March 2006 Top Story Archives



NASA Voyager Operations Status Report #2006-01-06, Week Ending January 13, 2006 »» NASA Voyager Operations Status Report #2006-01-06, Week Ending January 13, 2006

[Wednesday, March 1, 2006] Science instrument performance was nominal for all activities during this period.  One frame of GS-4 data was recorded this week.  A second frame of GS-4 data was recorded on day 007.  The EDR backlog is 2 days.

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'Deep impact' of pulsar around companion star »» 'Deep impact' of pulsar around companion star

[Wednesday, March 1, 2006] Astronomers have witnessed a never-seen-before event in observations by ESA's XMM-Newton spacecraft - a collision between a pulsar and a ring of gas around a neighbouring star.

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Lockheed Martin-Built GPS Satellites Mark 50 Years on Orbit »» Lockheed Martin-Built GPS Satellites Mark 50 Years on Orbit

[Wednesday, March 1, 2006] The fleet of Global Positioning System (GPS) Block IIR satellites designed and built by Lockheed Martin to significantly enhance the overall performance of the GPS constellation has now accumulated 50 years of successful in-orbit operations.

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House Science Committee Hearing Charter: NASA's Science Mission Directorate: Impacts of the Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Proposal »» House Science Committee Hearing Charter: NASA's Science Mission Directorate: Impacts of the Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Proposal

[Wednesday, March 1, 2006] "The proposed budget is a controversial aspect of NASA's FY07 budget request because it would result in the cancellation or delay of a number of missions and provides little funding for any missions beyond those already in the queue."

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Asteroid 2004 VD17 Classed as Torino Scale 2 »» Asteroid 2004 VD17 Classed as Torino Scale 2

[Wednesday, March 1, 2006] At the end of February, orbital calculations for near-earth-asteroid (NEA) 2004 VD17 indicated that the risk of an impact within the next century (specifically on May 4, 2102) was higher than that of any other known asteroid.

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Scientists Solve The Mystery of Methane in Titan's Atmosphere »» Scientists Solve The Mystery of Methane in Titan's Atmosphere

[Wednesday, March 1, 2006] An international team of planetary scientists may have solved the mystery of why the atmosphere of Saturn's moon, Titan, is rich in methane.

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CCSDS Proximity-1 Links Mars Mission Communications Success, Disney Film and Interplanetary Internet »» CCSDS Proximity-1 Links Mars Mission Communications Success, Disney Film and Interplanetary Internet

[Wednesday, March 1, 2006] The CCSDS today reported that NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers are using the CCSDS Proximity-1 data communications protocol to send back significantly more scientific data to Earth than originally planned.

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Joint Statement by International Space Station Heads of Agency »» Joint Statement by International Space Station Heads of Agency

[Thursday, March 2, 2006] The heads of space agencies from Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and the United States met NASA KSC on March 2, 2006, to review International Space Station cooperation and endorse a revision to the station configuration and assembly sequence.

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NASA Cancels »» NASA Cancels "Dawn" Asteroid Mission

[Thursday, March 2, 2006] Upon returning to her office from this morning's House Science Committee hearing on NASA's FY 2007 Science Budget, NASA's Associate Administrator for its Space Science Mission Directorate, Mary Cleave cancelled the Discovery "Dawn" mission.

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Transcript of Heads of Agency ISS News Conference, NASA KSC »» Transcript of Heads of Agency ISS News Conference, NASA KSC

[Friday, March 3, 2006] Leaders of the space agencies who have collaborated on the International Space Station program met with reporters at a joint press event on Thursday, 2 March 2006 to discuss their meeting regarding the final configuration of the ISS.

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NASA Mission Detects Significant Antarctic Ice Mass Loss »» NASA Mission Detects Significant Antarctic Ice Mass Loss

[Friday, March 3, 2006] Scientists were able to conduct the first-ever gravity survey of the entire Antarctic ice sheet using data from GRACE. This comprehensive study found the ice sheet's mass has decreased significantly from 2002 to 2005.

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NASA Space Station Status Report 3 March 2006 »» NASA Space Station Status Report 3 March 2006

[Friday, March 3, 2006] Entering the homestretch of a half-year mission, International Space Station Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev monitored the departure of one of two Russian cargo ships today.

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NASA Announces Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Coverage »» NASA Announces Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Coverage

[Friday, March 3, 2006] NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter begins the most critical minutes of its flight on March 10. NASA is providing mission briefings and commentary March 8 and 10.

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A Shocking Surprise in Stephan's Quintet »» A Shocking Surprise in Stephan's Quintet

[Saturday, March 4, 2006] This false-color composite image of the Stephan's Quintet galaxy cluster clearly shows one of the largest shock waves ever seen (green arc), produced by one galaxy falling toward another at over a million miles per hour.

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Does Titan's methane originate from underground? »» Does Titan's methane originate from underground?

[Saturday, March 4, 2006] Data from ESA's Huygens probe have been used to validate a new model of the evolution of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, showing that its methane supply may be locked away in a kind of methane-rich ice.

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Enceladus Transits the Face of Another Moon »» Enceladus Transits the Face of Another Moon

[Saturday, March 4, 2006] This image was taken on March 02, 2006 and received on Earth March 02, 2006. The camera was pointing toward Enceladus [smaller moon] at approximately 2,028,783 kilometers away

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Fact Sheet on U.S. - India Space Cooperation »» Fact Sheet on U.S. - India Space Cooperation

[Sunday, March 5, 2006] The Chandrayaan-1 mission is an important step forward in U.S.-India space ties. Negotiations have taken place for two NASA instruments to assess mineral resources of the Moon.

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Largest Crater in the Great Sahara Discovered by Boston University Scientists »» Largest Crater in the Great Sahara Discovered by Boston University Scientists

[Sunday, March 5, 2006] Researchers from Boston University have discovered the remnants of the largest crater of the Great Sahara of North Africa, which may have been formed by a meteorite impact tens of millions of years ago.

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The SpaceX Dragon: America's First Privately Financed Manned Orbital Spacecraft? »» The SpaceX Dragon: America's First Privately Financed Manned Orbital Spacecraft?

[Sunday, March 5, 2006] Space Exploration Technologies Inc. - Better known as SpaceX - is developing its own manned spacecraft. Indeed, they've been at this for several years. Its name is "Dragon."

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Hostile Beginnings for Components of Life »» Hostile Beginnings for Components of Life

[Tuesday, March 7, 2006] The components of life may have been under attack in the hostile environments of the universe's first galaxies, say astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

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Scientists Issue Unprecedented Forecast of Next Sunspot Cycle »» Scientists Issue Unprecedented Forecast of Next Sunspot Cycle

[Tuesday, March 7, 2006] The next sunspot cycle will be 30-50% stronger than the last one and begin as much as a year late, according to a breakthrough forecast using a computer model of solar dynamics developed by scientists at NCAR.

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NASA Announces First Stardust Comet Sample Results »» NASA Announces First Stardust Comet Sample Results

[Tuesday, March 7, 2006] Results from the first studies of cometary samples returned to Earth by NASA's Stardust spacecraft is the subject of a news conference at 3 p.m. EST, Monday, March 13, from NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston

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ESA Mars Express Image: Eastern scarp of Olympus Mons »» ESA Mars Express Image: Eastern scarp of Olympus Mons

[Tuesday, March 7, 2006] These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, show the eastern scarp of the Olympus Mons volcano on Mars.

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NASA Administrator Griffin's Remarks to Space Shuttle Contractor Employees »» NASA Administrator Griffin's Remarks to Space Shuttle Contractor Employees

[Tuesday, March 7, 2006] "Our nation needs your help to carry out the VSE. We must have your help. We're asking those of you here tonight, and many others like you in the space business, to make some very real sacrifices to carry out this journey."

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Shuttle tank sensors an issue again in launch processing »» Shuttle tank sensors an issue again in launch processing

[Tuesday, March 7, 2006] The modified external tank for the next shuttle mission is starting a processing flow with no schedule margin, while engineers here assess issues that could affect NASA's May launch target, such as those with engine cutoff (ECO) sensors.

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Current Status of Hayabusa Spacecraft - Communication and Operation Resumption »» Current Status of Hayabusa Spacecraft - Communication and Operation Resumption

[Wednesday, March 8, 2006] Last November, Hayabusa suffered from a serious fuel leak immediately following its successful second touching down to the surface of Itokawa. On January 23 an un-modulated radio signal was received from the spacecraft.

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Cancellation of Dawn Mission on Hold Pending Review By NASA Administrator »» Cancellation of Dawn Mission on Hold Pending Review By NASA Administrator

[Wednesday, March 8, 2006] Knowledgeable sources within NASA and the planetary science community report that the impending cancellation of the Dawn asteroid exploration mission has been put on hold pending a review by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.

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A Pearl at Dusk »» A Pearl at Dusk

[Thursday, March 9, 2006] Enceladus hangs like a single bright pearl against the golden-brown canvas of Saturn and its icy rings. Visible on Saturn is the region where daylight gives way to dusk. Above, the rings throw thin shadows onto the planet.

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Image of Cometary Globule Marks 1,000 Online at NOAO »» Image of Cometary Globule Marks 1,000 Online at NOAO

[Thursday, March 9, 2006] A dramatic new image of cometary globule CG4 marks the one-thousandth image posted to the online gallery hosted by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.

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NASA Survey Confirms Climate Warming Impact of Polar Ice Sheets »» NASA Survey Confirms Climate Warming Impact of Polar Ice Sheets

[Thursday, March 9, 2006] In the most comprehensive survey ever undertaken of the massive ice sheets covering both Greenland and Antarctica, NASA scientists confirm climate warming is changing how much water remains locked in Earth's largest storehouses of ice and snow.

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NASA's Cassini Discovers Potential Liquid Water on Enceladus »» NASA's Cassini Discovers Potential Liquid Water on Enceladus

[Thursday, March 9, 2006] NASA's Cassini spacecraft may have found evidence of liquid water reservoirs that erupt in Yellowstone-like geysers on Saturn's moon Enceladus. The rare occurrence of liquid water so near the surface raises many new questions about the mysterious moon.

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New Arecibo receiver triggers quiet revolution that could discover 20,000 galaxies and 1,000 pulsars »» New Arecibo receiver triggers quiet revolution that could discover 20,000 galaxies and 1,000 pulsars

[Thursday, March 9, 2006] When the Arecibo L-Band Feed Array (ALFA) was installed on a misty April morning two years ago, it promised to bring phenomenal new sensitivity to the Arecibo Observatory.

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Scientists piece together the most distant cosmic explosion »» Scientists piece together the most distant cosmic explosion

[Thursday, March 9, 2006] In this week's issue of Nature, scientists at Penn State University and their U.S. and European colleagues discuss how this explosion, detected on 4 September 2005, was the result of a massive star collapsing into a black hole.

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NASA SOHO Spacecraft Helps Researchers See the Sun's Far Side »» NASA SOHO Spacecraft Helps Researchers See the Sun's Far Side

[Thursday, March 9, 2006] NASA researchers using the SOHO spacecraft have developed a method of seeing through the sun to the star's far side. The sun's far side faces away from the Earth, so it is not directly observable by traditional techniques.

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Fast-Talking NASA Spacecraft Starts Final Approach to Mars »» Fast-Talking NASA Spacecraft Starts Final Approach to Mars

[Thursday, March 9, 2006] NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has begun its final approach to the red planet after activating a sequence of commands designed to get the spacecraft successfully into orbit.

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Why the USA and NASA need astrobiology »» Why the USA and NASA need astrobiology

[Thursday, March 9, 2006] "... I noticed that there was a major distinction between the students who had been broadly educated in astrobiology during their graduate career and those who had not. One group could think across fields without difficulty. The other could not."

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A Summary of Remarks made by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison at a Space Transportation Association Breakfast 8 March 2006 »» A Summary of Remarks made by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison at a Space Transportation Association Breakfast 8 March 2006

[Friday, March 10, 2006] "We have directed NASA to ensure that at least 15% of its space station research budget be allocated to research that is not directly supportive of the VSE-the kinds of research they are terminating as they re-prioritize their space station use."

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NASA Hubble's Look at Pluto's Moons Supports a Common Birth »» NASA Hubble's Look at Pluto's Moons Supports a Common Birth

[Friday, March 10, 2006] The latest NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of Pluto's two newly discovered satellites reveal that the new moons have the same color as Charon.

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is safely in Mars orbit »» Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is safely in Mars orbit

[Friday, March 10, 2006] Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is safely in Mars orbit. The shouted phrase "Right on the Money" could be heard repeatedly from excited folks in Mission Control.

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Giotto's brief encounter With Comet Halley »» Giotto's brief encounter With Comet Halley

[Saturday, March 11, 2006] Twenty years ago, in the night between 13 and 14 March 1986, ESA's Giotto spacecraft encountered Comet Halley. It was ESA's first deep space mission, and part of an ambitious international effort to solve the riddles surrounding this mysterious object.

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New Google Mars site features ASU Mars images »» New Google Mars site features ASU Mars images

[Monday, March 13, 2006] A new planet-spanning Web site, Google Mars launches today on what would have been Mars astronomer Percival Lowell's 151st birthday.

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'Payson' Panorama by Opportunity »» 'Payson' Panorama by Opportunity

[Monday, March 13, 2006] The panoramic camera aboard NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity acquired this panorama of the "Payson" outcrop on the western edge of "Erebus" Crater during Opportunity's sol 744 (Feb. 26, 2006).

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'Gibson' Panorama by Spirit at 'Home Plate' »» 'Gibson' Panorama by Spirit at 'Home Plate'

[Monday, March 13, 2006] NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this high-resolution view of intricately layered exposures of rock while parked on the northwest edge of the bright, semi-circular feature known as "Home Plate."

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Years of Observing Combined Into NASA's Best-Yet Look at Mars Canyon »» Years of Observing Combined Into NASA's Best-Yet Look at Mars Canyon

[Monday, March 13, 2006] A new view of the biggest canyon in the solar system, merging hundreds of photos from NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter, offers scientists and the public an online resource for exploring the entire canyon in detail.

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NASA's Stardust Findings May Alter View of Comet Formation »» NASA's Stardust Findings May Alter View of Comet Formation

[Monday, March 13, 2006] Samples from comet Wild 2 have surprised scientists, indicating the formation of at least some comets may have included materials ejected by the early sun to the far reaches of the solar system.

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Super-Earths May Be Three Times More Common Than Jupiters »» Super-Earths May Be Three Times More Common Than Jupiters

[Monday, March 13, 2006] Astronomers have discovered a new "super-Earth" orbiting a red dwarf star located about 9,000 light-years away. This world weighs about 13 times the mass of the Earth and is probably a mixture of rock and ice, with a diameter several times that of Earth.

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Dear Colleague Letter from NASA Associate Administrator Mary Cleave, Science Mission Directorate »» Dear Colleague Letter from NASA Associate Administrator Mary Cleave, Science Mission Directorate

[Monday, March 13, 2006] "I am writing to bring you up to date on the activities of NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD). Much has transpired over the past year and much has been set in motion for the year ahead."

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NASA's Space Station Science Web Pages Are Evaporating »» NASA's Space Station Science Web Pages Are Evaporating

[Tuesday, March 14, 2006] Up until early 2005 NASA's web pages were once on a path toward providing an ever-increasing level of detail regarding research activities on the International Space Station. Not any more.

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Moon-based radiotelescope planned »» Moon-based radiotelescope planned

[Tuesday, March 14, 2006] EADS SPACE Transportation and ASTRON/LOFAR signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday in Leiden, Netherlands. The companies want to test the feasibility of a long wave radio telescope on the moon.

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Space Station Crew Taking Short Trip to Move Soyuz »» Space Station Crew Taking Short Trip to Move Soyuz

[Tuesday, March 14, 2006] International Space Station Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev will briefly vacate their orbiting home March 20 to move a Soyuz spacecraft.

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Dark Matter Lighting up the First Stars - Sterile Neutrinos fecundate the Creation of Stars »» Dark Matter Lighting up the First Stars - Sterile Neutrinos fecundate the Creation of Stars

[Tuesday, March 14, 2006] Dark matter could light up the first stars in the universe if the dark matter is made up of sterile neutrinos.

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Swedish plans to colonise space »» Swedish plans to colonise space

[Tuesday, March 14, 2006] Building a self-reliant moon colony is no longer science fiction, or a gimmick to promote the new James Bond film. It is indeed near-term reality.

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Traveling space particles reveal secrets of comets »» Traveling space particles reveal secrets of comets

[Tuesday, March 14, 2006] They came from outer space. And now, particles of comet dust that traveled from the far reaches of the solar system to Earth are traveling the United States, including a stop at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.

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NASA Announces New Window for Space Shuttle Mission STS-121 »» NASA Announces New Window for Space Shuttle Mission STS-121

[Tuesday, March 14, 2006] NASA announced today July 1 to 19 is the new launch planning window for Space Shuttle Discovery's mission STS-121. The new window gives the agency time to do additional engineering work and analysis to ensure a safe flight for Discovery and its crew.

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Space policy: EU and Russia join forces and sign cooperation agreement »» Space policy: EU and Russia join forces and sign cooperation agreement

[Tuesday, March 14, 2006] The EU and Russia are getting closer in space activities. Roscosmos, the European Space Agency, the European Commission have signed a joint document to enhance bilateral cooperation in space activities.

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NASA ST5 Launch Aborted »» NASA ST5 Launch Aborted

[Wednesday, March 15, 2006] Today's attempt to launch ST5 has been scrubbed due to the fact the pins associated with the steering controls could not be retracted. There will be at least a 48-hour delay while the launch team assesses the situation.

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Can NASA's Space Interferometry Mission Detect Terrestrial Planets Around Nearby Stars? Two Opinions »» Can NASA's Space Interferometry Mission Detect Terrestrial Planets Around Nearby Stars? Two Opinions

[Wednesday, March 15, 2006] Weiler: "when we sold SIM, years ago, it was sold and designed as a machine that would primarily find gas giant planets."
Marcy: "SIM remains the only NASA mission capable of discovering terrestrial worlds around nearby stars."

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Astronomers Discover a River of Stars Streaming Across the Northern Sky »» Astronomers Discover a River of Stars Streaming Across the Northern Sky

[Wednesday, March 15, 2006] Astronomers have discovered a narrow stream of stars extending at least 45 degrees across the northern sky. The stream is about 76,000 light-years distant from Earth and forms a giant arc over the disk of the Milky Way galaxy.

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Astronomers Measure Precise Mass of a Binary Brown Dwarf »» Astronomers Measure Precise Mass of a Binary Brown Dwarf

[Wednesday, March 15, 2006] For the first time, astronomers have succeeded in weighing a binary pair of brown dwarfs and precisely measuring their diameters. These kinds of exact measurements are not possible when observing a single brown dwarf.

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The Cosmic Dance of Distant Galaxies »» The Cosmic Dance of Distant Galaxies

[Wednesday, March 15, 2006] Studying several tens of distant galaxies, an international team of astronomers found that galaxies had the same amount of dark matter relative to stars 6 billion years ago as they have now.

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NASA Satellite Glimpses Universe's First Trillionth of a Second »» NASA Satellite Glimpses Universe's First Trillionth of a Second

[Thursday, March 16, 2006] Scientists peering back to the oldest light in the universe have new evidence to support the concept of inflation. The concept poses the universe expanded many trillion times its size in less than a trillionth of a second at the outset of the big bang.

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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4071 »» NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4071

[Thursday, March 16, 2006] "We will observe three regions at the Galactic Equator to determine the number of stars in magnitude ranging 18 - 25 in the target field of the NASA Kepler mission. The detection technique is to search photometrically for planetary transits."

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Galaxy on FIre! NASA's Spitzer Reveals Stellar Smoke »» Galaxy on FIre! NASA's Spitzer Reveals Stellar Smoke

[Thursday, March 16, 2006] Where there's smoke, there's fire -- even in outer space. A new infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a burning hot galaxy whose fiery stars appear to be blowing out giant billows of smoky dust.

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Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network »» Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network

[Friday, March 17, 2006] Observable changes, many of which have regional and global implications, are underway across the Arctic. Although the Arctic is not the only region on Earth affected by environmental change, it poses special problems and concerns.

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NASA Appoints Board to Investigate Shuttle Arm Incident »» NASA Appoints Board to Investigate Shuttle Arm Incident

[Friday, March 17, 2006] NASA has formed a board at the agency's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., to investigate the March 4 incident that damaged Space Shuttle Discovery's remote manipulator system (shuttle arm).

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Funding Notification Sent out by NASA Headquarters to Astrobiology Investigators »» Funding Notification Sent out by NASA Headquarters to Astrobiology Investigators

[Friday, March 17, 2006] "By now you will probably have received notification that there will not be an Exobiology solicitation in ROSES-06."

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Next Solar Cycle Predicted to Be Strong but Delayed »» Next Solar Cycle Predicted to Be Strong but Delayed

[Friday, March 17, 2006] Scientists are predicting that the next solar cycle will start a year late, in late 2007 or early 2008, and will be 30 percent to 50 percent stronger than the previous one.

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NASA Scientists in Dogged Pursuit of Amount of Snow on Earth Embark on Arctic Trek »» NASA Scientists in Dogged Pursuit of Amount of Snow on Earth Embark on Arctic Trek

[Friday, March 17, 2006] An expedition into the frozen Arctic using dogsled teams kicks off March 12 from Alaska to help NASA find out how much snow blankets the Earth.

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Through a satellite darkly: night views of European seas improve ESA ocean heat map »» Through a satellite darkly: night views of European seas improve ESA ocean heat map

[Friday, March 17, 2006] The Mediterranean looks better in the dark - at least in the view of an ESA-led effort to use satellites to take the daily temperature of Europe's seas.

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Radar altimetry confirms global warming is affecting polar glaciers »» Radar altimetry confirms global warming is affecting polar glaciers

[Friday, March 17, 2006] Scientists have confirmed that climate warming is changing how much water remains locked in the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, according to an article published in the Journal of Glaciology.

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SpaceX Falcon 1 Maiden Flight Update 15 March 2006 »» SpaceX Falcon 1 Maiden Flight Update 15 March 2006

[Friday, March 17, 2006] Falcon 1 has been removed from its hangar and erected on the launch pad. All systems are currently go for a static fire on March 17 or 18, followed by a launch between March 20 and 25.

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Mars Exploration Rover Spirit Status: 16 March 2006 »» Mars Exploration Rover Spirit Status: 16 March 2006

[Saturday, March 18, 2006] Spirit continued to make progress toward "McCool Hill" despite a reduction in solar energy and problems with the right front wheel. The team plans to have the rover spend the winter on the hill's north-facing slopes.

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ESA Mars Express: 'Hourglass'-shaped crater - new video and perspectives »» ESA Mars Express: 'Hourglass'-shaped crater - new video and perspectives

[Saturday, March 18, 2006] This video and accompanying images, taken by Mars Express, show an unusual flow deposit on the floors of two adjacent impact craters in the eastern Hellas Planitia region, indicating possible glacial processes.

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NASA Risk and Exploration Symposium: Earth, Sea and the Stars: Session Four: Why We Explore (Presentation by John Grunsfeld) »» NASA Risk and Exploration Symposium: Earth, Sea and the Stars: Session Four: Why We Explore (Presentation by John Grunsfeld)

[Sunday, March 19, 2006] "I have a passion for exploration, and I have a weakness. When I see something like Columbia Hills, I have a need to look over that hill. It's a real challenge because you set limits for yourself."

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A Tale of Two Comets - NASA's Stardust Samples Amaze Researchers, as Mothership is Eyed for Recon at Deep Impact Site »» A Tale of Two Comets - NASA's Stardust Samples Amaze Researchers, as Mothership is Eyed for Recon at Deep Impact Site

[Sunday, March 19, 2006] In a dramatic bid to maximize the utilization of existing spacecraft, researchers want to divert the Stardust comet-sample-return mothership to intercept and image a second comet, blasted open last July 4 by the Deep Impact mission.

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NASA Space Station Status Report 20 March 2006 »» NASA Space Station Status Report 20 March 2006

[Monday, March 20, 2006] Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev took a short ride away from the International Space Station today. They flew their Soyuz spacecraft from one docking port to another.

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Speech by OSTP Director John Marburger to the 44th Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium »» Speech by OSTP Director John Marburger to the 44th Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium

[Monday, March 20, 2006] "The Moon has unique significance for all space applications for a reason that to my amazement is hardly ever discussed in popular accounts of space policy. The Moon is the closest source of material that lies far up Earth's gravity well."

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Haze Layers on Titan »» Haze Layers on Titan

[Monday, March 20, 2006] This composite of 24 images from the Cassini spacecraft shows multiple layers in Titan's stratospheric haze. The most prominent layer is located about 500 kilometers (300 miles) above the surface and is seen at all latitudes, encircling the moon.

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NASA Astrobiology Program Status »» NASA Astrobiology Program Status

[Monday, March 20, 2006] "Even at the requested FY07 funding level we will be able to support a vigorous program of astrobiology research and some technology development.  Obviously, however, it will be about half the size of the current program."

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New Horizons Mission: The PI's Perspective: Zero G and I Feel Fine »» New Horizons Mission: The PI's Perspective: Zero G and I Feel Fine

[Tuesday, March 21, 2006] "It's been over three weeks since I last filed a PI's Perspective, so there is a lot to catch you up on. We're more than 60 days into flight now, and in every respect, New Horizons is doing fine."

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Polar neutrino observatory takes a big step forward »» Polar neutrino observatory takes a big step forward

[Tuesday, March 21, 2006] An international team of scientists and engineers has taken a major step toward completion of what will be the world's preeminent cosmic neutrino observatory under the South Pole that eventually will encompass a cubic kilometer of ice.

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Astrobiology in Peril - Update and Action Suggestions »» Astrobiology in Peril - Update and Action Suggestions

[Tuesday, March 21, 2006] "Please know that it is important to reverse the decision to severely cut NASA's R&A budget by 15%.  It is also imperative that a focused effort be maintained to undo the inexplicable 50% cut to Astrobiology research."

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NASA Announces ST5 Spacecraft Launch Set For Wednesday »» NASA Announces ST5 Spacecraft Launch Set For Wednesday

[Tuesday, March 21, 2006] The second launch attempt of NASA's Space Technology 5 spacecraft is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22 at 9:02 a.m. EST. NASA TV begins live coverage at 7:30 a.m. EST.

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NOAA Space Environment Center: Earth's First Defense Against Sun's Fury »» NOAA Space Environment Center: Earth's First Defense Against Sun's Fury

[Tuesday, March 21, 2006] The NOAA Space Environment Center is the nation's first defense against the affects of solar weather and the official source of space weather alerts and warnings.

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An Eclipse of the Sun for Europe, Africa, and Asia »» An Eclipse of the Sun for Europe, Africa, and Asia

[Tuesday, March 21, 2006] On Wednesday a total eclipse of the Sun will sweep across parts of West and North Africa, Turkey, and Central Asia. The eclipse will be partial across a much wider region, including most of Africa, all of Europe, and much of western and southern Asia.

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SpaceX Moves Closer to Inaugural Launch of Falcon I »» SpaceX Moves Closer to Inaugural Launch of Falcon I

[Wednesday, March 22, 2006] "Unless we discover something negative after a detailed data analysis, launch will happen on Thursday at 1 p.m. California time. - Elon Musk"

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Very Cool Brown Dwarf Discovered Around Star in the Solar Neighborhood »» Very Cool Brown Dwarf Discovered Around Star in the Solar Neighborhood

[Wednesday, March 22, 2006] Using Eso's Very Large Telescope in Chile, an international team of researchers discovered a brown dwarf belonging to the 24th closest stellar system to the Sun. Brown dwarfs are intermediate objects that are neither stars nor planets.

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NASA's Space Technology 5 Satellites Soar Into Space »» NASA's Space Technology 5 Satellites Soar Into Space

[Wednesday, March 22, 2006] NASA's Space Technology 5 successfully launched today at 9:04 a.m. EST, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on a Pegasus XL rocket.

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Astronomers Report Unprecedented Double Helix Nebula Near Center of the Milky Way »» Astronomers Report Unprecedented Double Helix Nebula Near Center of the Milky Way

[Wednesday, March 22, 2006] Astronomers report an unprecedented elongated double helix nebula near the center of our Milky Way galaxy, using observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The part of the nebula the astronomers observed stretches 80 light years in length.

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NASA's Chandra Finds Evidence for Quasar Ignition »» NASA's Chandra Finds Evidence for Quasar Ignition

[Wednesday, March 22, 2006] New data from Chandra may provide clues to how quasars "turn on." Since the discovery of quasars over 40 years ago, astronomers have been trying to understand the conditions surrounding the birth of these immensely powerful objects.

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Saturn's Rings - Janus In Front, Titan Behind »» Saturn's Rings - Janus In Front, Titan Behind

[Wednesday, March 22, 2006] This image was taken on March 21, 2006 and received on Earth March 22, 2006. The camera was pointing toward Janus at approximately 724,386 kilometers away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters.

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Rhea Emerges From Saturn's Shadow »» Rhea Emerges From Saturn's Shadow

[Wednesday, March 22, 2006] This image was taken on March 21, 2006 and received on Earth March 22, 2006. The camera was pointing toward Rhea at approximately 222,543 kilometers away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and GRN filters.

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Mimas and Saturn's Limb »» Mimas and Saturn's Limb

[Wednesday, March 22, 2006] This image was taken on March 21, 2006 and received on Earth March 22, 2006. The camera was pointing toward Mimas at approximately 190,524 kilometers away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters.

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Relic of life in that Martian meteorite? A fresh look »» Relic of life in that Martian meteorite? A fresh look

[Wednesday, March 22, 2006] Since the mid-1990s a great debate has raged over whether organic compounds and tiny globules of carbonate minerals imbedded in the Martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001 were processed by living creatures from the Red Planet.

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Ideas on gas-giant planet formation take shape »» Ideas on gas-giant planet formation take shape

[Wednesday, March 22, 2006] Rocky planets such as Earth and Mars are born when small particles smash together to form larger, planet-sized clusters in a planet-forming disk, but researchers are less sure about how gas-giant planets such as Jupiter and Saturn form.

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Cold case: Looking for life on Mars »» Cold case: Looking for life on Mars

[Wednesday, March 22, 2006] An international team of scientists has developed techniques to detect miniscule amounts of biological remains, dubbed biosignatures, in the frozen Mars-like terrain of Svalbard

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Remarks by NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale at a Space Transportation Association Breakfast »» Remarks by NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale at a Space Transportation Association Breakfast

[Thursday, March 23, 2006] "An important aspect of our exploration strategy is to open up the door for opportunities in commercial space. Among commercial opportunities that come to mind are such activities as in-space fuel delivery, lunar resource prospecting etc."

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Mars meteorite similar to bacteria-etched earth rocks »» Mars meteorite similar to bacteria-etched earth rocks

[Thursday, March 23, 2006] A new study of a meteorite that originated from Mars has revealed a series of microscopic tunnels that are similar in size, shape and distribution to tracks left on Earth rocks by feeding bacteria.

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Arctic, Antarctic Melting May Raise Sea Levels Faster than Expected »» Arctic, Antarctic Melting May Raise Sea Levels Faster than Expected

[Thursday, March 23, 2006] Ice sheets covering both the Arctic and Antarctic could melt more quickly than expected this century, according to two studies that blend computer modeling with paleoclimate records.

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First Mars Image from Newly Arrived Camera on NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter »» First Mars Image from Newly Arrived Camera on NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

[Friday, March 24, 2006] This view shows the ground covered in the first image of Mars taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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Detail of First Mars Image from Newly Arrived Camera on NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter »» Detail of First Mars Image from Newly Arrived Camera on NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

[Friday, March 24, 2006] This view shows a full-resolution portion of the first image of Mars taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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NASA Scientist Claims Warmer Ocean Waters Reducing Ice Worldwide »» NASA Scientist Claims Warmer Ocean Waters Reducing Ice Worldwide

[Friday, March 24, 2006] According to a NASA scientist, the pieces to a scientific puzzle have come together to confirm warmer water temperatures are creeping into the Earth's colder areas. Those warm waters are increasing melting and accelerating ice flow in polar areas.

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Historic SpaceX Launch Set for Today March 24: The World's Lowest Cost Rocket to Orbit »» Historic SpaceX Launch Set for Today March 24: The World's Lowest Cost Rocket to Orbit

[Friday, March 24, 2006] On Friday, March 24 at 1 p.m. California time (9 p.m. GMT), the Falcon 1 rocket will begin its journey to orbit, accelerating to 17,000 mph (25 times the speed of sound) in less than ten minutes.

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Falcon I Launch Fails »» Falcon I Launch Fails

[Friday, March 24, 2006] The Falcon I rocket was launched today at 5:30 pm EST from Omelek Island and climbed upward for around a minute. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's Vice President for Business Development, has confirmed that the rocket has been lost.

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Status Report: NASA MESSENGER Passes the Billion-Mile Mark! »» Status Report: NASA MESSENGER Passes the Billion-Mile Mark!

[Saturday, March 25, 2006] On March 23 MESSENGER reached the one-billion mile mark, placing the spacecraft about one-fifth of the way toward its destination to orbit Mercury.

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Preliminary SpaceX Internal Analysis: Falcon I Flight »» Preliminary SpaceX Internal Analysis: Falcon I Flight

[Saturday, March 25, 2006] "I am very encouraged and grateful that our launch customers took the time to call and express their support of SpaceX. SpaceX is in this for the long haul and, come hell or high water, we are going to make this work."

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U.S. Astrobiologists Convene Biannual Conference Amid Devastating Budget Threats »» U.S. Astrobiologists Convene Biannual Conference Amid Devastating Budget Threats

[Sunday, March 26, 2006] The SETI Institute is proud to be a significant part of the upcoming Astrobiology Science Conference 2006. AbSciCon offers sessions across the broad range of astrobiology discipline.

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NASA Decides to Reverse Cuts to Astrobiology »» NASA Decides to Reverse Cuts to Astrobiology

[Monday, March 27, 2006] NASA has decided to reverse (at least in part) its decision to drastically cut funding for Astrobiology. Details have not yet been released - but will be discussed this evening at the Astrobiology Science Conference in Washington, DC.

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From Europa to the lab, a new recipe for oxygen on icy moons »» From Europa to the lab, a new recipe for oxygen on icy moons

[Monday, March 27, 2006] Some may be surprised to learn that bleach-blondes and the enabler of life elsewhere in our solar system have something in common. And, no, it's not intelligence. It is, in fact, hydrogen peroxide.

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NASA Reinstates the Dawn Mission »» NASA Reinstates the Dawn Mission

[Monday, March 27, 2006] NASA senior management announced a decision Monday to reinstate the Dawn mission, a robotic exploration of two major asteroids. Dawn had been canceled because of technical problems and cost overruns.

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NASA Extends Crew Exploration Vehicle Contracts »» NASA Extends Crew Exploration Vehicle Contracts

[Monday, March 27, 2006] NASA has authorized contract extensions for development of the agency's new Crew Exploration Vehicle. The companies, Lockheed Martin, and a team of Northrop Grumman and Boeing were selected as CEV Phase 1 contractors in June 2005.

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Astrobiology Serves NASA and The National Interest - Statement Prepared by Principal Investigators of the NASA Astrobiology Institute »» Astrobiology Serves NASA and The National Interest - Statement Prepared by Principal Investigators of the NASA Astrobiology Institute

[Monday, March 27, 2006] "The President's budget calls for cuts to the NASA astrobiology program that would abdicate U.S. leadership and threaten our capabilities in this field."

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International Space Station Captures Images of Solar Eclipse »» International Space Station Captures Images of Solar Eclipse

[Wednesday, March 29, 2006] Crew members onboard the International Space Station captured images of this morning's solar eclipse, as they witnessed the spectacle from their unique vantage point 230 miles above the Earth.

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New Horizons Payload Gets High Marks on Early Tests »» New Horizons Payload Gets High Marks on Early Tests

[Wednesday, March 29, 2006] In-flight checks of the New Horizons science payload are going well, as six of the seven instruments on board have completed tests proving they survived launch and demonstrated their basic functionality.

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NASA Update Broadcast: New Media Policy »» NASA Update Broadcast: New Media Policy

[Wednesday, March 29, 2006] NASA Administrator Mike Griffin will speak during a NASA update broadcast from Headquarters that will be carried live on NASA TV. The topic: NASA's new policy on the release of information to news and information media.

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NASA Prepares for Space Exploration in Undersea Lab »» NASA Prepares for Space Exploration in Undersea Lab

[Wednesday, March 29, 2006] NASA will send three astronauts and a Cincinnati doctor under the ocean next month to test space medicine concepts and moon-walking techniques.

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Historic Japanese Asteroid Data Amaze Researchers »» Historic Japanese Asteroid Data Amaze Researchers

[Wednesday, March 29, 2006] Hayabusa landed twice on asteroid Itokawa and found it to be a "rubble pile" of 4.5-billon-year-old planetary debris that loosely coalesced only about 10 million years ago, rather than a much older intact body like previous asteroids visited.

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Expedition 13 Crew Lifts Off from Baikonur Cosmodrome »» Expedition 13 Crew Lifts Off from Baikonur Cosmodrome

[Wednesday, March 29, 2006] Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Jeff Williams began their mission Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. EST. They launched aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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NASA Space Science Continues To Be at Risk »» NASA Space Science Continues To Be at Risk

[Thursday, March 30, 2006] NASA leadership is laying the groundwork for an American space science program in permanent retreat. Research and analysis programs are being cut by more than 25% through the 2006 and 2007 budgets to help pay for human spaceflight.

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NASA Principles and Policies on Scientific Openness »» NASA Principles and Policies on Scientific Openness

[Thursday, March 30, 2006] The resulting new policy, which will be available today on our Web site contains a statement of principles and revised policies that will enable better cooperation across our agency and more effective communication with the public.

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NASA Policy on the Release of Information to News and Information Media »» NASA Policy on the Release of Information to News and Information Media

[Thursday, March 30, 2006] This directive sets forth policy governing the release of public information, which is defined as information in any form provided to news and information media.

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GAO Report: Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites - Cost Increases Trigger Review and Place Program's Direction on Hold »» GAO Report: Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites - Cost Increases Trigger Review and Place Program's Direction on Hold

[Thursday, March 30, 2006] "The future direction of the NPOESS program - what will be delivered, at what cost, and by when - is currently on hold pending a decision on how to proceed."

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NASA Reverses Pledge to Restore Astrobiology Funding »» NASA Reverses Pledge to Restore Astrobiology Funding

[Friday, March 31, 2006] Reliable sources now report that at a Science Mission Directorate monthly meeting at NASA HQ on Thursday it was noted that no additional funds will be given to Astrobiology.

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