January 2006 Top Story Archives



Saturn's Rings Edge On »» Saturn's Rings Edge On

[Sunday, January 1, 2006] This image was taken on December 30, 2005 and received on Earth December 31, 2005. The camera was pointing toward Pan at approximately 2,367,119 kilometers away.

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A Swarm of Moons »» A Swarm of Moons

[Sunday, January 1, 2006] This image was taken on December 30, 2005 and received on Earth December 31, 2005. The camera was pointing toward Janus at approximately 2,353,449 kilometers away.

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Moonrise Above Titan »» Moonrise Above Titan

[Sunday, January 1, 2006] This image was taken on December 26, 2005 and received on Earth December 27, 2005. The camera was pointing toward Titan at approximately 25,404 kilometers away.

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NASA Mars Picture of the Day: 2 Years on Mars! MOC View of Spirit Rover on Husband Hill »» NASA Mars Picture of the Day: 2 Years on Mars! MOC View of Spirit Rover on Husband Hill

[Tuesday, January 3, 2006] Shortly before its Spirit's anniversary, the Mars Global Surveyor team acquired an image covering approximately 3 km by 3 km (1.9 mi by 1.9 mi) centered on the rover's current location in the Columbia Hills.

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Pluto is Colder Than It Should Be »» Pluto is Colder Than It Should Be

[Tuesday, January 3, 2006] Smithsonian astronomers using the Submillimeter Array (SMA) on Mauna Kea in Hawaii have taken direct measurements of thermal heat and found that Pluto is indeed colder than expected, colder even than Charon.

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Stardust Nears End of Epic Journey: Researchers Await Its Treasure »» Stardust Nears End of Epic Journey: Researchers Await Its Treasure

[Tuesday, January 3, 2006] Just before 3 a.m. MST, the Sardust spacecraft will jettison its return capsule, which will plunge into Earth's atmosphere at nearly 29,000 miles per hour, the greatest return speed ever recorded.

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OSTP Memo: Landsat Data Continuity Strategy Adjustment »» OSTP Memo: Landsat Data Continuity Strategy Adjustment

[Wednesday, January 4, 2006] "This memorandum is to inform you of the outcome of recent discussions among affected agencies and Executive Office of the President (EOP) offices regarding the Landsat program."

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Astronomers Seize Rare Opportunity to Measure Distant Charon »» Astronomers Seize Rare Opportunity to Measure Distant Charon

[Wednesday, January 4, 2006] Being in the right place at the right time gave a group of Massachusetts research astronomers a unique opportunity to study Pluto's largest moon Charon.

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Global Warming Can Trigger Extreme Ocean, Climate Changes »» Global Warming Can Trigger Extreme Ocean, Climate Changes

[Wednesday, January 4, 2006] New research helps illustrate how global warming caused by greenhouse gases can quickly disrupt ocean processes and lead to drastic climatological, biological and other important changes around the world.

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Tethys - Adrift at Saturn »» Tethys - Adrift at Saturn

[Wednesday, January 4, 2006] Tethys floats before the massive, golden-hued globe of Saturn in this natural color view. The thin, dark line of the rings curves around the horizon at top.

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Gemini Looks Down the Mouth of an Interstellar Cavern »» Gemini Looks Down the Mouth of an Interstellar Cavern

[Thursday, January 5, 2006] A storm of billowing clouds blown by the winds from massive stars, and set aglow by their light, is the focus of a striking image released today by Gemini Observatory.

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NASA's TOPEX/Poseidon Oceanography Mission Ends »» NASA's TOPEX/Poseidon Oceanography Mission Ends

[Thursday, January 5, 2006] The joint NASA/Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales TOPEX/Poseidon oceanography satellite ceased operations after nearly 62,000 orbits of Earth. The spacecraft lost its ability to maneuver, bringing to a close a successful 13-year mission.

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NASA Announces Next International Space Station Crew »» NASA Announces Next International Space Station Crew

[Thursday, January 5, 2006] NASA and its international partners have selected astronaut Jeffrey Williams and Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov as the next crew for the International Space Station, designated as Expedition 13.

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UI Researchers Discover Star Orbiting A 'Medium-Sized' Black Hole »» UI Researchers Discover Star Orbiting A 'Medium-Sized' Black Hole

[Thursday, January 5, 2006] University of Iowa researchers have found a star orbiting a "medium-sized" black hole -- about 1,000 times more massive than the sun -- in the nearby starburst galaxy M82.

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Satellite observations trace galaxy's star-forming activity »» Satellite observations trace galaxy's star-forming activity

[Thursday, January 5, 2006] Where do elements, such as iron in our blood or calcium in our bones, come from? Astronomers say they come from thermonuclear reactions in hundreds of millions of stars that burn at high temperatures in our galaxy.

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NASA Honors Workers for Bravery During Hurricane »» NASA Honors Workers for Bravery During Hurricane

[Thursday, January 5, 2006] NASA Administrator Michael Griffin awarded the agency's Exceptional Bravery Medal on Thursday to workers who protected a key space shuttle facility from the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina.

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Guarded by Nuclear Protection Teams, U.S. to Launch Fastest Spacecraft, Reports Aviation Week & Space Technology »» Guarded by Nuclear Protection Teams, U.S. to Launch Fastest Spacecraft, Reports Aviation Week & Space Technology

[Sunday, January 8, 2006] In addition to precautions at Cape Canaveral, the State Dept. is contacting Australia and several nations in southern Africa to ensure public safety as the probe passes near those countries during the latter phases of the launch.

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NASA Cassini Image: Epimetheus and Titan »» NASA Cassini Image: Epimetheus and Titan

[Sunday, January 8, 2006] This image was taken on January 05, 2006 and received on Earth January 05, 2006. The camera was pointing toward Epimetheus at approximately 3,025,557 kilometers away.

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'Festoon' Pattern in Meridiani Outcrop »» 'Festoon' Pattern in Meridiani Outcrop

[Sunday, January 8, 2006] The uppermost part of the rock, just above the center of the image and in the enlargement at top, shows distinctive centimeter-sized, smile-shaped features that sedimentary geologists call "festoons."

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There's More to the North Star Than Meets The Eye »» There's More to the North Star Than Meets The Eye

[Monday, January 9, 2006] By stretching the capabilities of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to the limit, astronomers photographed the close companion to Polaris, known also as the North Star, for the first time.

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Scientists Probe Black Hole's Inner Sanctum »» Scientists Probe Black Hole's Inner Sanctum

[Monday, January 9, 2006] How does matter spiral its way to the center of a galaxy and into the mouth of a supermassive black hole? A new study provides the best glimpse yet at the death spiral of material as it descends into the core of a galaxy hosting a large black hole.

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Mystery Solved: High-Energy Fireworks Linked to Massive Star Cluster »» Mystery Solved: High-Energy Fireworks Linked to Massive Star Cluster

[Monday, January 9, 2006] Call it the Bermuda Triangle of our Milky Way Galaxy: a tiny patch of sky that has been known for years to be the source of the mysterious blasts of X-rays and gamma rays.

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Scientists Find Black Hole's »» Scientists Find Black Hole's "Point of No Return"

[Monday, January 9, 2006] Scientists using Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer have compared suspected neutron stars and black holes and found that the black holes behaved as if each one has an event horizon, the theoretical border from beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape.

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Spitzer Puts a New Spin on the Helix Nebula »» Spitzer Puts a New Spin on the Helix Nebula

[Monday, January 9, 2006] A new portrait of the Helix Nebula, created by the penetrating infrared gaze of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, is being released today at the 207th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

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Grain Growth in Orion Nebula Protoplanetary Disks »» Grain Growth in Orion Nebula Protoplanetary Disks

[Monday, January 9, 2006] New observations of the Orion Nebula at infrared wavelengths reveal that small dust grains located in disks around young stars are growing, taking the initial steps toward forming planets despite bathing in a flood of radiation from highly luminous stars

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Huge Images Show Majestic Beauty and Violence of Large and Small  Magellanic Clouds »» Huge Images Show Majestic Beauty and Violence of Large and Small Magellanic Clouds

[Monday, January 9, 2006] The glowing gas of the interstellar medium (ISM) is the breeding ground for the formation of new stars, and the cemetery where the ashes of dead stars ultimately return.

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January 2006 SpaceX Update: New Falcon 1 Launch Date »» January 2006 SpaceX Update: New Falcon 1 Launch Date

[Tuesday, January 10, 2006] The new launch time is February 8 at 4:30 p.m. California time with Feb. 9 as a backup day.  We will actually be ready to launch earlier, but are planning to spend extra time reviewing and double-checking all vehicle systems.

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Spitzer Reveals Unexpected Disks Around Interacting Stars »» Spitzer Reveals Unexpected Disks Around Interacting Stars

[Tuesday, January 10, 2006] New Spitzer Space Telescope observations of an unusual class of interacting binary stars detected excess amounts of infrared radiation, suggesting that these odd objects are surrounded by large disks of cool dust.

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Rapidly Spinning Star Vega has Cool Dark Equator »» Rapidly Spinning Star Vega has Cool Dark Equator

[Tuesday, January 10, 2006] Strong darkening observed around the equator of Vega suggests that the fifth brightest star in Earth's sky has a huge temperature difference of 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit from its cool equatorial region to its hot poles.

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Large survey of galaxies yields new findings on star formation »» Large survey of galaxies yields new findings on star formation

[Tuesday, January 10, 2006] New findings from a large survey of galaxies suggest that star formation is largely driven by the supply of raw materials, rather than by galactic mergers that trigger sudden bursts of star formation.

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Spinning black hole leaves dent in space-time »» Spinning black hole leaves dent in space-time

[Tuesday, January 10, 2006] MIT scientists and colleagues have found a black hole that has chiseled a remarkably stable indentation in the fabric of space and time, like a dimple in one's favorite spot on the sofa.

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The Sloan Digital Sky Survey Reveals A New Milky Way Neighbor »» The Sloan Digital Sky Survey Reveals A New Milky Way Neighbor

[Tuesday, January 10, 2006] A huge but very faint structure, containing hundreds of thousands of stars spread over an area nearly 5,000 times the size of a full moon, has been discovered and mapped by astronomers of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-II).

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NASA'S Chandra Finds Black Holes Stirring Up Galaxies »» NASA'S Chandra Finds Black Holes Stirring Up Galaxies

[Tuesday, January 10, 2006] Black holes are creating havoc in unsuspected places, according to a new study of images of elliptical galaxies made by Chandra. The discovery of far-reaching explosive activity, due to giant central black holes in these old galaxies, was a surprise.

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NASA Refines Design for Crew Exploration Vehicle »» NASA Refines Design for Crew Exploration Vehicle

[Wednesday, January 11, 2006] NASA's Constellation Program is making progress toward selecting a prime contractor to design, develop and build the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), America's first new human spacecraft in 30 years.

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Planet finders use much faster instrument to discover distant planet »» Planet finders use much faster instrument to discover distant planet

[Wednesday, January 11, 2006] Astronomers have discovered a planet orbiting a very young star nearly 100 light years away using a relatively small, publicly accessible telescope turbocharged with a new planet-finding instrument.

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Life in the Ice Offers Clues to Life in Space »» Life in the Ice Offers Clues to Life in Space

[Wednesday, January 11, 2006] The melting Arctic icecap means a loss of habitat for many Northern animals, most famously, polar bears. Less famously, ice worms. That has NASA interested, because the worms may provide clues to how life could exist on colder planets

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Astronomers Report Mysterious Giant Star Clusters »» Astronomers Report Mysterious Giant Star Clusters

[Wednesday, January 11, 2006] An international team of astronomers reported evidence for the formation of mysterious "super star clusters". These star clusters are the likely precursors to the familiar globular clusters of the Milky Way.

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UCLA Astronomers Provide New Insights Into Massive Black Hole at Center of the Milky Way and Surrounding Region »» UCLA Astronomers Provide New Insights Into Massive Black Hole at Center of the Milky Way and Surrounding Region

[Wednesday, January 11, 2006] UCLA astronomers can determine, for the first time, orbits of massive young stars located a few light months from the enormous black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy - stars that hold an imprint of how they were born.

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Astronomers Shed Light on Black Holes »» Astronomers Shed Light on Black Holes

[Wednesday, January 11, 2006] In a study of the black hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, astronomers have discovered rapid flares close to the innermost region of the black hole in many different wavelengths and that these emissions go up and down together.

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Scientists See Better, Fainter with New Keck Laser Guide Star »» Scientists See Better, Fainter with New Keck Laser Guide Star

[Wednesday, January 11, 2006] A new sodium laser is giving 50 times more sky coverage to the atmospheric-correcting technology known as adaptive optics on the Keck II telescope at Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

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Planetary Systems Can From Around Binary Stars »» Planetary Systems Can From Around Binary Stars

[Wednesday, January 11, 2006] New theoretical work shows that gas-giant planet formation can occur around binary stars in much the same way that it occurs around single stars like the Sun.

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Public to look for dust grains in Stardust detectors »» Public to look for dust grains in Stardust detectors

[Thursday, January 12, 2006] Astronomy buffs who jumped at the chance to use their home computers in the SETI@home search for intelligent life in the universe will soon be able to join an Internet-based search for dust grains originating from stars millions of light years away.

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New study highlights role of hit-and-run collisions in the formation of planets, asteroids, and meteorites »» New study highlights role of hit-and-run collisions in the formation of planets, asteroids, and meteorites

[Thursday, January 12, 2006] Hit-and-run collisions between embryonic planets during a critical period in the early history of the Solar System may account for some previously unexplained properties of planets, asteroids, and meteorites.

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NASA's Spitzer Finds Possible Comet Dust Around Dead Star »» NASA's Spitzer Finds Possible Comet Dust Around Dead Star

[Thursday, January 12, 2006] NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted what may be comet dust sprinkled around the white dwarf star G29-38, which died approximately 500 million years ago.

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Cartwheel Galaxy Makes Waves in New NASA Image »» Cartwheel Galaxy Makes Waves in New NASA Image

[Thursday, January 12, 2006] A new image from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer completes a multi-wavelength, neon-colored portrait of the enormous Cartwheel galaxy after a smaller galaxy plunged through it, triggering ripples of sudden, brief star formation.

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NASA'S Hubble Reveals Thousands of Orion Nebula Stars »» NASA'S Hubble Reveals Thousands of Orion Nebula Stars

[Thursday, January 12, 2006] In one of the most detailed astronomical images ever produced, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured an unprecedented look at the Orion Nebula. This turbulent star formation region is one of astronomy's most dramatic and photogenic celestial objects.

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NASA'S Comet Hunter on Final Approach for Sunday Landing »» NASA'S Comet Hunter on Final Approach for Sunday Landing

[Thursday, January 12, 2006] Stardust's return capsule will land Sunday at approximately 5:12 a.m. EST on the Utah Test and Training Range. Stardust is completing a 2.88 billion mile round-trip odyssey to capture and return cometary and interstellar dust particles to Earth.

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Satellites see largest jet of particles created between Sun and Earth »» Satellites see largest jet of particles created between Sun and Earth

[Thursday, January 12, 2006] A flotilla of space-weather satellites – ESA's Cluster and NASA's ACE and Wind - observed for the first time steady large-scale jets of charged particles in the solar wind between the Sun and Earth.

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Spitzer Captures Our Galaxy's Bustling Center »» Spitzer Captures Our Galaxy's Bustling Center

[Friday, January 13, 2006] A new infrared mosaic offers a view of the stellar hustle and bustle that takes place at our galaxy's center. The picture shows throngs of mostly old stars amid fantastically detailed clouds of glowing dust lit up by younger, massive stars.

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Is Einstein's »» Is Einstein's "Cosmological Constant" Really a Constant?

[Friday, January 13, 2006] According to LSU's Bradley Schaefer, one thing appears to be true: Dark Energy is not constant; it varies over time, a concept that challenges Einstein's idea of an unchanging force called a "Cosmological Constant."

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Kuiper Belt Moons Are Starting to Seem Typical »» Kuiper Belt Moons Are Starting to Seem Typical

[Friday, January 13, 2006] Until recently, Pluto was thought to be an odd bird in the outer reaches of the solar system because it has a moon. But Pluto is getting a lot of company these days. Of the four largest objects in the Kuiper belt, three have one or more moons.

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UBC Astronomer to Reveal Results of MOST Satellite's Search for Other Earths »» UBC Astronomer to Reveal Results of MOST Satellite's Search for Other Earths

[Friday, January 13, 2006] Results are in for the first search for Earth-sized planets using MOST, Canada's suitcase-sized space telescope.

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Growing Supermassive Black Holes from Seeds »» Growing Supermassive Black Holes from Seeds

[Friday, January 13, 2006] Astronomers announced today that they have found the first sample of intermediate-mass black holes in active galaxies -- a discovery that will help in understanding the early universe.

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New Maser Measurements Trace Detail in Active Galactic Core »» New Maser Measurements Trace Detail in Active Galactic Core

[Friday, January 13, 2006] The roiling cores of many active galaxies are difficult to see in detail because of surrounding gas and interstellar dust. However, a first-time measurement that may help to better trace the structure of these unusual regions.

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Astronomers Use Spitzer Space Telescope to Challenge Brown Dwarf Formation Models »» Astronomers Use Spitzer Space Telescope to Challenge Brown Dwarf Formation Models

[Friday, January 13, 2006] A group of astronomers has used Spitzer Space Telescope to show that brown dwarfs form like stars - by pulling in matter from a collapsing gas cloud and forming disks of potentially planet-forming material around themselves.

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NASA's Stardust Passes Moon, Just Hours Away From Earth Return »» NASA's Stardust Passes Moon, Just Hours Away From Earth Return

[Saturday, January 14, 2006] Less than one day of space travel separates Earth and history's first comet sample return mission. Today at 9:30 a.m. Pacific time (10:30 a.m. Mountain time), the Stardust spacecraft will cross the moon's orbit as the craft makes its way toward Earth.

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NASA's Comet Tale Draws to a Successful Close in Utah Desert »» NASA's Comet Tale Draws to a Successful Close in Utah Desert

[Sunday, January 15, 2006] NASA's Stardust sample return mission returned safely to Earth when the capsule carrying cometary and interstellar particles successfully touched down at 2:10 a.m. PST in the desert salt flats of the U.S. Air Force Utah Test and Training Range.

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Global Warming Can Trigger Extreme Ocean, Climate Changes »» Global Warming Can Trigger Extreme Ocean, Climate Changes

[Sunday, January 15, 2006] Newly published research results provide evidence that global climate change may have quickly disrupted ocean processes and lead to drastic shifts in environments around the world.

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New Horizons: The PI's Perspective: We're in Flight Configuration »» New Horizons: The PI's Perspective: We're in Flight Configuration

[Sunday, January 15, 2006] New Horizons is now well inside T-100 hours from our planned launch time on Tuesday. Subject to the approval of the Launch Readiness Review (LRR) to be held on Jan. 15, and the weather, we will be proceeding toward our planned launch on Tuesday.

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Huygens Landing: One Year Later »» Huygens Landing: One Year Later

[Sunday, January 15, 2006] One year ago this week, on January 14, 2005, the European Space Agency's Huygens probe reached the upper layer of Titan's atmosphere and landed on the surface after a parachute descent 2 hours and 28 minutes later.

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NASA MEPAG Report: Science Analysis of the November 3, 2005 Version of the Draft Mars Exploration Program Plan »» NASA MEPAG Report: Science Analysis of the November 3, 2005 Version of the Draft Mars Exploration Program Plan

[Sunday, January 15, 2006] The purpose of this report is to provide comments on the draft Mars Program Plan for the next decade. Specifically, comments are provided on the version of the plan presented during the MEPAG Meeting on November 3, 2005.

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WHT and TNG Observations Prove that the Large Trans-Neptunian Object 2005 FY9 is Very Similar to Pluto »» WHT and TNG Observations Prove that the Large Trans-Neptunian Object 2005 FY9 is Very Similar to Pluto

[Monday, January 16, 2006] Visible and near-infrared spectroscopic observations show that the recently discovered trans-neptunian object (TNO) 2005 FY9 is very similar to Pluto.

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Pre-Supernova White Dwarf Uncovered by Hubble Team »» Pre-Supernova White Dwarf Uncovered by Hubble Team

[Monday, January 16, 2006] Astronomers report the first detection of direct radiation from the surface of a white dwarf star in a pre-supernova binary star system. This is a major step forward in identifying the type of star that will become a Type Ia supernova.

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Huge »» Huge "Superbubble" of Gas Blowing Out of Milky Way

[Monday, January 16, 2006] Astronomers using the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope have discovered a huge "superbubble" of hydrogen gas rising nearly 10,000 light-years above the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy.

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SDSS-II Supernova Survey Explodes With New Findings »» SDSS-II Supernova Survey Explodes With New Findings

[Monday, January 16, 2006] The population of supernovae -- exploding stars in distant galaxies -- has exploded here on Earth with an unprecedented number of new discoveries logged in just 90 days by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-II).

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New evidence for a Dark Matter Galaxy »» New evidence for a Dark Matter Galaxy

[Monday, January 16, 2006] New evidence has been published showing that VIRGOHI 21, a mysterious cloud of hydrogen in the Virgo Cluster 50 million light-years from the Earth, is a Dark Galaxy, emitting no starlight.

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Richard Covey Named Chief Operating Officer of United Space Alliance »» Richard Covey Named Chief Operating Officer of United Space Alliance

[Monday, January 16, 2006] We are pleased to announce that veteran Shuttle astronaut and space industry executive Richard O. "Dick" Covey has been named to replace Brewster Shaw as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

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United Nations Holds Informal Session on Space Technology for Sustainable Development and Disaster Management »» United Nations Holds Informal Session on Space Technology for Sustainable Development and Disaster Management

[Tuesday, January 17, 2006] The purpose of this open session is to exchange information between Member States and observers of COPUOS and United Nations entities, on activities and initiatives of the UN system in sustainable development and disaster management.

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New Horizons Launch Scrubbed Due to Wind »» New Horizons Launch Scrubbed Due to Wind

[Tuesday, January 17, 2006] Today's launch of New Horizons mission to Pluto has been scrubbed due to a redline monitor fault - winds in excess of 33 knots. The launch had been delayed multiple times today due to high winds. The launch will be recycled for an attempt tomorrow.

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NASA Encounters Possible Problems With Crew Launch Vehicle Design »» NASA Encounters Possible Problems With Crew Launch Vehicle Design

[Tuesday, January 17, 2006] According to industry sources, NASA has encountered some problems with its planned CLV (Crew Launch Vehicle) design as spelled out in the yet to be (formally) released Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS) Final Report.

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Transcription of Press Conference with Mike Griffin at NASA KSC »» Transcription of Press Conference with Mike Griffin at NASA KSC

[Tuesday, January 17, 2006] "DEAN ACOSTA: Good morning and welcome to this morning's New Horizons briefing with the NASA Administrator, Mike Griffin, who is to my left. To his left is NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale."

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Where (Above) Earth Are We? »» Where (Above) Earth Are We?

[Tuesday, January 17, 2006] Have you ever wondered how the crew aboard the ISS picks out landmarks on Earth as they zoom overhead at 17,500 MPH (25,000 KPH)?

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New Horizons Launch to Pluto Scrubbed Again »» New Horizons Launch to Pluto Scrubbed Again

[Wednesday, January 18, 2006] Today's launch of the New Horizons spacecraft has been delayed for at least one more day. The Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, which operates the spacecraft and manages the mission, experienced a power outage early this morning.

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Catalina Sky Survey Tops 2005 NEO Discoveries »» Catalina Sky Survey Tops 2005 NEO Discoveries

[Wednesday, January 18, 2006] When it comes to finding asteroids or comets that swing too close to home, the Catalina Sky Survey is currently Earth's best defense.

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Asteroid breakup event covered the Earth in extraterrestrial dust »» Asteroid breakup event covered the Earth in extraterrestrial dust

[Wednesday, January 18, 2006] Scientists from Caltech, SwRI, and Charles University in the Czech Republic have made the first positive link between a breakup event in the main asteroid belt and a large quantity of interplanetary dust particles deposited on Earth.

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NASA Scientists Confirm Presence of Comet Samples - Briefing Set for Thursday »» NASA Scientists Confirm Presence of Comet Samples - Briefing Set for Thursday

[Wednesday, January 18, 2006] Scientists have confirmed that samples from a comet and interstellar dust have been returned to Earth by the Stardust spacecraft. "The collection of cometary particles has exceeded our expectations," said Dr. Donald Brownlee.

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NASA Seeks Proposals for Crew and Cargo Transportation to Orbit »» NASA Seeks Proposals for Crew and Cargo Transportation to Orbit

[Wednesday, January 18, 2006] NASA is challenging U.S. industry to establish capabilities and services that can open new space markets and support the crew and cargo transportation needs of the International Space Station.

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Today's New Horizons Launch On Schedule »» Today's New Horizons Launch On Schedule

[Thursday, January 19, 2006] The countdown is proceeding toward today's launch of New Horizons. Today's forecast for calls for an 80% chance of favorable weather, and no technical issues with the rocket or spacecraft are in work at this time.

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NASA's New Horizons is On its Way to Pluto »» NASA's New Horizons is On its Way to Pluto

[Thursday, January 19, 2006] NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has launched at 2:00 pm EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a fast-moving Atlas V rocket.

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Dusty planetary disks around two nearby stars may be astrophysical mirrors of our Kuiper Belt »» Dusty planetary disks around two nearby stars may be astrophysical mirrors of our Kuiper Belt

[Thursday, January 19, 2006] A survey by Hubble Space Telescope of 22 nearby stars has turned up two with bright debris disks that appear to be the equivalent of our solar system's Kuiper Belt, a ring of icy rocks outside the orbit of Neptune and the source of short-period comets.

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Mars Exploration Rover Update 19 January 2006 »» Mars Exploration Rover Update 19 January 2006

[Thursday, January 19, 2006] Spirit is healthy and is driving as efficiently as possible toward "Home Plate." On the way to Home Plate, Spirit stopped to look at "Arad," where scientists encountered a cluster of white, powdery soil.

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TIGER Innovators enhance North-South collaboration »» TIGER Innovators enhance North-South collaboration

[Friday, January 20, 2006] Five international partnerships have recently been awarded funding through ESA’s TIGER Innovators project to develop new ways of applying Earth Observation data as a tool for water resource management in Africa.

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New Horizons »» New Horizons "Tidbits" - 22 January 2006

[Sunday, January 22, 2006] "Things are going well here at the APL MOC. New Horizons is operating virtually flawlessly. TCM 1a and 1b are planned for 28 and 30 Jan, respectively, with a total delta-V of 18 m/s- which is far smaller than the 92 m/s budgeted for pre-flight."

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Titan and Saturn's Rings »» Titan and Saturn's Rings

[Sunday, January 22, 2006] This image was taken on January 18, 2006 and received on Earth January 19, 2006. The camera was pointing toward Titan at approximately 2,198,483 kilometers away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters.

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Tethys and Titan »» Tethys and Titan

[Sunday, January 22, 2006] This image was taken on January 19, 2006 and received on Earth January 19, 2006. The camera was pointing toward Tethys at approximately 956,687 kilometers away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters.

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Martian glaciers: did they originate from the atmosphere? »» Martian glaciers: did they originate from the atmosphere?

[Sunday, January 22, 2006] The spectacular features visible today on the surface of the Red Planet indicate the past existence of Martian glaciers, but where did the ice come from?

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Gordon, Udall Urge NASA to Heed GAO's Project Management Recommendations »» Gordon, Udall Urge NASA to Heed GAO's Project Management Recommendations

[Monday, January 23, 2006] A report released today by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that additional 'decision reviews' are needed to ensure that NASA's projects meet their performance, cost, and schedule goals.

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Major Scientific Discovery on Extrasolar Planets - ESA TV News »» Major Scientific Discovery on Extrasolar Planets - ESA TV News

[Monday, January 23, 2006] "The scientific journal NATURE will publish in its issue dated 26 January 2006, a major paper on a discovery addressing extra-solar planets."

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Predicting the weather on Titan? »» Predicting the weather on Titan?

[Monday, January 23, 2006] A European team has developed a general circulation model which couples dynamics, haze and cloud physics to study Titan climate and enables us to understand how the major cloud features which are observed, are produced.

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2 Years on Mars! Meridiani Planum Features Investigated by the Rover, Opportunity »» 2 Years on Mars! Meridiani Planum Features Investigated by the Rover, Opportunity

[Tuesday, January 24, 2006] Two years ago, the Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, landed on Meridiani Planum. The rover marked its first Mars-year (687 Earth Days) anniversary in December 2005.

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Letter from Sen. Hutchison to President Bush Regarding Funding for the International Space Station »» Letter from Sen. Hutchison to President Bush Regarding Funding for the International Space Station

[Tuesday, January 24, 2006] "The funding projections by OMB do not provide adequate resources for the number of shuttle missions necessary to complete and outfit the International Space Station.  This poses a direct threat to the billions of taxpayers' dollars invested..."

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NASA New Horizons: The PI's Perspective: On The Road at Last »» NASA New Horizons: The PI's Perspective: On The Road at Last

[Tuesday, January 24, 2006] Now that we are safely on our way, we know that our journey will take precisely 3462.7 days, i.e., from 19:00 UTC on Jan, 19, 2006, to 12:00 UTC July 14, 2015, to reach Pluto. Encounter science operations will begin about 150 days before we reach Pluto.

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NASA's Mars Rovers Advance Understanding of the Red Planet »» NASA's Mars Rovers Advance Understanding of the Red Planet

[Tuesday, January 24, 2006] Spirit and Opportunity have been working overtime to help scientists better understand ancient environmental conditions on the red planet.

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Meteoroids help reveal the mesosphere »» Meteoroids help reveal the mesosphere

[Tuesday, January 24, 2006] Bob Dylan wasn't singing about upper atmospheric dynamics when he wrote the song, but scientists at the South Pole agree that the answer is indeed blowing in the wind.

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The Sword, the Ploughshare and the Pocketbook »» The Sword, the Ploughshare and the Pocketbook

[Tuesday, January 24, 2006] From the very first times Americans began to raise themselves above the Earth's surface in flying machines, there has been a synergy between the needs and desires of civilian (commercial) and military uses of the skies - at increasingly higher altitudes.

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Discovery of small, rocky, extrasolar world suggests such planets may be common »» Discovery of small, rocky, extrasolar world suggests such planets may be common

[Wednesday, January 25, 2006] Using a relatively new planet-hunting technique that can spot worlds one-tenth the mass of our own, researchers have discovered a potentially rocky, icy body that may be the smallest planet yet found orbiting a star outside our solar system.

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World's Largest Telescope »» World's Largest Telescope

[Wednesday, January 25, 2006] European funding has now been agreed to start designing the world's largest telescope. The "Square Kilometre Array" (SKA) will be an international radio telescope with a collecting area of one million square metres

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Scientists May Soon Have Evidence for Exotic Predictions of String Theory »» Scientists May Soon Have Evidence for Exotic Predictions of String Theory

[Thursday, January 26, 2006] Early results from a neutrino detector at the South Pole, called AMANDA, show that ghostlike particles from space could serve as probes to a world beyond our familiar three dimensions.

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Two Exiled Stars Are Leaving Our Galaxy Forever »» Two Exiled Stars Are Leaving Our Galaxy Forever

[Thursday, January 26, 2006] Astronomers using the MMT Observatory in Arizona have discovered two stars exiled from the Milky Way galaxy. Those stars are racing out of the Galaxy at speeds of more than 1 million miles per hour - so fast that they will never return.

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Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope: Final Report 2005 »» Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope: Final Report 2005

[Friday, January 27, 2006] This report provides an examination of the contributions made by Hubble and those likely as the result of a servicing mission, and a comparative analysis of the potential risk of the two options for servicing Hubble.

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Stardust Status Report January 25, 2006 »» Stardust Status Report January 25, 2006

[Saturday, January 28, 2006] Since the Sample Canister has been delivered to the STARDUST cleanroom at JSC on January 17th, the Preliminary Examination Team (PET) along with JSC Curatorial staff have been making good progress toward processing the returned samples.

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Landsat 5 Resumes Operations »» Landsat 5 Resumes Operations

[Saturday, January 28, 2006] USGS and NASA engineers were able to make adjustments to operating procedures for the solar array drive mechanism that now allows the solar array to provide enough power for the mission to resume normal operations.

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Spirit Mars Rover Image: Salty Expression »» Spirit Mars Rover Image: Salty Expression

[Saturday, January 28, 2006] Spirit spent the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend analyzing a remarkable exposure of bright, loose material. Spirit discovered the material while driving toward "Home Plate" along the floor of the basin south of "Husband Hill" in Gusev Crater.

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New Horizons Update 28 January 2006 »» New Horizons Update 28 January 2006

[Saturday, January 28, 2006] "New Horizons performed its first trajectory correction maneuver, TCM-1A, at 1900 UTC today. This was a 5 m/sec calibration burn and validation burn of our propulsion system and delta-V thrusters."

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2005 Was the Warmest Year in a Century »» 2005 Was the Warmest Year in a Century

[Saturday, January 28, 2006] The year 2005 may have been the warmest year in a century, according to NASA scientists studying temperature data from around the world.

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Stardust Capsule Reentry Movie »» Stardust Capsule Reentry Movie

[Saturday, January 28, 2006] At the time this video was shot, the DC-8 was flying at the eastern edge of the Nevada state line. The Stardust sample return capsule had a soft landing in the US Air Force's Utah Test and Training Range at 3:10 am MST.

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Rep. Boehlert Responds to Accusations Concerning NASA's »» Rep. Boehlert Responds to Accusations Concerning NASA's "Silencing" of Climate Scientist

[Monday, January 30, 2006] "NASA is clearly doing something wrong, given the sense of intimidation felt by Dr. Hansen and others who work with him. Even if this sense is a result of a misinterpretation of NASA policies ... the problem still must be corrected."

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Stardust Mission Status Report 30 January 2006 »» Stardust Mission Status Report 30 January 2006

[Monday, January 30, 2006] NASA's Stardust spacecraft was placed into hibernation mode yesterday. Stardust successfully returned to Earth samples of a comet via its sample return capsule on Jan. 15. The spacecraft has logged almost seven years of flight.

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Most Milky Way Stars Are Single »» Most Milky Way Stars Are Single

[Monday, January 30, 2006] Common wisdom among astronomers holds that most star systems in the Milky Way are multiple, consisting of two or more stars in orbit around each other. Common wisdom is wrong. A new study demonstrates that most star systems are made up of single stars.

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Two new lakes found beneath Antarctic ice sheet »» Two new lakes found beneath Antarctic ice sheet

[Monday, January 30, 2006] Lying beneath more than two miles of Antarctic ice, Lake Vostok may be the best-known and largest subglacial lake in the world, but it is not alone down there.

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Apollo, Challenger, Columbia: Thinking Back - Looking Ahead »» Apollo, Challenger, Columbia: Thinking Back - Looking Ahead

[Monday, January 30, 2006] "On one cold dark Sunday afternoon not long after the dedication, a mother and her young son came to the astronaut's graves. Her identity is unknown to the authors of this book - but her actions were witnessed by one of us."

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New Horizons Mission: The PI's Perspective - Our Aim Is True »» New Horizons Mission: The PI's Perspective - Our Aim Is True

[Tuesday, January 31, 2006] New Horizons is nearing completion of its second week in flight, and all continues to go well. As Project Manger Glen Fountain is proud of saying, New Horizons is now safely away from Earth, in the cold vacuum she was born to thrive in.

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Scientists Analyze 650-Million-Year-Old Fossils in 3D – a First, With Implications for Finding Life on Mars »» Scientists Analyze 650-Million-Year-Old Fossils in 3D – a First, With Implications for Finding Life on Mars

[Tuesday, January 31, 2006] If a future space mission to Mars brings rocks back to Earth the techniques used could enable scientists to look at microscopic fossils inside the rocks to search for signs of life, such as organic cell walls.

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Neutron Star Swaps Lead to Short Gamma-Ray Bursts »» Neutron Star Swaps Lead to Short Gamma-Ray Bursts

[Tuesday, January 31, 2006] Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful explosions in the universe, emitting huge amounts of high-energy radiation. For decades their origin was a mystery. Scientists now believe they understand the processes.

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