March 2003 Top Story Archives



NASA Will Reluctantly Reassign Key Shuttle Management »» NASA Will Reluctantly Reassign Key Shuttle Management

[Sunday, March 02, 2003] Several Shuttle program managers will indeed be reassigned by NASA, per the CAIB's request - albeit rather reluctantly. Senior NASA management is quite adamant that they do not want anyone singled out before the CAIB's final report is even written.

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UN Meeting Discusses Space and Sustainable Development »» UN Meeting Discusses Space and Sustainable Development

[Monday, March 03, 2003] Using space technology to achieve sustainable development was seen as an important challenge for the future of the UN. The topic was amongst the issues discussed by COPOUS' Scientific and Technical Subcommittee during its fortieth session in Vienna.

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CHIPS Begins Search for Birthplace of Solar Systems »» CHIPS Begins Search for Birthplace of Solar Systems

[Monday, March 03, 2003] The Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer (CHIPS) satellite is entering its second month of providing data to scientists about the birthplace of solar systems.

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Space War Game Concludes »» Space War Game Concludes

[Monday, March 03, 2003] An eight-day space war game that took place 14 years in the future concluded here at the Space Warfare Center Feb. 27.

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Aerospace Employment Hits 50-Year Low »» Aerospace Employment Hits 50-Year Low

[Tuesday, March 04, 2003] U.S. aerospace employment has reached its lowest level since 1953 -- dropping to 689,000 at the end of 2002. This should serve as a call to action to revitalize the aerospace workforce, according to the Aerospace Industries Association.

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A Letter to America from the Columbia Crew Families »» A Letter to America from the Columbia Crew Families

[Tuesday, March 04, 2003] The families of the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107) crew have requested NASA to release the following letter to the media and public.

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NASA Runs the Press Gauntlet: Mission Operations and Email »» NASA Runs the Press Gauntlet: Mission Operations and Email

[Wednesday, March 05, 2003] NASA's Bill Readdy met with reporters to provide insight on how decisions are made during a Space Shuttle mission. Soon, what had been a routine briefing became a somewhat testy confrontation between Adminstrator Sean O'Keefe and the press.

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History's Brightest Star »» History's Brightest Star

[Wednesday, March 05, 2003] A team of astronomers has estimated the apparent brightness of an exploding star whose light reached Earth nearly a thousand years ago, when it produced a display that was probably the brightest stellar event witnessed in recorded human history.

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Satellites Used to Monitor Heat Stresses on Coral Reefs »» Satellites Used to Monitor Heat Stresses on Coral Reefs

[Thursday, March 06, 2003] Scientists at NOAA are using satellite data to monitor the long-term effects of heat stresses on several coral reefs throughout the world.

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Winds Cause Changes in Earth's Rotation »» Winds Cause Changes in Earth's Rotation

[Thursday, March 06, 2003] Because of Earth's dynamic climate, winds and atmospheric pressure systems experience constant change. These fluctuations may affect how our planet rotates on its axis, according to NASA-funded research that used wind and satellite data.

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NASA Scientists Say Mars Has Liquid Iron Core »» NASA Scientists Say Mars Has Liquid Iron Core

[Thursday, March 06, 2003] New information about what is inside Mars shows the Red Planet has a molten liquid-iron core, confirming the interior of the planet has some similarity to Earth and Venus.

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Rising Storms Revise Story of Jupiter's Stripes »» Rising Storms Revise Story of Jupiter's Stripes

[Thursday, March 06, 2003] Pictures of Jupiter, taken by a NASA spacecraft on its way to Saturn, are flipping at least one long-standing notion about Jupiter upside down.

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Hubble Resolves a Blaze of Stars in a Galaxy's Core »» Hubble Resolves a Blaze of Stars in a Galaxy's Core

[Thursday, March 06, 2003] The central region of the small galaxy NGC 1705 blazes with the light of thousands of young and old stars in this image, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

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NASA Radar Mission Reveals Rim of Chicxulub Impact Crater »» NASA Radar Mission Reveals Rim of Chicxulub Impact Crater

[Thursday, March 06, 2003] The Chicxulub impact crater has been suggested as the "smoking gun" responsible for the demise of the dinosaurs and more than 70 percent of Earth's species 65 million years ago. New NASA radar data adds to the evidence.

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A New Source of High-energy Neutrinos »» A New Source of High-energy Neutrinos

[Friday, March 07, 2003] Astrophysicists have discovered that high-energy neutrinos are produced in the accretion discs of neutron stars which can be detected by the next-generation of neutrino telescopes.

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Sean O'Keefe Does Brunch With the Press »» Sean O'Keefe Does Brunch With the Press

[Monday, March 10, 2003] After the Columbia accident, NASA Adminstrator Sean O'Keefe's interactions with the press were often limited to sound bites. To remedy this, O'Keefe recently spent several hours with reporters at NASA HQ and expounded at length on a variety of topics.

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Brains in Chains: NASA Engineering Today »» Brains in Chains: NASA Engineering Today

[Monday, March 10, 2003] How can you retain the best and the brightest if you don't give them an atmosphere where they can exercise their talents? There are still many people left at NASA because they have the dream of what that agency can do to help mankind.

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The Era of the First Stars »» The Era of the First Stars

[Monday, March 10, 2003] Astronomers have used three of the most powerful telescopes have encountered a cosmic conundrum: it looks as if there were fewer galaxies forming stars early in the history of the Universe than in the more recent past.

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SETI@home Identifies Candidate Radio Signals From Space »» SETI@home Identifies Candidate Radio Signals From Space

[Tuesday, March 11, 2003] After more than a million years of computation by more than 4 million computers, the SETI@home screensaver that crunches data in search of intelligent signals from space has produced a list of candidate radio sources that deserve a second look.

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Two Extrasolar Planets Detected Using New Technique? »» Two Extrasolar Planets Detected Using New Technique?

[Tuesday, March 11, 2003] Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) researchers report the possible discovery of gas giant planets orbiting two stars. If confirmed, these would be the first extrasolar planets detected via their transit light curves [links to paper]

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Vanguard Satellite Marks 45 Years in Space »» Vanguard Satellite Marks 45 Years in Space

[Wednesday, March 12, 2003] Vanguard I, the world's longest orbiting artificial satellite will mark its 45th year in space on March 17. In the years following Vanguard's launch, the satellite has made more than 178,061 orbits of Earth and traveled over 5.1 billion nautical miles.

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Red Rovers: Returning to Mars »» Red Rovers: Returning to Mars

[Wednesday, March 12, 2003] Convincing evidence for long-term water activity is difficult to nail down with photographs taken from orbit, however. That's the job of landers and rovers, like the rovers NASA plans to send to Mars later this year.

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First Evaporating Planet Observed »» First Evaporating Planet Observed

[Wednesday, March 12, 2003] The Hubble Space Telescope has observed the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet evaporating off into space. Much of this planet may eventually disappear, leaving only a dense core. The planet is a type of extrasolar planet known as a "hot Jupiter".

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Pulsar Bursts Coming From Beachball-Sized Structures »» Pulsar Bursts Coming From Beachball-Sized Structures

[Wednesday, March 12, 2003] In a major breakthrough for understanding what one of them calls "the most exotic environment in the Universe," a team of astronomers has discovered that powerful radio bursts in pulsars are generated by structures as small as a beach ball.

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ESA Bed Rest Study Started in Berlin »» ESA Bed Rest Study Started in Berlin

[Thursday, March 13, 2003] A group of four 'terrestrial astronauts' have recently started an unusual mission in Berlin. The four men are subjects in a 56-day bed rest study to help prepare astronauts for future manned missions to Mars.

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Mars Odyssey Celebrates One Year of Observing Mars »» Mars Odyssey Celebrates One Year of Observing Mars

[Thursday, March 13, 2003] In just one year, Mars Odyssey has fundamentally changed our understanding of the nature of the materials on and below the surface of Mars. During its first year Odyssey's camera system provided detailed maps of minerals in rocks and soils.

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Mars Odyssey Radiation Measurements Compared with ISS »» Mars Odyssey Radiation Measurements Compared with ISS

[Thursday, March 13, 2003] According to instruments aboard Mars Odyssey, the accumulated total radiation dose equivalent in Mars orbit is about two and a half times larger than that aboard the Space Station.

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STS-107 Accident Investigation Ground Track, Rev. 15 »» STS-107 Accident Investigation Ground Track, Rev. 15

[Saturday, March 15, 2003] STS-107 Accident Investigation Ground Track, Events, Summary, and Sighting Data, Based on the Rev 15 Master Time Line (Baselined, 03/10/03, 08:00 pm) and Sighting Data Catalogued by the JSC Emergency Operations Center, March 13, 2003

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No Killer Tsunamis From Small Impact Events? »» No Killer Tsunamis From Small Impact Events?

[Monday, March 17, 2003] Small asteroids do not make great ocean waves that will devastate coastal areas for miles inland, according to both a recently released 1968 U.S. Naval Research report on explosion-generated tsunamis and terrestrial evidence.

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NEO News: Tsunami hazard »» NEO News: Tsunami hazard

[Monday, March 17, 2003] This update describes a workshop on the hazard due to tsunami from deep-water impacts by sub-kilometer asteroids. The group did not support the position taken in a U Arizona release that tsunamis from such small impacts do not pose any hazard whatever.

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A Planet-wide Oceanic Crustal Biosphere? »» A Planet-wide Oceanic Crustal Biosphere?

[Tuesday, March 18, 2003] Outcrops of layered rock abound in the "grand canyon of Mars," the Valles Marineris.

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Artemis Relays First Images for Envisat After Recovery Effort »» Artemis Relays First Images for Envisat After Recovery Effort

[Wednesday, March 19, 2003] After an 18-month recovery operation, Artemis, the Advanced Relay Technology Mission has relayed its first images from Envisat.

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Mars Express leaves for Baikonur »» Mars Express leaves for Baikonur

[Wednesday, March 19, 2003] Mars Express, the first European spacecraft to visit the planet Mars, has completed its tests at Toulouse, France. It will be launched early June 2003 onboard a Russian Soyuz-Fregat rocket.

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SpaceX Performs First Rocket Engine Firing »» SpaceX Performs First Rocket Engine Firing

[Wednesday, March 19, 2003] Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) today announced the successful firing of the company's Falcon rocket main engine. SpaceX is developing launch vehicles that are supposed to set new benchmarks for reliable and low-cost access to space.

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ESA's Rosetta Mission, A Status Report »» ESA's Rosetta Mission, A Status Report

[Friday, March 21, 2003] Following the decision not to launch Europe's comet chaser, Rosetta, in January, scientists and engineers in the programme have been examining several alternative mission scenarios.

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Columbia's Data Recorder Recovered »» Columbia's Data Recorder Recovered

[Friday, March 21, 2003] Search teams near Hemphill, Texas have recovered the Orbiter Experiment Support System recorder (OEX) from Columbia, and have sent it to NASA’s Johnson Space Center for cleaning and analysis.

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MODIS Image of Oil Fires in Southern Iraq »» MODIS Image of Oil Fires in Southern Iraq

[Saturday, March 22, 2003] This image of Iraq, Kuwait, and parts of Saudi Arabia and Iran was acquired by the MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite on March 21 and shows several thermal anomalies detected by MODIS that have been marked with red dots or outlines.

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A Place for Space in the Next European Union Treaty? »» A Place for Space in the Next European Union Treaty?

[Saturday, March 22, 2003] At the opening of the Space Green Paper conference, former Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene said, "It is very important that space be recognised at the highest political levels, and that it be included explicitly in the next European Treaty."

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A Family Portrait of the Alpha Centauri System »» A Family Portrait of the Alpha Centauri System

[Saturday, March 22, 2003] Observations with the Very Large Telescope Interferometer at the ESO Paranal Observatory have provided the first-ever direct determination of the angular sizes of the disks of the solar-type stars Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B.

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France's NetLander Mission Postponed »» France's NetLander Mission Postponed

[Monday, March 24, 2003] The French space agency CNES has postponed the 2007 launch of the NetLander mission until no earlier than 2009. The mission was to deploy four landers onMars, establishing the first network of science stations on another planet.

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Cool X-ray Disk Points to a New Type of Black Hole »» Cool X-ray Disk Points to a New Type of Black Hole

[Monday, March 24, 2003] Scientists have more evidence of an exotic, new type of black hole that is hundreds of times larger than the stellar variety that dot our Galaxy yet thousands to millions of times smaller than the supermassive black holes thought to power quasars.

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Gamma-ray Burst and Supernova Connection Confirmed »» Gamma-ray Burst and Supernova Connection Confirmed

[Monday, March 24, 2003] The Chandra X-ray Observatory has confirmed the connection between a gamma-ray burst and the death of a massive star. This result is an important step in understanding the origin of gamma-ray bursts, the most violent events in the present-day Universe.

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Subaru Telescope Detects the Most Distant Galaxy Yet »» Subaru Telescope Detects the Most Distant Galaxy Yet

[Monday, March 24, 2003] Subaru telescope has found a galaxy 12.8 billion light years away, the most distant galaxy ever observed.

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Enhancing and Replacing NASA's Space Shuttle: Ideas? Yes, Funds? No. »» Enhancing and Replacing NASA's Space Shuttle: Ideas? Yes, Funds? No.

[Monday, March 24, 2003] NASA is looking at how it could extend the life of the Shuttle for many more years - perhaps to 2022 - and then replace it with more advanced spacecraft. While NASA has no shortage of ideas, it certainly is lacking the funds to make them all happen.

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Doomed Matter Near Black Hole Gets Second Lease on Life »» Doomed Matter Near Black Hole Gets Second Lease on Life

[Tuesday, March 25, 2003] Supermassive black holes, notorious for ripping apart and swallowing stars, might also help seed interstellar space with the elements necessary for life, such as hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and iron, scientists say.

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Search for Columbia Material Passes Halfway Mark »» Search for Columbia Material Passes Halfway Mark

[Tuesday, March 25, 2003] As the search of more than 500,000 acres of primary recovery area for Space Shuttle Columbia material reached its halfway mark, NASA Administrator, Sean O'Keefe, visited east Texas to thank recovery crews for their hard work.

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Last Minute Problems with Mars Rovers »» Last Minute Problems with Mars Rovers

[Tuesday, March 25, 2003] Status Report: "When problems like this happen a year or two before launch, it can be easy enough to deal with them. But when they happen now, with both spacecraft at Cape Canaveral, it's a different story. We really dodged a couple of bullets this week."

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Dramatic Images Reveal Unique Star Explosion »» Dramatic Images Reveal Unique Star Explosion

[Wednesday, March 26, 2003] In 2002, astronomers scanning the sky saw something highly unusual -- and they still don't know exactly what it is. A star suddenly flashed to 600,000 times its previous brightness. For a brief time, it was the brightest star in the galaxy.

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Safety Panel to NASA: Build a »» Safety Panel to NASA: Build a "Full Envelope" Shuttle Escape System

[Wednesday, March 26, 2003] NASA needs to stop studying crew escape systems for the Space Shuttle and start building them - so says the agency's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel.

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2MASS All-Sky Survey Completed »» 2MASS All-Sky Survey Completed

[Wednesday, March 26, 2003] The vast archive of images and data resulting from the Two Micron All-Sky Survey has been completed. The archive, which features some five million images, is now available online for scientists and sky watchers.

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ESA Studies Missions to Safeguard the Earth »» ESA Studies Missions to Safeguard the Earth

[Thursday, March 27, 2003] In July 2002 the general studies program of the European Space Agency provided funding for preliminary studies on six space missions that could make significant contributions to our knowledge of Near Earth Objects.

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Data Recorder Provides Useful Data on Shuttle's Last Moments »» Data Recorder Provides Useful Data on Shuttle's Last Moments

[Sunday, March 30, 2003] The Columbia Accident Investigation Board announced today that there is significant data on the Orbiter Experiment Support System (OEX).

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Black Holes Really Are Holes, Say Astronomers »» Black Holes Really Are Holes, Say Astronomers

[Monday, March 31, 2003] Having an "event horizon" rather than a surface is the property that makes something a black hole but, by definition, it's impossible ever to see one directly. However, these new results give direct evidence of the existence of such holes in spacetime.

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Martian Sand Dunes »» Martian Sand Dunes

[Monday, March 31, 2003] This image shows realtively dark coarse grained material forming individual dunes coalescing into a relatively uniform sand sheet. The origin of the dark sand that formed these dunes have been suggested to be the northern polar layered deposits.

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Searching for Habitable Planets with Eddington »» Searching for Habitable Planets with Eddington

[Monday, March 31, 2003] The scientific community involved in the search for habitable planets will meet in Palermo (Italy) on April 9-11 to take an important step towards the discovery of other worlds which might harbour life.

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Sunquakes Reveal The Solar Furnace »» Sunquakes Reveal The Solar Furnace

[Monday, March 31, 2003] By studying the waves from these tremors, scientists can find out about the conditions deep inside our rocky planet.

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NASA Releases Large Email Collection Related to Columbia Accident »» NASA Releases Large Email Collection Related to Columbia Accident

[Monday, March 31, 2003] A large email collection was released by NASA today in response to Freedom of Information Requests made to the agency in connection with the Columbia accident. This email is presented in a series of documents placed online at NASA's website.

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