July 2003 Top Story Archives



Ed Lu Turns 40 Aboard the International Space Station »» Ed Lu Turns 40 Aboard the International Space Station

[Tuesday, July 01, 2003] NASA Astronaut Ed Lu will celebrate his 40th birthday on July 1 while orbiting 240 miles above the Earth in the International Space Station. In honor of his birthday, Hawaii's governor, Linda Lingle, proclaimed July 1 'Edward Tsang Lu Day' in Hawaii.

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Boulder Tracks on Mars »» Boulder Tracks on Mars

[Tuesday, July 01, 2003] This Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera image shows a series of depressions made on a dust-mantled slope as a boulder rolled down it, sometime in the recent past. The full image picture covers an area only 810 meters (about 886 yards) across

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CAIB Preliminary Recommendation: Launch and Ascent Imaging »» CAIB Preliminary Recommendation: Launch and Ascent Imaging

[Tuesday, July 01, 2003] The Columbia Accident Investigation Board today issued its fourth preliminary finding and recommendation to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in advance of its appearance in the final report.

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Boeing To Build Space-borne Power Generator »» Boeing To Build Space-borne Power Generator

[Tuesday, July 01, 2003] Boeing has been named by the Department of Energy to lead in the creation of a next-generation power system for future Mars surface missions and the exploration of deep space.

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SOHO's Antenna Anomaly: Things are Much Better Than Expected »» SOHO's Antenna Anomaly: Things are Much Better Than Expected

[Wednesday, July 02, 2003] After a number of tests and new insights, SOHO engineers now say there will be no 'blackout' periods for SOHO science data.

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ESA’s Mars Express First Check-out Nearly Complete »» ESA’s Mars Express First Check-out Nearly Complete

[Wednesday, July 02, 2003] ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft is progressing further every day on its journey to the Red Planet. In the weeks since its launch, engineers have started to thoroughly test the spacecraft and its equipment.

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Japan's Space Shuttle Test Vehicle Damaged in Crash in Sweden »» Japan's Space Shuttle Test Vehicle Damaged in Crash in Sweden

[Wednesday, July 02, 2003] The Phase II High Speed Flight Demonstration (HSFD) test flight of Japan's prototype space shuttle ended with the craft damaged after the recovery system did not work properly.

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Jupiter Like Planet in Similar Solar System Formation Found Close to Home »» Jupiter Like Planet in Similar Solar System Formation Found Close to Home

[Thursday, July 03, 2003] British astronomers, working with Australian and American colleagues, have discovered a planet like Jupiter in orbit round a nearby star that is very like our own Sun.

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Mars Exploration Rover »» Mars Exploration Rover "Opportunity" Launch Delayed Again

[Sunday, July 06, 2003] The launch of the MER-B Mars Exploration Rover "Opportunity" has been postponed an additional 24 hours. The delay is due to the failure of a battery cell associated with a component of the launch vehicle's flight termination system.

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Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal: 3-5 July 2003: Arrival and Getting to Work »» Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal: 3-5 July 2003: Arrival and Getting to Work

[Monday, July 07, 2003] We awoke this morning to some good news: weather conditions here and at Devon Island, plus the condition of our landing strip on Devon Island, were all within acceptable limits. As such we were going to get at least three flights in today.

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Martian Dust Storms »» Martian Dust Storms

[Monday, July 07, 2003] This is the dusty time of year for Mars. The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) team has been anticipating for months that late June through July 2003 will be a time of large dust storms and considerable haze.

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Opportunity Soars Towards Mars »» Opportunity Soars Towards Mars

[Monday, July 07, 2003] After several delays the last couple of weeks due to problems with the Boeing Delta II the Mars Exploration Rover (MER-B) Opportunity successfully lifted off for Mars today at 11:18:15 p.m. EDT (0318:15 GMT).

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Beagle 2 Tests Successfully Completed »» Beagle 2 Tests Successfully Completed

[Tuesday, July 08, 2003] On Friday 4 July, and Saturday 5 July 2003, engineers successfully carried out overnight tests on the Mars Express lander, Beagle 2.

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Pluto's Atmosphere is Expanding, Surprising Researchers »» Pluto's Atmosphere is Expanding, Surprising Researchers

[Wednesday, July 09, 2003] Pluto's atmosphere is expanding even as it continues on its long orbit away from the sun, say astronomers. In fact, the temperature of Pluto's mostly nitrogen atmosphere has increased around 1 degree Celsius since it was closest to the sun in 1989.

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Searching for the 'Real' Waterworld »» Searching for the 'Real' Waterworld

[Wednesday, July 09, 2003] Science fiction writers and movie-makers have imagined a world completely covered by an ocean, but what if one really existed? Would such a world support life, and what would this life be like?

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Raptor Evolution on a Cosmic Scale: Why the Owl Nebula Looks Like an Owl »» Raptor Evolution on a Cosmic Scale: Why the Owl Nebula Looks Like an Owl

[Wednesday, July 09, 2003] Astronomers have assembled the first effective model for both the shape and evolutionary history of the Owl Nebula, the well- known planetary nebula in the constellation Ursa Major.

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Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal: 6 July 2003: Getting in the Groove »» Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal: 6 July 2003: Getting in the Groove

[Wednesday, July 09, 2003] Operating a sophisticated environmental support system, with humans very distant from the hardware, is a challenge. Trying to get one to work in the most out of the way place you can find is one way to make sure you know what to do on Mars.

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NASA OIG: Improving Management of the Astronaut Corps »» NASA OIG: Improving Management of the Astronaut Corps

[Thursday, July 10, 2003] NASA's Inspector General has found that overly optimistic predictions of future flight rates, minimal regulation of astronaut candidate selection, and the need to staff engineering positions at JSC to be factors in NASA's astronaut hiring process.

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Hubble Helps to Confirm Oldest Known Planet »» Hubble Helps to Confirm Oldest Known Planet

[Thursday, July 10, 2003] Long before our Sun and Earth ever existed, a Jupiter- sized planet formed around a sun-like star. Now, almost 13 billion years later, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has precisely measured the mass of this farthest and oldest known planet.

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CAIB Releases NASA Accident Investigation Team Working Scenario »» CAIB Releases NASA Accident Investigation Team Working Scenario

[Saturday, July 12, 2003] The CAIB has released this document dealing with the events which led up to the Columbia accident which may be included - in whole or in part - with its final, official report due for release in August 2003.

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NASA's Gravity Probe B Arrives at Vandenburg AFB for Launch Preparations »» NASA's Gravity Probe B Arrives at Vandenburg AFB for Launch Preparations

[Sunday, July 13, 2003] NASA's spacecraft designed to test two important predictions of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity has been shipped from Sunnyvale, CA to its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, after completing environmental testing.

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Ed Lu's Journal: Entry #6: Orbits »» Ed Lu's Journal: Entry #6: Orbits

[Monday, July 14, 2003] Lately, it seems like every time I look out the window I see Canada. A few weeks ago it seemed that it was always the southern Andes Mountains and Tierra Del Fuego. While I have nothing against Canada or the Andes Mountains, I got to wondering why.

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Letter to NASA Return To Flight Team  From OSF AA Bill Readdy »» Letter to NASA Return To Flight Team From OSF AA Bill Readdy

[Tuesday, July 15, 2003] "... by enduring this trial successfully in the coming months, one day at a time we shall all define ourselves and our Agency."

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NASA Research Seeks to Discover if Comets Seeded Life »» NASA Research Seeks to Discover if Comets Seeded Life

[Wednesday, July 16, 2003] NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center will lead the effort to discover if comets supplied the raw material for the origin of life on Earth, and if they could do so for alien worlds, as part of its participation in NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) research.

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NRC Okanagan Observatory to Build »» NRC Okanagan Observatory to Build "Canadarm of Astronomy"

[Wednesday, July 16, 2003] Canada's NRC Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory will be the site for the design and construction of the "electronic brains" for the Expanded Very Large Array, a major US national radio astronomy project underway near Socorro, New Mexico.

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Discovery of quadruply lensed quasar with Einstein ring »» Discovery of quadruply lensed quasar with Einstein ring

[Wednesday, July 16, 2003] Astronomers have discovered a complex cosmic mirage in the southern constellation Crater. This "gravitational lens" system consists of (at least) four images of the same quasar as well as a ring-shaped image of the galaxy in which the quasar reside.

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ESA'S Eddington to Search for Planets in Constellation Lacerta »» ESA'S Eddington to Search for Planets in Constellation Lacerta

[Wednesday, July 16, 2003] If the sky is clear tonight, look up high and try to find Lacerta (the constellation of the Lizard), between Cygnus and Cassiopeia. How many stars can we see, and could any of them be hiding habitable planets?

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Mars Express Photographs the Earth and the Moon »» Mars Express Photographs the Earth and the Moon

[Thursday, July 17, 2003] On the night of 3 July 2003, the Mars Express spacecraft was pointed backwards to obtain a view of the Earth-Moon system from a distance of 8 million km while on its way to Mars.

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Mars-1 Humvee Rover Arrives at NASA Haughton-Mars Project Base Camp »» Mars-1 Humvee Rover Arrives at NASA Haughton-Mars Project Base Camp

[Thursday, July 17, 2003] The Mars-1 Rover arrived at the NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) Base Camp at 10:30 PM CDT on 17 July 2003 after an overland traverse across Devon Island.

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SOHO Resumes Full Operation »» SOHO Resumes Full Operation

[Friday, July 18, 2003] SOHO is back to full operation after its predicted 9-day-long high-gain antenna blackout. Engineers and scientists are now confident that they understand the situation and can work around it in the future to minimise the data losses.

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First Plants Growing in Greenhouse »» First Plants Growing in Greenhouse

[Saturday, July 19, 2003] Upgrades to the HMP Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse continue. Among the various achievements thus far: we have our first lettuce seedlings growing.

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Arctic Memorials and Starship Yearnings »» Arctic Memorials and Starship Yearnings

[Monday, July 21, 2003] Our task was to erect a memorial to Columbia astronaut Michael Anderson - an inukshuk, a stone sculpture in rough human form used by the Inuit to mark territory and serve as reference points for those who traverse this desolate place.

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Stars rich in heavy metals tend to harbor planets »» Stars rich in heavy metals tend to harbor planets

[Tuesday, July 22, 2003] A comparison of 754 nearby stars like our sun -- some with planets and some without -- shows definitively that the more iron and other metals there are in a star, the greater the chance it has a companion planet.

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A Pancake, Not a Doughnut, Shapes Distant Galactic Center »» A Pancake, Not a Doughnut, Shapes Distant Galactic Center

[Tuesday, July 22, 2003] Astronomers have found direct evidence for a "pancake" of gas and dust at the center of Circinus -- a thin, warped disk surrounding the galaxy's central, supermassive black hole.

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Industry asked to design ESA Mars rover and payload »» Industry asked to design ESA Mars rover and payload

[Friday, July 25, 2003] ESA is inviting European and Canadian industry to participate in its exciting ExoMars mission in order to provide an answer to this age-old question.

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Gas Cloud of Atoms Formed in First Stars Revealed »» Gas Cloud of Atoms Formed in First Stars Revealed

[Friday, July 25, 2003] Astronomers studying the most distant quasar yet found in the Universe have discovered a massive reservoir of gas containing atoms made in the cores of some of the first stars ever formed.

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Canadian Team Maps Halo Around Galaxies »» Canadian Team Maps Halo Around Galaxies

[Friday, July 25, 2003] Two University of Toronto astronomers and a U.S. colleague have made the first measurements of the size and shape of massive dark matter halos that surround galaxies.

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NASA and RSA Name Next International Space Station Crew »» NASA and RSA Name Next International Space Station Crew

[Friday, July 25, 2003] Veteran NASA astronaut Michael Foale and seasoned Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri are set to be the eighth crew to live aboard the International Space Station.

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Los Alamos releases new maps of Mars water »» Los Alamos releases new maps of Mars water

[Friday, July 25, 2003] "Breathtaking" new maps of likely sites of water on Mars showcase their association with geologic features such as Vallis Marineris, the largest canyon in the solar system.

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Spacelift Washington - A Forge of Consensus: Political Leadership and the Future of Space Exploration »» Spacelift Washington - A Forge of Consensus: Political Leadership and the Future of Space Exploration

[Sunday, July 27, 2003] The Columbia Space Shuttle tragedy was unexpected, unforeseen, and unavoidable. But it has spawned a unique opportunity to lay out a positive new direction for the U.S. civil space program.

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Intriguing Celestial Images Arrive From NASA's Galaxy Mission »» Intriguing Celestial Images Arrive From NASA's Galaxy Mission

[Monday, July 28, 2003] NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer has beamed back revealing images of hundreds of galaxies to expectant astronomers, providing the first batch of data on star formation that they had hoped for.

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Hydrothermal vent systems could have incubated life »» Hydrothermal vent systems could have incubated life

[Monday, July 28, 2003] The staying power of seafloor hydrothermal vent systems like the bizarre Lost City vent field is one reason they also may have been incubators of Earth's earliest life, scientists report in a paper published in the July 25 issue of Science.

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NASA NEO News: Open Letter to Congress on Near Earth Objects »» NASA NEO News: Open Letter to Congress on Near Earth Objects

[Monday, July 28, 2003] "We write to you today as concerned citizens, convinced that the time has come for our nation to address comprehensively the impact threat from asteroids and comets."

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NASA Marks Space Milestone: 1,000 Days of Human Presence on International Space Station »» NASA Marks Space Milestone: 1,000 Days of Human Presence on International Space Station

[Monday, July 28, 2003] A milestone will be marked in space Tuesday, the 1,000th consecutive day of people living and working aboard the International Space Station. Seven crews have lived on the Space Station, as it has dramatically grown in size and capabilities.

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NASA Joins International Earth Observation Summit »» NASA Joins International Earth Observation Summit

[Tuesday, July 29, 2003] On Thursday, July 31, 2003, senior administration officials and representatives from more than 30 nations meet in Washington to establish plans for an integrated international Earth observation system.

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Ed Lu's Journal: Entry #7: Working Out »» Ed Lu's Journal: Entry #7: Working Out

[Tuesday, July 29, 2003] "Today I had two exercise sessions - because exercise here is even more important than it is on Earth - where you get a lot of exercise without even knowing it. Here, as far as your muscles and bones are concerned, life is just effortless."

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NASA Solicits Comments on Draft Mars Sample Return Protocol »» NASA Solicits Comments on Draft Mars Sample Return Protocol

[Wednesday, July 30, 2003] NASA has prepared a draft protocol for the testing and evaluation of samples that may be returned from Mars by future missions in its Mars exploration program. Public comments are being solicited.

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Close encounters form X-ray emitting, double-star systems »» Close encounters form X-ray emitting, double-star systems

[Thursday, July 31, 2003] The Chandra X-ray Observatory has confirmed that close encounters between stars form X-ray emitting, double-star systems in dense globular star clusters - a different birth process than stars outside globular clusters.

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NASA's Ion Engine Runs for Nearly 5 Years: No Problems »» NASA's Ion Engine Runs for Nearly 5 Years: No Problems

[Thursday, July 31, 2003] The future is here for spacecraft propulsion and the trouble-free engine performance that every vehicle operator would like to see, achieved by an ion engine running for a record 30,352 hours.

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CAIB Issues Fifth Finding: Shuttle Launch Imagery »» CAIB Issues Fifth Finding: Shuttle Launch Imagery

[Thursday, July 31, 2003] The Columbia Accident Investigation Board has issued its fifth preliminary finding and recommendation to NASA in advance of its appearance in the final report.

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