February 2007 Top Story Archives



Research team uses satellite to track Earth's water »» Research team uses satellite to track Earth's water

[Thursday, February 1, 2007] For the first time, scientists have used a spaceborne instrument to track the origin and movements of water vapor throughout Earth's atmosphere, providing a new perspective on the dominant role Earth's water cycle plays in weather and climate.

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Commercial Space Transportation Capabilities Agreements Signed »» Commercial Space Transportation Capabilities Agreements Signed

[Thursday, February 1, 2007] On Wednesday, NASA agreed to cooperate with PlanetSpace Inc. and Transformational Space Corp. (t/Space), to facilitate the commercialization of low-Earth orbit as they develop capabilities to transport goods and people to orbital destinations.

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NASA Cassini finds cloud engulfing Titan's North Pole »» NASA Cassini finds cloud engulfing Titan's North Pole

[Thursday, February 1, 2007] A giant cloud half the size of the United States has been imaged on Saturn’s moon Titan by the Cassini spacecraft. The cloud may be responsible for the material that fills the lakes discovered last year by Cassini's radar instrument.

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE Camera Views Jupiter From Mars Orbit »» Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE Camera Views Jupiter From Mars Orbit

[Thursday, February 1, 2007] The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE camera is the most powerful telescope to have left Earth orbit. As such, it is capable of some interesting astronomical observations.

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NASA to Highlight Next Space Station Component »» NASA to Highlight Next Space Station Component

[Thursday, February 1, 2007] On Tuesday, Feb 6, at 10:30 a.m. EST, NASA' KSC will showcase the next element to be added to the International Space Station. The starboard 3/4 truss segment will launch aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-117, targeted for March 15.

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NASA Moon-Impactor Mission Passes Major Review »» NASA Moon-Impactor Mission Passes Major Review

[Friday, February 2, 2007] NASA's unmanned Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, known as LCROSS, will strike the moon near its south pole in January 2009. It will search for water and other materials that astronauts could use at a future lunar outpost.

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NASA OIG Report: NASA's Plan for Space Shuttle Transition Could Be Improved by Following Project Management Guidelines »» NASA OIG Report: NASA's Plan for Space Shuttle Transition Could Be Improved by Following Project Management Guidelines

[Sunday, February 4, 2007] "The overall audit objective was to evaluate NASA's plans for managing the Space Shuttle's retirement and transition to the Crew Exploration Vehicle and the Crew Launch Vehicle and related systems."

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International Polar Year to Highlight Science at the Poles »» International Polar Year to Highlight Science at the Poles

[Monday, February 5, 2007] More than 200 scientific expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic will be launched as part of International Polar Year, which begins in March. Scientists from more than 60 nations will collaborate on a range of activities during this initiative.

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NASA's Shuttle Atlantis Set for Move to Vehicle Assembly Building »» NASA's Shuttle Atlantis Set for Move to Vehicle Assembly Building

[Monday, February 5, 2007] On Wednesday, Feb. 7, Atlantis is scheduled to move from the Orbiter Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center to the Vehicle Assembly Building. Once there, crews will attach Atlantis to its external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters.

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NASA Space Station Status Report 4 February 2007 »» NASA Space Station Status Report 4 February 2007

[Monday, February 5, 2007] For the second time in four days, two residents of the International Space Station stepped outside for a spacewalk to complete connecting cooling loops from a temporary to a permanent system. This time the excursion lasted just over seven hours.

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NASA Announces FY 08 Budget »» NASA Announces FY 08 Budget

[Monday, February 5, 2007] NASA Administrator Michael Griffin briefs the media about the agency's Fiscal Year 2008 budget at 1 p.m. EST, Monday, Feb. 5. The press briefing is in NASA's main auditorium located at 300 E Street S.W. in Washington.

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Comments by Mike Griffin: Highlights of NASA's FY 2008 Budget Request »» Comments by Mike Griffin: Highlights of NASA's FY 2008 Budget Request

[Monday, February 5, 2007] "Good afternoon. I have some brief remarks before opening the meeting up for your questions. This morning, the President announced his Fiscal Year 2008 budget request for the entire federal government. "

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Transcript of NASA FY 2008 Budget Briefing 5 February 2007 »» Transcript of NASA FY 2008 Budget Briefing 5 February 2007

[Tuesday, February 6, 2007] "This morning, the President announced his fiscal year 2008 budget request for the Federal Government. This includes a $17.3-billion request for NASA, which is a 3.1-percent increase over the President's fiscal year '07 request for the agency."

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NASA Astronaut To Be Charged With Attempted Murder »» NASA Astronaut To Be Charged With Attempted Murder

[Tuesday, February 6, 2007] Authorities plan to charge a U.S. space shuttle astronaut with attempted murder of a woman she allegedly considered a rival for the attention of a fellow astronaut.

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Hubble Image of Galaxy Cluster Abell S0740 »» Hubble Image of Galaxy Cluster Abell S0740

[Tuesday, February 6, 2007] This image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows the diverse collection of galaxies in the cluster Abell S0740 that is over 450 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Centaurus.

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NASA Sets Briefing Today to Respond to Astronaut-Related Inquiries »» NASA Sets Briefing Today to Respond to Astronaut-Related Inquiries

[Wednesday, February 7, 2007] NASA will hold two consecutive media briefings today beginning at 3 p.m. EST to address general questions from media concerning astronauts, their selection and screening, flight training and other matters.

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NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale's Statement on Lisa Nowak »» NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale's Statement on Lisa Nowak

[Wednesday, February 7, 2007] "We are very concerned about the tragic situation involving astronaut Lisa Nowak and are deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of Lisa, Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman, and Astronaut Bill Oefelein. "

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Ancient rocks show how young Earth avoided becoming giant snowball »» Ancient rocks show how young Earth avoided becoming giant snowball

[Wednesday, February 7, 2007] A greenhouse gas that has become the bane of modern society may have saved Earth from completely freezing over early in the planet's history, according to the first detailed laboratory analysis of the world's oldest sedimentary rocks.

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NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spacecraft Set to Reach Milestone, Reports Technical Glitches »» NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spacecraft Set to Reach Milestone, Reports Technical Glitches

[Wednesday, February 7, 2007] MRO is set to surpass the record for the most science data returned by any Mars spacecraft. While the mission continues to produce data at record levels, engineers are examining why two instruments are intermittently not performing entirely as planned. 

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NASA's Shuttle Atlantis Rolls to Vehicle Assembly Building »» NASA's Shuttle Atlantis Rolls to Vehicle Assembly Building

[Wednesday, February 7, 2007] NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis completed a milestone to move it one step closer to a targeted March launch. Early Wednesday drivers moved Atlantis from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

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NASA-European Spacecraft Swoops Under Sun's Pole »» NASA-European Spacecraft Swoops Under Sun's Pole

[Wednesday, February 7, 2007] The European-manufactured, joint NASA- and ESA-managed spacecraft, has reached maximum latitude in its exploration of the heliosphere, the bubble in space blown out by the solar wind.

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New Horizons' SWAP instrument observes solar wind interactions before Jupiter encounter »» New Horizons' SWAP instrument observes solar wind interactions before Jupiter encounter

[Wednesday, February 7, 2007] With its sights firmly on Jupiter, the New Horizons spacecraft is testing its science payload and making observations as it rounds the planet for a gravity-assist that will speed its journey to the edge of the solar system.

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Study shows largest North America climate change in 65 million years »» Study shows largest North America climate change in 65 million years

[Wednesday, February 7, 2007] The largest climate change in central North America since the age of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, a temperature drop of nearly 15 degrees F, is documented within the fossilized teeth of horses and other plant-eating mammals, a new study reveals.

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NASA's largest space telescope mirror will see deeper into space »» NASA's largest space telescope mirror will see deeper into space

[Wednesday, February 7, 2007] The James Webb Space Telescope's mirror blanks have now been constructed. When polished and assembled, together they will form a mirror whose area is over seven times larger than the Hubble Telescope's mirror.

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THEMIS Launching Aboard Delta II on Feb. 15 »» THEMIS Launching Aboard Delta II on Feb. 15

[Thursday, February 8, 2007] Launch of NASA's THEMIS spacecraft is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 15 from Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The launch window is 6:08 to 6:26 p.m. EST, a duration of 18 minutes.

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House Committee on Science and Technology Vows Action on Climate Change »» House Committee on Science and Technology Vows Action on Climate Change

[Thursday, February 8, 2007] Today, the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology held the first Congressional conversation with climate scientists who authored that 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report released last weekend in Paris.

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NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting: Who Decides About Taking On Risk? »» NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting: Who Decides About Taking On Risk?

[Thursday, February 8, 2007] "Griffin described an incident during preparations for STS-115, when there was a last minute decision on whether or not to fly with 3 out of 4 ecosensors. Where nearly everyone decided to vary slightly from what had been agreed upon and to fly."

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NASA Space Station Status Report 8 February 2007 »» NASA Space Station Status Report 8 February 2007

[Thursday, February 8, 2007] With all scheduled tasks accomplished, International Space Station Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Sunita Williams wound up a 6-hour, 40-minute spacewalk at 2:06 p.m. CST Thursday.

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NAS Report: Cost Overruns, Cancelling of Small Missions Have Led to Lost Science Opportunities at NASA »» NAS Report: Cost Overruns, Cancelling of Small Missions Have Led to Lost Science Opportunities at NASA

[Friday, February 9, 2007] "... revolutionary discoveries were based on missions NASA developed the decade before.  We are concerned about 2010 and beyond because there are no low-cost, quick-response science programs being prepared today."

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Astrophysicists explain the differences in the brightness of supernova explosions »» Astrophysicists explain the differences in the brightness of supernova explosions

[Friday, February 9, 2007] Supernovae stand out in the sky like cosmic lighthouses. Scientists have now found a way to use these cosmic beacons to measure distances in space more accurately.

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Cluster – new insights into the electric circuits of polar lights »» Cluster – new insights into the electric circuits of polar lights

[Friday, February 9, 2007] New results obtained thanks to ESA's Cluster satellites provide a new insight into the source of the difference between the two types of electrical circuits currently known to be associated to the auroral arcs.

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COROT started its science mission »» COROT started its science mission

[Friday, February 9, 2007] COROT, the satellite to probe into the interiors of stars and to look for extra-solar planets, has completed its in-orbit verification and started its science observations on 3 February this year.

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Distant Quasars Live in Massive Dark Matter Halos »» Distant Quasars Live in Massive Dark Matter Halos

[Friday, February 9, 2007] Using a map of more than 4,000 quasars in the distant universe, scientists from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have shown that these brilliant beacons are strongly clumped, with huge quasar superclusters separated by vast stretches of empty space.

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Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, is a 'cosmic graffiti artist,' astronomers discover »» Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, is a 'cosmic graffiti artist,' astronomers discover

[Friday, February 9, 2007] Astronomers have found that Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of Saturn, is a "cosmic graffiti artist," pelting the surfaces of at least 11 other moons of Saturn with ice particles sprayed from its spewing surface geysers.

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Spirit Update 9 February 2007 »» Spirit Update 9 February 2007

[Friday, February 9, 2007] It's Officially Spring on Mars: Spring is in the thin, Martian atmosphere once again as NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit scans the local terrain for dust devils expected this time of year.

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Opportunity Update 9 February 2007 »» Opportunity Update 9 February 2007

[Friday, February 9, 2007] Opportunity has completed a remote sensing campaign at "Cape Desire" and is on the move to the next promontory, called "Cabo Corrientes." Opportunity's odometer rolled past 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) during the 50.51-meter (166 feet) drive on sol 1080.

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NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting: 2006 Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Study »» NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting: 2006 Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Study

[Saturday, February 10, 2007] "Griffin complimented the thoroughness of the study. He stated that NASA is not funded to do anything more than the current detection program. Members discussed the origin of the congressional language and its intent."

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Modeling Other Earths »» Modeling Other Earths

[Saturday, February 10, 2007] More than 200 extrasolar planets have been found so far, but our knowledge about those distant worlds is very limited. In most cases we haven't seen the planets; we only know they exist because of the effect they have on the star they orbit.

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Highlights of NASA's FY 2008 Budget Request and the Year Ahead »» Highlights of NASA's FY 2008 Budget Request and the Year Ahead

[Sunday, February 11, 2007] "This is the second year in a row that the National Space Club has asked me to speak at a luncheon soon after we rolled out NASA's annual budget request to the Congress, so by the standards of the space business, it is now a tradition."

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Alan Stern Selected to Lead NASA Science Mission Directorate »» Alan Stern Selected to Lead NASA Science Mission Directorate

[Monday, February 12, 2007] NASA Administrator Michael Griffin announced Monday that Dr. S. Alan Stern will be the agency's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, effective April 2. Stern succeeds Dr. Mary L. Cleave who announced her retirement.

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NASA Space Station Status Report 12 February 2007 »» NASA Space Station Status Report 12 February 2007

[Monday, February 12, 2007] An unexpected circuit breaker trip early Sunday caused a power outage on the ISS, but the safety of the Expedition 14 crew and the complex was never an issue. All systems were back up by Monday morning with no impact to operations on board.

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NASA Study Finds Warmer Future Could Bring Droughts »» NASA Study Finds Warmer Future Could Bring Droughts

[Monday, February 12, 2007] NASA scientists may have discovered how a warmer climate in the future could increase droughts in certain parts of the world, including the southwest United States.

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The First Hiking Maps of Mars »» The First Hiking Maps of Mars

[Monday, February 12, 2007] Using data from Mars Express spacecraft the first 'hiker's maps' of Mars have been produced. Giving detailed height contours and names of geological features in the Iani Chaos region, the maps could become a standard reference for future Martian research.

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Comets Clash at Heart of Helix Nebula »» Comets Clash at Heart of Helix Nebula

[Monday, February 12, 2007] A bunch of comets are colliding and kicking up dust around a dead star, according to new observations from Spitzer Space Telescope. The dead star lies at the center of the Helix nebula, a cloud of gas with an eerie resemblance to a giant eye.

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NASA Announces Three International Space Station Crews »» NASA Announces Three International Space Station Crews

[Monday, February 12, 2007] NASA and its international partners have named the crews that will live and work aboard the International Space Station for the next two years. The crew members make up three expeditions to the station and represent four space agencies.

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AIAA Space Colonization Technical Committee Recommends Actions for Robust Implementation of Lunar Settlements »» AIAA Space Colonization Technical Committee Recommends Actions for Robust Implementation of Lunar Settlements

[Tuesday, February 13, 2007] The AIAA SCTC has developed a position statement which recommends specific research, development, technology and engineering goals be implemented in order to establish a Moon base by 2015 and open new frontiers to human space exploration.

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Anousheh Ansari Teams up with Best-Selling Author Homer Hickam to Describe the Wonders of Space and Its Deep Impact on Her Life »» Anousheh Ansari Teams up with Best-Selling Author Homer Hickam to Describe the Wonders of Space and Its Deep Impact on Her Life

[Tuesday, February 13, 2007] The world's first private female space explorer, Anousheh Ansari is writing a memoir with the assistance of Homer Hickam, author of the No. 1 New York Times best-seller "Rocket Boys," which was made into the critically acclaimed movie "October Sky."

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House Committee on Science and Technology Committee Told Earth Observing Systems at Risk »» House Committee on Science and Technology Committee Told Earth Observing Systems at Risk

[Tuesday, February 13, 2007] The House Committee on Science and Technology today heard from a panel of expert witnesses who warned that U.S. earth-monitoring capabilities are at risk in the coming decade.

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NASA Announces Briefing on Discovery Beneath Antarctic Ice Sheet »» NASA Announces Briefing on Discovery Beneath Antarctic Ice Sheet

[Tuesday, February 13, 2007] Researchers from NASA and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif., will unveil new results from an unprecedented study of water deep beneath the Antarctic ice sheet.

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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Engineers Provide Training for Hubble Astronauts »» NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Engineers Provide Training for Hubble Astronauts

[Tuesday, February 13, 2007] Astronauts selected for the next space shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope are at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., this week for their first formal crew orientation.

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Microsoft Word Inventor Shares His Outer-Space Adventure on www.charlesinspace.com »» Microsoft Word Inventor Shares His Outer-Space Adventure on www.charlesinspace.com

[Tuesday, February 13, 2007] Charles Simonyi, Ph.D., the fifth private space explorer, announced today that his Web site www.charlesinspace.com, now features rich new content including training video and personal interviews.

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The colourful demise of a Sun-like star »» The colourful demise of a Sun-like star

[Tuesday, February 13, 2007] A brand new image taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 shows the planetary nebula NGC 2440 - the chaotic structure of the demise of a star.

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NASA Astrobiology Institute Director's Corner 13 February 2007 »» NASA Astrobiology Institute Director's Corner 13 February 2007

[Tuesday, February 13, 2007] "When I read the recent NASA press release on selections for future Mars missions and studies, I was struck by the contribution the Astrobiology Program had made to the development of the proposed investigations."

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First Couple to Honeymoon in Space on Virgin Galactic - Launch Spacelove.org Website »» First Couple to Honeymoon in Space on Virgin Galactic - Launch Spacelove.org Website

[Wednesday, February 14, 2007] Loretta and George Whitesides, the first couple to honeymoon in space, launched a new website on Valentine's Day to share the excitement of their upcoming adventure with the public.

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Interesting New Horizons Pluto Mission Video Online »» Interesting New Horizons Pluto Mission Video Online

[Wednesday, February 14, 2007] The New Horizons Project has a rather new cool video online - one that is a radical departure from the pretty, but somewhat sterile animiations that NASA picks - videos that often have dorky or ill-fitting music.

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New Horizons Image: Full Jupiter Mosaic »» New Horizons Image: Full Jupiter Mosaic

[Wednesday, February 14, 2007] This image of Jupiter is produced from a 2x2 mosaic of photos. The telescopic camera snapped the images during a 3-minute, 35-second span on February 10, when the spacecraft was 29 million kilometers (18 million miles) from Jupiter.

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Rosetta correctly lined up for critical Mars swingby »» Rosetta correctly lined up for critical Mars swingby

[Thursday, February 15, 2007] ESA mission controllers have confirmed Rosetta is on track for a critical 250-km Mars swingby. Rosetta is scheduled to make its closest approach to Mars at 02:57 CET on Sunday, 25 February.

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Astronomers Measure Sun-Like Brightness Changes of the Solar Twin, 18 Scorpii »» Astronomers Measure Sun-Like Brightness Changes of the Solar Twin, 18 Scorpii

[Thursday, February 15, 2007] Astronomers have collected and analyzed a long-term set of activity and brightness measurements of a "solar twin" 18 Scorpii which exhibits brightness changes over the course of its activity cycle that are nearly identical to the Sun's.

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Joint NASA Study Reveals Leaks In Antarctic 'Plumbing System' »» Joint NASA Study Reveals Leaks In Antarctic 'Plumbing System'

[Thursday, February 15, 2007] Scientists using NASA satellites have discovered an extensive network of waterways beneath a fast-moving Antarctic ice stream that provide clues as to how "leaks" in the system impact sea level and the world's largest ice sheet.

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Peering into the Pillars of Creation »» Peering into the Pillars of Creation

[Thursday, February 15, 2007] A new look at the "Pillars of Creation" has allowed astronomers to peer inside the dark columns of gas and dust. This penetrating view of the central region of the Eagle Nebula reveals how much star formation is happening inside these iconic structures.

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NASA Mars Orbiter Sees Effects of Ancient Underground Fluids »» NASA Mars Orbiter Sees Effects of Ancient Underground Fluids

[Thursday, February 15, 2007] Liquid or gas flowed through cracks penetrating underground rock on ancient Mars, according to a report based on observations by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. These fluids may have produced conditions to support possible habitats for microbial life.

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Shuttle Atlantis Moves to Pad, Crew Ready for Countdown Test »» Shuttle Atlantis Moves to Pad, Crew Ready for Countdown Test

[Thursday, February 15, 2007] The space shuttle Atlantis arrived at its launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 3:09 p.m. EST on top of the giant vehicle known as the crawler transporter.

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NASA New Horizon's Mission: The PI's Perspective: Calm Before Close Approach »» NASA New Horizon's Mission: The PI's Perspective: Calm Before Close Approach

[Thursday, February 15, 2007] We're right on Jupiter's doorstep. Jupiter already appears one-third of a degree across -- just a little smaller than the full Moon as seen from Earth -- and growing every day.

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Quantum hall effect observed at room temperature »» Quantum hall effect observed at room temperature

[Thursday, February 15, 2007] Using the highest magnetic fields in the world, an international team of researchers has observed the quantum Hall effect – a much studied phenomenon of the quantum world – at room temperature.

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GAO: NASA's Management of its Contractor Award Fees Needs to be Improved »» GAO: NASA's Management of its Contractor Award Fees Needs to be Improved

[Friday, February 16, 2007] The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report today on procurement practices at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that identifies a number of problems with the agency's management of its contractor award fees.

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Hunting martian fossils best bet for locating Mars life, says ASU researcher »» Hunting martian fossils best bet for locating Mars life, says ASU researcher

[Friday, February 16, 2007] Hunting for traces of life on Mars calls for two radically different strategies. Of the two, with today's exploration technology, we can most easily look for evidence for past life, preserved as fossil "biosignatures" in old rocks.

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NASA Marks 45th Anniversary of Americans in Orbit »» NASA Marks 45th Anniversary of Americans in Orbit

[Friday, February 16, 2007] NASA commemorates the 45th anniversary of Americans in orbit with a special multimedia salute to the original Mercury astronauts and new interviews with Sen. John Glenn, Scott Carpenter and Walter Schirra.

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Integral points to the fastest spinning neutron star »» Integral points to the fastest spinning neutron star

[Friday, February 16, 2007] Astronomers using Integral have detected what appears to be the fastest spinning neutron star yet. This tiny stellar corpse is spinning 1122 times per second. If confirmed, the discovery provides a chance to glimpse the inside of the dead star.

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NASA Commercial Space Partners Complete Milestones »» NASA Commercial Space Partners Complete Milestones

[Friday, February 16, 2007] Two companies that are receiving NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services funds achieved significant milestones this month in their efforts to develop and demonstrate space cargo launch and delivery systems.

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NASA Media Teleconference on Planets Beyond Our Solar System »» NASA Media Teleconference on Planets Beyond Our Solar System

[Friday, February 16, 2007] Astronomers are scheduled to announce new findings about planets beyond our solar system at a media teleconference Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 10 a.m. PST. The findings are from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

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First X-ray detection of a colliding-wind binary beyond the Milky Way »» First X-ray detection of a colliding-wind binary beyond the Milky Way

[Friday, February 16, 2007] Imagine two stars with winds so powerful that they eject an Earth's worth of material roughly once every month. Next, imagine those two winds colliding head-on.

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Launch of THEMIS Postponed 24 Hours »» Launch of THEMIS Postponed 24 Hours

[Friday, February 16, 2007] The launch of NASA's THEMIS spacecraft aboard a Delta II rocket was scrubbed tonight six minutes before launch due to out-of-limit upper level winds in the region between 10 thousand and 20 thousand feet.

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Space Shuttle Atlantis Arrives at the Launch Pad »» Space Shuttle Atlantis Arrives at the Launch Pad

[Friday, February 16, 2007] The Space Shuttle Atlantis arrived at Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:09 p.m. EST. Atlantis began its 3.4 mile journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building at 8:19 a.m. It traveled just under 1 mph.

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APL-Built Mineral Mapper Uncovering Clues of Martian Surface Composition »» APL-Built Mineral Mapper Uncovering Clues of Martian Surface Composition

[Friday, February 16, 2007] Reaching its first 100 days of operations, the powerful mineral-detector aboard the newest satellite to circle Mars is changing the way scientists view the history of water on the red planet.

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NASA Launches THEMIS Satellites »» NASA Launches THEMIS Satellites

[Saturday, February 17, 2007] Taking multitasking to new heights, NASA launched the five THEMIS satellites aboard a single Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 6:01 p.m. EST.

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181 Things To Do On The Moon »» 181 Things To Do On The Moon

[Saturday, February 17, 2007] If you woke up tomorrow morning and found yourself on the moon, what would you do? NASA has just released a list of 181 good ideas.

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Dirt, Gravity, and Lunar-Based Telescopes: The Value Proposition for Astronomy »» Dirt, Gravity, and Lunar-Based Telescopes: The Value Proposition for Astronomy

[Sunday, February 18, 2007] The lunar surface has historically been considered an optimal site for a broad range of astronomical telescopes. That assumption, which has come to be somewhat reflexive, is critically examined in this paper and found to be poorly substantiated.

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Surprises from the Sun's South Pole »» Surprises from the Sun's South Pole

[Monday, February 19, 2007] Although very close to the minimum of its 11-year sunspot cycle, the Sun showed that it is still capable of producing a series of remarkably energetic outbursts - ESA-NASA Ulysses mission revealed.

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Spirit Status 18 February 2007 »» Spirit Status 18 February 2007

[Monday, February 19, 2007] Rover drivers have now refined their techniques for maneuvering on only five wheels. All of Spirit's drives during the past week ended within centimeters (inches) of the targeted endpoint.

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A New Crater on Titan? »» A New Crater on Titan?

[Monday, February 19, 2007] This radar image of Titan shows a semi-circular feature that may be part of an impact crater. Few impact craters have been seen on Titan, implying that the surface is young. Each new crater helps scientists to constrain the age of the surface.

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Where is Beagle 2? The search continues »» Where is Beagle 2? The search continues

[Monday, February 19, 2007] NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft has used its onboard High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera (HiRISE) to take a colour image of a region of Mars in the vicinity of the intended landing site of Beagle 2.

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Worldwide research network needed to really understand what is changing in the Arctic »» Worldwide research network needed to really understand what is changing in the Arctic

[Monday, February 19, 2007] An Ohio State University geologist today outlined a new plan to oceanographers that would consolidate much of the world's studies on the Arctic region into a global observation network.

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From icehouse to hothouse: Melting ice and rising CO2 caused climate shift »» From icehouse to hothouse: Melting ice and rising CO2 caused climate shift

[Monday, February 19, 2007] Three hundred million years ago, Earth's climate shifted dramatically from icehouse to hothouse, with major environmental consequences. That shift was the result of both rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and the melting of vast ice sheets.

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Jupiter's moon Europa should be NASA's next target, says ASU researcher »» Jupiter's moon Europa should be NASA's next target, says ASU researcher

[Monday, February 19, 2007] As NASA develops its next "flagship" mission to the outer solar system, Jupiter's moon Europa should be the target. Although Europa lies five times farther from the Sun than Earth, he notes it may offer a home for life.

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International Heliophysical Year begins »» International Heliophysical Year begins

[Monday, February 19, 2007] A year of scientific collaboration and public engagement events aimed at understanding space weather and the Sun's true effects throughout the Solar System starts today.

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NASA Is Not Paying Its Student Fellowship Bills »» NASA Is Not Paying Its Student Fellowship Bills

[Monday, February 19, 2007] According to students and faculty, none of the students selected has received checks in 2007. NASA has been telling the UNCF that the money will be sent so as to allow additional payments to be made to students. To date that money has not arrived.

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Coalition for Space Exploration Partners With Texas Space Grant Consortium to Sponsor NASA-University Public Relations Competition »» Coalition for Space Exploration Partners With Texas Space Grant Consortium to Sponsor NASA-University Public Relations Competition

[Tuesday, February 20, 2007] The Coalition for Space Exploration today announced a partnership with the Texas Space Grant Consortium to sponsor the 2007 NASA Means Business competition.

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Detecting radiation on lunar and Mars missions »» Detecting radiation on lunar and Mars missions

[Tuesday, February 20, 2007] Astronauts on lunar and Mars missions will need to continually assess their radiation risk and exposure. The faculty and midshipmen at the USNA are developing a small device to do exactly that, as well as alert crews during high-radiation events.

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Integral expands our view of the gamma-ray sky »» Integral expands our view of the gamma-ray sky

[Tuesday, February 20, 2007] With over seventy percent of the sky now observed by Integral, astronomers have been able to construct the largest catalogue yet of individual gamma-ray-emitting celestial objects. And there is no end in sight for the discoveries.

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First Test of New Autonomous Capability on Mars Is Promising »» First Test of New Autonomous Capability on Mars Is Promising

[Tuesday, February 20, 2007] Autonomous navigation software developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) drove the NASA Mars Rover "Opportunity" last week in the software's first live test on the Red Planet.

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A Spitzer Spectrum of the Exoplanet HD 189733b »» A Spitzer Spectrum of the Exoplanet HD 189733b

[Tuesday, February 20, 2007] "We report on the measurement of the 7.5-14.7 micron spectrum for the transiting extrasolar giant planet HD 189733b using the Infrared Spectrograph on the Spitzer Space Telescope."

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A Spectrum of an Extrasolar Planet »» A Spectrum of an Extrasolar Planet

[Tuesday, February 20, 2007] "Of the over 200 known extrasolar planets, 14 exhibit transits in front of their parent stars as seen from Earth. Spectroscopic observations of the transiting planets can probe the physical conditions of their atmospheres."

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Habitat of early life: Solar X-ray and UV radiation at Earth's surface 4-3.5 billion years ago »» Habitat of early life: Solar X-ray and UV radiation at Earth's surface 4-3.5 billion years ago

[Tuesday, February 20, 2007] Solar X-ray and UV radiation (0.1-320 nm) received at Earth's surface is an important aspect of the circumstances under which life formed on Earth.

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NASA's Spitzer First to Crack Open Light of Far Away Worlds »» NASA's Spitzer First to Crack Open Light of Far Away Worlds

[Wednesday, February 21, 2007] NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured for the first time enough light from planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, to identify signatures of molecules in their atmospheres.

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NASA, Virgin Galactic to Explore Future cooperation »» NASA, Virgin Galactic to Explore Future cooperation

[Wednesday, February 21, 2007] NASA signed a MOU Tuesday with Virgin Galactic, LLC, to explore the potential for collaborations on the development of space suits, heat shields for spaceships, hybrid rocket motors and hypersonic vehicles capable of traveling Mach 5.

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Spacehab Dismisses RDM Claim With NASA »» Spacehab Dismisses RDM Claim With NASA

[Wednesday, February 21, 2007] Spacehab today announced that the Company has filed for a formal dismissal with prejudice of all litigation against NASA relating to losses incurred by SPACEHAB as a result of the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident.

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Astronomers Puzzled by Spectra of Transiting Planet Orbiting Nearby Star »» Astronomers Puzzled by Spectra of Transiting Planet Orbiting Nearby Star

[Wednesday, February 21, 2007] A team of astronomers led by Carl Grillmair of the California Institute of Technology has discovered some puzzling things about a Jupiter-sized planet that passes in front of a nearby star in the constellation Vulpecula.

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Absence of Water in Distant Planet's Atmosphere Surprises Astronomers »» Absence of Water in Distant Planet's Atmosphere Surprises Astronomers

[Wednesday, February 21, 2007] HD 189733b is a type of planet known as a "hot Jupiter." It orbits very close to its star, completing one revolution every 2.2 days. Its mass and physical size are both slightly larger than Jupiter.

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The Sky Through Three Giant Eyes »» The Sky Through Three Giant Eyes

[Thursday, February 22, 2007] The ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer, which allows astronomers to scrutinise objects with a precision equivalent to that of a 130-m telescope, is proving itself an unequalled success every day.

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XMM-Newton reveals a magnetic surprise »» XMM-Newton reveals a magnetic surprise

[Thursday, February 22, 2007] ESA's X-ray observatory XMM-Newton has revealed evidence for a magnetic field in space where astronomers never expected to find one. The magnetic field surrounds a young star called AB Aurigae and provides a possible solution to a twenty-year-old puzzle.

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NASA Provides Additional Information on Agreement With Virgin Galactic  (With MOU Text) »» NASA Provides Additional Information on Agreement With Virgin Galactic (With MOU Text)

[Thursday, February 22, 2007] The memorandum is only a framework to explore potential collaborations. It does not include training of NASA astronauts, an agreement to buy seats on a Virgin Galactic flight, or provision of technical advice by NASA to Virgin Galactic.

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NASA Space Station Status Report 22 February 2007 »» NASA Space Station Status Report 22 February 2007

[Thursday, February 22, 2007] Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin retracted a stuck antenna on a cargo spacecraft during a 6-hour, 18-minute spacewalk that ended at 10:45 a.m. CST Thursday.

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Spiral Galaxy Image Benefits From Vigilance on Dark Skies »» Spiral Galaxy Image Benefits From Vigilance on Dark Skies

[Thursday, February 22, 2007] A beautiful new image of spiral galaxy IC 342 that takes advantage of the dark night sky at Kitt Peak National Observatory is being released today at the opening of "The Night: Why Dark Hours Are So Important" a two-day symposium.

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NASA New Horizons Mission: The PI's Perspective - Speeding to Zeus »» NASA New Horizons Mission: The PI's Perspective - Speeding to Zeus

[Thursday, February 22, 2007] The New Horizons spacecraft and payload are still performing well. As is the case most weeks, no unexpected events occurred; further, all of the Jupiter observations have been conducted just as planned.

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Vivid on-line videos demonstrate Superbot progress »» Vivid on-line videos demonstrate Superbot progress

[Thursday, February 22, 2007] Wei-Min Shen of the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute recently reported to NASA significant progress in developing "SuperBot," identical modular units that plug into each other to create robots that can stand, crawl, wiggl

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UAH researchers working on laser system to deflect asteroid on collision »» UAH researchers working on laser system to deflect asteroid on collision

[Thursday, February 22, 2007] A team of scientists and engineers at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) are conducting research that could one day save humanity from asteroids threatening Earth.

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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Celebrates SN 1987A's 20th Anniversary »» NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Celebrates SN 1987A's 20th Anniversary

[Thursday, February 22, 2007] Twenty years ago, astronomers witnessed one of the brightest stellar explosions in more than 400 years. The titanic supernova, called SN 1987A, blazed with the power of 100 million suns for several months following its discovery on Feb. 23, 1987.

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NASA MSFC Solicitation: Ares 1 Upper Statge Production »» NASA MSFC Solicitation: Ares 1 Upper Statge Production

[Friday, February 23, 2007] NASA will conduct a single overview session with Industry on March 6, 2007. This session will be held with the declared Upper Stage Production potential Prime Contractor Teams who previously responded to the Notice of Intent.

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International Polar Year opening ceremony at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC »» International Polar Year opening ceremony at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC

[Friday, February 23, 2007] The International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 is envisioned as an intense, internationally coordinated campaign of research that will initiate the dawn of a new era in polar science.

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XMM-Newton's anniversary view of supernova SN 1987A »» XMM-Newton's anniversary view of supernova SN 1987A

[Friday, February 23, 2007] Twenty years after the first detection of SN 1987A, the nearest supernova ever detected since the invention of the telescope, XMM-Newton provided a fresh-new view of this object. The source keeps brightening - XMM-Newton confirms.

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NASA Space Shuttle Processing Status Report 23 February 2007 »» NASA Space Shuttle Processing Status Report 23 February 2007

[Friday, February 23, 2007] The STS-117 crew arrived at Kennedy Space Center Wednesday to participate in the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT), a launch dress rehearsal.

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New Horizons Misison: The PI's Perspective - Campaigning for Jupiter »» New Horizons Misison: The PI's Perspective - Campaigning for Jupiter

[Friday, February 23, 2007] We're now inside of a week to Jupiter closest approach! One aspect of our flyby that I have not yet noted is the broad campaign of coordinated Jupiter observations taking place on Earth and in space.

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Herschel passes a new milestone »» Herschel passes a new milestone

[Friday, February 23, 2007] The heart of ESA's infrared space telescope, Herschel, has successfully completed a vital round of tests. The cylindrical cryostat will now be loaded with the spacecraft's instruments before more tests and Herschel's eventual launch in 2008.

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The Celestial Whirligig - Unique Observations of Comet McNaught Reveal Sprinkling Nucleus »» The Celestial Whirligig - Unique Observations of Comet McNaught Reveal Sprinkling Nucleus

[Friday, February 23, 2007] Comet McNaught, the Great Comet of 2007, has been delighting those who have seen it. Pushing ESO's New Technology Telescope to its limits, a team of European astronomers have obtained the first, and possibly unique, detailed observations of this object.

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Looking for life on Jupiter's icy moon Europa »» Looking for life on Jupiter's icy moon Europa

[Friday, February 23, 2007] While NASA and ESA focus on Mars rovers and future missions to search for life on the Red Planet, a determined core of scientists is lobbying for equal attention to a place they feel is just as likely to harbor life - Jupiter's icy moon Europa.

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Spirit Status 23 February 2007 »» Spirit Status 23 February 2007

[Friday, February 23, 2007] Spirit is healthy and making progress on the return trek to "Home Plate." Rover handlers have put use of the robotic arm on hold in order to run diagnostic tests of apparent positioning errors in the placement of instruments on the arm.

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NASA Still Flies Huggies Products in Space »» NASA Still Flies Huggies Products in Space

[Saturday, February 24, 2007] There has been some recent interest in the sorts of diaper products astronauts use in space. As was noted in a previous article in December 2005, NASA flies Huggies brand products aboard the ISS. This practice continues today.

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The Curious Use of Combination Locks By NASA During Space Shuttle Missions »» The Curious Use of Combination Locks By NASA During Space Shuttle Missions

[Saturday, February 24, 2007] Given the recent problems Lisa Nowak experienced - only months after she flew on a Space Shuttle mission - questions have arisen as to how NASA might deal with problems during a mission - as well as how to catch such problems on the ground ahead of time.

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New Horizon's Encounter With Jupiter Is Underway »» New Horizon's Encounter With Jupiter Is Underway

[Saturday, February 24, 2007] New Horizons has begun its encounter with Jupiter. Closest approach is due to occur on 28 February 2007 at 05:41:00 UTC. Check the mission's website here for the latest news.

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Stunning view of Rosetta skimming past Mars »» Stunning view of Rosetta skimming past Mars

[Sunday, February 25, 2007] This stunning view, showing portions of the Rosetta spacecraft with Mars in the background, was taken by the CIVA on board Rosetta's Philae lander just four minutes before the spacecraft reached closest approach to the Red Planet earlier this morning.

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Rosetta successfully swings-by Mars – next target: Earth »» Rosetta successfully swings-by Mars – next target: Earth

[Sunday, February 25, 2007] At 03:57 CET today, mission controllers at ESOC, ESA's Space Operations Centre in Germany, confirmed Rosetta's successful swingby of Mars, a key milestone in the 7.1-thousand-million km journey of this unique spacecraft to its target comet in 2014.

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Iran's Sputnik »» Iran's Sputnik

[Sunday, February 25, 2007] Iran has just completed conversion of a powerful ballistic missile into a satellite launch vehicle. But the 25-30-ton rocket could be a wolf in sheep's clothing to test longer-range Iranian missile technologies.

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Icy Outpost? »» Icy Outpost?

[Sunday, February 25, 2007] The Cassini spacecraft looks down under at the tortured south polar region of Enceladus, crossed by its "tiger stripes," or sulci, as the long, nearly parallel fractures are officially known.

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Tempest-Tossed Saturn »» Tempest-Tossed Saturn

[Sunday, February 25, 2007] The Cassini spacecraft views Saturn's southern latitudes in color, spying a great, eye-shaped vortex just northward of the south polar region. Other dark vortices, common features of Saturn's general circulation, are visible in the mid-latitudes.

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Red triangle with skull and crossbones is for danger - new UN radiation symbol »» Red triangle with skull and crossbones is for danger - new UN radiation symbol

[Sunday, February 25, 2007] A skull and crossbones, a running person and radiating ionizing waves, joined other more common warning symbols today as part of a United Nations effort to reduce needless deaths and serious injuries from accidental exposure to large radioactive sources.

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Official opening of the Soyuz launch base construction site in French Guiana »» Official opening of the Soyuz launch base construction site in French Guiana

[Monday, February 26, 2007] Construction of the Soyuz launch site in French Guiana was opened today by Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General, Yannick d'Escatha, President of CNES, Jean-Yves Le Gall, Director General of Arianespace, and Anatoly Perminov, Head of Roscosmos.

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Camping on the Moon Will Be One Far Out Experience »» Camping on the Moon Will Be One Far Out Experience

[Monday, February 26, 2007] If Earth had a mountain so incredibly high that its peak poked through the outermost layer of our atmosphere, mountain climbers smart enough and hardy enough to reach the top would have some idea what it will be like to be camped on the moon.

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NASA New Horizons Mission: The PI's Perspective - Picking up the Pace »» NASA New Horizons Mission: The PI's Perspective - Picking up the Pace

[Monday, February 26, 2007] Since early on Saturday, New Horizons has been executing its Jupiter close approach sequence, which contains 15 - 20 observations per day. Recall this is almost 10 times more than what we were doing just a week earlier!

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NASA Announces Undersea Mission to Include First Flight Surgeon »» NASA Announces Undersea Mission to Include First Flight Surgeon

[Monday, February 26, 2007] NASA will send a flight surgeon, two astronauts and a Cincinnati doctor into the ocean depths off the Florida coast May 7-18 to test space medicine concepts and moon-walking techniques. It is the first undersea mission to include a NASA flight surgeon.

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Cosmic Vision 2015-2025: ready to launch »» Cosmic Vision 2015-2025: ready to launch

[Monday, February 26, 2007] ESA will soon invite the scientific community to propose the first missions for Cosmic Vision 2015-2025. The first medium-class mission should be launched during the 2016-2017 at the latest. The first large mission is targeted to launch in autumn 2018.

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ESA gives go-ahead to build BepiColombo »» ESA gives go-ahead to build BepiColombo

[Monday, February 26, 2007] BepiColombo, ESA's mission to explore planet Mercury, has been definitively 'adopted' by the Agency's Science Programme Committee (SPC) last Friday. The mission will now start its industrial implementation phase, to prepare for launch in August 2013.

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South Pole Telescope to help astrophysicists learn what universe is made of, how it evolves »» South Pole Telescope to help astrophysicists learn what universe is made of, how it evolves

[Monday, February 26, 2007] Scientists aimed the South Pole Telescope at Jupiter on the evening of Feb. 16 and successfully collected the instrument's first test observations.

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NASA Program Management Council Meeting Mintues and Actions 1 November 2006: ESMD Presentation »» NASA Program Management Council Meeting Mintues and Actions 1 November 2006: ESMD Presentation

[Monday, February 26, 2007] "The lunar architecture is not complete and may impact requirements for Constellation. it is being worked toward completion in Dec 2006. ESMD believes that this has no strong impacts on current work, except for the development of the EVA suit."

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NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting 2 November 2006: Status of the Exploration Strategy and Architecture Activities »» NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting 2 November 2006: Status of the Exploration Strategy and Architecture Activities

[Monday, February 26, 2007] "Doug Cooke, ESMD Deputy Associate Administrator, provided the status of the directorate's activities to develop the lunar exploration strategy as a preview to the program's presentation at the AIAA Second Space Exploration Conference."

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Grave Concern About Earth Observing Satellites at Science Committee Hearing »» Grave Concern About Earth Observing Satellites at Science Committee Hearing

[Tuesday, February 27, 2007] "Flying blind" is but one of the terms that House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) used at a hearing earlier this month to describe the nation's rapidly deteriorating system of Earth observing satellites.

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Rosetta delivers Phobos transit animation and 'sees' Mars in stereo »» Rosetta delivers Phobos transit animation and 'sees' Mars in stereo

[Tuesday, February 27, 2007] During Rosetta's recent Mars swingby, the OSIRIS cameras captured a series of images of Mars and of Phobos transiting Mars' disk. The OSIRIS team have produced a cool animated sequence and a 3D view of the Red Planet.

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NASA Announces Feb. 27 Shuttle News Conference »» NASA Announces Feb. 27 Shuttle News Conference

[Tuesday, February 27, 2007] NASA will host a news conference at no earlier than 4 p.m. EST, Feb. 27, to discuss the status of the space shuttle's upcoming mission, STS-117. Topics will include the latest on possible impacts to the mission from a hail storm at KSC Monday.

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Independent Space Station Task Force Releases Final Report »» Independent Space Station Task Force Releases Final Report

[Tuesday, February 27, 2007] The International Space Station Independent Safety Task Force's final report is now available online. The report was released simultaneously Tuesday to Congress, NASA and the public.

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NASA Cassini Image: Titan: Larger and Larger Lakes »» NASA Cassini Image: Titan: Larger and Larger Lakes

[Tuesday, February 27, 2007] This radar image, obtained by Cassini's radar instrument during a near-polar flyby on Feb. 22, 2007, shows a big island smack in the middle of one of the larger lakes imaged on Saturn's moon Titan.

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Hail Damage To Space Shuttle Causes NASA To Delay Launch »» Hail Damage To Space Shuttle Causes NASA To Delay Launch

[Tuesday, February 27, 2007] A hail storm at NASA Kennedy Space Center has damaged the external tank attached to Space Shuttle Atlantis. The damage is severe enough to cause the launch of Atlantis to be delayed at least one month - perhaps longer.

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Final Report of the International Space Station Independent Safety Task Force - Executive Summary »» Final Report of the International Space Station Independent Safety Task Force - Executive Summary

[Tuesday, February 27, 2007] "This report of the IISTF to NASA and the United States Congress assesses vulnerabilities of the International Space Station (ISS) that could lead to its destruction, compromise the health of its crew, or necessitate its premature abandonment."

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Trajectory Map: NASA's New Horizons Is On Its Way To Pluto »» Trajectory Map: NASA's New Horizons Is On Its Way To Pluto

[Wednesday, February 28, 2007] After a close encounter with Jupiter, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has pickedup some speed and is on its way to a 2015 Encounter with the planet Pluto and its moons.

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Sensor Being Developed to Check for Life on Mars »» Sensor Being Developed to Check for Life on Mars

[Wednesday, February 28, 2007] NASA-funded researchers are refining a tool that could not only check for the faintest traces of life's molecular building blocks on Mars, but could also determine whether they have been produced by anything alive.

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NASA MESSENGER Mission News: Priming Instruments to Map Mercury's Crust »» NASA MESSENGER Mission News: Priming Instruments to Map Mercury's Crust

[Wednesday, February 28, 2007] Understanding if ice exists on the surface of Mercury, and if so what types, will mark an important component of the investigations by the MESSENGER spacecraft about the origin and evolution of the solar system's inner planets.

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Testimony of Michael Griffin - Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics and Related Sciences »» Testimony of Michael Griffin - Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics and Related Sciences

[Wednesday, February 28, 2007] "On Feb 15, 2007, the President signed into law a joint resolution stipulating FY 2007 funding levels for NASA and other Federal agencies. This appropriation reduces overall funding for NASA by $545 million from the President's FY 2007 request. "

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Pluto-Bound New Horizons Spacecraft Gets a Boost from Jupiter »» Pluto-Bound New Horizons Spacecraft Gets a Boost from Jupiter

[Wednesday, February 28, 2007] NASA's New Horizons spacecraft successfully completed a flyby of Jupiter early this morning, using the massive planet's gravity to pick up speed on its 3-billion mile voyage to Pluto and the unexplored Kuiper Belt region beyond.

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NASA New Horizons image: Jupiter's  Little Red Spot: Closest View Yet »» NASA New Horizons image: Jupiter's Little Red Spot: Closest View Yet

[Wednesday, February 28, 2007] The Little Red Spot, a smaller cousin of the famous Great Red Spot, formed in the past decade from the merger of three smaller Jovian storms, and is now the second-largest storm on Jupiter.

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NASA New Horizons image: Ganymede »» NASA New Horizons image: Ganymede

[Wednesday, February 28, 2007] This is New Horizons' best image of Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon, taken with the spacecraft's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) camera at 10:01 Universal Time on February 27 from a range of 3.5 million kilometers (2.2 million miles).

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NASA New Horizons image: Europa »» NASA New Horizons image: Europa

[Wednesday, February 28, 2007] This image of Jupiter's moon Europa, the first Europa image returned by New Horizons, was taken with the spacecraft's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) camera at 07:19 Universal Time on February 27, from a range of 3.1 million km (1.9 million mi).

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