Astro News Briefs: March 2531
Forming Amino Acids in Interstellar Space March 29, 2002 | In two papers published in this week's Nature, scientists have come closer to understanding if amino acids are created in space. While these molecules clearly form on Earth today, some cosmochemists believe that the first fundamental building blocks for life…
Ancient Martian Lakes? Perhaps Not.
More than 1,000 evenly spaced beds have been counted in areas such as this. Their striking uniformity implies that the layering was created by cyclic events, possibly by volcanic ash deposits. Click for larger image (which is 1.5 kilometers wide).NASA / JPL / Malin Space Science Systems In December 2000,…
Hubble Upgrade Report #6: Stargazing from Orbit
Astronaut John Grunsfeld comments on the similarities and differences between stargazing from Earth and from space.
Hubble Upgrade Report #5: One Cool Space Walk
The final space walk of last week's Hubble servicing mission proved especially challenging as John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan struggled to attach a cooling system to the telescope.
Astro News Briefs: March 1117
Does the Moon Have a Titanium Heart? March 12, 2002 | It’s taken cosmochemists decades to convince themselves that the Moon has a small metallic core (Sky & Telescope, August 1999, page 17). But that conclusion is not without its problems. For example, a recent reanalysis of "moonquakes" recorded on…
Hubble Upgrade Report #4: A Power Trip
On the servicing mission's third space walk, astronauts replaced the Hubble Space Telescope's power control unit.
Hubble Upgrade Complete
With 5 space walks in 5 days, astronauts aboard the shuttle Columbia have given the aging Hubble Space Telescope a new lease on life.
OGLEing Possible New Planets
By carefully watching the brightnesses of 52,000 stars, astronomers have found 43 that have small, dark objects periodically crossing their faces.
Astro News Briefs: March 4 - 10
A Universe of a Different Color March 8, 2002 | The "color of the universe," widely reported in January to be turquoise-green, is actually a pale cream-yellow very close to pure white. "We found a bug in our code!" say Karl Glazebrook and Ivan Baldry, who averaged the light of…
Hubble Upgrade Report #3: Grabbing the Scope
The Hubble Space Telescope awaits its capture and repair as the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia slowly approaches on the morning of March 3, 2002.Courtesy NASA/Johnson Space Center. "A firm handshake with Mr. Hubble the telescope." Those were the historic words from the crew on the first servicing mission…
Hubble Upgrade Report #2: Liftoff
The Space Shuttle Columbia and its crew of seven astronauts rocket into the predawn sky at 6:22 a.m. Eastern time on March 1, 2002.Courtesy NASA. The launch count was just about as smooth as it could be. Lying on our backs, fully dressed in our orange launch suits and parachutes,…
Mars Odyssey Pays Early Dividends
After successfully settling into orbit around the Red Planet, NASA's Mars Odyssey has begin its 2½-year mapping mission.
Hubble Upgrade Report #1: Ready to Go
The Space Shuttle Columbia rockets into the predawn sky at 6:22 a.m. Eastern time on March 1, 2002. After meeting up in orbit with the Hubble Space Telescope, the crew will make several upgrades to HST — including the installation of the Advanced Camera for Surveys.Courtesy NASA/Kennedy Space Center. Editor's…
Mysterious Jovian Hot Spot Puzzles Astronomers
The Chandra X-ray Observatory has found the cause of Jupiter's X-ray emissions. But the observations have left astronomers with more questions than answers.
Astro News Briefs: February 25March 3
Landing on a comet?
New Probe of Yucatán Crater Ends
The Chicxulub impact crater is buried beneath roughly 1,000 meters of sediment (vertical scale is exaggerated). The Yaxcopoil-1 drilling effort intended to sample a variety of rocks resulting from the impact itself.Courtesy David A. Kring. It's been 11 years since geologists pinpointed the location of a huge impact that, most…
Scientists Track "Recent" Flood on Mars
Mars may be bone-dry today, but new observations suggests that floodwaters may have raged across its surface within the past 10 million years.
Astro News Briefs: February 1824
Sun Spews Massive Bubble into Space February 22, 2002 | Our star unleashed a titanic coronal mass ejection, or CME, on February 18th. Containing billions of tons of matter, the superheated blast was captured by an extreme-ultraviolet camera aboard the orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. Fortunately, the outburst was directed…
Changing Directions for NASA
The proposed New Horizons spacecraft will never make it to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt if Congress approves President Bush’s NASA budget for 2003. Development of nuclear space propulsion, however, gets a big new push.Courtesy JHU/Applied Physics Laboratory and Dan Durda. The Bush administration’s budget proposal for NASA, released this…
Astro News Briefs: February 1117
A Solar-System Signpost? February 15, 2002 | Some young stars are surrounded by disks of dust left over from their formation. Eventually this material may coalesce into planets. But some older stars have dust disks too. Astronomers think these may be produced by collisions among comets, asteroids, and meteoroids in…