition Field Reports »» Kirsten Fristad's NASA Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition Field Reports

[Monday, August 7, 2006] "The last two days have been very busy with instrument testing, gathering last minute supplies and attending an arctic training course. The cold temperatures here pose a serious challenge to our instruments."

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Shuttle and Station Missions Ahead Are The Most Challenging Yet »» Shuttle and Station Missions Ahead Are The Most Challenging Yet

[Monday, August 7, 2006] With the remaining shuttle missions, NASA will embark on a series of flights as difficult as any in history to complete the International Space Station.

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Reiter breaks European space endurance record »» Reiter breaks European space endurance record

[Monday, August 7, 2006] ESA astronaut and International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 13 crew member Thomas Reiter set a new record for the number of days spent in space by a European astronaut last week when he completed a total of over 209 days in orbit.

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Researchers Using NRAO Telescope to Study Formation  Of Chemical Precursors to Life »» Researchers Using NRAO Telescope to Study Formation Of Chemical Precursors to Life

[Monday, August 7, 2006] In just two years of work, an international research team has discovered eight new complex, biologically-significant molecules in interstellar space using the NSF's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.

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NASA's GLAST Burst Monitor Set for Spacecraft Integration »» NASA's GLAST Burst Monitor Set for Spacecraft Integration

[Monday, August 7, 2006] NASA scientists and engineers have completed final testing and integration of the GLAST Burst Monitor, a space-based instrument for studying gamma ray bursts.

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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Identifies Stellar Companion to Distant Planet »» NASA Hubble Space Telescope Identifies Stellar Companion to Distant Planet

[Tuesday, August 8, 2006] NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has for the first time identified the parent star of a distant planet discovered through gravitational microlensing.

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Chandra X-ray Observatory Independently Determines Hubble Constant »» Chandra X-ray Observatory Independently Determines Hubble Constant

[Tuesday, August 8, 2006] A critically important number that specifies the expansion rate of the Universe, the so-called Hubble constant, has been independently determined using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

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U.S. Space Pioneer, UI Professor James A. Van Allen Dies »» U.S. Space Pioneer, UI Professor James A. Van Allen Dies

[Wednesday, August 9, 2006] Dr. James A. Van Allen, U.S. space pioneer and Regent Distinguished Professor of Physics in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, died this morning, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006 at the age of 91. Arrangements are pending.

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Winter Solstice on Mars: Rovers Look Forward to A Second Martian Spring »» Winter Solstice on Mars: Rovers Look Forward to A Second Martian Spring

[Wednesday, August 9, 2006] Like the fabled tortoise that, in the race with the hare, moves slowly yet accomplishes much, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has continued to make progress little by little, while essentially running in place.

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SNAP Wins NASA Support for Joint Dark Energy Mission »» SNAP Wins NASA Support for Joint Dark Energy Mission

[Wednesday, August 9, 2006] NASA has announced that it will support an advanced mission concept study for the SNAP experiment for NASA and DOE's Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM).

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Arctic nations' wealth key to management of climate change »» Arctic nations' wealth key to management of climate change

[Wednesday, August 9, 2006] Arctic nations have the wealth and scientific understanding to alter the course of global climate change, if they choose to do so, writes F.S. (Terry) Chapin III, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in a paper to be published in the journal Ambio.

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Don't Get Snookered by Internet Mars Malarkey »» Don't Get Snookered by Internet Mars Malarkey

[Wednesday, August 9, 2006] If no one has asked you about it yet, they probably will. A bogus e-mail chain letter, sometimes titled "Mars Spectacular," has been circulating around the Internet, as it did two years ago.

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1000th sungrazing comet discovered by SOHO »» 1000th sungrazing comet discovered by SOHO

[Thursday, August 10, 2006] Polish amateur comet hunter Arkadiusz Kubczak recently discovered his third comet in SOHO LASCO coronagraph images, but this one was special: the 1000th SOHO comet discovery in the Kreutz group of sungrazing comets.

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Catch the Sky Falling: Peter Jenniskens, Meteor Storm Chaser »» Catch the Sky Falling: Peter Jenniskens, Meteor Storm Chaser

[Thursday, August 10, 2006] "As a girl, I once saw a small storm of meteors (called an "outburst") while camping in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. There were more meteors than I could count, and they fell across the sky for about 2 hours that late night."

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Are We Alone? SETI Institute Science Radio: 16 August 2006 Edition: Quantum Universe »» Are We Alone? SETI Institute Science Radio: 16 August 2006 Edition: Quantum Universe

[Thursday, August 10, 2006] Few things are stranger than quantum physics - unless it's the idea that the atoms and particles that make up the universe are also components in a giant supercomputer.

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NASA Announces Post Readiness Review Press Conference »» NASA Announces Post Readiness Review Press Conference

[Thursday, August 10, 2006] NASA officials will host a news conference no earlier than 2 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, Aug. 16, following a two-day detailed assessment of the readiness of Space Shuttle Atlantis for launch. The briefing will air live on NASA TV.

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Digging Deep on Mars - An Interview with Chris McKay »» Digging Deep on Mars - An Interview with Chris McKay

[Thursday, August 10, 2006] The launch of the Mars Phoenix Lander is just a year away. The spacecraft will be aiming for the martian north pole, and if it lands successfully it will dig in snow and ice in one of the few places on Mars where scientists think life could be preserved.

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Senator Hutchison Expresses Concern at Possible International Space Station Research Suspension »» Senator Hutchison Expresses Concern at Possible International Space Station Research Suspension

[Friday, August 11, 2006] This week, Sen. Hutchison, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science and Space, in a letter to NASA Administrator Griffin, expressed concern that NASA may be considering suspension of International Space Station research for up to a year.

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Hourglass Figure Points to Magnetic Field's Role in Star Formation »» Hourglass Figure Points to Magnetic Field's Role in Star Formation

[Friday, August 11, 2006] Long predicted by theory, the Smithsonian's Submillimeter Array has found the first conclusive evidence of an hourglass-shaped magnetic field in a star formation region.

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Mars Picture of the Day: Deimos! »» Mars Picture of the Day: Deimos!

[Friday, August 11, 2006] About a month before the 129th anniversary of its discovery, on 10 July 2006, Mars Global Surveyor was pointed away from the martian surface, out toward distant Deimos.

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NASA Sets Sights on the Next Generation of Explorers »» NASA Sets Sights on the Next Generation of Explorers

[Friday, August 11, 2006] NASA's Education Office has released a new framework to work with the academic community to prepare the next generation of explorers and innovators.

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NASA Announces Crew and Cargo Transportation Partners »» NASA Announces Crew and Cargo Transportation Partners

[Monday, August 14, 2006] NASA Exploration Systems' managers will host a press conference at 4 p.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 18, to announce the organizations selected to develop and demonstrate commercial orbital transportation services.

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Association of Space Explorers Workshops on Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) Deflection Policy »» Association of Space Explorers Workshops on Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) Deflection Policy

[Monday, August 14, 2006] The first of this series of four workshops will be held at the International Space University (ISU) in Strasbourg, France from 9-12 May, 2007.

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NASA'S Spitzer Digs Up Troves of Possible Solar Systems in Orion »» NASA'S Spitzer Digs Up Troves of Possible Solar Systems in Orion

[Monday, August 14, 2006] Astronomers have long scrutinized the vast and layered clouds of the Orion nebula, an industrious star-making factory visible to the naked eye in the sword of the famous hunter constellation. Yet, Orion is still full of secrets.

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NASA ESMD Commercial Space Vehicles Lessons Learned Workshop »» NASA ESMD Commercial Space Vehicles Lessons Learned Workshop

[Monday, August 14, 2006] "NASA is preparing to release information from the last 50 years that will enable and aid the private sector in building future space vehicles."

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Surprising telescope observations shake up galactic formation theories »» Surprising telescope observations shake up galactic formation theories

[Monday, August 14, 2006] A heavy form of hydrogen created just moments after the Big Bang has been found to exist in larger quantities than expected in the Milky Way, a finding that could radically alter theories about star and galaxy formation, says a new international study.

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NASA Announces Dark Matter Discovery by Chandra X-ray Observatory »» NASA Announces Dark Matter Discovery by Chandra X-ray Observatory

[Monday, August 14, 2006] Astronomers who used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 21, to announce how dark and normal matter have been forced apart in an extraordinarily energetic collision.

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Hubble Image: Large and small stars in harmonious coexistence »» Hubble Image: Large and small stars in harmonious coexistence

[Monday, August 14, 2006] The latest photo from Hubble shows a star forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This sharp image reveals a large number of low-mass infant stars coexisting with young massive stars.

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Mars Rover Spirit Status 11 August 2006 »» Mars Rover Spirit Status 11 August 2006

[Monday, August 14, 2006] Spirit has now survived the rover's second Martian winter solstice -- the shortest day of the year with the least amount of sunlight and solar energy. Spirit is healthy and continues to make progress on its winter science campaign.

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Mars Rover Opportunity Status 11 August 2006 »» Mars Rover Opportunity Status 11 August 2006

[Monday, August 14, 2006] While Opportunity was collecting images with the panoramic camera on the rover's 902nd sol, a spacecraft anomaly caused the rover's fault protection software to interrupt operations, place the rover in a safe state, and reboot the flight software.

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The IAU draft definition of 'planet' and 'plutons' »» The IAU draft definition of 'planet' and 'plutons'

[Wednesday, August 16, 2006] The world's astronomers, under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), have concluded two years of work defining the difference between "planets" and the smaller "solar system bodies" such as comets and asteroids.

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Voyager 1: 'The Spacecraft That Could' Hits New Milestone »» Voyager 1: 'The Spacecraft That Could' Hits New Milestone

[Wednesday, August 16, 2006] Voyager 1, already the most distant human-made object in the cosmos, reaches 100 astronomical units from the sun on Tuesday, August 15 at 5:13 p.m. Eastern time (2:13 p.m. Pacific time).

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NASA's Spitzer Reveals New Wonders in the Familiar Orion Nebula »» NASA's Spitzer Reveals New Wonders in the Familiar Orion Nebula

[Wednesday, August 16, 2006] The Orion nebula is one of the most famous and easily viewed deep-sky sights. Located in the sword of Orion the Hunter, this distant cloud of gas and dust holds hundreds of young stars.

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NASA Findings Suggest Jets Bursting From Martian Ice Cap »» NASA Findings Suggest Jets Bursting From Martian Ice Cap

[Wednesday, August 16, 2006] Every spring brings violent eruptions to the south polar ice cap of Mars, according to researchers interpreting new observations by NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.

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NASA Gives Go For Space Shuttle Launch »» NASA Gives Go For Space Shuttle Launch

[Thursday, August 17, 2006] NASA senior managers on Wednesday unanimously voted to launch the Space Shuttle Atlantis on Aug. 27. Commander Brent Jett and his five crewmates are scheduled to lift off at 4:30 p.m. EDT on the STS-115 mission.

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Contact: What happens if a Signal is Found »» Contact: What happens if a Signal is Found

[Thursday, August 17, 2006] In the next two dozen years, the Allen Telescope Array will parse the nearest thousand light-years of space. If there are other occupants of this galactic neighborhood, we could turn up a signal.

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New Horizons Salutes Voyager »» New Horizons Salutes Voyager

[Thursday, August 17, 2006] As New Horizons cruised toward the edge of the asteroid belt and Jupiter, NASA's enduring Voyager 1, already Earth's farthest-flung robotic ambassador, became the first spacecraft to reach a distance of 100 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun.

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Hubble Sees Faintest Stars in a Globular Cluster »» Hubble Sees Faintest Stars in a Globular Cluster

[Thursday, August 17, 2006] NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered what astronomers are reporting as the dimmest stars ever seen in any globular star cluster. Globular clusters are spherical concentrations of hundreds of thousands of stars.

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Are We Alone? SETI Institute Science Radio: 23 August 2006 Edition: Lost and Found Astronomy »» Are We Alone? SETI Institute Science Radio: 23 August 2006 Edition: Lost and Found Astronomy

[Friday, August 18, 2006] NASA, have you checked the Lost and Found? Seven hundred boxes of original Apollo moon landing tapes have gone missing. We'll find out where the "one small step" videos might be.

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NASA Selects Crew and Cargo Transportation to Orbit Partners »» NASA Selects Crew and Cargo Transportation to Orbit Partners

[Friday, August 18, 2006] NASA selected SpaceX and Rocketplane-Kistler to develop and demonstrate commercial orbital transportation services that could open new markets and pave the way for contracts to launch and deliver crew and cargo to the ISS.

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NASA Constellation Space Suit Systems (CSSS) Industry Day Presentation on Suit Systems »» NASA Constellation Space Suit Systems (CSSS) Industry Day Presentation on Suit Systems

[Monday, August 21, 2006] NASA recently held a Constellation Space Suit Systems (CSSS) Industry Day to discuss he design, development, certification, production, and sustaining engineering of a space suit system to meet the needs of the Constellation Program.

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NASA Finds Direct Proof of Dark Matter »» NASA Finds Direct Proof of Dark Matter

[Monday, August 21, 2006] Dark matter and normal matter have been wrenched apart by the tremendous collision of two large clusters of galaxies. The discovery, using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, gives direct evidence for the existence of dark matter.

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Countdown Begins Aug. 24 for Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch »» Countdown Begins Aug. 24 for Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch

[Monday, August 21, 2006] NASA will begin the launch countdown for Space Shuttle Atlantis' STS-115 mission at 6 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 24, at the T-43 hour point.

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Is Pluto a Planet? Astronomers Vote, JHU Takes Straw Poll »» Is Pluto a Planet? Astronomers Vote, JHU Takes Straw Poll

[Monday, August 21, 2006] Is Pluto actually a planet? Or is it something else? Astronomers have been debating this issue - often, hotly -- since Pluto's discovery seven decades ago.

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Onset of Next Solar Activity Cycle Observed »» Onset of Next Solar Activity Cycle Observed

[Monday, August 21, 2006] A new telescope installed in 2004 at Kitt Peak, Arizona, to monitor the next two cycles of solar activity has recorded the onset of the next solar cycle.

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NASA Announces Florida Hurricane Research Media Briefing »» NASA Announces Florida Hurricane Research Media Briefing

[Tuesday, August 22, 2006] Media may observe a demonstration flight of the Aerosonde unmanned aerial system. This small, remotely piloted aircraft will make observations in hurricanes where the atmosphere meets the sea.

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SMART-1 on the trail of the Moon’s beginnings »» SMART-1 on the trail of the Moon’s beginnings

[Tuesday, August 22, 2006] The D-CIXS instrument on ESA's Moon mission SMART-1 has produced the first detection from orbit of calcium on the lunar surface. By doing this, the instrument has taken a step towards answering the old question: did the Moon form from part of the Earth?

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Astrobiology August 2006 issue: Seasonal Changes and Ice Melt on Mars Explain Spider Formations on Martian Surface »» Astrobiology August 2006 issue: Seasonal Changes and Ice Melt on Mars Explain Spider Formations on Martian Surface

[Tuesday, August 22, 2006] "Dark spiders" on the surface of Mars might be explained by seasonal temperature changes that melt surface ice and salt, causing erosion, according to a provocative new theory presented in the August 2006 issue (Volume 6, Number 4) issue of Astrobiology

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NASA Names New Crew Exploration Vehicle Orion »» NASA Names New Crew Exploration Vehicle Orion

[Tuesday, August 22, 2006] Orion is the vehicle NASA's Constellation Program is developing to carry a new generation of explorers back to the moon and later to Mars. Orion will succeed the space shuttle as NASA's primary vehicle for human space exploration.

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Hubble Space Telescope Image: Wispy Dust and Gas Paint Portrait of Starbirth »» Hubble Space Telescope Image: Wispy Dust and Gas Paint Portrait of Starbirth

[Wednesday, August 23, 2006] This active region of star formation in the Large Magellanic Cloud as photographed by Hubble, unveils wispy clouds of hydrogen and oxygen that swirl and mix with dust on a canvas of astronomical size. The LMC is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.

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Microscopic Passengers to Hitch Ride on Space Shuttle »» Microscopic Passengers to Hitch Ride on Space Shuttle

[Wednesday, August 23, 2006] When space shuttle Atlantis rockets into space later this week, it will take along three kinds of microbes so scientists can study how their genetic responses and their ability to cause disease change.

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21 August 2006 Email from Mike Griffin to NASA Advisory Council Members »» 21 August 2006 Email from Mike Griffin to NASA Advisory Council Members

[Wednesday, August 23, 2006] "My observation is that by "effectiveness", what the scientific community really means is, "the extent to which we are able to get NASA to do what we want them to do".

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NASA Galaxy Hunter: Huge Black Holes Stifle Star Formation »» NASA Galaxy Hunter: Huge Black Holes Stifle Star Formation

[Wednesday, August 23, 2006] Supermassive black holes in some giant galaxies create such a hostile environment, they shut down the formation of new stars, according to NASA Galaxy Evolution Explorer findings published in the August 24 issue of Nature.

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IAU 2006 General Assembly: Result of the IAU Resolution votes »» IAU 2006 General Assembly: Result of the IAU Resolution votes

[Thursday, August 24, 2006] At the second session of the 2006 International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly, which will be held 14:00 Thursday 24 August, members of the IAU will vote on the Resolutions presented below.

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Smart-1: Smackdown in the Lake of Excellence »» Smart-1: Smackdown in the Lake of Excellence

[Thursday, August 24, 2006] The European Space Agency's Smart-1 mission ends on September 3rd 2006. Appropriately for such a successful mission, its final resting place will be an area of the Moon known as the 'Lake of Excellence'.

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One-Two Particle Punch Poses Greater Risk for Astronauts »» One-Two Particle Punch Poses Greater Risk for Astronauts

[Thursday, August 24, 2006] It doesn't just matter how much radiation an astronaut is exposed to, time and the order in which charged particles strike human cells are important factors as well. That's the main finding of a study simulating radiation exposure.

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Launch Countdown Begun on Aug. 24 for Space Shuttle Atlantis and STS-115 Mission »» Launch Countdown Begun on Aug. 24 for Space Shuttle Atlantis and STS-115 Mission

[Thursday, August 24, 2006] NASA began the countdown for the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-115 at noon EDT Thursday, Aug. 24, at the T-43 hour point.

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NASA Announces Contractor for Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle »» NASA Announces Contractor for Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle

[Thursday, August 24, 2006] NASA Exploration Systems' managers will host a press conference at 4 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 31, to announce the prime contractor to design, develop, and build Orion, America's next human spacecraft.

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NASA Vodcasts Deliver Launches to Portable Media Players »» NASA Vodcasts Deliver Launches to Portable Media Players

[Thursday, August 24, 2006] For the first time, NASA is making space shuttle launch footage available to anyone who has a portable media player with video capability. A video podcast, or "vodcast," of the liftoff of Atlantis for the STS-115 mission will be available to subscribers.

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Honey, I Shrunk the Solar System »» Honey, I Shrunk the Solar System

[Thursday, August 24, 2006] If you woke up Thursday morning and sensed something was different about the world around you, you're absolutely right. Pluto is no longer a planet.

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NASA Space Shuttle Processing Status Report 25 August 2006 »» NASA Space Shuttle Processing Status Report 25 August 2006

[Friday, August 25, 2006] At Launch Pad 39B, final launch preparations continue. The payload bay doors were closed for flight last night, and loading of the fuel for the power reactant storage and distribution system is now under way.

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STS-115 Launch Postponed »» STS-115 Launch Postponed

[Saturday, August 26, 2006] The Space Shuttle Mission Management Team decided Saturday afternoon to postpone the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis for at least 24 hours to allow more time for teams to assess ground and flight systems following a strong lighting strike.

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NASA Scrubs Tuesday Shuttle Launch Attempt Due to Hurricane »» NASA Scrubs Tuesday Shuttle Launch Attempt Due to Hurricane

[Sunday, August 27, 2006] Editor's 28 Aug 7:10 am EDT update: The KSC launch site news room staff suddenly dashed out a few moments ago. Those who remain are talking about "rollback".

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Rare high-altitude clouds found on Mars »» Rare high-altitude clouds found on Mars

[Monday, August 28, 2006] Planetary scientists have discovered the highest clouds above any planetary surface. They found them above Mars using the SPICAM instrument on board Mars Express. The results are a new piece in the puzzle of how the Martian atmosphere works.

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Lightning, Hurricanes, Russians - and Space Shuttles »» Lightning, Hurricanes, Russians - and Space Shuttles

[Monday, August 28, 2006] Launching Space Shuttles has always been complicated - thousands of people and millions of parts all have to work just right. All it takes is one small thing - and a bit of bad luck - and a launch can be delayed again - and again.

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NASA Decides to Move Shuttle Atlantis Off Launch Pad »» NASA Decides to Move Shuttle Atlantis Off Launch Pad

[Tuesday, August 29, 2006] NASA has decided to roll the Space Shuttle Atlantis off its launch pad and back inside the protection of the Vehicle Assembly Building. The roll back of Atlantis is targeted to start at approximately 10:05 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

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NASA Decides To Roll Atlantis Back to its Launch Pad »» NASA Decides To Roll Atlantis Back to its Launch Pad

[Tuesday, August 29, 2006] NASA Mission Managers have decided to return Atlantis to Launch Pad 39B today. The space shuttle is expected to be back in place by about 8 p.m. EDT. The decision came as Tropical Storm Ernesto was predicted to skirt further west than first expected.

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SMART-1 'star tracker' peeks at the approaching lunar surface »» SMART-1 'star tracker' peeks at the approaching lunar surface

[Tuesday, August 29, 2006] While ESA's SMART-1 mission is running on its last orbits around the Moon before its planned lunar impact on 3 September 2006, the spacecraft 'star tracker' – or attitude camera - is taking exciting pictures of the ever approaching surface.

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Nears End of Aerobraking »» Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Nears End of Aerobraking

[Tuesday, August 29, 2006] NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has begun the final and fastest-paced portion of its "aerobraking" process of using friction with the top of Mars' atmosphere to shrink the spacecraft's orbit.

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NASA, NOAA Data Indicate Ozone Layer is Recovering »» NASA, NOAA Data Indicate Ozone Layer is Recovering

[Wednesday, August 30, 2006] A new study using NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data finds consistent evidence that Earth's ozone layer is on the mend.

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NASA satellites can see how climate change affects forests »» NASA satellites can see how climate change affects forests

[Wednesday, August 30, 2006] A NASA-funded study shows that satellites can track the growth and health of forests and detect the impact of a changing climate on them.

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AKARI's view on birth and death of stars »» AKARI's view on birth and death of stars

[Wednesday, August 30, 2006] AKARI, JAXA's infrared astronomical satellite with ESA participation, is continuing its survey of the sky and its mapping of our cosmos in infrared light. New exciting images recently taken by AKARI depict scenes from the birth and death of stars.

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Cassiopeia A - The Colorful Aftermath of a Violent Stellar Death »» Cassiopeia A - The Colorful Aftermath of a Violent Stellar Death

[Wednesday, August 30, 2006] A new image taken with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope provides a detailed look at the tattered remains of a supernova explosion known as Cassiopeia A (Cas A).

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Saturn Shine »» Saturn Shine

[Wednesday, August 30, 2006] This view looks down onto the unlit side of Saturn's ringplane. It nicely shows a near-arm/far-arm brightness asymmetry in the B ring: The near arm of the B ring is notably darker from this viewing geometry than is the far arm.

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Successfully Concludes Aerobraking »» Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Successfully Concludes Aerobraking

[Wednesday, August 30, 2006] Nearly six months after it entered orbit, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has concluded its aerobraking phase. The spacecraft had been dipping in and out of the red planet's atmosphere to adjust its orbit.

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ESA Mars Express Images: Kasei Valles outflow channel system »» ESA Mars Express Images: Kasei Valles outflow channel system

[Wednesday, August 30, 2006] These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, show the region of Kasei Valles, one of the biggest outflow channel systems on Mars. Kasei is the Japanese word for the planet Mars.

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DPS Statement on the adoption of the definition of a planet by the International Astronomical Union »» DPS Statement on the adoption of the definition of a planet by the International Astronomical Union

[Thursday, August 31, 2006] Questions have arisen over recent IAU resolutions. These concerns are not surprising, given the long and difficult history of efforts to reach agreement on just what a planet is, and the unwillingness of nature to be categorized into neat compartments.

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NASA Announces Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch Date »» NASA Announces Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch Date

[Thursday, August 31, 2006] Following a detailed inspection of Atlantis, the six-member crew has a new launch date to begin the STS-115 mission to the International Space Station. The lift-off from Kennedy is set for 12:29 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Sept. 6.

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NASA Selects Lockheed Martin To Be Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Prime Contractor »» NASA Selects Lockheed Martin To Be Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Prime Contractor

[Thursday, August 31, 2006] NASA selected Wednesday Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Bethesda, Md., as the prime contractor to design, develop, and build Orion, America's spacecraft for a new generation of explorers.

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NASA Spitzer Maps Evolution in the Large Magellanic Cloud »» NASA Spitzer Maps Evolution in the Large Magellanic Cloud

[Thursday, August 31, 2006] Astronomers have combined hundreds of thousands of Spitzer Space Telescope images into a map of the whole Large Magellanic Cloud. They see features throughout the galaxy in such sharp detail that they can count newly formed stars

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Hubble Captures A Rare Eclipse on Uranus »» Hubble Captures A Rare Eclipse on Uranus

[Thursday, August 31, 2006] This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image is a never-before-seen astronomical alignment of a moon traversing the face of Uranus, and its accompanying shadow. The white dot near the center of Uranus’ blue-green disk is the icy moon Ariel.

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Planetary Scientists and Astronomers Oppose New Planet Definition »» Planetary Scientists and Astronomers Oppose New Planet Definition

[Thursday, August 31, 2006] We, as planetary scientists and astronomers, do not agree with the IAU's definition of a planet, nor will we use it. A better definition is needed and was circulated to a small fraction of the world's astronomical research community.

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Cassini Image: Incredible Cliffs on Dione »» Cassini Image: Incredible Cliffs on Dione

[Thursday, August 31, 2006] This splendid view showcases Dione's tortured complex of bright cliffs. At lower right is the feature called Cassandra, exhibiting linear rays extending in multiple directions.

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