May 2003 Top Story Archives



Homeward Bound »» Homeward Bound

[Thursday, May 01, 2003] "I can picture my boys and I sitting around a campfire. As we chat about our world, our eyes will follow the sparks as they rise in the draft of hot air. Perhaps we will look at the stars and see Space Station pass overhead."

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Looking for life of any shape or form »» Looking for life of any shape or form

[Thursday, May 01, 2003] In 1953, Watson and Crick proposed that DNA, the molecule of complex life forms, had the shape of a double helix. Today, scientists from all areas are working together to answer the ultimate question: can life exist anywhere else in the Universe?

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Freewheeling Galaxies Collide in a Blaze of Star Birth »» Freewheeling Galaxies Collide in a Blaze of Star Birth

[Friday, May 02, 2003] A dusty spiral galaxy appears to be rotating on edge, like a pinwheel, as it slides through the larger, bright galaxy NGC 1275 in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image.

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How the Space Station Expedition 6 Crew Will Return to Earth »» How the Space Station Expedition 6 Crew Will Return to Earth

[Friday, May 02, 2003] The astronauts of the Expedition 6 International Space Station crew are preparing for a first in NASA's history of human space flight. They're scheduled to return to Earth aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule.

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Expedition Crew Lands - Off Target »» Expedition Crew Lands - Off Target

[Sunday, May 04, 2003] The Expedition 6 crew landed about 275 miles away from its predicted touchdown point. Search aircraft found the capsule at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. The plane's crew later reported seeing the crew outside the Soyuz, waving and apparently well.

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What Would NASA Do If A Soyuz Landed In America? »» What Would NASA Do If A Soyuz Landed In America?

[Sunday, May 04, 2003] The location of the Soyuz TMA spacecraft was unknown for a few hours - but an experienced recovery team soon found it. What would happen if a Soyuz landed outside of the traditional recovery zone in Kazakhstan - such as on a large flat plain in America?

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Columbia Accident Investigation Board Releases Working Scenario »» Columbia Accident Investigation Board Releases Working Scenario

[Tuesday, May 06, 2003] After three months of intense investigation, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, with the assistance of the NASA Accident Investigation Team (NAIT), has reached preliminary conclusions regarding the loss of Columbia.

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Asteroid Impact Puts Heat on Snowball Earth Theory »» Asteroid Impact Puts Heat on Snowball Earth Theory

[Tuesday, May 06, 2003] Scientists studying rocks near an ancient asteroid impact structure in South Australian have uncovered evidence that could change current theories explaining how life on Earth rapidly diversified about 580 million years ago.

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Deepest View of Space Yields Young Stars in Andromeda Halo »» Deepest View of Space Yields Young Stars in Andromeda Halo

[Wednesday, May 07, 2003] Relying on the deepest visible-light images ever taken in space, astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have reliably measured the age of the spherical halo of stars surrounding the neighboring Andromeda galaxy.

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NASA Selects Nuclear Power Teams »» NASA Selects Nuclear Power Teams

[Wednesday, May 07, 2003] NASA selected several radioisotope-based power- conversion technologies for research and development. The awards are the first competitive technology procurement funded wholly by NASA's Project Prometheus.

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Evidence for Potassium as Missing Heat Source in Planetary Cores »» Evidence for Potassium as Missing Heat Source in Planetary Cores

[Thursday, May 08, 2003] There's a small problem with Earth's magnetic field: It should not have existed, as Earth's rock record indicates it has, for the past 3.5 billion years.

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Your Name Could Make a 'Deep Impact' on a Comet »» Your Name Could Make a 'Deep Impact' on a Comet

[Thursday, May 08, 2003] People worldwide may celebrate July 4, 2005, as the day their names reach a comet. NASA is launching a campaign to send hundreds of thousands of names to comet Tempel 1.

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Stephan's Quintet: Intruder Galaxy Shocks Tightly-knit Group »» Stephan's Quintet: Intruder Galaxy Shocks Tightly-knit Group

[Thursday, May 08, 2003] The motion of the galaxies in Stephan's Quintet through the hot gas, and the gravitational pull of nearby galaxies are stripping cool gas from the galaxies, thereby depriving them of the raw material from which to form new stars.

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Meteorites Rained on Earth After Massive Asteroid Breakup »» Meteorites Rained on Earth After Massive Asteroid Breakup

[Thursday, May 08, 2003] Marine geologists at Rice University have discovered that a colossal collision in the asteroid belt some 500 million years ago led to intense meteorite strikes over the Earth's surface.

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MUSES-C Asteroid Mission Launched »» MUSES-C Asteroid Mission Launched

[Friday, May 09, 2003] MUSES-C, built by Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), was launched today by M-V launch vehicle No. 5 from the Kagoshima Space Center.

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Iridescent Glory of Helix Nebula Showcased on Astronomy Day »» Iridescent Glory of Helix Nebula Showcased on Astronomy Day

[Friday, May 09, 2003] In one of the largest and most detailed celestial images ever made, the coil-shaped Helix Nebula is being unveiled tomorrow in celebration of Astronomy Day (Saturday, May 10).

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Careers Spawned at Earth's Largest Model Rocket Contest »» Careers Spawned at Earth's Largest Model Rocket Contest

[Sunday, May 11, 2003] A hundred rockets soared more than a thousand feet into the sky last weekend in rural Virginia during the largest model rocket competition ever held - anywhere. With each launch soared a new career in aerospace.

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White House to Release New Space Remote Sensing Policy »» White House to Release New Space Remote Sensing Policy

[Monday, May 12, 2003] The White House will release a new National Space Policy on Space Remote Sensing first thing tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. This policy supercedes a similar policy document signed by President Clinton 9 years ago.

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Spacelift Washington: The First Bush Space Policy »» Spacelift Washington: The First Bush Space Policy

[Tuesday, May 13, 2003] The space remote sensing policy released by the White House has a decidedly free market, conservative slant as it seeks to craft a cooperative framework between users of space photography and the industry that is struggling to offer such services.

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Sharper and Deeper Views with MACAO-VLTI »» Sharper and Deeper Views with MACAO-VLTI

[Tuesday, May 13, 2003] A team of engineers from ESO recently celebrated the successful accomplishment of "First Light" for the MACAO-VLTI Adaptive Optics facility on the Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory.

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Congress Commends Shuttle Debris Searchers »» Congress Commends Shuttle Debris Searchers

[Wednesday, May 14, 2003] The House of Representatives sent a collective "thank you" to the 20,000 volunteers who helped search for debris following the Space Shuttle Columbia accident by a vote of 411-0.

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Springtime on Neptune? »» Springtime on Neptune?

[Thursday, May 15, 2003] Observations of Neptune made during a six-year period with the Hubble Space Telescope show that Neptune is exhibiting a significant increase in brightness suggesting seasons. Unlike Earth, the seasons of Neptune last for decades, not months.

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EU Council Approves Resolution on Space »» EU Council Approves Resolution on Space

[Thursday, May 15, 2003] On 13 May 2003 the Council of the European Union unanimously approved a resolution on the development of a European Space Policy. The Council also strongly expressed its support for the European Commission's Space Green Paper.

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Access to space today and tomorrow: what does Europe need? »» Access to space today and tomorrow: what does Europe need?

[Friday, May 16, 2003] On 27 May the Member States of ESA and Canada will meet in Paris to take decisions on the restructuring of the Ariane launcher sector, to restore the competitiveness of Ariane 5 and to take further steps in the preparation of future launchers.

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NASA Selects In-Space Propulsion Innovations for Research »» NASA Selects In-Space Propulsion Innovations for Research

[Friday, May 16, 2003] NASA has selected 15 industry, government and academic organizations to pursue 22 innovative propulsion technology research proposals that could revolutionize exploration and scientific study of the solar system.

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Cassini Spacecraft Enters Safe Mode »» Cassini Spacecraft Enters Safe Mode

[Friday, May 16, 2003] The Cassini Spacecraft executed a system safing response Sunday evening. Safing was initiated by the attitude control system, and was due to a call to an invalid pointing vector in the C37 background sequence.

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MARS-1 Humvee Rover Reaches Devon Island »» MARS-1 Humvee Rover Reaches Devon Island

[Tuesday, May 20, 2003] The Mars Institute's MARS-1 Humvee rover has reached Devon Island in the Canadian high Arctic after crossing the Wellington Channel, a 23 mile (37 km) stretch of treacherous sea ice separating Cornwallis Island from Devon Island.

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Chandra Provides New View of Biggest Construction Sites in Universe »» Chandra Provides New View of Biggest Construction Sites in Universe

[Wednesday, May 21, 2003] Chandra X-ray Observatory images of two distant massive galaxies show they are enveloped by vast clouds of high-energy particles that are evidence for past explosive activity.

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The Mysterious 'Garden-Sprinkler' Nebula »» The Mysterious 'Garden-Sprinkler' Nebula

[Thursday, May 22, 2003] There are many mysterious objects seen in the night sky which are not really well understood. For example, astronomers are puzzled by the 'jets' emerging from planetary nebulae. However, the S-shaped jet from Henize 3-1475 is the most perplexing of all.

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First Ever: Earth Seen From Mars »» First Ever: Earth Seen From Mars

[Thursday, May 22, 2003] Today NASA released a first ever view of Earth from Mars. The photo taken on May 8 at 9 a.m. EDT by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft also shows Jupiter and three of its moons.

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Mars Exploration Rover Spacecraft Undergo Biological Testing and Cleaning Prior to Launch »» Mars Exploration Rover Spacecraft Undergo Biological Testing and Cleaning Prior to Launch

[Friday, May 23, 2003] Making sure that spacecraft are as biologically clean and contamination-free as possible protects other solar system bodies from Earth life and protects Earth from extraterrestrial life that may be brought back by returning space missions.

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Space Station Science Officer Ed Lu's Journal: Entry #1 »» Space Station Science Officer Ed Lu's Journal: Entry #1

[Sunday, May 25, 2003] "Greetings Earthlings! I've always wanted to say that. Now that things are beginning to settle down here a bit, I wanted to tell you a little bit about what life is like up here on ISS, and some of the things that make this such a special place."

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Expedition 7 Crew Completes Fourth Week »» Expedition 7 Crew Completes Fourth Week

[Sunday, May 25, 2003] The Expedition 7 crew has passed the 4-week mark aboard the ISS, moving beyond an orientation and familiarization schedule into an agenda of operations that reflects the range of activities the crew will pursue during the remaining 5 months of flight.

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NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory Studies Planetary Formation »» NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory Studies Planetary Formation

[Monday, May 26, 2003] Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory suggest that disks around young stars can evolve rapidly to form planets, or they can be disrupted by close encounters with other stars.

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London Space Policy Meeting Highlights Citizens' Needs for Practical Applications »» London Space Policy Meeting Highlights Citizens' Needs for Practical Applications

[Tuesday, May 27, 2003] High-level representatives discussed the Commission's Green Paper on a European Space Policy on 20 May 2003 in London, focussing on practical applications for European citizens.

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Galileo Becomes a Reality for Europe »» Galileo Becomes a Reality for Europe

[Tuesday, May 27, 2003] ESA is now able to finalise the conditions for participation in the Galileo navigation program and to approve the Galileo Joint Undertaking foundation act to be soon signed by ESA and the European Union.

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SOHO's solar wind of change »» SOHO's solar wind of change

[Tuesday, May 27, 2003] SOHO's latest findings may overturn previous ideas about the origin of the 'fast' solar wind, which occurs in most of the space around the Sun.

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Hot gas around cold dust cloud surprises astronomers »» Hot gas around cold dust cloud surprises astronomers

[Tuesday, May 27, 2003] Astronomers have revealed evidence that the Coalsack has hot gases on its perimeter, a finding that means the Coalsack will likely provide many outstanding opportunities to learn more about interactions between regions of hot and cold gas.

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NASA Opens Applications for New Astronaut Class »» NASA Opens Applications for New Astronaut Class

[Tuesday, May 27, 2003] NASA is accepting applications for mission specialist and pilot astronaut candidates to join the 2004 Astronaut Candidate Class.

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VLBA Reveals Dust-Enshrouded »» VLBA Reveals Dust-Enshrouded "Supernova Factory"

[Tuesday, May 27, 2003] Using the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio telescope, astronomers have discovered a newly-exploded star, or supernova, hidden deep in a dust-enshrouded "supernova factory" in a galaxy some 140 million light-years from Earth.

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Massive tsunami sweeps Atlantic Coast in asteroid impact scenario »» Massive tsunami sweeps Atlantic Coast in asteroid impact scenario

[Tuesday, May 27, 2003] If an asteroid crashes into the Earth, it is likely to splash down somewhere in the oceans that cover 70% of the planet's surface. Huge tsunami waves, spreading out from the impact site would inundate heavily populated coastal areas.

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The Stability of the Orbits of Earth-mass Planets in and near the Habitable Zones of Known Exoplanetary Systems »» The Stability of the Orbits of Earth-mass Planets in and near the Habitable Zones of Known Exoplanetary Systems

[Tuesday, May 27, 2003] "We have shown that Earth-mass planets could survive in variously restricted regions of the habitable zones (HZs) of most of a sample of nine of the 93 main-sequence exoplanetary systems confirmed by May 2003."

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Born under the sun: UV light and the origin of life »» Born under the sun: UV light and the origin of life

[Wednesday, May 28, 2003] Early evolution of life as we know it may have depended on DNA's ability to absorb UV light. This insight into the early moments of life on Earth comes from research published today in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

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RSC Energia Report on Cause of Soyuz TMA-1 Reentry Problems »» RSC Energia Report on Cause of Soyuz TMA-1 Reentry Problems

[Wednesday, May 28, 2003] "The findings of the technical commission established to analyze the causes of the Soyuz TMA-1 descent vehicle returning to Earth in ballistic mode were presented recently by S.P.Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia."

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New destination for Rosetta, Europe's comet chaser »» New destination for Rosetta, Europe's comet chaser

[Wednesday, May 28, 2003] Comet-chasing mission Rosetta will now set its sights on Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The rendezvous with the new target comet is expected in November 2014.

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RHESSI's Lucky Break May Lead to Secret of Ultimate Explosions »» RHESSI's Lucky Break May Lead to Secret of Ultimate Explosions

[Thursday, May 29, 2003] A chance observation by a NASA satellite, designed to study the sun, may have uncovered one of the most important clues yet obtained about the mechanism for producing gamma ray bursts, the most powerful explosions in the universe.

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ALERT: Strong Solar Flares and Geomagnetic Storm »» ALERT: Strong Solar Flares and Geomagnetic Storm

[Thursday, May 29, 2003] A recent series of three major flares have been observed on the Sun. All of these flares have been from a complex sunspot region near the center of the solar disk. The flare events all reached R3 level on the NOAA radio blackout scale.

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WASP Prepares to Search for a Thousand New Planets »» WASP Prepares to Search for a Thousand New Planets

[Thursday, May 29, 2003] Construction has now started in La Palma on the first of three new cameras designed to look for planets outside our own solar system. The ambitious new WASP project hopes to find over a thousand new planets similar to Jupiter!

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Space Shuttle Leading Edge Foam Impact Test Update »» Space Shuttle Leading Edge Foam Impact Test Update

[Thursday, May 29, 2003] The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) reported the initial foam impact test on the Enterprise's fiberglass leading edge panel showed significant effects.

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Astronomers Discover New Method of Estimated Dwarf Novae Distances »» Astronomers Discover New Method of Estimated Dwarf Novae Distances

[Friday, May 30, 2003] Astronomers using the Fine Guidance Sensors of the Hubble Space Telescope to study dwarf novae unexpectedly discovered a new method of estimating the distances to these strange double-star systems, using their orbital periods and outburst brightness

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Yale Astronomer Sees New Gravitational Lens »» Yale Astronomer Sees New Gravitational Lens

[Friday, May 30, 2003] Using a snapshot technique, a Yale astronomer has discovered a bright new gravitational lens. The lens is located near the constellation Hercules and is officially known as SDSS 1650+4251.

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Astrophysicists Predict Rapid Merging of Black Holes in Colliding Galaxies »» Astrophysicists Predict Rapid Merging of Black Holes in Colliding Galaxies

[Friday, May 30, 2003] A group of astrophysicists at Yale has calculated the fate of a pair of supermassive black holes at the center of a galaxy, showing that they spiral inward and coalesce quickly when a large amount of gas is present.

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Space Station Crew Completes Fifth Week »» Space Station Crew Completes Fifth Week

[Saturday, May 31, 2003] During its fifth week aboard the International Space Station, the Expedition Seven crew performed maintenance and trained for spacewalks. Early in the week, the crew replaced a faulty battery in the Zvezda Service Module.

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