February 2003 Top Story Archives



Columbia Breaks Up During Reentry; NASA Fears Crew Lost »» Columbia Breaks Up During Reentry; NASA Fears Crew Lost

[Saturday, February 01, 2003] Space Shuttle Columbia broke up as it reentered Earth's atmosphere this morning - the crew is now feared lost. Debris has been sighted falling to Earth.

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NASA Statement on Loss of Communications with Columbia »» NASA Statement on Loss of Communications with Columbia

[Saturday, February 01, 2003] A Space Shuttle contingency has been declared in Mission Control, Houston, as a result of the loss of communication with the Space Shuttle Columbia at approximately 9 a.m. EST Saturday as it descended toward a landing at the Kennedy Space Center,

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Shuttle Columbia Lost »» Shuttle Columbia Lost

[Saturday, February 01, 2003] Space Shuttle Columbia broke up as it reentered Earth's atmosphere this morning as it was over Texas - the crew is lost. Debris has been found in Texas and Louisiana.

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Spacelift Washington: Hello darkness so you've come again »» Spacelift Washington: Hello darkness so you've come again

[Saturday, February 01, 2003] And again we were all reminded, that spaceflight is dangerous and uncertain. And that, even in times as unsettled as these, there are heroes that fly that winged imperfect machine that is still the triumph of America's will and determination.

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Progress M-47 Launches to the Space Station »» Progress M-47 Launches to the Space Station

[Sunday, February 02, 2003] As the world mourns the loss of the Columbia, the continuing mission of the international space station goes on as a Russian Progress cargo ship launched today with a regularly scheduled re-supply mission.

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NASA Proposes Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter Mission »» NASA Proposes Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter Mission

[Monday, February 03, 2003] As part of its 2004 fiscal year budget which NASA unveiled today, is a proposed new mission using new nuclear power to three of Jupiters moons, Callisto, Ganymede and Europa within the decade.

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The Columbia 7 Memorial - Images »» The Columbia 7 Memorial - Images

[Tuesday, February 04, 2003] "This case of exploration and discovery is not an option we choose, it is a desire written in the human heart. We are that part of creation which seeks to understand all creation."

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President Bush's Remarks at the Memorial Service for Columbia Astronauts »» President Bush's Remarks at the Memorial Service for Columbia Astronauts

[Tuesday, February 04, 2003] "Their mission was almost complete, and we lost them so close to home. The men and women of the Columbia had journeyed more than 6 million miles and were minutes away from arrival and reunion."

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Ultrasharp images with large telescope obtained »» Ultrasharp images with large telescope obtained

[Tuesday, February 04, 2003] Astronomers have successfully tested a new method to remove atmospheric blurring from large ground based telescopes.

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NASA Video and Images of Debris Striking Columbia »» NASA Video and Images of Debris Striking Columbia

[Tuesday, February 04, 2003] After the launch of STS-107 NASA performed an assessment anomalies during the launch. This report and video excerpt shows insulation coming off of the External Tank and striking Columbia's left wing.

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Report: More Work Needed on Asteroid Threat »» Report: More Work Needed on Asteroid Threat

[Tuesday, February 04, 2003] NASA should be assigned to lead a new research program to better determine the population and physical diversity of near-Earth objects that may collide with our planet according to the final report of a workshop on hazardous comets and asteroids.

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Columbia Astronauts' Remains Arrive at Dover AFB »» Columbia Astronauts' Remains Arrive at Dover AFB

[Wednesday, February 05, 2003] Deputy NASA Administrator Frederick Gregory rendered honors to the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware this afternoon.

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ESA and EU Hail Space Green Paper »» ESA and EU Hail Space Green Paper

[Wednesday, February 05, 2003] European Space Agency Director General Antonio Rodota and EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin met reporters in Brussels on 27 January 2003 to discuss the newly-adopted Green Paper on EU Space Policy.

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ISRO METSAT Satellite Series Named After Columbia Astronaut Kalpana Chawla »» ISRO METSAT Satellite Series Named After Columbia Astronaut Kalpana Chawla

[Thursday, February 06, 2003] The Prime Minister of India has annouced that India's meteorological series of satellites, METSAT, will be named as KALPANA.

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USAF Imagery Confirms Columbia Wing Damaged »» USAF Imagery Confirms Columbia Wing Damaged

[Thursday, February 06, 2003] High-resolution images taken from a ground-based Air Force tracking camera show serious structural damage to the inboard leading edge of Columbia’s left wing, as the crippled orbiter flew overhead about 60 sec. before the vehicle broke up.

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Space Shuttle Columbia: Goodbye to A Good Old Girl »» Space Shuttle Columbia: Goodbye to A Good Old Girl

[Friday, February 07, 2003] I came on board with NASA in 1981, the first year Columbia flew. She represented for me the culmination of so many of the hopes and dreams I wrote about in my memoir "Rocket Boys" and in the movie adaptation, "October Sky."

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Charts Show Events Just Before Columbia's Breakup »» Charts Show Events Just Before Columbia's Breakup

[Friday, February 07, 2003] At a briefing Friday afternoon, NASA's Ron Dittemore showed a series of detailed charts of Columbia's left wing which show the progression of sensor events just before the Shuttle began to break up.

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NASA Administrator Addresses Reporters Regarding Columbia »» NASA Administrator Addresses Reporters Regarding Columbia

[Monday, February 10, 2003] NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe will take reporters' questions today at 3 p.m. EST during the next Space Shuttle Accident Briefing from NASA Headquarters in Washington.

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Violent truth behind Sun's 'Gentle Giants' uncovered »» Violent truth behind Sun's 'Gentle Giants' uncovered

[Monday, February 10, 2003] Solar Physicists at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London have discovered new clues to understanding explosions on the Sun.

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Hubble Provides Closeup of M27, The Dumbbell Nebula »» Hubble Provides Closeup of M27, The Dumbbell Nebula

[Monday, February 10, 2003] An aging star's last hurrah is creating a flurry of glowing knots of gas that appear to be streaking through space in this close-up image of the Dumbbell Nebula, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope.

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An Open Letter to Congress Regarding the Columbia Accident »» An Open Letter to Congress Regarding the Columbia Accident

[Monday, February 10, 2003] If the net result of Wednesday's joint hearing is political bickering, partisan grandstanding, finger pointing, and delaying tactics we will all have done the greatest collective misdeed to Columbia's crew we could possibly imagine.

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New Space Agreement Between ESA and Russia »» New Space Agreement Between ESA and Russia

[Tuesday, February 11, 2003] Today, Russia's Minister for Foreign Affairs and the ESA's Director General signed an Agreement between ESA and Russia on Cooperation and Partnership in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes.

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Images of our Infant Universe »» Images of our Infant Universe

[Tuesday, February 11, 2003] NASA today released the best "baby picture" of the Universe ever taken; the image contains such stunning detail that it may be one of the most important scientific results of recent years.

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STS-107 Mishap Response Status Report #1 »» STS-107 Mishap Response Status Report #1

[Tuesday, February 11, 2003] On the ISS, Expedition Six Commander Ken Bowersox, Don Pettit and Nikolai Budarin took time out from unpacking items delivered by a Progress supply craft for their first news conference since the Columbia accident.

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Statement of NASA Administrator O'Keefe at Hearings on the Columbia Accident »» Statement of NASA Administrator O'Keefe at Hearings on the Columbia Accident

[Wednesday, February 12, 2003] "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion."

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Evidence That Water May Have Flowed on Ancient Mars »» Evidence That Water May Have Flowed on Ancient Mars

[Wednesday, February 12, 2003] NASA scientists have discovered how an intricate martian network of streams, rivers and lakes may have carried water across Mars.

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A Detailed Timeline of  Columbia's Last Minutes »» A Detailed Timeline of Columbia's Last Minutes

[Thursday, February 13, 2003] NASA has released a detailed timeline of events leading up to the destruction of Space Shuttle Columbia as it returned to Earth.

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Mars' polar caps are almost entirely water ice »» Mars' polar caps are almost entirely water ice

[Thursday, February 13, 2003] California Institute of Technology planetary scientists studying new satellite imagery think that the Martian polar ice caps are made almost entirely of water ice-with just a smattering of frozen carbon dioxide, or "dry ice," at the surface.

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UN COPOUS to Discuss Wide Range of Topics in Vienna »» UN COPOUS to Discuss Wide Range of Topics in Vienna

[Friday, February 14, 2003] Managing natural disasters, medical science, and the promotion of public health will be among the items discussed at the upcoming meeting of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

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High-level exchange at Europe-Russia space workshop »» High-level exchange at Europe-Russia space workshop

[Friday, February 14, 2003] 300 representatives from more than a dozen countries met for a workshop entitled "Europe-Russia co-operation in the space sector" from 22-24 January 2003.

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The Need for Europa Surface Missions »» The Need for Europa Surface Missions

[Friday, February 14, 2003] Scientists have long considered Europa, the smallest of the four Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter, as a prime candidate for life outside Earth because it is one of the few places in the solar system where liquid water may be found.

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Early Mars: Warm enough to melt water? »» Early Mars: Warm enough to melt water?

[Friday, February 14, 2003] Some researchers believe that only asteroid collisions made Mars warm enough to have running rivers. Another researcher believes the planet had to be continuously warmer to form Mars' deep valleys, but he does not know how the planet warmed up.

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Intelsat 907 Launched on Final Ariane 4 Mission »» Intelsat 907 Launched on Final Ariane 4 Mission

[Saturday, February 15, 2003] This morning, Arianespace launched the Intelsat 907 communications satellite for international communications provider Intelsat. This launch marked the 74 success in a row for the Ariane 4 rocket. This was also the last launch of an Ariane 4.

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Magnetic Storms on the Sun Have Weather Cells »» Magnetic Storms on the Sun Have Weather Cells

[Saturday, February 15, 2003] Clusters of sunspots form their own weather patterns on the sun, according to new observations by a team of University of Colorado at Boulder researchers.

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Life Below Earth - An Indication of Life on Other Worlds? »» Life Below Earth - An Indication of Life on Other Worlds?

[Saturday, February 15, 2003] From South African gold mines, to cooled seafloor lavas, these subsurface bugs have provided clues to the potential for life on Mars, and the diversity of possible fuel sources for life, including nuclear energy and toxic waste.

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ESA's Artemis satellite reaches geostationary orbit »» ESA's Artemis satellite reaches geostationary orbit

[Tuesday, February 18, 2003] In the late afternoon of Friday 31 January, a final trim maneuver nudged Artemis into its assigned position in geostationary orbit, completing a most remarkable satellite recovery operation which has lasted 18 months.

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Columbia lost, but not a nation »» Columbia lost, but not a nation

[Tuesday, February 18, 2003] When Americans are asked how they picture the future, the reply very often includes a vision of routine spaceflight and distant exploration.

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NASA Sets Initial Requirements for Orbital Space Plane System »» NASA Sets Initial Requirements for Orbital Space Plane System

[Tuesday, February 18, 2003] NASA today released the top level requirements for the Orbital Space Plane. These requirements set the foundation for the design of the vehicle and its associated systems.

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NASA Assessment of Science Data Gained During Columbia's MIssion »» NASA Assessment of Science Data Gained During Columbia's MIssion

[Wednesday, February 19, 2003] Columbia carried more than 80 experiments, science, commercial and student, on a 16-day mission devoted to research, entrepreneurship and education.

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ESA Call to Students: Ideas for Aurora Program Sought »» ESA Call to Students: Ideas for Aurora Program Sought

[Wednesday, February 19, 2003] ESA is looking for innovative, imaginative ideas, concepts and technologies to enhance Europe’s long-term Aurora programme for the robotic and human exploration of the Moon, Mars and asteroids.

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First Map of Ice on Mars »» First Map of Ice on Mars

[Wednesday, February 19, 2003] Lurking just beneath the surface of Mars is enough water to cover the entire planet ankle-deep, says Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Bill Feldman.

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Melting Snow Seen as Cause of Martian Gullies »» Melting Snow Seen as Cause of Martian Gullies

[Wednesday, February 19, 2003] Images from several NASA spacecraft in orbit around Mars suggest melting snow is the likely cause of the numerous eroded gullies first documented on Mars by Mars Global Surveyor.

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An Earlier Interpretation Regarding Martian Gullies »» An Earlier Interpretation Regarding Martian Gullies

[Thursday, February 20, 2003] The interpretation of Martian gullies as resulting from the melting of snow and ice patches in response to obliquity variations of Mars was proposed and published by other researchers for the past three years.

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Boomerang Nebula - the coolest place in the Universe? »» Boomerang Nebula - the coolest place in the Universe?

[Thursday, February 20, 2003] The Boomerang Nebula is a young planetary nebula and the coldest object found in the Universe so far. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image illustrates how Hubble's keen vision reveals surprises in celestial objects.

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NASA Solves Half-century Old Moon Mystery »» NASA Solves Half-century Old Moon Mystery

[Thursday, February 20, 2003] Early on Nov. 15, 1953, an amateur astronomer photographed a fireball rising from the Moon's face. If his theory was right, he would be the first human in history to witness the impact of an asteroid-sized body on the Moon.

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Chandra and Hubble compose stunning picture of spiral galaxy »» Chandra and Hubble compose stunning picture of spiral galaxy

[Thursday, February 20, 2003] A Chandra X-ray Observatory image, in blue, has been combined with Hubble's optical image, in red and green, to compose this stunning and revealing picture of the spiral galaxy NGC 3079.

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A few thoughts on Mass Extinctions »» A few thoughts on Mass Extinctions

[Friday, February 21, 2003] Why do life forms that are vibrant and thriving one minute end up on the cutting room floor the next? How can magnificent creatures such as dinosaurs be cast as extras while the common cyanobacteria continue to receive top billing?

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Pioneer 10 Sends its Last Message Home »» Pioneer 10 Sends its Last Message Home

[Thursday, February 27, 2003] After more than 30 years, it appears the venerable Pioneer 10 spacecraft has sent its last signal to Earth. Pioneer's last, very weak signal was received on Jan. 22, 2003.

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Chandra Finds a Cocoon inside Pulsar B1957+20 »» Chandra Finds a Cocoon inside Pulsar B1957+20

[Thursday, February 27, 2003] NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory image of the mysterious "Black Widow" pulsar reveals the first direct evidence of an elongated cocoon of high-energy particles.

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Cassini Discovers Giant Gas Torus Around Jupiter »» Cassini Discovers Giant Gas Torus Around Jupiter

[Thursday, February 27, 2003] Using a sensitive new imaging instrument on NASA's Cassini spacecraft, researchers have discovered a large and surprisingly dense gas cloud, called sharing an orbit with Jupiter's icy moon Europa.

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Galileo Flight Team Ceases Operations on Friday »» Galileo Flight Team Ceases Operations on Friday

[Thursday, February 27, 2003] The flight team for NASA's Jupiter-orbiting Galileo spacecraft will cease operations on Friday, Feb. 28 after a final playback of scientific data from the robotic explorer's tape recorder.

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Molecular Cloud has a Heartbeat »» Molecular Cloud has a Heartbeat

[Friday, February 28, 2003] Astronomer Charles Lada of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and colleagues have discovered that the dark molecular cloud known as Barnard 68 seems to pulsate like a heavenly tribute to Saint Valentine.

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ESA reschedules European participation in Soyuz flights »» ESA reschedules European participation in Soyuz flights

[Friday, February 28, 2003] ESA has agreed to six-month postponements of the Soyuz flights by two members of its astronaut corps planned for April and October 2003. The purpose of the agreement is to allow the April Soyuz flight to be used for an ISS crew rotation.

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Space Shuttle Columbia Search and Recovery Enters New Phase »» Space Shuttle Columbia Search and Recovery Enters New Phase

[Friday, February 28, 2003] The search for materials from the Space Shuttle Columbia accident is entering a new phase. NASA is consolidating two of the primary search coordination field offices and establishing four incident command posts and base camps.

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