March 2004 Top Story Archives



Enigmatic X-ray Sources May Point to New Class of Black Holes »» Enigmatic X-ray Sources May Point to New Class of Black Holes

[Monday, March 01, 2004] Mysterious, powerful X-ray sources found in nearby galaxies may represent a new class of objects, according to data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. These sources could be black holes with masses several hundred times that of the sun.

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NASA Set to Make Major Mars Science Announcement »» NASA Set to Make Major Mars Science Announcement

[Monday, March 01, 2004] After several days of growing speculation NASA has scheduled an announcement at NASA Headquarters regarding discoveries made by the Mars Exploration Rovers.

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Hydrogen Peroxide Detected in Mars' Atmosphere »» Hydrogen Peroxide Detected in Mars' Atmosphere

[Monday, March 01, 2004] Astronomers have detected hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the atmosphere of Mars for the first time. This is the first time that a chemical catalyst of this sort has been found in a planetary atmosphere other than the Earth's.

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Rosetta begins its 10-year journey »» Rosetta begins its 10-year journey

[Tuesday, March 02, 2004] Europe's Rosetta cometary probe has been successfully launched into an orbit around the Sun, which will allow it to reach the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014 after three flybys of the Earth and one of Mars.

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NASA Mars Opportunity Rover Finds Evidence of Past Liquid Water »» NASA Mars Opportunity Rover Finds Evidence of Past Liquid Water

[Tuesday, March 02, 2004] NASA scientists have concluded the part of Mars NASA's Opportunity rover is exploring was once drenched in liquid water.

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Discovery to Make Return to Flight »» Discovery to Make Return to Flight

[Tuesday, March 02, 2004] When the Space Shuttle returns to safe flight next year, Discovery, fresh from an extended overhaul, will pinch-hit for Atlantis. That was in order to accommodate the additional time for any inspection and refurbishment, if it's required.

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Briefing Charts: NASA Associate Administrator Craig Steidle, Office of Exploration Systems »» Briefing Charts: NASA Associate Administrator Craig Steidle, Office of Exploration Systems

[Tuesday, March 02, 2004] NASA Associate Administrator Craig Steidle, from the newly formed Office of Exploration Systems briefed NASA employees today on plans for the initial implementation of the President's new space policy.

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Tumbleweed Rover Goes on a Roll Across Antarctica »» Tumbleweed Rover Goes on a Roll Across Antarctica

[Wednesday, March 03, 2004] A balloon-shaped robot explorer that one day could search for evidence that water existed on other planets has survived some of the most trying conditions on planet Earth during a 70-kilometer (40-mile), wind-driven trek across Antarctica.

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Curious Cautionary Caveat on NASA Future Mission Artwork »» Curious Cautionary Caveat on NASA Future Mission Artwork

[Thursday, March 04, 2004] Why do virtually all of the images in the NASA Human Spaceflight website gallery of exploration concepts still have this cautionary caveat attached to them? "Note: NASA currently has no formal plans for a human expedition to Mars or the Moon"

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New evidence suggests early oceans bereft of oxygen for eons »» New evidence suggests early oceans bereft of oxygen for eons

[Thursday, March 04, 2004] Earth's oceans contained less oxygen than today's and could have been nearly devoid of oxygen for a billion years longer than previously thought. These findings may help explain why complex life barely evolved for billions of years after it arose.

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First silicate stardust found in a meteorite »» First silicate stardust found in a meteorite

[Thursday, March 04, 2004] Finding presolar silicates in a meteorite tells us that the solar system formed from gas and dust, some of which never got very hot, rather than from a hot solar nebula.

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V838 Monocerotis revisited: Space phenomenon imitates art »» V838 Monocerotis revisited: Space phenomenon imitates art

[Friday, March 05, 2004] This image, obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on February 8, 2004, is Hubble's latest view of an expanding halo of light around a distant star, named V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon).

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Volcanic Rock in Mars' Gusev Crater Hints at Past Water »» Volcanic Rock in Mars' Gusev Crater Hints at Past Water

[Friday, March 05, 2004] NASA's Spirit has found hints of a water history in a rock at Mars' Gusev Crater, but it is a very different type of rock than those in which NASA's Opportunity found clues to a wet past on the opposite side of the planet.

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NASA Cassini Spacecraft Snaps Saturn Methane Image »» NASA Cassini Spacecraft Snaps Saturn Methane Image

[Saturday, March 06, 2004] The Cassini narrow angle camera took this image of Saturn on Feb. 16, 2004, from a distance of 66.1 million kilometers (41.1 million miles) in a special filter which reveals clouds and haze high in the atmosphere.

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Hubble's Deepest-Ever View of the Universe to be Unveiled on March 9 »» Hubble's Deepest-Ever View of the Universe to be Unveiled on March 9

[Monday, March 08, 2004] This historic image is expected to take astronomers to 'within a stone's throw' of the the big bang itself, unveiling the first galaxies that emerged from the end of the cosmological "dark ages" shortly after the big bang.

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X-Rays from Saturn Pose Puzzles »» X-Rays from Saturn Pose Puzzles

[Monday, March 08, 2004] The first clear detection of X-rays from Saturn has been made. Chandra X-Ray Observatory's image shows that the X-rays are concentrated near Saturn's equator, a surprising result since Jupiter's X-ray emission is mainly concentrated near the poles.

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NASA Creates Portrait of Life and Death in the Universe »» NASA Creates Portrait of Life and Death in the Universe

[Monday, March 08, 2004] In a small nearby galaxy lies a luminous cloud of gas and dust, called a nebula, which houses a family of newborn stars. If not for the death of a massive star millions of years ago, this stellar nursery never would have formed.

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New method to measure bone loss in astronauts flying long mission »» New method to measure bone loss in astronauts flying long mission

[Monday, March 08, 2004] A team of NASA-funded researchers from UCSF and Baylor College of Medicine has used a new method to measure and characterize bone loss caused by prolonged spaceflight.

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Hubble's Deepest View Ever of the Universe Unveils Earliest Galaxies »» Hubble's Deepest View Ever of the Universe Unveils Earliest Galaxies

[Tuesday, March 09, 2004] Today the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved by humankind was unveiled. Called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), the million-second-long exposure reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called "dark ages."

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Messenger Ships to the Cape »» Messenger Ships to the Cape

[Tuesday, March 09, 2004] NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft left home in Maryland today for Cape Canaveral, Fla., site of its scheduled May 11 launch toward Mercury and the first study of that planet from orbit.

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NASA Spirit Mars Rover Peers Inside Bonneville Crater »» NASA Spirit Mars Rover Peers Inside Bonneville Crater

[Wednesday, March 10, 2004] Spirit climbed up a very steep part of "Bonneville" and ended this sol's drive tilted at a forward pitch of about 15 degrees bringing its total odometry to 314 meters (1,030 feet) - 14 meters (45.9 feet) past the minimum mission success criterion.

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NASA White Paper: Cancellation of the Fifth (SM-4) Hubble Servicing Mission »» NASA White Paper: Cancellation of the Fifth (SM-4) Hubble Servicing Mission

[Thursday, March 11, 2004] Recognizing the increased risks involved in all Shuttle flights NASA elected to only fly missions to the ISS. The decision was also made, on the basis of risk, to not pursue a final servicing mission to the HST.

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Spirit Looks Down Into Crater After Reaching Rim »» Spirit Looks Down Into Crater After Reaching Rim

[Friday, March 12, 2004] NASA's Spirit has begun looking down into a crater it has been approaching for several weeks, providing a view of what's below the surrounding surface.

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NASA Cassini Saturn Image: Clumps in the F Ring »» NASA Cassini Saturn Image: Clumps in the F Ring

[Friday, March 12, 2004] Clumps seemingly embedded within Saturn's narrow, outermost F ring can be seen in these two Cassini narrow angle camera images taken on Feb. 23, 2004 from a distance of 62.9 million kilometers (39 million miles).

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Does the Lunar Surface Still Offer Value As a Site for Astronomical Observatories? »» Does the Lunar Surface Still Offer Value As a Site for Astronomical Observatories?

[Friday, March 12, 2004] Current thinking about the Moon as a destination has revitalized interest in lunar astronomical observatories. Once seen as a highly enabling site, the improvement in capabilities for free-space observatories prompts reevaluation of this interest.

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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope: A Fate Far From Certain »» NASA's Hubble Space Telescope: A Fate Far From Certain

[Sunday, March 14, 2004] Days after the rollout of the President's new space policy, Sean O'Keefe announced his decision not to proceed with the last scheduled Shuttle Servicing Mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. CAIB Chair Hal Gehman has now weighed in on the decision.

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Most Distant Object in Solar System Discovered by NASA Researchers »» Most Distant Object in Solar System Discovered by NASA Researchers

[Monday, March 15, 2004] NASA-funded researchers have discovered the most distant object orbiting Earth's Sun. The object is a mysterious planet-like body three times farther from Earth than Pluto.

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Biggest ever solar flare was even bigger than thought »» Biggest ever solar flare was even bigger than thought

[Monday, March 15, 2004] Physicists in New Zealand have shown that last November's record-breaking solar explosion was much larger than previously estimated, thanks to innovative research using the upper atmosphere as a gigantic x-ray detector.

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Sloan Digital Sky Survey Releases Six Terabytes of Data to Public »» Sloan Digital Sky Survey Releases Six Terabytes of Data to Public

[Monday, March 15, 2004] With photometric and spectroscopic observations of the sky gathered during the last two years, this second data release (DR2) offers six terabytes of images and catalogs, including two terabytes in an easy to use searchable database.

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SOHO snaps spectacular Sun shot »» SOHO snaps spectacular Sun shot

[Tuesday, March 16, 2004] On Friday, 12 March 2004, the Sun ejected a spectacular 'eruptive prominence' into the heliosphere. SOHO, the ESA/NASA solar watchdog observatory, faithfully recorded the event.

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NASA and  the Department of Energy Partner on Project Prometheus »» NASA and the Department of Energy Partner on Project Prometheus

[Wednesday, March 17, 2004] NASA announced today that it has partnered with the Department of Energy and its Naval Reactors Program to help NASA develop nuclear power and propulsion technologies. The first spacecraft to use this new technology is the the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter.

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Asteroid Makes Record-breaking Approach to Earth »» Asteroid Makes Record-breaking Approach to Earth

[Thursday, March 18, 2004] A small near-Earth asteroid (NEA), discovered Monday night by the NASA-funded LINEAR asteroid survey, will make the closest approach to Earth ever recorded. There is no danger of a collision with the Earth during this encounter.

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Mineral in Mars 'Berries' Adds to Water Story »» Mineral in Mars 'Berries' Adds to Water Story

[Friday, March 19, 2004] A major ingredient in small mineral spheres analyzed by Opportunity furthers understanding of past water at Opportunity's landing site and points to a way of determining whether the vast plains surrounding the site also have a wet history.

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NASA Explains Dust Bowl Drought »» NASA Explains Dust Bowl Drought

[Friday, March 19, 2004] NASA scientists have an explanation for one of the worst climatic events in the history of the United States, the "Dust Bowl" drought, which devastated the Great Plains and all but dried up an already depressed American economy in the 1930's.

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ESA's Integral Solves Thirty-year Old Gamma-ray Mystery »» ESA's Integral Solves Thirty-year Old Gamma-ray Mystery

[Friday, March 19, 2004] ESA's Integral gamma-ray observatory has resolved the diffuse glow of gamma rays in the centre of our Galaxy and has shown that most of it is produced by a hundred individual sources.

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Comments by Neil Armstrong At Presentation of the National Space Trophy »» Comments by Neil Armstrong At Presentation of the National Space Trophy

[Friday, March 19, 2004] Legendary flight director and NASA manager Christopher Kraft introduced Armstrong to a standing ovation. Armstrong then delivered, like the professor he is, a brief lecture on the history and future of the space program...

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Mars Express Confirms Presence of Water at Mars' South Pole »» Mars Express Confirms Presence of Water at Mars' South Pole

[Friday, March 19, 2004] Thanks to ESA's Mars Express, we now know that Mars has vast fields of perennial water ice, stretching out from the south pole of the Red Planet.

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Jeff Bell and the Legions of Doom »» Jeff Bell and the Legions of Doom

[Sunday, March 21, 2004] "For a week now I have seen articles by an Adjunct professor of planetology at the University of Honolulu concerning A: The impossibility of the president's Lunar initiative working and B: the impending death of the astronauts on orbit at ISS."

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NASA to Announce Major Mars Rover Finding »» NASA to Announce Major Mars Rover Finding

[Monday, March 22, 2004] NASA will announce a major scientific finding at a Space Science Update Tuesday at 2 p.m. EST, in the headquarters Webb Auditorium, 300 E St. SW, Washington, D.C.

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A Star Is Born: Celestial Beacon Sheds New Light on Stellar Nursery »» A Star Is Born: Celestial Beacon Sheds New Light on Stellar Nursery

[Monday, March 22, 2004] A timely discovery has provided a rare glimpse into the slow, yet violent birth of a star about 1,500 light-years away. The resulting findings reveal some of the strongest stellar winds ever detected around an embryonic Sun-like star.

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From Lava Lakes on Jupiter's Moon, Io, Come Ideas About What Earth May Have Looked Like as a Newborn Planet »» From Lava Lakes on Jupiter's Moon, Io, Come Ideas About What Earth May Have Looked Like as a Newborn Planet

[Monday, March 22, 2004] Investigations into lava lakes on the surface of Io may provide clues to what Earth looked like in its earliest phases, according to researchers at the University at Buffalo and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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A Day in the Life of NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe »» A Day in the Life of NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe

[Monday, March 22, 2004] So much of what a large agency such as NASA does on any given day seems to just happen by itself. As for how the agency itself is actually run - especially on a moment by moment basis - by the person at the top is a mystery to nearly all.

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It's Official. Mars is Now a Career Opportunity! »» It's Official. Mars is Now a Career Opportunity!

[Tuesday, March 23, 2004] During the months of March, April and May, NASA is sending its finest to speak with students and teachers at NASA Explorer Schools across the country about the new Vision for Space Exploration outlined by President Bush in January.

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Mars Rover Opportunity Landed in What Was Once a Salty Sea »» Mars Rover Opportunity Landed in What Was Once a Salty Sea

[Tuesday, March 23, 2004] NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity has provided new evidence that it landed on a shoreline of what was once a salty sea. The Opportunity rover will now travel to a newly named crater called Endurance to look for further evidence of water.

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Beachcombing On the Shores of Barsoom »» Beachcombing On the Shores of Barsoom

[Tuesday, March 23, 2004] This morning in Washington DC, on the 198th anniversary of the start of the long trek home by Lewis and Clark, NASA revealed evidence that the Mars Opportunity rover landed on what they believe to be "the shoreline of a salty sea on Mars".

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Research Partnership Seeks to Help NASA Live off the Land on Other Planets »» Research Partnership Seeks to Help NASA Live off the Land on Other Planets

[Wednesday, March 24, 2004] Sludge. That's what most people think of when they envision the gray, powdery soil -- called regolith -- covering the airless surface of the Moon. Not Dr. Mike Duke. He sees gold.

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NASA's X-43A Vehicle Ready for Flight »» NASA's X-43A Vehicle Ready for Flight

[Wednesday, March 24, 2004] NASA has set Saturday, March 27, for the flight of the X-43A research vehicle. The flight is part of the Hyper-X program designed to demonstrate alternate propulsion technologies for access to space and high-speed flight within the atmosphere.

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MESSENGER Launch Delayed »» MESSENGER Launch Delayed

[Thursday, March 25, 2004] A decision has been made to reschedule the launch of NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft - the first designed to orbit the planet Mercury - to no earlier than July 30. The launch opportunity extends until Aug. 13, 2004.

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Space Tourist to Visit International Space Station »» Space Tourist to Visit International Space Station

[Thursday, March 25, 2004] Space Adventures will announce that a commercial passenger will be flying aboard a Soyuz to the International Space Station as early as October 2004. The space tourist's name is Gregory Olsen and he is currently training in Russia.

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Mars Polar Cap Mysery Solved »» Mars Polar Cap Mysery Solved

[Thursday, March 25, 2004] The spiral troughs of Mars' polar ice caps have been called the most enigmatic landforms in the solar system. The deep canyons spiraling out from the Red Planet's North and South poles cover hundreds of miles. No other planet has such structures.

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NEO News: Damage from small impacts »» NEO News: Damage from small impacts

[Friday, March 26, 2004] What would have been the consequences if 2004 AH had actually hit the Earth instead of passing by at a distance of 50,000 km?

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NASA's X-43A Proves Hypersonic Scramjet Flight »» NASA's X-43A Proves Hypersonic Scramjet Flight

[Saturday, March 27, 2004] The unpiloted vehicle's supersonic combustion ramjet, or scramjet, ignited as planned and operated for the duration of its hydrogen fuel supply, which lasted about 10 seconds. The X-43A reached its test speed of Mach 7.

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NASA and France Pick Up Rhythm for CALIPSO Launch »» NASA and France Pick Up Rhythm for CALIPSO Launch

[Monday, March 29, 2004] CALIPSO is expected to provide a better understanding of clouds and atmospheric aerosols that influence Earth's climate. Data from CALIPSO will help create climate predictions so as to make policy decisions about global climate change.

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TV Coverage of Space Station Crew Exchange »» TV Coverage of Space Station Crew Exchange

[Tuesday, March 30, 2004] NASA Television will carry the launch of Expedition 9, the next residents of the International Space Station, and return of the current crew, as well as numerous other events, over the next several weeks.

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Deep Impact Spacecraft and Impactor Begin Environmental Testing »» Deep Impact Spacecraft and Impactor Begin Environmental Testing

[Tuesday, March 30, 2004] The spacecraft pair that will give scientists their first up-close look at a comet entered the final testing phase before their launch scheduled for December 2004.

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Mars Express confirms methane in the Martian atmosphere »» Mars Express confirms methane in the Martian atmosphere

[Tuesday, March 30, 2004] During recent observations from the ESA Mars Express spacecraft in orbit around Mars, methane was detected in its atmosphere.

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Molecular midwives hold clues to the origin of life »» Molecular midwives hold clues to the origin of life

[Wednesday, March 31, 2004] Adding a small molecule, dubbed a "molecular midwife," researchers increased the rate of DNA formation in a chemical reaction 1,000 fold over a similar reaction lacking a midwife.

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