October 2003 Top Story Archives



Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is Born »» Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is Born

[Wednesday, October 01, 2003] The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was born on Oct. 1, 2003, merging three organizations ISAS, NAL and NASDA. JAXA has produced an online video to commemorate the event.

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Iceberg C-19 Observed from Space »» Iceberg C-19 Observed from Space

[Wednesday, October 01, 2003] Iceberg C-19 separated from the western face of the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica in May 2002, splashed into the Ross Sea, and virtually eliminated a valuable food source for marine life.

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ISS Expedition 8 to Launch on October 18th »» ISS Expedition 8 to Launch on October 18th

[Thursday, October 02, 2003] The next ISS crew is slated to arrive onboard Oct. 20. Expedition 8 Commander and NASA ISS Science Officer Michael Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri are scheduled to spend about six months aboard the ISS.

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SMART-1 ion engine fired successfully »» SMART-1 ion engine fired successfully

[Thursday, October 02, 2003] Engineers at ESOC sent a command to begin the firing test, which lasted for one hour. This was similar to a trial performed on Earth before SMART-1 was launched.

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NASA's Saturn-Bound Spacecraft Tests Einstein's Theory »» NASA's Saturn-Bound Spacecraft Tests Einstein's Theory

[Thursday, October 02, 2003] An experiment by Italian scientists using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, currently en route to Saturn, confirms Einstein's theory of general relativity with a precision that is 50 times greater than previous measurements.

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Evidence for Hydrocarbon Lakes on Titan »» Evidence for Hydrocarbon Lakes on Titan

[Thursday, October 02, 2003] The smog-shrouded atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, has been parted by Earth-based radar to reveal the first evidence of liquid hydrocarbon lakes on its surface.

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Stunning Hubble Image of Sombrero Galaxy Released »» Stunning Hubble Image of Sombrero Galaxy Released

[Friday, October 03, 2003] The Hubble Heritage Team of astronomers, who assemble many of the NASA Hubble Space Telescope's most stunning pictures, is celebrating its five-year anniversary with the release of the picturesque Sombrero galaxy.

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Space Policy Workshop looks at European Challenges »» Space Policy Workshop looks at European Challenges

[Friday, October 03, 2003] The third meeting in a series of ‘European Space Policy Workshops' focussed on specific challenges in the areas of global monitoring (GMES), satellite navigation (GALILEO) and human spaceflight.

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NASA Moves Planning Date for Next Shuttle Flight to Fall 2004 »» NASA Moves Planning Date for Next Shuttle Flight to Fall 2004

[Friday, October 03, 2003] The launch of STS-114 - the so-called "Return to Flight" mission - has been moved to extend from 12 September 2004 to 10 October 2004.

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Asteroid Whizzes Very Close By Earth »» Asteroid Whizzes Very Close By Earth

[Friday, October 03, 2003] A small asteroid 3 - 6 meters in diameter came within 88,000 km of Earth on September 27. Less than a quarter of the distance to the Moon, this is the closest well-documented Earth encounter of an asteroid that has not struck our atmosphere.

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»» "Please Support Our Newly Born JAXA!"

[Saturday, October 04, 2003] "The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency was born on Oct. 1, 2003. Its acronym is "JAXA" The biggest feature of our new name is that we added the word "Exploration" that represents our activities."

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ICESAT's Lasers Measure Ice, Clouds, and Land Elevations »» ICESAT's Lasers Measure Ice, Clouds, and Land Elevations

[Monday, October 06, 2003] The first set of ICESAT laser measurements is revealing features of the polar ice sheets with details never seen before, and is detecting dust storms, cloud heights, tree heights and smoke from forest fires in new and exciting ways.

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Soyuz TMA-3 Crews Arrive at Baikonur »» Soyuz TMA-3 Crews Arrive at Baikonur

[Tuesday, October 07, 2003] The prime Soyuz TMA-3 crew of Michael Foale, Alexander Kaleri, and Pedro Duque and their back up crew arrived at Baikonur Cosmodrome on 6 October to begin final training and preparation for their mission.

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Cause of NASA ICESat Laser  Failure to be Revealed »» Cause of NASA ICESat Laser Failure to be Revealed

[Tuesday, October 07, 2003] NASA Watch has learned the probable cause of ICESat's Laser 1 failure. Within the laser, components made of gold and indium come in contact with one another. During the operation of the laser, these two elements have reacted together.

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NASA Accepting Proposals for Student Experiments Aboard KC-135 »» NASA Accepting Proposals for Student Experiments Aboard KC-135

[Tuesday, October 07, 2003] NASA's Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program is accepting proposals from undergraduate teams across the country to fly their experiments on a unique agency airplane.

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NASA Changes The Focus Of Future ISS Cargo Delivery Plans »» NASA Changes The Focus Of Future ISS Cargo Delivery Plans

[Tuesday, October 07, 2003] NASA has decided to dramatically alter its approach to developing new means of cargo transport to the ISS. In a meeting on Tuesday, four companies under contract to study so called "Alternate Access" concepts, were given details of NASA's new direction.

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China to Launch First Astronaut In One Week »» China to Launch First Astronaut In One Week

[Wednesday, October 08, 2003] According to a report in the state-run newspaper "People's Daily", China will launch a lone astronaut or "yuhangyuan" on a one-orbit trip around Earth on 15 October 2003.

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Sean O'Keefe: Progress Report on FIxing NASA's Shuttle »» Sean O'Keefe: Progress Report on FIxing NASA's Shuttle

[Thursday, October 09, 2003] NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe sat down for another in a series of breakfast meetings with reporters on Wednesday. The topics covered a wide range of issues, but focused almost entirely on human space flight.

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Metallic phase for bosons implies new state of matter »» Metallic phase for bosons implies new state of matter

[Thursday, October 09, 2003] "The conventional theory of metals is in crisis. The observation of a metallic phase for bosons directly contradicts conventional wisdom. A satisfactory explanation requires a new state of matter."

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Rocks could reveal secrets of life on Earth - and Mars »» Rocks could reveal secrets of life on Earth - and Mars

[Thursday, October 09, 2003] A new UK project could help detect evidence for life on Mars, as well as improve our understanding of how it evolved on Earth.

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The Expansion of the Universe Is Speeding up »» The Expansion of the Universe Is Speeding up

[Friday, October 10, 2003] Exploding stars, called Supernovae, that are three-quarters of the way across the universe have helped astrophysicists discover that the universe has expanded at different rates over its cosmic history.

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Astronauts Arrive at China Launch Site »» Astronauts Arrive at China Launch Site

[Monday, October 13, 2003] China has announced that three of its astronauts have arrived at the launch site for this week's first-ever manned space mission. People are getting excited despite little media coverage in the country.

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Astronomers Obtain Molecular Fingerprints for more than 50 Brown Dwarfs »» Astronomers Obtain Molecular Fingerprints for more than 50 Brown Dwarfs

[Monday, October 13, 2003] Elusive brown dwarfs, the missing link between gas giant planets like Jupiter and small, low-mass stars, have now been "fingerprinted" by UCLA astronomy professor Ian S. McLean and colleagues, using the Keck II Telescope at the W.M. Keck Observatory in

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Shenzhou V Mission Launched »» Shenzhou V Mission Launched

[Tuesday, October 14, 2003] According to Xinhuanet "China's first manned spacecraft, the Shenzhou-5, blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern province of Gansu at 9 a.m. Wednesday."

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CONTOUR Mishap Board Completes Investigation »» CONTOUR Mishap Board Completes Investigation

[Wednesday, October 15, 2003] NASA's Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) Mishap Investigation Board (MIB) identified four possible causes for the failure of the comet-rendezvous mission launched in July 2002.

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ISS Crew Reacts to Launch of Shenzhou V »» ISS Crew Reacts to Launch of Shenzhou V

[Wednesday, October 15, 2003] Audio and video from the International Space Station regarding China's first human space flight will be available today on NASA Television.

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GAO: Impact of the Grounding of the Shuttle Fleet »» GAO: Impact of the Grounding of the Shuttle Fleet

[Wednesday, October 15, 2003] "Although the effects of the Columbia accident on the space station are still being explored, it is clear that the station will cost more, take longer to complete, and have further delay in the achievement of key research objectives."

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Hearing: The Future of Human Space Flight »» Hearing: The Future of Human Space Flight

[Wednesday, October 15, 2003] The House Committee on Science will hold a hearing on October 16 which will examine the rationale for human presence in space, the feasibility and cost of various potential long-term goals, and the near-term implications of establishing these goals.

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NASA Updates Return to Flight Implementation Plan »» NASA Updates Return to Flight Implementation Plan

[Wednesday, October 15, 2003] NASA has released the first revision to the Implementation Plan for Space Shuttle Return to Flight and Beyond, reflecting progress to date in responding to the CAIB, as well as additional actions initiated by the Space Shuttle Program.

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China's First Human in Space Returns to Earth »» China's First Human in Space Returns to Earth

[Wednesday, October 15, 2003] According to various Chinese news agencies, Shenzhou V carrying China's first human in space, Yang Liwei, has landed safely in Inner Mongolia. The re-entry apparently proceeded without incident and recovery team personnel have reached the capsule.

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Return to Space for Spanish ESA Astronaut »» Return to Space for Spanish ESA Astronaut

[Thursday, October 16, 2003] On 18 October the Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome will be carrying European Space Agency astronaut Pedro Duque to the International Space Station accompanied by the two members of ISS Expedition 8 crew.

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Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal: Summer 2003 »» Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal: Summer 2003

[Thursday, October 16, 2003] Unlike last year, this was my second 'mission' to Devon Island. I have already endured the hardships, and learned what to do - and not to do. As such, this year would be less of an unknown adventure - but, an adventure, none the less it was.

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Asteroid Hermes is Found »» Asteroid Hermes is Found

[Friday, October 17, 2003] After eluding astronomers for 66 years, the long-lost asteroid Hermes has finally been retrieved.

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ESA's Integral discovers hidden black holes »» ESA's Integral discovers hidden black holes

[Friday, October 17, 2003] Integral, ESA's gamma-ray space telescope, has discovered what seems to be a new class of astronomical objects. These are binary systems, probably including a black hole or a neutron star, embedded in a thick cocoon of cold gas.

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Next Space Station Crew Ready for Saturday Launch »» Next Space Station Crew Ready for Saturday Launch

[Friday, October 17, 2003] The next crew for the International Space Station is making last-minute preparations for launch to the orbiting laboratory. The launch is scheduled for Saturday at 1:38 a.m. EDT.

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ISS Crew Continues Departure Preps »» ISS Crew Continues Departure Preps

[Friday, October 17, 2003] Thursday was another busy day aboard the International Space Station for the Expedition 7 crew. Commander Yuri Malenchenko and NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu continued to prepare for their trip home and Expedition 8's arrival at the Station.

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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 Oct 2003 »» NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 17 Oct 2003

[Friday, October 17, 2003] CDR Yuri Malenchenko and FE/SO Ed Lu then spent several hours on preparations for their return on Soyuz 6S on 10/27 (Monday), first focusing on getting personal items and equipment ready.

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Earth's Largest Telescope »» Earth's Largest Telescope

[Friday, October 17, 2003] The dream of a giant optical telescope has moved a step closer to reality today. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation awarded $17.5 million to fund a detailed design study of the Thirty-Meter Telescope.

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International Space Station Expedition 8 Crew Leaves Earth »» International Space Station Expedition 8 Crew Leaves Earth

[Friday, October 17, 2003] The next crew of the International Space Station is on its way to its orbital home away from home. The Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft took off from Baikonur at 1:38 a.m. EDT.

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Soyuz TMA-3 Docks With ISS »» Soyuz TMA-3 Docks With ISS

[Monday, October 20, 2003] New residents arrived at the ISS at 2:16 a.m. CDT (0716 GMT, 11:16am Moscow time). The arrival initiated a week of intense science operations and handover activities for the newest station crew, which will stay aboard the complex for nearly 200 days.

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Internal Report Paints Bleak Picture of Human Life Science Research at NASA »» Internal Report Paints Bleak Picture of Human Life Science Research at NASA

[Monday, October 20, 2003] NASA may soon be handed a new mandate for humans to do new things in space. Unless NASA gets its life sciences research house in order, NASA will not be able to respond to that mandate.

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Cheney Meets With Members of Congress to Discuss Space Policy »» Cheney Meets With Members of Congress to Discuss Space Policy

[Tuesday, October 21, 2003] Vice President Cheney met with Senators today to discuss national space policy. Present at the meeting were Cheney, 3 White House staffers, Sean O'Keefe, and Senators Nelson, McCain, Hollings, Breaux, and Brownback.

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Intense Active Regions Emerge on the Sun »» Intense Active Regions Emerge on the Sun

[Tuesday, October 21, 2003] Two very dynamic centers of activity have emerged on the sun. NOAA Region 484 developed rapidly over the past three days and is now one of the largest sunspot clusters to emerge during Solar Cycle 23, approximately 10 times larger than Earth.

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Near-Earth Asteroid Hermes Re-spotted: Its a Bright Binary »» Near-Earth Asteroid Hermes Re-spotted: Its a Bright Binary

[Tuesday, October 21, 2003] Not seen since 1937, asteroid 1937 UB (Hermes) continues to astonish and excite astronomers worldwide. Observations revealed yesterday that Hermes is actually two objects circling around one another while about to pass by Earth again.

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World's Largest Air Shower Array Now on Track of Super-high-energy Cosmic Rays »» World's Largest Air Shower Array Now on Track of Super-high-energy Cosmic Rays

[Tuesday, October 21, 2003] With the completion of its hundredth surface detector, the Pierre Auger Observatory, under construction in Argentina, this week became the largest cosmic-ray air shower array in the world.

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Green Mineral Indicates Red Planet is Dry »» Green Mineral Indicates Red Planet is Dry

[Thursday, October 23, 2003] The presence of olivine, a common green mineral, on Mars suggests that the red planet could have been cold and dry since the mineral has been exposed, which may be more than a billion years.

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Large Coronal Mass Ejection Heading For Earth »» Large Coronal Mass Ejection Heading For Earth

[Thursday, October 23, 2003] A coronal mass ejection on Wednesday morning appears to be Earth-directed. Forecasters are predicting a strong geomagnetic storm, G-3 on the NOAA Space Weather Scales, that should reach Earth on Friday, October 24.

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Open Letter to Science Community Landsat Data Users »» Open Letter to Science Community Landsat Data Users

[Thursday, October 23, 2003] NASA and USGS have rejected the bid from Resource21 for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission. This decision, amplified by the current technical problems with Landsat 7, places continuity of the 30+ year Landsat observation record at significant risk.

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Recent Warming of Arctic May Affect Worldwide Climate »» Recent Warming of Arctic May Affect Worldwide Climate

[Thursday, October 23, 2003] Recently observed change in Arctic temperatures and sea ice cover may be a harbinger of global climate changes to come, according to a recent NASA study.

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Congress: Should Mars be Human Space Flight Objective? »» Congress: Should Mars be Human Space Flight Objective?

[Friday, October 24, 2003] "The whole point of leaving home is, after all, to go somewhere, not to endlessly circle the block." - Wesley Huntress, Carnegie Institution.

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CAIB to Release Additional Final Report Volumes »» CAIB to Release Additional Final Report Volumes

[Saturday, October 25, 2003] The Columbia Accident Investigation Board will release Vols. II-VI of its Final Report on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2003 on its website. These volumes contain appendices that provide the supporting documentation for the main text of the Final Report.

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Solar Storm Reaches Earth - More Activity Expected »» Solar Storm Reaches Earth - More Activity Expected

[Saturday, October 25, 2003] The geomagnetic storm predicted by the NOAA Space Environment Center hit the Earth's magnetic field at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Friday. It is currently at the strong G-3 level on the NOAA space weather scales -- the highest being a G5.

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Ed Lu's Journal: Entry #13: Relativity »» Ed Lu's Journal: Entry #13: Relativity

[Sunday, October 26, 2003] After our 6 months in space, we will have actually aged slightly less than everyone else on the ground because of an effect called time dilation. It isn't by much (about 0.007 seconds), but it is one side benefit of flying in space!

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NASA AQUA Imagery of Fires in Southern California »» NASA AQUA Imagery of Fires in Southern California

[Monday, October 27, 2003] Several massive wildfires were raging across southern California over the weekend of October 25, 2003. Whipped by the hot, dry Santa Ana winds that blow toward the coast from interior deserts, at least one fire grew 10,000 acres in just 6 hours.

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Soyuz Crew: 'Phone Home' »» Soyuz Crew: 'Phone Home'

[Monday, October 27, 2003] Soyuz crews have been provided with a satellite phone and a handheld GPS unit so as to be able to communicate with Mission Control in Moscow in case communications problems arise and/or they land off course.

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What will the Soyuz TMA-2 crew encounter during reentry/descent? »» What will the Soyuz TMA-2 crew encounter during reentry/descent?

[Monday, October 27, 2003] What is it like to ride a Soyuz back to Earth? This excerpt from NASA's daily ISS on-orbit status reports provides a glimpse.

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Soyuz TMA-2/6S Lands On Target »» Soyuz TMA-2/6S Lands On Target

[Monday, October 27, 2003] The Soyuz TMA-2/6S spacecraft carrying Expedition 7 Commander Yuri Malenchenko and NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu and ESA astronaut Pedro Duque landed safely in Kazakhstan this evening at 9:41 pm EST.

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Space Station Crew Captures Unique View of California Wildfires »» Space Station Crew Captures Unique View of California Wildfires

[Monday, October 27, 2003] The wildfires ravaging southern California are even impressive from 240 miles above the Earth. NASA astronaut Ed Lu took still photographs of the fires through the windows of the International Space Station Sunday.

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3D Map of Universe Bolsters Case for Dark Energy and Dark Matter »» 3D Map of Universe Bolsters Case for Dark Energy and Dark Matter

[Tuesday, October 28, 2003] Astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have made the most precise measurement to date of the cosmic clustering of galaxies and dark matter, refining our understanding of the structure and evolution of the Universe.

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Presidential review on space policy heading to closure »» Presidential review on space policy heading to closure

[Tuesday, October 28, 2003] The year-long review of future directions for the U.S. space program is rapidly drawing towards selection of a policy path, Spacelift Washington has learned from sources close to the deliberations.

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Solar Active Region Produces Intense Solar Flare »» Solar Active Region Produces Intense Solar Flare

[Tuesday, October 28, 2003] As a result of this activity a category G4 (severe) geomagnetic storm is expected with periods of category G5 (extreme) levels possible. The solar radiation storm is also expected to continue at strong (G3) levels for the next 48 hours.

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Giant Solar Eruption Predicted to Cause Major Geomagnetic Storm »» Giant Solar Eruption Predicted to Cause Major Geomagnetic Storm

[Tuesday, October 28, 2003] "This is the strongest flare we've seen in the past 30 years," says Leon Golub."Today's solar flare was classified as an X18-category explosion, meaning that it can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms.

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Dedication Ceremony for Columbia Names on Space Mirror Memorial »» Dedication Ceremony for Columbia Names on Space Mirror Memorial

[Tuesday, October 28, 2003] Today, the names of the STS-107 astronauts who lost their lives during the Columbia accident joined the names of 17 other space heroes who gave their lives for the U.S. space program.

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Missing Link Sought in Planetary Evolution »» Missing Link Sought in Planetary Evolution

[Tuesday, October 28, 2003] Astronomers are embarking on a quest for a missing link in planetary evolution. Their laboratory is the universe, and their tool of choice is NASA's new Space Infrared Telescope Facility.

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The Outstretched Empty Hand of American Space Efforts »» The Outstretched Empty Hand of American Space Efforts

[Tuesday, October 28, 2003] "From the fall of Apollo to the debris field of Texas and the quandary over the fate of ISS and its predecessors we cannot seem to get our act together or develop a vision for our space efforts."

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NASA Adapts Miniature Biological Lab for Use in Space »» NASA Adapts Miniature Biological Lab for Use in Space

[Wednesday, October 29, 2003] NASA is adapting tiny laboratories embedded in compact discs (CDs) to conduct biological tests aboard the International Space Station and to eventually look for life on other planets.

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Powerful Solar Storm Reaches Earth »» Powerful Solar Storm Reaches Earth

[Wednesday, October 29, 2003] Forecasters at the NOAA Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo., said that a powerful geomagnetic storm emitted from the sun sped though space at 5 million mph and reached Earth Wednesday 1:13 a.m. EST.

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Joint Task Force reports on Green Paper consultation »» Joint Task Force reports on Green Paper consultation

[Thursday, October 30, 2003] The European Union and European Space Agency (ESA) Joint Task Force has presented its report on the Space Green Paper consultation process, focussing on the targeted workshops that took place from March through June 2003.

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ISS Crew Conducts Emergency Training Drill »» ISS Crew Conducts Emergency Training Drill

[Thursday, October 30, 2003] The Expedition 8 crew's workday aboard the International Space Station had a focus on emergency preparedness. Commander Michael Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri participated in a two-hour emergency training drill.

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We're Going to Get Hit Again »» We're Going to Get Hit Again

[Thursday, October 30, 2003] Just when we thought we were through the worst of it, a second gigantic solar flare has erupted, sending another coronal mass ejection directly towards Earth.

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Tuesday/Wednesday Solar Punch »» Tuesday/Wednesday Solar Punch

[Thursday, October 30, 2003] The third most-powerful solar flare ever observed erupted early on October 28. A coronal mass ejection was directed almost straight at Earth. To follow up, the same spot released a large X11 flare Wednesday afternoon and it too is associated with a CME.

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Loss of Space Weather Office Would Have »» Loss of Space Weather Office Would Have "Immediate and Severe" Impact

[Thursday, October 30, 2003] While solar flares affected electrical grids and astronauts on the Space Station, a panel of witnesses warned of severe consequences if Congress eliminated or transferred the office charged with detecting and studying such space weather events.

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Mega starbirth cluster is biggest, brightest and hottest ever seen »» Mega starbirth cluster is biggest, brightest and hottest ever seen

[Friday, October 31, 2003] A mysterious arc of light found behind a distant cluster of galaxies has turned out to be the biggest, brightest and hottest star-forming region ever seen in space.

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Cassini Spacecraft Captures Sound Of Solar Storm »» Cassini Spacecraft Captures Sound Of Solar Storm

[Friday, October 31, 2003] University of Iowa Professor and Space Physicist Don Gurnett, recently used NASA's Cassini spacecraft to record the sound of one of the largest solar flares seen in decades as it moved outward from the sun.

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Human Presence on ISS to Hit Three-Year Mark Sunday »» Human Presence on ISS to Hit Three-Year Mark Sunday

[Friday, October 31, 2003] The International Space Station will surpass another milestone Sunday. It will be the third anniversary of the permanent human habitation of the orbital outpost.

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