December 2006 Top Story Archives



Boeing and Lockheed Martin Complete United Launch Alliance Transaction »» Boeing and Lockheed Martin Complete United Launch Alliance Transaction

[Friday, December 1, 2006] The Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin Corporation today announced that they have completed the transaction combining their expendable launch vehicle businesses, forming the joint venture called United Launch Alliance, LLC (ULA).

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Continuing the Voyage: The Spirit of Endeavour  - Remarks to The Royal Society of the United Kingdom by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin »» Continuing the Voyage: The Spirit of Endeavour - Remarks to The Royal Society of the United Kingdom by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin

[Friday, December 1, 2006] "I am truly honored to have been invited to speak before this august group. The Royal Society has a long and distinguished history of supporting explorers and scientists."

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Northrop Grumman, Booz Allen Hamilton, SpaceX to Host Networking Event for Current, Future Space Exploration Leaders »» Northrop Grumman, Booz Allen Hamilton, SpaceX to Host Networking Event for Current, Future Space Exploration Leaders

[Sunday, December 3, 2006] University students, young professionals and first-level managers from NASA and the aerospace industry will be able to meet and share their views on the nation's space exploration program with space leaders from NASA and the aerospace industry.

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Sino Setback - Advanced Chinese Space Technology Initiative Is Off To A Disastrous Start »» Sino Setback - Advanced Chinese Space Technology Initiative Is Off To A Disastrous Start

[Sunday, December 3, 2006] The catastrophic breakdown of Sinosat 2 is the worst spacecraft failure in the history of the Chinese space program and a major setback to China's development of a new generation of larger more powerful civilian and military satellites.

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Messenger Lines Up For Its Second Venus Flyby »» Messenger Lines Up For Its Second Venus Flyby

[Monday, December 4, 2006] MESSENGER's Trajectory Correction Maneuver 13 (TCM-13), its first since its maiden pass at Venus in October, was successfully executed last Saturday and will help keep the spacecraft on track for its second flyby of Venus on June 5, 2007.

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Opportunity Status 1 December 2006 »» Opportunity Status 1 December 2006

[Monday, December 4, 2006] Opportunity is healthy and is driving to the promontory called "Cape St.Mary." From that vantage point, Opportunity will photograph the sedimentary layers in the northeast-facing cliff of "Cape Verde".

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Aviation Week Exclusive: Water Spotted on Surface of Mars »» Aviation Week Exclusive: Water Spotted on Surface of Mars

[Monday, December 4, 2006] According to an item first posted by Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine: "NASA is ready to announce major new findings about the presence of water currently emerging onto the surface of Mars.

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NASA To Evaluate Non-recoverable First Stage for Ares I Launch Vehicle »» NASA To Evaluate Non-recoverable First Stage for Ares I Launch Vehicle

[Monday, December 4, 2006] Some of the people working on the design of NASA's new Ares I launch vehicle want to delete the requirement to recover and reuse the rocket's first stage. The reason: the weight of hardware required to make recovery possible - and practical.

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NASA: Global Strategy for Exploring Moon Unveiled »» NASA: Global Strategy for Exploring Moon Unveiled

[Monday, December 4, 2006] NASA on Monday unveiled the initial elements of the Global Exploration Strategy and a proposed U.S. lunar architecture, two critical tools for achieving the nation's vision of returning humans to the moon.

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NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Photographs Spirit and Vikings on the Ground »» NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Photographs Spirit and Vikings on the Ground

[Monday, December 4, 2006] New images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show three additional NASA spacecraft that have landed on Mars: the Spirit rover active on the surface since January 2004 and the two Viking landers that successfully reached the surface in 1976.

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NASA Schedules Briefing to Announce Significant Find on Mars »» NASA Schedules Briefing to Announce Significant Find on Mars

[Monday, December 4, 2006] NASA hosts a news briefing at 1 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Dec. 6, to present new science results from the Mars Global Surveyor. The briefing will take place in the NASA Headquarters auditorium.

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Major Solar Activity Underway »» Major Solar Activity Underway

[Tuesday, December 5, 2006] A strong radio blackout (R3) occurred today at 05/1035 UTC due to a major flare on the Sun. The source of the flare was NOAA active sunspot Region 930, which was numbered yesterday as it made its appearance on the visible side of the Sun.

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Global Exploration Strategy and Lunar Architecture Briefing (transcript) »» Global Exploration Strategy and Lunar Architecture Briefing (transcript)

[Wednesday, December 6, 2006] "The next logical question, after you have made a determination about an outpost, is location, and what we are looking at is polar locations, both the North Pole and the South Pole. "

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NASA Images Suggest Water Still Flows in Brief Spurts on Mars »» NASA Images Suggest Water Still Flows in Brief Spurts on Mars

[Wednesday, December 6, 2006] NASA photographs have revealed bright new deposits seen in two gullies on Mars that suggest water carried sediment through them sometime during the past seven years.

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Weather Forecast Takes Center Stage For STS-116 Launch »» Weather Forecast Takes Center Stage For STS-116 Launch

[Wednesday, December 6, 2006] No technical issues should affect Thursday's planned launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding announced during a countdown status briefing this morning at Kennedy Space Center

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NASA Research Reveals Climate Warming Reduces Ocean Food Supply »» NASA Research Reveals Climate Warming Reduces Ocean Food Supply

[Wednesday, December 6, 2006] In a NASA study, scientists have concluded that when Earth's climate warms, there is a reduction in the ocean's primary food supply. This poses a potential threat to fisheries and ecosystems.

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Uncooperative Weather Forces Launch Postponement to Saturday »» Uncooperative Weather Forces Launch Postponement to Saturday

[Thursday, December 7, 2006]

The launch of Space Shuttle Discovery was scrubbed Thursday after poor weather conditions spoiled the attempt at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Transcript of a Speech Given by NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale the AIAA 2nd Space Exploration Conference »» Transcript of a Speech Given by NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale the AIAA 2nd Space Exploration Conference

[Friday, December 8, 2006] " Today I'd like to tell you about the Global Exploration Strategy – what it is, what it means and how it will improve our efforts to explore space including returning to the Moon and then going on to Mars and beyond."

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Researchers Identify Driver for Near-Earth Space Weather »» Researchers Identify Driver for Near-Earth Space Weather

[Friday, December 8, 2006] New findings indicate that the aurora and other near-Earth space weather are driven by the rate at which the Earth's and Sun's magnetic fields connect, or merge, and not by the solar wind's electric field as was previously assumed.

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Telescope spots solar tsunami »» Telescope spots solar tsunami

[Friday, December 8, 2006] The prototype of a new solar patrol telescope in New Mexico recorded a tsunami-like shock wave rolling across the visible face of the Sun following a major flare even on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2006.

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NASA Telescope Sees Black Hole Munch on a Star »» NASA Telescope Sees Black Hole Munch on a Star

[Friday, December 8, 2006] A giant black hole has been caught red-handed dipping into a cosmic cookie jar of stars by Galaxy Evolution Explorer. This is the first time astronomers have seen the whole process of a black hole eating a star, from its first to nearly final bites.

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Magnetic whirlpools feed Earth's magnetosphere »» Magnetic whirlpools feed Earth's magnetosphere

[Friday, December 8, 2006] Giant whirlpools of electrically charged gas, some 40 000 kilometres across, have been witnessed above the Earth by a team of European and American scientists.

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Do Galaxies Follow Darwinian Evolution? »» Do Galaxies Follow Darwinian Evolution?

[Friday, December 8, 2006] Using VIMOS on ESO's Very Large Telescope, a team of French and Italian astronomers have shown the strong influence the environment exerts on the way galaxies form and evolve.

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AIP FYI #139: New Outlook for Climate Change on Capitol Hill »» AIP FYI #139: New Outlook for Climate Change on Capitol Hill

[Friday, December 8, 2006] Room 406 of the Dirksen Building will be the setting for one of the most dramatic changes that will occur on Capitol Hill when the new Congress convenes in January. This is the hearing room of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

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Preparations Continue for STS-116 Launch »» Preparations Continue for STS-116 Launch

[Saturday, December 9, 2006] NASA officials have set the next launch attempt for tonight at 8:47 p.m. EST. Shuttle weather forecasters anticipate that a cold front will linger in the area this evening, limiting chances for liftoff to 30 percent.

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Space Shuttle Discovery  Lifts Off »» Space Shuttle Discovery Lifts Off

[Saturday, December 9, 2006] Space Shuttle Discovery and a crew of seven astronauts lifted off from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B at 8:47 p.m. EST, kicking off the most complicated and challenging mission to the International Space Station to date.

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Observations from the Second Space Exploration Conference: Listening to the Next Generation »» Observations from the Second Space Exploration Conference: Listening to the Next Generation

[Sunday, December 10, 2006] Keeping past achievements of NASA in mind is important, but it should not define the agency. To attract the future generation of explorers, NASA needs to establish itself as the agency of the future, not the agency of the past.

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iPod Sighting Aboard the International Space Station »» iPod Sighting Aboard the International Space Station

[Sunday, December 10, 2006] If you look carefully at the large version of this image you will see an iPod attached to a Belkin external battery pack on the equipment rack directly in front of Thomas Reiter.

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NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 10 December 2006 - 9 p.m. CST »» NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 10 December 2006 - 9 p.m. CST

[Sunday, December 10, 2006] The Space Shuttle Discovery crew spent much of its first full day in space using the shuttle's robotic arm and an extension boom-mounted sensor system to inspect heat shielding on Discovery's wing leading edges and nose.

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Heavyweight Stars Light Up Nebula NGC 6357 »» Heavyweight Stars Light Up Nebula NGC 6357

[Monday, December 11, 2006] The small open star cluster Pismis 24 lies in the core of the large emission nebula NGC 6357 in Sagittarius, about 8,000 light-years away from Earth. Some of the stars in this cluster are extremely massive and emit intense ultraviolet radiation.

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Regional nuclear war could devastate global climate »» Regional nuclear war could devastate global climate

[Monday, December 11, 2006] A small-scale, regional nuclear war could produce as many fatalities as World War II and disrupt the global climate for a decade or more, with environmental effects that could be devastating for everyone on Earth, university researchers have found.

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Radar Reveals View Of Land Beneath Ice »» Radar Reveals View Of Land Beneath Ice

[Monday, December 11, 2006] In the first test of a new radar instrument, scientists have seen through more than a mile of Greenland ice to reveal an image of land that has been hidden for millions of years.

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With computers, astronomers show predicted present day distribution of elusive first stars »» With computers, astronomers show predicted present day distribution of elusive first stars

[Monday, December 11, 2006] With the help of enormous computer simulations, astronomers have now shown that the first generation of stars should be distributed evenly throughout our galaxy, deepening the long-standing mystery about these missing stellar ancestors.

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New instrumentation helps scientists better predict space weather »» New instrumentation helps scientists better predict space weather

[Monday, December 11, 2006] New instrumentation and observing techniques, being developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, are helping scientists better understand and predict space weather.

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Carbon dioxide emissions predicted to reduce density of Earth's outermost atmosphere by 2017 »» Carbon dioxide emissions predicted to reduce density of Earth's outermost atmosphere by 2017

[Monday, December 11, 2006] Impacts of climate change seen in both upper and lower atmospheres Carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels will produce a 3 percent reduction in the density of Earth's outermost atmosphere by 2017.

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THEMIS Arrives in Florida for Launch Preparations »» THEMIS Arrives in Florida for Launch Preparations

[Monday, December 11, 2006] NASA's Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions During Substorms (THEMIS) spacecraft arrived in Florida today, to begin final testing and launch preparations.

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ESO Council Gives Green Light to Detailed Study of the European Extremely Large Telescope »» ESO Council Gives Green Light to Detailed Study of the European Extremely Large Telescope

[Monday, December 11, 2006] European astronomy has received a tremendous boost with the decision from ESO's governing body to proceed with detailed studies for the European Extremely Large Telescope.

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Discovery Docks With Space Station »» Discovery Docks With Space Station

[Monday, December 11, 2006] Space Shuttle Discovery's arrival this afternoon sets the stage for a change aboard the International Space Station. Discovery, which docked at 5:12 p.m. EST, delivered a new crew member to the station.

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Massive Mountain Range Imaged on Saturn's Moon Titan »» Massive Mountain Range Imaged on Saturn's Moon Titan

[Tuesday, December 12, 2006] The tallest mountains ever seen on Titan -- coated with layers of organic material and blanketed by clouds -- have been imaged on Saturn's moon Titan by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

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Science Democrats Track NASA Foreign Contract Reporting »» Science Democrats Track NASA Foreign Contract Reporting

[Tuesday, December 12, 2006] The GAO has determined that NASA will not be able to issue its required annual report to Congress in January 2007 regarding their contracts and subcontracts performed overseas, as well as on NASA purchases from foreign entities. 

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iPod Sighting Aboard Space Shuttle Discovery »» iPod Sighting Aboard Space Shuttle Discovery

[Tuesday, December 12, 2006] If you look at the left hand side of this image, dated Monday, 11 December, you will see an iPod and a Belkin external battery pack velcroed to a panel next to the Discovery's toilet located in the Shuttle's middeck.

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NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 12 December 2006 - 10:30 p.m. CST »» NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 12 December 2006 - 10:30 p.m. CST

[Wednesday, December 13, 2006] The International Space Station is now two tons heavier, with the installation today of its newest truss segment during the flight's first spacewalk.

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If You Quit The NASA Astronaut Corps You Lose Your JSC Badge »» If You Quit The NASA Astronaut Corps You Lose Your JSC Badge

[Wednesday, December 13, 2006] "After October 1, I emailed the administrative assistant in the astronaut office to find out what I needed to do in order to get a new badge. I was told that I could not get one."

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NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 13 December 2006 - 10:30 a.m. CST »» NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 13 December 2006 - 10:30 a.m. CST

[Wednesday, December 13, 2006] Retracting a solar array wing that has been extended in space for six years will highlight the activities aboard the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle Discovery today.

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Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity 13 Dec 2006 »» Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity 13 Dec 2006

[Wednesday, December 13, 2006] The geomagnetic field is expected to reach major to severe storm levels. Activity from the CME observed early on 13 December is expected to impact the geomagnetic field by mid to late UTC on day 1 (14 December) of the forecast period.

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NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 13 December 2006 - 11:30 p.m. CST »» NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 13 December 2006 - 11:30 p.m. CST

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] The first phase of the electrical and thermal makeover of the ISS was completed tonight as the outpost's newest solar arrays began rotating to follow the sun and ammonia flowed into the station's permanent cooling system for the first time.

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NASA JPL Internal Memo: Hold Order: NASA Inspector General Investigation of Censorship »» NASA JPL Internal Memo: Hold Order: NASA Inspector General Investigation of Censorship

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] "All records referring or relating to NASA practices or policies, past or current, affecting dissemination of scientific information to the public and the media must be preserved. "

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Hot stuff on Venus! Venus Express sees right down to the hell-hot surface »» Hot stuff on Venus! Venus Express sees right down to the hell-hot surface

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] Thanks to ESA's Venus Express data, scientists obtained the first large-area temperature maps of the southern hemisphere of the inhospitable, lead-melting surface of Venus.

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Mars Express scientists find a different Mars underneath »» Mars Express scientists find a different Mars underneath

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] Observations by MARSIS, the first sub-surface sounding radar used to explore a planet, strongly suggest that ancient impact craters lie buried beneath the smooth, low plains of the northern hemisphere of Mars. The technique uses echoes of radio waves that

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NASA Spacecraft Read Layered Clues to Changes on Mars »» NASA Spacecraft Read Layered Clues to Changes on Mars

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] Some of the first radar and imaging results from NASA's newest Mars spacecraft, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, show details in layers of ice-rich deposits near the poles.

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Remarks on The President's National Space Policy by Robert Joseph, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security »» Remarks on The President's National Space Policy by Robert Joseph, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] "I would like to focus on what has remained consistent and what is new in this policy statement. ... I will talk about the threats that face us as we expand our use of space and what the new policy proposes to do about those threats."

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NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 14 December 2006 - 10:30 a.m. CST »» NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 14 December 2006 - 10:30 a.m. CST

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] The second spacewalk for Discovery's crew members is scheduled for this afternoon. During the spacewalk, set to start about 2:12 p.m. CST, Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang will begin to rewire the station?s power system.

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NOAA SEC Space Weather Advisory Bulletin #06-5: Geomagnetic Storm in Progress »» NOAA SEC Space Weather Advisory Bulletin #06-5: Geomagnetic Storm in Progress

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] A solar flare has produced strong radio blackouts and a solar radiation storm. A large Earth-directed coronal mass ejection was also observed with this event. Strong to severe geomagnetic storming is expected to last through 15 December.

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Major NASA - Google Announcement Planned »» Major NASA - Google Announcement Planned

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] NASA and Google will be making a joint announcement of a new collaboration very soon at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California.

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University of Texas Astronomer Explores Planet Formation Around Our Galaxy's Smallest, Most Abundant Stars »» University of Texas Astronomer Explores Planet Formation Around Our Galaxy's Smallest, Most Abundant Stars

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] One interesting trend that has emerged from studies of the Sun-like hosts to Jupiter-mass planets is the larger amount of "metals" - that is, elements heavier than hydrogen and helium - in their atmospheres compared to the Sun's atmosphere.

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What's causing all the commotion on Enceladus? »» What's causing all the commotion on Enceladus?

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] Last year, when the Cassini spacecraft discovered an enormous plume erupting on Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons, scientists speculated that liquid water lay at shallow depths beneath the icy surface.

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Unlocking the frozen secrets of comet Wild 2 »» Unlocking the frozen secrets of comet Wild 2

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] Although years of work remain to fully decipher the secrets of comet Wild 2, researchers are sure that it contains some of the most primitive and exotic chemical structures ever studied in a laboratory.

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NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 14 December 2006 - 8:30 p.m. CST »» NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 14 December 2006 - 8:30 p.m. CST

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] Two spacewalking electricians completed half of STS-116's rewiring today, and when flight controllers threw the switch, the lights inside the International Space Station turned on again without a hitch.

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Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity 14 Dec 2006 »» Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity 14 Dec 2006

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected to range from active to major storm levels for 15 December. This activity is due to the CME observed on 13 December. Unsettled to active conditions are expected for 16 and 17 December.

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Stardust Mission Findings Override Previous Beliefs »» Stardust Mission Findings Override Previous Beliefs

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] Contrary to a popular scientific notion, there was enough mixing in the early solar system to transport material from the sun's sizzling neighborhood and deposit it in icy deep-space comets.

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Live from the International Polar Year! Webinar with the Oden Expedition »» Live from the International Polar Year! Webinar with the Oden Expedition

[Thursday, December 14, 2006] Join Teachers Ute Kaden and Allan Miller live from the Oden Icebreaker en route to Antarctica!

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Human Space Flight Requirements for Crew and Space Flight Participants »» Human Space Flight Requirements for Crew and Space Flight Participants

[Friday, December 15, 2006] The FAA is establishing requirements for human space flight as required by the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, including rules on crew qualifications and training, and informed consent for crew and space flight participants.

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ESA mission controllers react to solar flare »» ESA mission controllers react to solar flare

[Friday, December 15, 2006] An energetic storm on the Sun has forced ESA mission controllers to react to anomalies or take action to avoid damage to spacecraft. Several missions, including Integral, Cluster and Envisat, felt the storm's effects.

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New Launch Target Date Set for NASA's GeneSat-1 Satellite »» New Launch Target Date Set for NASA's GeneSat-1 Satellite

[Friday, December 15, 2006] NASA's GeneSat-1 is ready to ride an Air Force rocket into Earth orbit on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.

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NASA Looking for Future Explorers for Educational Challenge »» NASA Looking for Future Explorers for Educational Challenge

[Friday, December 15, 2006] NASA is searching for the next generation of space explorers to participate in the fun, exciting and educational challenge of designing and building their own version of NASA's lunar rover or "moonbuggy" to compete in NASA's 14th Great Moonbuggy Race.

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NASA's GeneSat-1 Reaches Orbit on Air Force Rocket »» NASA's GeneSat-1 Reaches Orbit on Air Force Rocket

[Saturday, December 16, 2006] NASA's GeneSat-1 rode an Air Force rocket into Earth orbit on Dec. 16, 2006 at 4 a.m. PST (7 a.m. EST) from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.

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NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 16 December 2006 - 10 a.m. CST »» NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 16 December 2006 - 10 a.m. CST

[Saturday, December 16, 2006] The third spacewalk of Discovery's mission to the International Space Station is scheduled to begin at 1:37 p.m. CST to complete the rewiring of the orbiting laboratory's power system.

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Astronauts Rewire Station, Fourth Spacewalk Approved »» Astronauts Rewire Station, Fourth Spacewalk Approved

[Sunday, December 17, 2006] The STS-116 crew completed the rewiring of the ISS power system. Robert Curbeam and Sunita Williams relocated debris shield panels, attached a grapple fixture and performed a test on the partially retracted solar array before concluding the excursion.

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On-Orbit Station Construction Continues »» On-Orbit Station Construction Continues

[Sunday, December 17, 2006] The ISS grew Tuesday when the STS-116 crew installed the P5 integrated truss segment. The construction work was performed by STS-116 spacewalkers Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang and robot arm operators Joan Higginbotham and Sunita Williams.

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A Hitchhiker's Guide to Astrobiology »» A Hitchhiker's Guide to Astrobiology

[Sunday, December 17, 2006] "You're an astrobiologist standing in the centre of a vast, empty expanse of rock and dust pockmarked with impact craters. There's no water here, no life, but your task is to collect data important for the study of life in the Universe."

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Mission Status Report: NASA's Orbiting GeneSat-1 Radios Date to Team on Earth »» Mission Status Report: NASA's Orbiting GeneSat-1 Radios Date to Team on Earth

[Sunday, December 17, 2006] NASA's GeneSat-1 satellite continues to orbit Earth, and researchers are receiving radioed data from the spacecraft. It was launched Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.

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NASA and Google to Bring Space Exploration Down to Earth »» NASA and Google to Bring Space Exploration Down to Earth

[Monday, December 18, 2006] NASA Ames Research Center and Google have signed a Space Act Agreement that establishes a relationship to work on a variety of technical problems ranging from large-scale data management and massively distributed computing, to human-computer interfaces.

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OMB Deputy Director Johnson Thinks NASA's Mission Statements are »» OMB Deputy Director Johnson Thinks NASA's Mission Statements are "Baloney"

[Monday, December 18, 2006] Based on some comments made recently by OMB Director Clay Johnson, there is not a lot of enthusiasm for what NASA is doing - especially the Vision for Space Exploration - at OMB.

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NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 18 December 2006 - 10 a.m. CST »» NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 18 December 2006 - 10 a.m. CST

[Monday, December 18, 2006] Discovery and International Space Station crew members will conduct their fourth spacewalk of the week today, an excursion aimed at freeing a snagged, partially retracted station solar array so it will fully fold properly.

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Mission Status Report: NASA Starts Experiment on Orbiting GeneSat-1 Satellite »» Mission Status Report: NASA Starts Experiment on Orbiting GeneSat-1 Satellite

[Monday, December 18, 2006] At 6:26 a.m. PST, Dec. 18, 2006, the GeneSat-1 status report noted that, "All systems are functioning normally, and we have full two-way radio control. It has been verified that we are collecting experiment data."

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NASA Telescope Picks Up Glow of Universe's First Objects »» NASA Telescope Picks Up Glow of Universe's First Objects

[Monday, December 18, 2006] New observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope strongly suggest that infrared light detected in a prior study originated from clumps of the very first objects of the universe.

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NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 18 December 2006 - 8 p.m. CST »» NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 18 December 2006 - 8 p.m. CST

[Monday, December 18, 2006] Space Shuttle Discovery Astronauts Bob Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang guided the port overhead solar array wing neatly inside its blanket box during a 6-hour, 38-minute spacewalk.

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STS-116 Leaves New Truss Segment, Crew Member With Station »» STS-116 Leaves New Truss Segment, Crew Member With Station

[Tuesday, December 19, 2006] The STS-116 crew’s stay at the International Space Station came to an end Tuesday when Space Shuttle Discovery undocked at 5:10 p.m. EST.

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NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 19 December 2006 - 7 p.m. CST »» NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 19 December 2006 - 7 p.m. CST

[Wednesday, December 20, 2006] Crews aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station bid one another farewell at 4:10 p.m. CST today, wrapping up eight days of docked operations.

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Astronomers Discover New Kind of Black-Hole Explosion »» Astronomers Discover New Kind of Black-Hole Explosion

[Wednesday, December 20, 2006] Scientists have discovered what appears to be a new kind of cosmic explosion -- a "hybrid gamma-ray burst" -- which will be the subject of four articles to be published in the journal Nature on 21 December 2006.

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New Type of Black-Hole Explosion Has Astrophysicists Wondering About Its Origin »» New Type of Black-Hole Explosion Has Astrophysicists Wondering About Its Origin

[Wednesday, December 20, 2006] Scientists are announcing this week their detection of a June 14 gamma-ray burst that probably signals a hitherto undetected type of cosmic explosion.

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The Dark Side of Nature: the Crime was Almost Perfect -  VLT Uncovers New Way to Form Black Hole »» The Dark Side of Nature: the Crime was Almost Perfect - VLT Uncovers New Way to Form Black Hole

[Wednesday, December 20, 2006] Nature has again thrown astronomers for a loop. Just when they thought they understood how gamma-ray bursts formed, they have uncovered what appears to be evidence for a new kind of cosmic explosion.

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NASA Space Station Status Report 20 December 2006 »» NASA Space Station Status Report 20 December 2006

[Wednesday, December 20, 2006] Aboard the International Space Station, the newly comprised Expedition 14 crew, Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineers Mikhail Tyurin and Suni Williams, enjoyed their first full day together after Discovery's departure yesterday.

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President Bush Signs Executive Order Establishing National Aeronautics Research and Development Policy »» President Bush Signs Executive Order Establishing National Aeronautics Research and Development Policy

[Thursday, December 21, 2006] President Bush signed an Executive Order establishing the nation’s first Aeronautics Research and Development Policy.

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NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 21 December 2006 - 11:00 a.m. CST »» NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 21 December 2006 - 11:00 a.m. CST

[Thursday, December 21, 2006] Fuglesang and Higginbotham will deploy the third of three small satellites from Discovery's cargo bay today. The first two were successfully pushed into space Wednesday

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NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery Set to Land Friday »» NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery Set to Land Friday

[Thursday, December 21, 2006] Commander Mark Polansky and his crew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery will complete their 13-day mission to the International Space Station Friday, Dec. 22. NASA will choose one of three potential landing sites based on weather conditions.

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COROT space mission ready to search out new planets and map the interior of stars »» COROT space mission ready to search out new planets and map the interior of stars

[Thursday, December 21, 2006] The COROT mission is scheduled for launch on the 27th December 2006, from Baikonur in Kazakhstan. COROT will detect planets orbiting around other stars and probe the secrets of stellar interiors as never before.

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ESO Releases 256 Million Pixel Image of Immense Stellar Factory »» ESO Releases 256 Million Pixel Image of Immense Stellar Factory

[Thursday, December 21, 2006] The Tarantula Nebula is thought to contain more than half a million times the mass of the Sun in gas and this vast, blazing labyrinth hosts some of the most massive stars known.

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Researchers identify a 'heartbeat' in Earth's climate »» Researchers identify a 'heartbeat' in Earth's climate

[Thursday, December 21, 2006] A few years ago, an international team of researchers went to the middle of the Pacific Ocean and drilled down five kilometers below sea level in an effort to uncover secrets about the earth's climate history.

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NASA Internal Memo: Preliminary Assessment - Implications of Full-Year FY 2007 Continuing Appropriation for NASA »» NASA Internal Memo: Preliminary Assessment - Implications of Full-Year FY 2007 Continuing Appropriation for NASA

[Thursday, December 21, 2006] "NASA has been informed by Committee staff that the assumption for the full-year FY 2007 joint resolution is expected to be the "current rate," defined as FY 2006 enacted levels, minus FY 2006 emergency supplemental appropriations."

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NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 21 December 2006 - 6 p.m. CST »» NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 21 December 2006 - 6 p.m. CST

[Friday, December 22, 2006] Discovery's astronauts completed preparations for a planned return to Earth on Friday and received word from Mission Control that their final inspection showed the shuttle's heat shield is in good shape.

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First Images From Hinode Offer New Clues About Our Violent Sun »» First Images From Hinode Offer New Clues About Our Violent Sun

[Friday, December 22, 2006] Instruments aboard a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency satellite named Hinode, or "Sunrise," are returning extraordinary new images of our sun.

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NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 22 December 2006 - 5 p.m. CST »» NASA Space Shuttle Status Report 22 December 2006 - 5 p.m. CST

[Friday, December 22, 2006] The crew of Space Shuttle Discovery made it home in time for Christmas, gliding to a perfect landing as the sun set over NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Discovery touched down on Runway 15 of the Shuttle Landing Facility at 4:32 p.m. CST.

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Metal Ring Round White Dwarf Solves Missing Planets Puzzle »» Metal Ring Round White Dwarf Solves Missing Planets Puzzle

[Friday, December 22, 2006] Astrophysicists have found an unusual ring of metal-rich gas orbiting very close around a white dwarf star. The presence of the ring helps solve a problem for astronomers who have been puzzled by the apparent absence of planets around white dwarf stars.

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The Mathematics of Cloaking - New analysis improves methods to render objects invisible »» The Mathematics of Cloaking - New analysis improves methods to render objects invisible

[Tuesday, December 26, 2006] Theorists who first created the mathematics that describe the behavior of the "invisibility cloak" have revealed a new analysis that may extend the current cloak's powers, enabling it to hide even actively radiating objects like a flashlight.

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NASA's Top Exploration and Discovery Stories of the Year »» NASA's Top Exploration and Discovery Stories of the Year

[Wednesday, December 27, 2006] NASA moved forward in 2006 to extend humanity's exploration of the solar system and learn more about the universe and our home planet.

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Opportunity Status 22 December 2006 »» Opportunity Status 22 December 2006

[Wednesday, December 27, 2006] Opportunity is traversing the crater rim near an alcove known as "Bottomless Bay," assessing whether it might eventually serve as an entry point, and collecting images of the crater's interior cliffs.

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Asteroid Detection and Science »» Asteroid Detection and Science

[Wednesday, December 27, 2006] They are the celestial equivalent of sonograms and chronicle the exo-planetary comings-and-goings of some of Earth's least known, most nomadic, and at times most impactful neighbors - asteroids.

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COROT is on its way »» COROT is on its way

[Wednesday, December 27, 2006] Launched today from Kazakhstan, the unique astronomy mission COROT is on its way. Its twin goals are to detect exoplanets orbiting around other stars and to probe the mysteries of stellar interiors as never before.

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Update From Bigelow Aerospace »» Update From Bigelow Aerospace

[Wednesday, December 27, 2006] In the best Bigelow Aerospace tradition of making spaceflight fun, a solitaire game with a Bigelow Aerospace twist has been launched today.

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NASA Mars Team Teaches Old Rovers New Tricks to Kick Off Year Four »» NASA Mars Team Teaches Old Rovers New Tricks to Kick Off Year Four

[Thursday, December 28, 2006] The unexpected longevity of Spirit and Opportunity is giving the space agency a chance to field-test on Mars some new capabilities useful both to these missions and future rovers.

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NASA Cassini Mission: A Journey in Images Through 2006 »» NASA Cassini Mission: A Journey in Images Through 2006

[Friday, December 29, 2006] Saturn's rings are an optical illusion on a cosmic scale. Far from solid, they're actually a blizzard of water-ice particles mixed with dust and rock fragments. The Cassini mission has already captured amazing views of this dynamic system.

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Europeans psych themselves up for a trip to Mars »» Europeans psych themselves up for a trip to Mars

[Friday, December 29, 2006] Last December a second Italian-French crew took up residence in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. They will stay there for over a year. The aim: to help the European Space Agency (ESA) with preparations for a human mission to Mars.

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BLAST off: Balloon-borne instrument to probe far-off galaxies »» BLAST off: Balloon-borne instrument to probe far-off galaxies

[Friday, December 29, 2006] A balloon-borne telescope should help cosmologists squint into the submillimeter wavelength so they can finally get a better picture of star formation in distant galaxies as well as those in our own backyard.

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