December 2007 Top Story Archives



ESA Mars Express Image: Noctis Labyrinthus, labyrinth of the night »» ESA Mars Express Image: Noctis Labyrinthus, labyrinth of the night

[Saturday, December 1, 2007] These images taken by the High-Resolution Stereo Camera onboard Mars Express imaged the Noctis Labyrinthus region, the "labyrinth of the night" on Mars.

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In the cold of the night »» In the cold of the night

[Saturday, December 1, 2007] So what happens when you turn off the lights in Antarctica? John Priscu and his team of polar scientists plan to stay until April to find out.

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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 2 December 2007 »» NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 2 December 2007

[Sunday, December 2, 2007] All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Sunday -- off-duty day for CDR Whitson, FE-1 Malenchenko and FE-2 Tani. Ahead: Week 7 of Increment 16.

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History Making Moon Mission To Be Unveiled December 6th »» History Making Moon Mission To Be Unveiled December 6th

[Sunday, December 2, 2007] The first team to complete registration for the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE will unveil its plans on December 6th at the Space Investment Summit in San Jose, California.

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Were The First Stars Dark? »» Were The First Stars Dark?

[Monday, December 3, 2007] Perhaps the first stars in the newborn universe did not shine, but instead were invisible "dark stars" 400 to 200,000 times wider than the sun and powered by the annihilation of mysterious dark matter, a University of Utah study concludes.

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Questioning Martian Life »» Questioning Martian Life

[Monday, December 3, 2007] "Q: Looking for signs of life outside the Earth is one the most exciting ventures mankind is undertaking. However, most planets in the Solar System seem pretty inhospitable. What make you think that Mars is - or was - hosting life?"

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James Webb Space Telescope Marks Successful Completion of Optical Telescope Element Design Review »» James Webb Space Telescope Marks Successful Completion of Optical Telescope Element Design Review

[Tuesday, December 4, 2007] A preliminary design review has concluded and verified the integrated performance of all subsystems in the Optical Telescope Element on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

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Challenger Center for Space Science Education Names NASA Veteran William Readdy As Next Board Chairman »» Challenger Center for Space Science Education Names NASA Veteran William Readdy As Next Board Chairman

[Tuesday, December 4, 2007] Challenger Center for Space Science Education is pleased to announce that in January 2008 William Readdy will assume the important leadership role, succeeding astronaut and business executive, Dr. Joseph Allen, Ph.D. as chairman of the board.

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How White Dwarfs Get Their Kicks »» How White Dwarfs Get Their Kicks

[Tuesday, December 4, 2007] NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is providing strong evidence that white dwarfs, the burned-out relics of stars, are given a "kick" when they form.

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NASA Launches New and Expanded Agency Web Site »» NASA Launches New and Expanded Agency Web Site

[Tuesday, December 4, 2007] As the agency commemorates its 50th anniversary, NASA has launched "NASA.gov 5.0," the first major redesign of its primary Web site in more than four years. The new design goes beyond a cosmetic facelift.

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(Fake) NASA Internal Email From Mike »» (Fake) NASA Internal Email From Mike "Grinch" Griffin: The Twelve Days of Christmas and the Vision for Space Exploration

[Tuesday, December 4, 2007] With potential budget and performance challenges in implementing the Vision for Space Exploration, it will be necessary to make some changes to the traditional twelve days of Christmas. All organizations are asked to implement the following immediately:

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SOHO - keeping an eye on the Sun for 12 years »» SOHO - keeping an eye on the Sun for 12 years

[Tuesday, December 4, 2007] The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) celebrated its twelfth launch anniversary on 2 December 2007. The satellite has witnessed the Sun change through almost a complete solar cycle - from quiet to stormy, and back again.

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Jules Verne ATV given its 'wings' »» Jules Verne ATV given its 'wings'

[Tuesday, December 4, 2007] The next time Jules Verne ATV's four solar arrays are fully deployed, giving the vehicle a total span of 22.3 m, will be in early 2008, at 28 000 km/h over the South Pacific Ocean.

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The European Columbus space laboratory set to reach ISS »» The European Columbus space laboratory set to reach ISS

[Tuesday, December 4, 2007] With NASA's announcement of the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on 6 December, ESA astronauts Hans Schlegel, from Germany, and Leopold Eyharts, from France, are set to carry ESA's Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station.

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The lunar north pole - SMART-1 mosaic »» The lunar north pole - SMART-1 mosaic

[Wednesday, December 5, 2007] A new map obtained with SMART-1 data shows the geography and illumination of the lunar north pole. Such maps will be of great use for future lunar explorers.

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Odd Little Star has Magnetic Personality »» Odd Little Star has Magnetic Personality

[Wednesday, December 5, 2007] A dwarf star with a surprisingly magnetic personality and a huge hot spot covering half its surface area is showing astronomers that life as a cool dwarf is not necessarily as simple and quiet as they once assumed.

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Where will Orion Land? NASA Speaks Out of Both Sides of Its Mouth »» Where will Orion Land? NASA Speaks Out of Both Sides of Its Mouth

[Wednesday, December 5, 2007] Last week I began to receive mutliple reports from NASA sources that the Constellation program has baselined a water landing for the Orion spacecraft. Alas, some at NASA confirm this publicly while others publicly deny it.

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NASA to Use Balloon Flotilla to Study Radiation That Affects Earth »» NASA to Use Balloon Flotilla to Study Radiation That Affects Earth

[Wednesday, December 5, 2007] A NASA project will use more than 40 high altitude balloons to return new scientific insights about the Van Allen Belts. The type of radiation in the belts can be hazardous to astronauts, orbiting satellites and aircraft flying polar routes.

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Did Life Originate in a Mica Sandwich Sitting in Primordial Soup? »» Did Life Originate in a Mica Sandwich Sitting in Primordial Soup?

[Wednesday, December 5, 2007] Earth's first life may have developed between the layers of a chunk of layered mica sitting like a multilayered sandwich in the primordial soup, according to a new hypothesis.

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Spirit Breaks Free in Race for Survival »» Spirit Breaks Free in Race for Survival

[Wednesday, December 5, 2007] In typical unflagging fashion, Spirit has managed to break free of piles of soil built up around the wheels in a low, sandy area that the rover's handlers have nicknamed "Tartarus," after a deep, underworld dungeon in Greek mythology.

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Opportunity: Multi-Tasking Rover Supports Multiple Missions »» Opportunity: Multi-Tasking Rover Supports Multiple Missions

[Wednesday, December 5, 2007] Opportunity continues to investigate the rock exposure known as "Smith2" in the second of three bathtub ring-like layers of rock inside "Victoria Crater" as well as test communications for Phoenix, NASA's next mission to Mars.

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First Ground-Based Detection of Extrasolar Planet Atmosphere »» First Ground-Based Detection of Extrasolar Planet Atmosphere

[Wednesday, December 5, 2007] University of Texas at Austin astronomer and Hubble Fellow Seth Redfield has used the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) at McDonald Observatory to make the first ground-based detection of the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system.

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Atlantis Crew, NASA Launch Team Prepare for STS-122 »» Atlantis Crew, NASA Launch Team Prepare for STS-122

[Wednesday, December 5, 2007] NASA is preparing for its fourth shuttle launch in 2007. The shuttle is scheduled to lift off at 4:31 p.m. EST on Thursday to begin mission STS-122.

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NASA Cassini Team Recruits Next Generation of Scientists »» NASA Cassini Team Recruits Next Generation of Scientists

[Thursday, December 6, 2007] NASA's Cassini Mission to Saturn has some young new participants. A 10th-grade student in Delaware, a high school senior in California, and an 8th-grade American student in France are the winners of this year's Cassini Scientist-for-a-Day contest.

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Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch Postponed a Day »» Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch Postponed a Day

[Thursday, December 6, 2007] NASA has delayed the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station until tomorrow after two fuel sensors appeared to malfunction.

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NASA Set to Announce Final Major Ares I Contract »» NASA Set to Announce Final Major Ares I Contract

[Thursday, December 6, 2007] NASA will host a news conference Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 4 p.m. EST to announce the selection of a contractor for the upper stage instrument unit avionics for the Ares I rocket.

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History Making Mission For Google Lunar X PRIZE Competition Unveiled by Odyssey Moon »» History Making Mission For Google Lunar X PRIZE Competition Unveiled by Odyssey Moon

[Thursday, December 6, 2007] The first team to complete registration for the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE unveiled its plans today at the Space Investment Summit in San Jose, California.

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NASA to Update Media on Progress of Exploration Work »» NASA to Update Media on Progress of Exploration Work

[Thursday, December 6, 2007] On Monday, Dec. 10, NASA briefs reporters on the efforts to return humans to the moon by 2020. The roundtable discussion will focus on the significant progress made during 2007.

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Dedication of the Willie McCool Memorial Marker at the United States Naval Academy »» Dedication of the Willie McCool Memorial Marker at the United States Naval Academy

[Thursday, December 6, 2007] "Amidst the regular burden of work, some may appreciate this short description of an emotional ceremony I attended this past Sunday at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland."

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NASA Study Reveals Less Water in Mars' Clouds »» NASA Study Reveals Less Water in Mars' Clouds

[Thursday, December 6, 2007] Martian clouds may contain less water than previously thought, according to a new NASA study. New laboratory measurements of simulated martian clouds reveal that scientists may have been overestimating the amount of water in the planet's atmosphere.

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Spacecraft Reveals New Insights About the Origin of Solar Wind »» Spacecraft Reveals New Insights About the Origin of Solar Wind

[Thursday, December 6, 2007] Images from NASA-funded telescopes aboard a Japanese satellite have shed new light about the sun's magnetic field and the origins of solar wind, which disrupts power grids, satellites and communications on Earth.

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NASA Reschedules Space Shuttle Launch No Earlier Than Saturday »» NASA Reschedules Space Shuttle Launch No Earlier Than Saturday

[Friday, December 7, 2007] The launch of Atlantis will take place no earlier than Saturday, Dec. 8, at 3:43 p.m. EST. Thursday's scheduled liftoff was postponed because of a problem with a fuel cutoff sensor system inside the shuttle's external fuel tank.

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U.S. Civilian Space Policy Priorities: Reflections 50 Years After Sputnik »» U.S. Civilian Space Policy Priorities: Reflections 50 Years After Sputnik

[Friday, December 7, 2007] "Some U.S. policymakers, concerned about the USSR's ability to launch a satellite, thought Sputnik might be an indication that the United States was trailing behind the USSR in science and technology. "

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Hinode mission delves into solar mysteries »» Hinode mission delves into solar mysteries

[Friday, December 7, 2007] New results from the Hinode space mission should help explain some long-standing mysteries of the Sun, such as the huge temperature difference between its relatively cool surface and its white-hot atmosphere.

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Images of Saturn's Small Moons Tell the Story of Their Origins »» Images of Saturn's Small Moons Tell the Story of Their Origins

[Friday, December 7, 2007] These high resolution images of Pan and Atlas reveal distinctive "flying saucer" shapes created by prominent equatorial ridges not seen on the other small moons of Saturn.

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Doing Too Much With Too Little: Sobering Hearing on the Future of NASA »» Doing Too Much With Too Little: Sobering Hearing on the Future of NASA

[Friday, December 7, 2007] Funding decisions made by previous administrations that were sustained by previous Congresses have put NASA in a position where it will not have a replacement for the space shuttle when it is retired by the "hard date" of September 30, 2010.

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Reps. Calvert and Jones Introduce Legislation to Provide for NASA Sponsorship Opportunities »» Reps. Calvert and Jones Introduce Legislation to Provide for NASA Sponsorship Opportunities

[Friday, December 7, 2007] Rep Ken Calvert (R-CA), the former Chairman of the Science and Technology Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, along with Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), introduced the bipartisan NASA Innovation Fund and Sponsorship Act, H.R. 4308.

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NASA PAO Statement Regarding Shuttle Crack Rumors »» NASA PAO Statement Regarding Shuttle Crack Rumors

[Friday, December 7, 2007] Reporters have been inquiring about a report that stated: An 8 inch crack has been observed on one of the LOX Feedline brackets. It is not a crack.

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NASA Delays Shuttle Launch to Sunday »» NASA Delays Shuttle Launch to Sunday

[Friday, December 7, 2007] The launch of Atlantis will take place no earlier than Sunday, Dec. 9. Thursday's scheduled liftoff was postponed because of a problem with a fuel cutoff sensor system inside the shuttle's external fuel tank.

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Amateur Radio on the International Space Station »» Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

[Saturday, December 8, 2007] When astronauts, cosmonauts and mission specialists from many nations fly on the international space station, they will have amateur, or ham, radio as a constant companion.

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Atlas V Poised for NRO Secret Mission »» Atlas V Poised for NRO Secret Mission

[Saturday, December 8, 2007] A secret National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) spacecraft is poised for launch Dec. 10-11 from Cape Canaveral on board a U.S. Air Force Atlas V rocket - a Boeing Satellite Data System (SDS) type relay satellite.

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NASA CxP ISTIM Outbrief to JSC Engineering Management 30 November 2007 »» NASA CxP ISTIM Outbrief to JSC Engineering Management 30 November 2007

[Saturday, December 8, 2007] "Landing mode - Nominal coastal water landing, contingency-only land landing, cease/desist working nominal land landing, water landing environment definition per Team 0 recommendation, landing accuracy increased from 5 km to 10 km"

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NASA Postpones Shuttle Atlantis Launch Until January »» NASA Postpones Shuttle Atlantis Launch Until January

[Sunday, December 9, 2007] The launch of space shuttle Atlantis has been rescheduled for no earlier than Jan. 2, 2008. The postponement will give engineers time to evaluate false readings from the engine cutoff sensor system that measures liquid hydrogen in the external tank.

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Text of Conference Amendment by Rep. Dave Weldon to Force NASA to Ensure That Space Shuttle Can Continue to Fly Beyond 2010 »» Text of Conference Amendment by Rep. Dave Weldon to Force NASA to Ensure That Space Shuttle Can Continue to Fly Beyond 2010

[Sunday, December 9, 2007] "NASA shall take all actions necessary in FY 2008 .... in order to ensure the option of operating the Space Shuttle beyond the currently planned Shuttle end-of-operations date in 2010."

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Evolution of Mid-IR Excess Around Sun-like Stars: Constraints on Models of Terrestrial Planet Formation »» Evolution of Mid-IR Excess Around Sun-like Stars: Constraints on Models of Terrestrial Planet Formation

[Sunday, December 9, 2007] "We report observations from the Spitzer Space Telescope (SST) regarding the frequency of 24 micron excess emission toward sun-like stars ...The results suggest that many, perhaps most, sun-like stars might form terrestrial planets."

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»» "Follow the Energy" Approach to Guide Exploration for Extraterrestrial Life Forms

[Monday, December 10, 2007] All conceivable life forms, whether earthly or extraterrestrial, require an energy source, and scientists are increasingly employing a "Follow the Energy" approach in the search for signs of habitability and life beyond Earth.

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International Group Plans Strategy for Mars Sample Return Mission »» International Group Plans Strategy for Mars Sample Return Mission

[Monday, December 10, 2007] The ability to study soil from Mars here on Earth will contribute significantly to answering questions about the possibility of life on the Red Planet.

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Voyager 2 Proves the Solar System is Squashed »» Voyager 2 Proves the Solar System is Squashed

[Monday, December 10, 2007] NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft has followed its twin Voyager 1 into the solar system's final frontier, a vast region at the edge of our solar system where the solar wind runs up against the thin gas between the stars.

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Spacehab Realigns Corporation - Company Positioned to Capture NASA COTS Business »» Spacehab Realigns Corporation - Company Positioned to Capture NASA COTS Business

[Monday, December 10, 2007] Spacehab today announced an initiative to align the corporate structure and personnel toward its strategic direction of winning the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) funded Space Act Agreement.

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NASA Announces Discovery of Assault by a Black Hole »» NASA Announces Discovery of Assault by a Black Hole

[Monday, December 10, 2007] Astronomers will hold a media teleconference to announce the discovery of a first-of-its-kind phenomenon involving a black hole and a neighboring galaxy.

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NASA Internal Memo From Wayne Hale: »» NASA Internal Memo From Wayne Hale: "Not done yet"

[Monday, December 10, 2007] "So I've decided: I'm in it for the long run. I don't intend to leave before the last wheel stop. There is plenty enough excitement and fulfillment to outweigh the biggest bonus or the fanciest office."

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NASA Satellite Reveals Unprecedented View of Mysterious 'Night-Shining' Clouds »» NASA Satellite Reveals Unprecedented View of Mysterious 'Night-Shining' Clouds

[Monday, December 10, 2007] NASA's AIM satellite has provided the first global-scale, full-season view of iridescent polar clouds that form 50 miles above Earth's surface.

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In search for water on Mars, clues from Antarctica »» In search for water on Mars, clues from Antarctica

[Monday, December 10, 2007] Scientists have gathered more evidence that suggests flowing water on Mars -- by comparing images of the red planet to an otherworldly landscape on Earth.

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Taking it to the Streets (Space That is): Problems with NASA's Return to the Moon Plan »» Taking it to the Streets (Space That is): Problems with NASA's Return to the Moon Plan

[Monday, December 10, 2007] "This past week has given me confirmation of something that has been a growing dread and suspicion : the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) is being suffocated. It is literally having the life choked out of it."

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Internal NASA Emails Reveal Atlantis Safety Debate »» Internal NASA Emails Reveal Atlantis Safety Debate

[Monday, December 10, 2007] Internal NASA emails from the director of Shuttle Safety at JSC and the Shuttle Program Manager show how they struggled with the potential risk to astronauts' lives in assessing how to proceed with the launch of Atlantis.

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NASA Mars Rover Spirit Investigates Signs of Steamy Martian Past »» NASA Mars Rover Spirit Investigates Signs of Steamy Martian Past

[Monday, December 10, 2007] Researchers using NASA's twin Mars rovers are sorting out two possible origins for one of Spirit's most important discoveries, while also getting Spirit to a favorable spot for surviving the next Martian winter.

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NASA: New Mission to Study Moon's Interior is Announced »» NASA: New Mission to Study Moon's Interior is Announced

[Monday, December 10, 2007] At a Monday meeting of the American Geophysical Union, NASA's Associate Administrator for Science Alan Stern announced the selection of a new mission that will peer deep inside the moon to reveal its anatomy and history.

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Hazy red sunset on extrasolar planet »» Hazy red sunset on extrasolar planet

[Tuesday, December 11, 2007] A team of astronomers have used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to detect, for the first time, strong evidence of hazes in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a distant star.

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Earth's magnetic field could help protect astronauts working on the moon »» Earth's magnetic field could help protect astronauts working on the moon

[Tuesday, December 11, 2007] Earth is largely protected by its magnetic field, or magnetosphere, but new University of Washington research shows that some parts of the moon also are protected by the magnetosphere for seven days during the 28-day orbit around Earth.

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Examines 'Lace' and 'Lizard Skin' Terrain »» Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Examines 'Lace' and 'Lizard Skin' Terrain

[Tuesday, December 11, 2007] Scrutiny by NASA's newest Mars orbiter is helping scientists learn the stories of some of the weirdest landscapes on Mars, as well as more familiar-looking parts of the Red Planet.

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NASA to Test Tank Sensors On Space Shuttle Atlantis »» NASA to Test Tank Sensors On Space Shuttle Atlantis

[Wednesday, December 12, 2007] Technicians and engineers in NASA's space shuttle program plan to test the engine cutoff sensor system onboard space shuttle Atlantis by pumping super-cold liquid hydrogen into the external fuel tank.

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Lighting up the Lunar Night with Fuel Cells »» Lighting up the Lunar Night with Fuel Cells

[Wednesday, December 12, 2007] How do you survive in a remote, mountainous region that has no water or wind and sometimes goes without sunlight for weeks? This is a question NASA must answer before sending humans to live and work on the moon.

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Pummeled Hyperion »» Pummeled Hyperion

[Wednesday, December 12, 2007] Hyperion is completely covered with large pits from which much of its material has been blasted by impacts, never to return. The moon's surface gravity is so low that crater-ejected material often escapes Hyperion entirely.

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Desert RATS »» Desert RATS

[Wednesday, December 12, 2007] Every September, after the summer rain backs off but before the mornings get too cold, a pack of RATS descends on the desert near Flagstaff, Ariz., to spend two weeks testing technologies that will play a vital role in the future of space exploration.

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Solving solar system quandaries is simple: Just flip-flop the position of Uranus and Neptune »» Solving solar system quandaries is simple: Just flip-flop the position of Uranus and Neptune

[Wednesday, December 12, 2007] The planets weren't always in the order they are today. Four billion years ago, early in the solar system's evolution, Uranus and Neptune switched places - saysSteve Desch.

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Brain stem cells sensitive to space radiation »» Brain stem cells sensitive to space radiation

[Wednesday, December 12, 2007] Measures to protect astronauts from health risks caused by space radiation will be important during extended missions to the moon or Mars, say researchers in a paper currently online in Experimental Neurology

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Boeing Selected to Build Instrument Unit Avionics for NASA's Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle »» Boeing Selected to Build Instrument Unit Avionics for NASA's Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle

[Wednesday, December 12, 2007] The Boeing Company has been awarded an initial NASA contract valued at approximately $265 million to produce the Ares I crew launch vehicle's instrument unit avionics (IUA).

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Cassini Images Invisible RIng Around Saturn »» Cassini Images Invisible RIng Around Saturn

[Wednesday, December 12, 2007] Scientists have gotten their best "look" ever at the invisible ring of energetic ions trapped in Saturn's giant magnetic field, finding that it is asymmetric and dynamic, unlike similar rings that appear around Earth.

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Saturn's elusive radio rotation »» Saturn's elusive radio rotation

[Wednesday, December 12, 2007] Somewhere deep below Saturn's cloud tops, the planet rotates at a constant speed. Determining this interior period of rotation has proven extremely complicated. Now, with new Cassini results, scientists have taken an important step forward.

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NASA Satellites Help Lift Cloud of Uncertainty on Climate Change »» NASA Satellites Help Lift Cloud of Uncertainty on Climate Change

[Wednesday, December 12, 2007] New findings from CloudSat and other Earth observing satellites offer important insights into this year's record reduction of Arctic sea ice, global rainfall patterns and the effects of pollution on clouds.

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Saturn's Rings May be Old Timers »» Saturn's Rings May be Old Timers

[Wednesday, December 12, 2007] New observations by NASA's Cassini spacecraft indicate the rings of Saturn, once thought to have formed during the age of the dinosaurs, instead may have been created roughly 4.5 billion years ago, when the solar system was still under construction.

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Sir Arthur C. Clarke's 90th Birthday Message »» Sir Arthur C. Clarke's 90th Birthday Message

[Thursday, December 13, 2007] "I now spend a good part of my day dreaming of times past, present and future. As I try to survive on 15 hours' sleep a day, I have plenty of time to enjoy vivid dreams."

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NASA's New Moon Lander Named »» NASA's New Moon Lander Named "Altair"

[Thursday, December 13, 2007] At a Lunar Lander Project Office Industry Day NASA announced that the name of the new human lunar lander project's LSAM (Lunar Surface Access Module) will be "Altair". A logo was also unveiled.

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NASA and Goodyear Awarded Funding to Develop Non-Pneumatic Tire for the Moon »» NASA and Goodyear Awarded Funding to Develop Non-Pneumatic Tire for the Moon

[Thursday, December 13, 2007] Goodyear , the innovator of run-flat tire technology on Earth, is working with NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) to significantly evolve the technology and take its capabilities to the rest of the universe.

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NASA Targets Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch On Jan. 10 »» NASA Targets Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch On Jan. 10

[Thursday, December 13, 2007] NASA's Space Shuttle Program managers have targeted Jan. 10 for the launch of shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission to the International Space Station.

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NASA Sends EPOXI Spacecraft on Mission to Comet Hartley 2 »» NASA Sends EPOXI Spacecraft on Mission to Comet Hartley 2

[Thursday, December 13, 2007] NASA has approved the retargeting of the EPOXI mission for a flyby of comet Hartley 2 on Oct. 11, 2010. Hartley 2 was chosen as EPOXI's destination after the initial target, comet Boethin, could not be found.

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Challenger Center for Space Science Education High Above Times Square »» Challenger Center for Space Science Education High Above Times Square

[Thursday, December 13, 2007] Over the past several days, New Yorkers have had a chance to see what the next Challenger Learning Center will look like. Visitors to Times Square have been shown a large electronic advertisement with an image of the new Learning Center.

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Return To Europa: A Closer Look Is Possible »» Return To Europa: A Closer Look Is Possible

[Friday, December 14, 2007] Jupiter's moon Europa is just as far away as ever, but new research is bringing scientists closer to being able to explore its tantalizing ice-covered ocean and determine its potential for harboring life.

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RADARSAT-2 has been successfully launched »» RADARSAT-2 has been successfully launched

[Friday, December 14, 2007] MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., a provider of essential information solutions, announced today that the RADARSAT-2 satellite has been launched into its proper orbit.

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Sliding Shadows »» Sliding Shadows

[Friday, December 14, 2007] Dark ring shadows adorn the northern hemisphere of Saturn. The shadows have loosened their grip on the north compared to when Cassini arrived in 2004, and presently continue to slide farther south.

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Gliese 581: one planet might indeed be habitable »» Gliese 581: one planet might indeed be habitable

[Sunday, December 16, 2007] In April astronomers announced the discovery of two possibly habitable planets. A&A is now publishing detailed studies of this system, which confirm that one of the planets might indeed be located within the habitable zone around the star Gliese 581.

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NASA's Elementary and Secondary Program: Review and Critique »» NASA's Elementary and Secondary Program: Review and Critique

[Sunday, December 16, 2007] In the NASA authorization act of 2005 (P.L. 109-555 Subtitle B-Education, Sec. 614) Congress directed the agency to support a review and evaluation of its precollege education program to be carried out by the National Research Council.

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Rep. Dave Weldon to Announce S.P.A.C.E. Act - New Legislation Would Help Ensure America's Future in Space »» Rep. Dave Weldon to Announce S.P.A.C.E. Act - New Legislation Would Help Ensure America's Future in Space

[Sunday, December 16, 2007] Rep. Weldon is announcing new legislation that would propose additional Space Shuttle flights through the "gap" in which America will not otherwise have access to space.

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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 16 December 2007 »» NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 16 December 2007

[Sunday, December 16, 2007] All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Sunday - EVA preparation day 1 for CDR Whitson, FE-1 Malenchenko and FE-2 Tani. Ahead: Week 9 of Increment 16.

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Attention NASA Earth Science: Can You Help These Folks? »» Attention NASA Earth Science: Can You Help These Folks?

[Sunday, December 16, 2007] "I'm not sure if 'suggest a story' is the right heading, but here goes anyway. I live on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, and found your site while trying to find recent pictures of our Island from space, on the net."

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Bad Budget News For NASA »» Bad Budget News For NASA

[Monday, December 17, 2007] "The amended bill provides $17,309,400,000 for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) instead of $17,622,500,000 as proposed by the House and $17,459,600,000 as proposed by the Senate."

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NASA Launch Team Ready to Test Space Shuttle Atlantis System »» NASA Launch Team Ready to Test Space Shuttle Atlantis System

[Monday, December 17, 2007] NASA intends to make Tuesday's test of its hydrogen fuel sensor system as realistic as possible by pumping both liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into space shuttle Atlantis' external fuel tank just as would be done on launch day.

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 Spirit Scouts »» Spirit Scouts "Home Plate" for Safe Haven

[Monday, December 17, 2007] Spirit has arrived at the north edge of "Home Plate." The rover will spend the next few Martian days to determine the best site for "Winter Haven 3," where Spirit will try to survive another season of minimal sunlight.

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Hot spot on Enceladus causes plumes »» Hot spot on Enceladus causes plumes

[Monday, December 17, 2007] Enceladus is colder than ice, but data gathered by Cassini has detected a hot spot that could mean there is life in the old moon after all. In fact, for researchers of the outer planets, Enceladus is so intellectually hot, it's smokin'

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'Death Star' Galaxy Black Hole Fires at Neighboring Galaxy »» 'Death Star' Galaxy Black Hole Fires at Neighboring Galaxy

[Monday, December 17, 2007] A powerful jet from a super massive black hole is blasting a nearby galaxy. This never-before witnessed galactic violence may have a profound effect on planets in the jet's path and trigger a burst of star formation in its destructive wake.

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SpaceX Successfully Completes NASA Systems Requirements Review for Dragon Spacecraft Demonstration to Berth at International Space Station »» SpaceX Successfully Completes NASA Systems Requirements Review for Dragon Spacecraft Demonstration to Berth at International Space Station

[Tuesday, December 18, 2007] Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has completed the Systems Requirements Review (SRR) for what will be the third Falcon 9 / Dragon demonstration under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.

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Final preparations for first human-rated spacecraft to be lauched from Europe's Spaceport »» Final preparations for first human-rated spacecraft to be lauched from Europe's Spaceport

[Tuesday, December 18, 2007] For the first time in 40 years of space activities, a silent revolution is taking place at the European launch site in Kourou. Jules Vernes, the first human-rated spacecraft to be launched from Europe's Spaceport, is being prepared for launch.

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Hubble Space Telescope Photo at Mars' Closest Approach of 2007 »» Hubble Space Telescope Photo at Mars' Closest Approach of 2007

[Tuesday, December 18, 2007] Hubble took this close-up of Mars when it was 55 million miles - 88 million kilometers - away. This color image was assembled from a series of exposures taken within 36 hours of the Mars closest approach with Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2.

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New View of Distant Galaxy Reveals Furious Star Formation »» New View of Distant Galaxy Reveals Furious Star Formation

[Tuesday, December 18, 2007] A furious rate of star formation discovered in a distant galaxy shows that galaxies in the early Universe developed either much faster or in a different way from what astronomers have thought.

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Intergalactic Shot In The Dark Shocks Astronomers »» Intergalactic Shot In The Dark Shocks Astronomers

[Tuesday, December 18, 2007] A team of astronomers has discovered a cosmic explosion that seems to have come from the middle of nowhere -- thousands of light-years from the nearest galaxy-sized collection of stars, gas, and dust.

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Sandia supercomputers offer new explanation of Tunguska disaster »» Sandia supercomputers offer new explanation of Tunguska disaster

[Tuesday, December 18, 2007] The stunning amount of forest devastation at Tunguska a century ago in Siberia may have been caused by an asteroid only a fraction as large as previously published estimates, Sandia National Laboratories supercomputer simulations suggest.

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International Space Station Spacewalkers Find No Solar Wing Smoking Gun »» International Space Station Spacewalkers Find No Solar Wing Smoking Gun

[Tuesday, December 18, 2007] Expedition 16 astronauts Dan Tani and Peggy Whitson wrapped up a 6-hour, 56-minute spacewalk focused on International Space Station solar array issues at 11:46 a.m. EST Tuesday.

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Two more active moons around Saturn - Tethys and Dione »» Two more active moons around Saturn - Tethys and Dione

[Tuesday, December 18, 2007] Saturn's moons Tethys and Dione are flinging great streams of particles into space, according to data from the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini mission to Saturn. The discovery suggests the possibility of some sort of geological activity, perhaps even volcanic, on th

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NASA Tanking Test Completed For Space Shuttle Atlantis »» NASA Tanking Test Completed For Space Shuttle Atlantis

[Wednesday, December 19, 2007] After Tuesday's test of Atlantis' external fuel tank, NASA's Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale said he was pleased with the data captured from the special equipment wired into the tank's sensor system.

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Spacehab Announces Successful ARCTUS Mid-Air Recovery Test »» Spacehab Announces Successful ARCTUS Mid-Air Recovery Test

[Wednesday, December 19, 2007] Spacehab today announced the success of a mid air retrieval demonstration test performed with applications to its Advanced Research and Conventional Technology Utilization Spacecraft (ARCTUS) Program.

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Udall Introduces Resolution Marking Anniversary of Landsat »» Udall Introduces Resolution Marking Anniversary of Landsat

[Wednesday, December 19, 2007] Today Rep. Mark Udall, Chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, introduced a bipartisan House resolution to celebrate 35 years of space-based observations of the Earth by Landsat spacecraft

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NASA Dawn Journal 17 December 2007 »» NASA Dawn Journal 17 December 2007

[Wednesday, December 19, 2007] Dawn is climbing away from the Sun on a blue-green pillar of xenon ions as it begins a new chapter in its mission.† After the remarkably successful initial checkout phase, the project is now in the interplanetary cruise phase.

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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 20 December 2007 »» NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 20 December 2007

[Thursday, December 20, 2007] Early this morning it was announced at the MMT meeting that Flight Engineer Dan Taniís mother Rose died late yesterday during a car crash. Dan was informed in a private phone call. This is the first time an orbiting NASA Astronaut loses a close kin.

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NASA LaRC Solicitation: Analysis of Ares 1 Thrust Oscillation Issues »» NASA LaRC Solicitation: Analysis of Ares 1 Thrust Oscillation Issues

[Thursday, December 20, 2007] NASA/LaRC has a requirement for Use of the proprietary Universal Combustion Device Stability (UCDS) process developed and owned by the Gloyer-Taylor Laboratories LLC. The Government must assess thrust oscillation issues with the Constellation Program's AR

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COROT surprises a year after launch »» COROT surprises a year after launch

[Thursday, December 20, 2007] The space-borne telescope, COROT (Convection, Rotation and planetary Transits), has just completed its first year in orbit. The observatory has brought in surprises after over 300 days of scientific observations.

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New proposal opportunity for Appendix C.27: Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities »» New proposal opportunity for Appendix C.27: Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities

[Thursday, December 20, 2007] NASA Analog Missions research addresses the need for integrated interdisciplinary field experiments as an integral part of preparation for planned human and robotic missions to the Moon and Mars.

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The United Nations declares 2009 the International Year of Astronomy »» The United Nations declares 2009 the International Year of Astronomy

[Thursday, December 20, 2007] Early this morning (CET) the United Nations (UN) 62nd General Assembly proclaimed 2009 the International Year of Astronomy.

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International group plans strategy for Mars sample return mission »» International group plans strategy for Mars sample return mission

[Thursday, December 20, 2007] ESA, NASA and an international team are developing plans and seeking recommendations to launch the first Mars mission to bring soil samples back to Earth.

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NASA Chooses »» NASA Chooses "Altair" as Name for Astronauts' Lunar Lander (spacecraft graphics)

[Thursday, December 20, 2007] NASA has selected Altair as the name of the lunar lander the Constellation Program will use to put humans on the moon.

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MIT, others ask 'What would E.T. see?' Team analyzes how alien astronomers would study Earth »» MIT, others ask 'What would E.T. see?' Team analyzes how alien astronomers would study Earth

[Thursday, December 20, 2007] As astronomers become more adept at searching for, and finding, planets orbiting other stars, it's natural to wonder if anybody is looking back.

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10,000 Earths' Worth of Fresh Dust Found Near Star Explosion »» 10,000 Earths' Worth of Fresh Dust Found Near Star Explosion

[Thursday, December 20, 2007] Astronomers have at last found definitive evidence that the universe's first dust - the celestial stuff that seeded future generations of stars and planets - was forged in the explosions of massive stars.

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NASA Statement on the Death of Astronaut Dan Tani's Mother »» NASA Statement on the Death of Astronaut Dan Tani's Mother

[Thursday, December 20, 2007] The following statement is from Michael Coats, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, regarding the Wednesday, Dec. 19, death of International Space Station Flight Engineer Daniel Tani's mother.

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Assessment of the NASA Astrobiology Institute »» Assessment of the NASA Astrobiology Institute

[Friday, December 21, 2007] Astrobiology is a scientific discipline devoted to the study of life in the universe-its origin, evolution, distribution, and future. It brings together physical and biological sciences to address some of the most fundamental questions of the world.

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NASA Delays Mars Scout Mission to 2013 »» NASA Delays Mars Scout Mission to 2013

[Friday, December 21, 2007] NASA announced today that the next mission in the Mars Scout program, originally planned for launch in 2011, is now targeted for launch in 2013.

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MESSENGER Mission News December 19, 2007 »» MESSENGER Mission News December 19, 2007

[Friday, December 21, 2007] MESSENGER's nineteenth trajectory-correction maneuver (TCM-19) completed on December 19 lasted 110 seconds and adjusted the spacecraft's velocity by 1.1 meters per second (3.6 feet per second).

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Astronomers Monitor Asteroid to Pass Near Mars »» Astronomers Monitor Asteroid to Pass Near Mars

[Friday, December 21, 2007] Astronomers funded by NASA are monitoring the trajectory of an asteroid estimated to be 164-feet wide that is expected to cross Mars' orbital path early next year.

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Jonathan's Space Report No. 589  2007 Dec 21 »» Jonathan's Space Report No. 589 2007 Dec 21

[Friday, December 21, 2007] The next launch is Shuttle mission STS-122, Station flight 1E, carrying the European Columbus module to the Station. Launch will be no earlier than 2008 Jan.

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How Mars could have been warm and wet but limestone-free »» How Mars could have been warm and wet but limestone-free

[Friday, December 21, 2007] Abundant evidence points to an early warm, wet climate on the red planet, but there's no sign of the widespread carbonate rocks, such as limestone, that should have formed in such a climate.

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HR 4837 Spacefaring Priorities for America's Continued Exploration Act (Full Text) »» HR 4837 Spacefaring Priorities for America's Continued Exploration Act (Full Text)

[Saturday, December 22, 2007] "To authorize the Space Shuttle to be flown from 2010 through 2015, and to authorize appropriations for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for this purpose."

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XMM-Newton detects pulsed heartbeat of a weird new type of star »» XMM-Newton detects pulsed heartbeat of a weird new type of star

[Saturday, December 22, 2007] XMM-Newton has detected periodic X-ray emission, or the pulsed heartbeat of a weird new type of star - the so-called rotating radio transient has confirmed the nature of the underlying celestial object.

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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 23 December 2007 »» NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 23 December 2007

[Sunday, December 23, 2007] All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Sunday - off-duty day for CDR Whitson, FE-1 Malenchenko and FE-2 Tani. Ahead: Week 10 of Increment 16.

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Earliest Stage of Planet Formation Dated »» Earliest Stage of Planet Formation Dated

[Sunday, December 23, 2007] UC Davis researchers have dated the earliest step in the formation of the solar system -- when microscopic interstellar dust coalesced into mountain-sized chunks of rock -- to 4,568 million years ago, within a range of about 2,080,000 years.

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Progress M-62 logistics spacecraft Launched to the International Space Station »» Progress M-62 logistics spacecraft Launched to the International Space Station

[Monday, December 24, 2007] Cargo transportation spacecraft Progress M-62 was launched from Baikonur launch site at 10:12:41 Moscow Time on 23 December 2007.

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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 24 December 2007 »» NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 24 December 2007

[Monday, December 24, 2007] Progress M-62/27P is continuing its 3-day flight to the ISS for docking Wednesday morning (12/26) at ~3:25am EST at the DC1 nadir port. All onboard tests (TV, KURS, TORU), performed today during RGS (Russian ground site) passes, were without issues.

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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 25 December 2007 »» NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 25 December 2007

[Tuesday, December 25, 2007] Progress M-62/27P is continuing its 3-day flight to the ISS for docking tomorrow morning (12/26) at ~3:25am EST at the DC1 nadir port. All onboard tests and the DV3 burn on Orbit 33, during RGS (Russian ground site) passes were nominal.

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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 26 December 2007 »» NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 26 December 2007

[Wednesday, December 26, 2007] Progress M-62 docked at the DC1 Docking Compartment nadir port at 3:14am EST, with automatic AO-VKA orientation antenna retraction, followed by docking probe retraction and hook closure at 3:23am after motion damp-out, while the ISS was in free drift.

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NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE Imagery Release 26 December 2007 »» NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE Imagery Release 26 December 2007

[Wednesday, December 26, 2007] Onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the HiRISE camera offers unprecedented image quality, giving us a view of the Red Planet in a way never before seen. It's the most powerful camera ever to leave Earth's orbit.

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Jets Are A Real Drag: Matter Jetting From Young Star Spirals Out in »» Jets Are A Real Drag: Matter Jetting From Young Star Spirals Out in "Reverse Whirlpool"

[Wednesday, December 26, 2007] Astronomers have found the best evidence yet of matter spiraling outward from a young, still-forming star in fountain-like jets. Due to the spiral motion, the jets help the star to grow by drawing angular momentum from the surrounding accretion disk.

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Five Planets Orbiting 55 Cancri »» Five Planets Orbiting 55 Cancri

[Thursday, December 27, 2007] "We report 18 years of Doppler shift measurements of a nearby star, 55 Cancri, that exhibit strong evidence for five orbiting planets. The four previously reported planets are strongly confirmed here."

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NASA Solicitation: Simplifying NASA Announcements of Opportunity - Science Mission Directorate »» NASA Solicitation: Simplifying NASA Announcements of Opportunity - Science Mission Directorate

[Thursday, December 27, 2007] Alan Stern, Associate Administrator for Science Mission Directorate (SMD), has initiated an effort to simplify NASA Announcements of Opportunity (AOs).

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Sulfur dioxide may have helped maintain a warm early Mars »» Sulfur dioxide may have helped maintain a warm early Mars

[Thursday, December 27, 2007] Sulfur dioxide (SO2) may have played a key role in the climate and geochemistry of early Mars. The hypothesis may resolve longstanding questions about evidence that the climate of the Red Planet was once much warmer than it is today.

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NASA Delays STS-122 Again Pending Sensor Repair »» NASA Delays STS-122 Again Pending Sensor Repair

[Thursday, December 27, 2007] NASA held a teleconference today with Wayne Hale with regard to repairs needed for STS-122. According to Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale "We have no launch date to talk about today".

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Moon Patrol »» Moon Patrol

[Thursday, December 27, 2007] This colorful view, taken from edge-on with the ringplane, contains four of Saturn's attendant moons. Tethys is seen against the black sky to the left of the gas giant's limb.

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Anatomy of a Bird - VLT's NACO instrument reveals a triple cosmic collision »» Anatomy of a Bird - VLT's NACO instrument reveals a triple cosmic collision

[Thursday, December 27, 2007] Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, an international team of astronomers has discovered a stunning rare case of a triple merger of galaxies.

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Speedy Mic's Photograph - Flare found on ultra-fast rotating star puzzles astronomers »» Speedy Mic's Photograph - Flare found on ultra-fast rotating star puzzles astronomers

[Friday, December 28, 2007] Using observations from ESO's VLT, astronomers were able for the first time to reconstruct the site of a flare on a solar-like star located 150 light years away.

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Subaru Reveals »» Subaru Reveals "Frameworks" of Galaxies at 11 Billion Years Ago

[Friday, December 28, 2007] A team of Japanese astronomers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Tokyo University, and Kyoto University in Japan obtained infrared and high-resolution images of galaxies from 11 billion years ago.

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Understanding our neighbourhood in the universe »» Understanding our neighbourhood in the universe

[Friday, December 28, 2007] With its powerful detectors, Integral has performed the most-sensitive all-sky survey ever, finding expected clumpy areas at large scales in our local universe.

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Astronomers Monitor Asteroid to Pass Near Mars: Impact Chances Now 1 in 25 »» Astronomers Monitor Asteroid to Pass Near Mars: Impact Chances Now 1 in 25

[Friday, December 28, 2007] Astronomers have refined their trajectory estimates for the asteroid 2007 WD 5. Based on this latest analysis, the odds for the asteroid impacting Mars on Jan. 30 are now 1-in-25 -- or about 4 percent.

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NASA EPOXI Spacecraft Earth Flyby on 31 December 2007: How To See It »» NASA EPOXI Spacecraft Earth Flyby on 31 December 2007: How To See It

[Sunday, December 30, 2007] After its encounter with Tempel 1 (green arc), the Deep Impact spacecraft, now being used for the EPOXI mission, continued in its orbit (yellow ellipse) around the sun that would bring it past Earth late this year.

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NASA Scientists Fly Over Arctic to Study New Year Meteor Shower »» NASA Scientists Fly Over Arctic to Study New Year Meteor Shower

[Sunday, December 30, 2007] NASA scientists and astronomers will take to the skies in the afternoon of Jan. 3 to observe nature's New Year's celebration: the Quadrantid meteor shower.

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NASA National Aviation Operational Monitoring Service (NAOMS) Information Release »» NASA National Aviation Operational Monitoring Service (NAOMS) Information Release

[Monday, December 31, 2007] This Web site contains responses collected from the air carrier and general aviation pilot surveys as part of the NASA National Aviation Operational Monitoring Service (NAOMS) project from April 2001 through December 2004.

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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 31 December 2007 »» NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 31 December 2007

[Monday, December 31, 2007] New Year's Eve... 16 times for the Expedition 16 crew of CDR Peggy Whitson, FE-1 Yuri Malenchenko and FE-2 Dan Tani while counting down to 2008! Crew off-duty day. Underway: Week 11 of Increment 16.

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EPOXI Mission Earth Flyby Imagery: Lunar Calibration: HRI VIS Results »» EPOXI Mission Earth Flyby Imagery: Lunar Calibration: HRI VIS Results

[Monday, December 31, 2007] This white-light image of the Moon was taken by the NASA EPOXI mission as part of the Earth-Moon Flyby calibration of the instruments. The image was taken by the High Resolution Instrument (HRI) visual imaging camera at 22:00 UT on 29 Dec 2007.

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Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity 31 Dec 2007 »» Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity 31 Dec 2007

[Monday, December 31, 2007] Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 30/2100Z to 31/2100Z: Solar activity was low. A C8.3 flare occurred at 31/0111Z accompanied by Type II and Type IV radio sweeps (estimated shock speed 682 km/s).

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