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Author Topic: Science Photo of the Week  (Read 468936 times)

Offline neilep

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Transparent Transistor: See-through component for flexible displays



Imagine a car windshield that suddenly lights up to reveal a map of the city and directions to your next destination. Or picture a computer display that you can not only see through but also roll into a tube and slip into your coat pocket. Scientists in Japan have taken a major step to fulfilling such visions with the creation of a transparent transistor deposited on plastic.

NOW YOU SEE IT. Transparent transistors on a
 sheet of plastic can be seen only at certain angles.
 Such circuitry could find its way into computer displays
 in car windshields and other curved surfaces


Hideo Hosono and his colleagues at the Tokyo Institute of Technology developed a transparent semiconductor material out of indium gallium zinc oxide. Although other research groups have previously made transparent circuitry, "their performance was not so good," says Hosono. In contrast, prototype transistors made from his team's new material are 10 times as conductive as the silicon transistors used in today's liquid-crystal displays.

SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG


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Color at Night: Geckos can distinguish hues by dim moonlight



Of all the vertebrates, a gecko has just become the first to ace behavioral tests for seeing color in very low illumination.

People, for example, go color-blind in light equivalent to dim moonlight, but helmet geckos, Tarentola chazaliae, don't. They can still tell a blue from a gray of the same intensity, report Lina S.V. Roth and Almut Kelber, both of the University of Lund in Sweden, in an upcoming Biology Letters.


A Gecko enjoying the Sun yesterday:
TWILIGHT ZONE. In dim light, the helmet gecko can tell blue
 from gray, even when people can't. Inset: Pupil nearly closed
in bright light (left) and wide open in dim light (right).


SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG




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Hovering over Titan

CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
A mosaic of nine processed images recently acquired during Cassini's first very close flyby of Saturn's moon Titan on Oct. 26, 2004, constitutes the most detailed full-disc view of the mysterious moon.



The view is centered on 15 degrees South latitude, and 156 degrees West longitude. Brightness variations across the surface and bright clouds near the south pole are easily seen.

The images that comprise the mosaic have been processed to reduce the effects of the atmosphere and to sharpen surface features. The mosaic has been trimmed to show only the illuminated surface and not the atmosphere above the edge of the moon. The Sun was behind Cassini so nearly the full disc is illuminated. Pixels scales of the composite images vary from 2 to 4 kilometers per pixel (1.2 to 2.5 miles per pixel).

Surface features are best seen near the center of the disc, where the spacecraft is looking directly downwards; the contrast becomes progressively lower and surface features become fuzzier towards the outside, where the spacecraft is peering through haze, a circumstance that washes out surface features.

BIGG JPEG HERE (500k) http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06141.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



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A baby galaxy uncovered in a grown-up universe

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA NEWS RELEASE


Using the Hubble Space Telescope, a University of Virginia scientist has identified what may be the youngest galaxy ever seen in the universe. By cosmological standards it is a mere toddler. Called I Zwicky 18, it may be as young as 500 million years old. Comparatively, our Milky Way galaxy is more than 20 times older - or about 12 billion years old, the typical age of galaxies across the universe.

Hubble snapped a view of what may be the youngest galaxy
ever seen. This "late bloomer" may not have begun active star
formation until about 13 billion years after the Big Bang. Called I
Zwicky 18 , the galaxy may be as young as 500 million
years old. This youngster has gone though several sudden bursts of
star formation the first only some 500 million years ago and the
latest only 4 million years ago. This galaxy is typical of the kinds
 of galaxies that inhabited the early universe. The galaxy is
classified as a dwarf irregular galaxy and is much smaller than our
Milky Way. Credit: NASA, ESA, Y. Izotov (Main Astronomical
Observatory, Kyiv, UA) and T. Thuan (University of Virginia)


BIG PICCY (511k)http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2004/35/images/a/formats/print.jpg

The finding, reported in the Dec. 1 issue of the Astrophysical Journal, provides new insight into how galaxies first formed. The galaxy I Zwicky 18 offers a glimpse of how the early Milky Way may have looked.

The baby galaxy managed to remain in an embryonic state as a cold gas cloud of primeval hydrogen and helium for most of the universe's evolution. As innumerable galaxies blossomed all over space, this late-bloomer did not begin active star formation until some 13 billion years after the Big Bang, and went through a sudden first starburst only about 500 million years ago.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Nature's canvas at Saturn
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


In a splendid portrait created by light and gravity, Saturn's lonely moon Mimas is seen against the cool, blue-streaked backdrop of Saturn's northern hemisphere. Delicate shadows cast by the rings arc gracefully across the planet, fading into darkness on Saturn's night side.


Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06142.jpg
 
The part of the atmosphere seen here appears darker and more bluish than the warm brown and gold hues seen in Cassini images of the southern hemisphere, due to preferential scattering of blue wavelengths by the cloud-free upper atmosphere.

The bright blue swath near Mimas (398 kilometers, or 247 miles across) is created by sunlight passing through the Cassini division (4,800 kilometers, or 2,980 miles wide). The rightmost part of this distinctive feature is slightly overexposed and therefore bright white in this image. Shadows of several thin ringlets within the division can be seen here as well. The dark band that stretches across the center of the image is the shadow of Saturn's B ring, the densest of the main rings. Part of the actual Cassini division appears at the bottom, along with the A ring and the narrow, outer F ring. The A ring is transparent enough that, from this viewing angle, the atmosphere and threadlike shadows cast by the inner C ring are visible through it.

Images taken with red, green and blue filters were combined to create this color view. The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Nov. 7, 2004, at a distance of 3.7 million kilometers (2.3 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 22 kilometers (14 miles) per pixel.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




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Gazing down on Saturn
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: December 1, 2004

Cassini pierced the ring plane and rounded Saturn on Oct. 27, 2004, capturing this view of the dark portion of the rings. A portion of the planet's atmosphere is visible here, as is its shadow on the surface of the rings.


BIG PIUCCY http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06532.jpg (120k)


Night side ringplane

The usually bright B ring (at center in below picture) appears very dim in this view of the rings taken on the side of the rings that is not illuminated. The scene resembles a photographic negative, with bright and dark areas reversed (although in some places in the rings, the blackness of space is seen.) From this viewing angle, the rings are lit from below: both dense and empty regions are dark, and regions of intermediate particle density are bright.


THE BIGGY PICCY http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06533.jpg  (120k)

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Sacrificial burial deepens mystery at Teotihuacan (MEXICO), but confirms the city's militarism
A spectacular new discovery from an ongoing excavation at the Teotihuacan's Pyramid of the Moon is revealing a grisly sacrificial burial from a period when the ancient metropolis was at its peak, with artwork unlike any seen before in Mesoamerica.

Though archaeologists hope that discoveries at the pyramid will answer lingering questions about the distinctive culture that built the great city, the new find deepens the mystery, with clear cultural connections to other burials found at the site, but with some markedly new elements.



 Partially uncovered figurine, carved in jade, found in
connection with three unbound, seated bodies and other objects at
the top of the pyramid's fifth stage (the offering was presumably
made in the construction of the sixth stage), circa 350 AD.
 This object is notable in that it is carved from jade that originated in
Guatemala, and appears to be Mayan in style. Other jade objects on
top of the figurine are beads and earspools.

THE BIG PIC
http://www.eurekalert.org/images/release_graphics/arizona120204.1.jpg (420k)



With the excavation of the pyramid nearly complete, one important conclusion is emerging: combined with past burials at the site, the new find strongly suggests that the Pyramid of the Moon was significant to the Teotihuacano people as a site for celebrating state power through ceremony and sacrifice. Contrary to some past interpretation, militarism was apparently central to the city's culture.

SOURCE: EUREKALAERT.ORG
Source: Saburo Sugiyama,

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Saturn's ring gap

CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


An intriguing knotted ringlet within the Encke Gap is the main attraction in this Cassini image. The Encke Gap is a small division near the outer edge of Saturn's rings that is about 300 kilometers (190 miles) wide. The tiny moon Pan (20 kilometers, or 12 miles across) orbits within the gap and maintains it. Many waves produced by orbiting moons are visible.


The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Oct. 29, 2004, at a distance of about 807,000 kilometers (501,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) per pixel.

Bigger Pic here http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06534.jpg

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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I put that gap there just to freak you guys out !

I am GOD..You are Not..I don't exist !!
 

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Explosions in majestic spiral galaxy beauties


Images of beautiful galaxies, and in particular of spiral brethren
of our own Milky Way, leaves no-one unmoved. It is difficult indeed
to resist the charm of these impressive grand structures.
Astronomers at Paranal Observatory used the versatile VIMOS
instrument on the Very Large Telescope to photograph two magnificent
examples of such "island universes", both of which are seen in a
southern constellation with an animal name. But more significantly, both galaxies
 harboured a particular type of supernova, the
explosion of a massive star during a late and fatal evolutionary stage.


A composite colour-coded image shows the "grand design" spiral

galaxy NGC 6118, at a distance of 80 million light-years. Credit: ESO



Another magnificent spiral galaxy, NGC 7424, is seen at a
distance of 40 million light-years. Credit: ESO


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Darfur aid workers receiving assistance from orbit
 

It is hard to overstate the scale of the humanitarian emergency unfolding in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region: by current estimates there are 1.45 million people displaced from their homes across an area the size of France. However, images from space are assisting aid workers as they cope with the crisis.




The map displays the Al Fashir region in Sudan/Darfur based on LANDSAT archive images and SPOT and Envisat's ASAR fresh acquisitions of August 2004. The background image allows different surface properties to be pictured, such as desert with dunes and rocks as well as wadis and riverbeds.








This map shows the impact of potentially flooded wadis on the road network in Al Junaynah area, obtained using SPOT, RADARSAT and Envisat's ASAR acquisitions of August 2004. The Ardamata IDP camp is located within the area marked in yellow.





The IKONOS 1-metre resolution image, acquired on 14 August 2004, shows the Guba Clinic within Al Fashir, the capital of north Darfur state and distribution point for food and supplies.


 An ESA-supported consortium called Respond is supplying Earth Observation-derived maps and other geographical information products direct to users in the field including the German Red Cross (DRK), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and the German federal disaster relief agency Technisches Hilfswerk (THW).

The Respond team made use of ten different sensors from nine separate spacecraft, including instruments on ESA's Envisat satellite - the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) and the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS), with imagery delivered in near-real time.

SOURCE:ESA.INT (European Space Agency)



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Saturn's moon Iapetus as you've never seen it

CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: December 8, 2004

New details on Iapetus are illuminated by reflected light from Saturn in this revealing Cassini image. Never-before-seen features on the Saturn-facing part of Iapetus' bright trailing hemisphere are visible for the first time, including many dark spots, and a sharper view of a dark, circular structure that was first seen at very low resolution by NASA's Voyager 1 in 1980. Iapetus diameter is 1,436 kilometers (892 miles).



The image shows mainly the night side of Iapetus; part of the far brighter sunlit side appears at the right and is overexposed due to the long integration time of 180 seconds. Despite this long exposure time, almost no blurring due to the spacecraft's motion is apparent. This technique for imaging the night side of Iapetus will be used again during a flyby on Jan. 1, 2005, when Cassini will pass 13 times closer to the icy moon.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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INCREDIBLE IRREFUTABLE PROOF OF LIFE ON MARS REVEALED


The answer as to whether we are alone in the Universe has today been answered by the dramatic picture below.

"It's Life Jim, but not as we know it" were the words quoted by Leonard Nimoy in a mad and crazy cacophony of a newscast aired on the news today.

"It is without a doubt the most fundamental discovery of all time" said a passing down-and-out on his way to a hostel for his free tea and fish 'n' chips.

I stopped a cat in mid tracks and asked for it's reaction "Meow" it said..........Well !!...there you have it ladies and gentleman !!

Early indications are, is that the Martian is friendly and wishes to make contact.......

" There is more to report but I must leave to do a poo poo " I have just reported myself saying.





The Martian saying 'hello' on what appears to be a distinctly non red but BLUE landscape !!




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That looks like the space alien who kidnapped me a couple of years ago.  I thought they were all in Roswell!
 

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Cassini makes Titan return pass

The pictures are the closest ever taken of the moon


The Cassini spacecraft has made one last flyby of Titan before it despatches the Huygens probe for a rendezvous with the Saturnian moon.



It will give engineers a final chance to obtain detailed information on the behaviour of the satellite's atmosphere

This data will be essential if Huygens is to have a fighting chance of surviving its 6km/s entry into Titan's thick "air" on 14 January next year.

The flyby will also give scientists another peek at the mysterious moon.

Because of the smoggy conditions on Titan, the two previous Cassini flybys in July and October failed to give any clear indication of the surface conditions Huygens is likely to meet - if it makes it that far.



1. Antennas enabling communication with Earth
2. Boom carrying instrument to measure magnetic fields
3. Two cameras will take 300,000 pictures of the planet
4. Infra-red spectrometer analyses Saturn's temperature and composition
5. Radioisotope thermoelectric generators supply 750W of power
6. Cassini has two engines - one is a back-up
7. Thrusters used for small changes of direction or speed
8. Huygens probe will land on Saturn's largest moon, Titan
9. Plasma spectrometer measures charged particles and solar winds

SOURCE: BBC

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Mars rovers spot water-clue mineral, frost, clouds

NASA NEWS RELEASE

Scientists have identified a water-signature mineral called goethite in bedrock that the NASA's Mars rover Spirit examined in the "Columbia Hills," one of the mission's surest indicators yet for a wet history on Spirit's side of Mars.


Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured this view of "Burns
Cliff" after driving right to the base of this southeastern portion
 of the inner wall of "Endurance Crater." Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell


Big Pic here http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/mer/2004-12-13/Burns_Cliff_L2-med.jpg

"Goethite, like the jarosite that Opportunity found on the other side of Mars, is strong evidence for water activity," said Dr. Goestar Klingelhoefer of the University of Mainz, Germany, lead scientist for the iron-mineral analyzer on each rover, the Moessbauer spectrometer. Goethite forms only in the presence of water, whether in liquid, ice or gaseous form. Hematite, a mineral that had previously been identified in Columbia Hills bedrock, usually, but not always, forms in the presence of water.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Symphony of colors in the Tarantula Nebula

HUBBLE EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY INFORMATION CENTRE RELEASE


The Tarantula Nebula is the most vigorous star forming region known in the local Universe. Using the power of the freely available ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator package a young amateur astronomer has created this amazing panorama of the centre of the Tarantula. The original image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and subsequently retrieved from the ESO/ST-ECF Science Archive in Munich, Germany.




Just imagine seeing this for the first time through your space ship porthole...big piccy 330k http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/screen/heic0416a.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



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An Electron Runs through It
Surprising rivulets and ripples complicate the microchip picture

Peter Weiss

Most paintings or prints lose their definition the closer you get to them. That doesn't happen
when you put your nose near the arresting prints of Harvard University physicist
Eric J. Heller. The closer you approach Heller's prints, which resemble swaying seaweed,
 rippling silks, and Georgia O'Keeffe flowers, the more refined the images get. By the
standard artistic metrics of form, color, and composition, these are stunning artworks.
 Yet each one tells a scientific tale as well: Heller's prints depict the subtle
 interplay between some microchip electrons and the crystalline landscape in which they move.


IN A DIFFERENT VEIN. This and the two richly branching
images below show artistic renderings of simulated electron-flow
paths in thin sheets of electrons.


Within a stack of various semiconductor materials are infinitesimally thin zones
where one semiconductor layer ends and another begins. Each zone can harbor a sheet of electrons.
 Physicists refer to such sheets as electron gases. Cool to cryogenic temperatures a chip
made of precisely deposited gallium arsenide and aluminum gallium arsenide, for example,
and a curious branching of the flow of electrons in the sheet becomes detectable.

That's the physical phenomenon that Heller models in computers and portrays with his prints,
 which now go for hundreds of dollars or more.

ROUGH TERRAIN. A topographic-type plot of energy variation
across a patch of a two-dimensional electron gas shows uneveness that shapes electron paths.






SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG



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A new twist on an old nebula

SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE


Looks can be deceiving, especially when it comes to celestial objects like galaxies and nebulas.
 These objects are so far away that astronomers cannot see their three-dimensional structure.
The Helix Nebula, for example, resembles a doughnut in colorful images. Earlier images of this
complex object -- the gaseous envelope ejected by a dying, sun-like star -- did not allow
astronomers to precisely interpret its structure. One possible interpretation was that the
Helix's form resembled a snake-like coil.


The top composite image is a view of the colorful Helix
Nebula taken with the Hubble Space Telescope and the Cerro Tololo
Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The object is so large that
both telescopes were needed to capture a complete view. The bottom
illustration shows how the Helix would appear if viewed from the
side. Credits for the image and illustration: NASA, ESA, C.R. O'Dell
(Vanderbilt University), and M. Meixner, P. McCullough, and G. Bacon
(Space Telescope Science Institute)


Now, a team of astronomers using observations from several observatories, including NASA's
Hubble Space Telescope, has established that the Helix's structure is even more perplexing.
 Their evidence suggests that the Helix consists of two gaseous disks nearly perpendicular
to each other.

A team of astronomers, led by C. Robert O'Dell of Vanderbilt University in Nashville,
Tenn., made its finding using highly detailed images from the Hubble telescope's Advanced Camera
 for Surveys, pictures from Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, and measurements
from ground-based optical and radio telescopes which show the speed and direction of the
outflows of material from the dying star. The Helix, the closest planetary nebula to
Earth, is a favorite target of professional and amateur astronomers. Astronomers hope this
finding will provide insights on how expelled shells of gas from dying stars like our
Sun form the complex shapes called planetary nebulas. The results are published in the
November issue of the Astronomical Journal.

Big Pic (497k)http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2004/32/images/a/formats/print.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Delta 4-Heavy hits snag on test flight
BY JUSTIN RAY
SPACEFLIGHT NOW


The test launch of Boeing's Delta 4-Heavy rocket began with a breath-taking blastoff from Cape
Canaveral Tuesday afternoon but lower-than-expected performance during the initial minutes
 of flight ultimately caused the mission to fall short of its intended orbit. Nonetheless,
 Boeing officials called the demonstration flight a success.




The 23-story rocket roared to life while enveloped in a hellish fire at pad 37B as free hydrogen
from the three Rocketdyne RS-68 engines ignited. As the countdown reached zero, a dozen bolts
 that held the rocket to the pad for the past year popped and the 1.6-million pound vehicle
 thundered into a clear blue sky at 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT)



Gulping three tons of propellant per second, the engines won the battle against gravity to
blast the rocket away from Earth as the powerplants raged at full throttle.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Cassini orbiter deploys Titan descent probe

BY WILLIAM HARWOOD

note...All times in the following story refer to Earth-received time, i.e., when events are confirmed to have happened, not
the actual time an event happens at Saturn. One-way light time from Saturn to Earth currently is about 68 minutes.



In a long-awaited milestone, a European-built probe carrying cameras and a suite of scientific
 instruments was released from NASA's Cassini Saturn orbiter Christmas Eve, setting up
a dramatic Jan. 14 plunge into the atmosphere of the ringed planet's mysterious moon Titan.


An artist's concept shows Cassini deploying Huygens. Credit: ESA


Ejected by springs designed to impart a 7-rpm rotation for stability, the Huygens probe
 was jettisoned from the Cassini mothership around 10:08 p.m. EST. Flight controllers at the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., verified a clean separation 16 minutes later.

"The short story is the release went absolutely nominally," said Earl Maize, Cassini deputy
program manager. "As near as we can tell from all the telemetry we've seen, we've had a
perfect separation. The release sequence was executed on board the spacecraft at 7:07 this
evening Pacific Standard Time. We were out of radio contact at the time, we expected the
 release to impart a recoil to the spacecraft and it would take it some minutes to recover
 radio contact with the Earth. We got back into contact at 7:24 and telemetry soon thereafter
 verified that all of the events went just as we expected."


An artist's concept shows Huygens en route to Titan. Credit: ESA

To reach Titan's surface, Huygens first must survive its high-speed plunge into the moon's atmosphere.
 After slowing to about 870 mph due to atmospheric friction, Huygens' aft cover will be
pulled away by a pilot chute and the spacecraft's 27-foot-wide main parachute will deploy.
The chute will be jettisoned 15 minutes after entry begins and from that point on, Huygens will
ride beneath a smaller 9.8-foot-wide parachute. Impact on the surface at some 11 mph is
expected around 7:31 a.m. on Jan. 14


An artist's concept shows the Huygens craft making its descent to Titan on Jan. 14. Credit: ESA

Assuming the 705-pound Huygens doesn't splash down in a hydrocarbon lake, "we have good confidence
the probe will survive landing," said Jean-Pierre Lebreton, European Space Agency project scientist.
 "The landing speed is very low and there is a very good probability the probe will survive landing
and we have capability to do measurements for half an hour on the surface. During the three-hour
 measurement phase, the probe will transmit its data to the overflying orbiter."

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




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Huygens timeline




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Aging universe may still be spawning massive galaxies

NASA NEWS RELEASE


NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer has spotted what appear to be massive "baby" galaxies
in our corner of the universe. Previously, astronomers thought the universe's birth rate
had dramatically declined and only small galaxies were forming.


These animation stills show a typical young galaxy, teeming with
hot, newborn stars and exploding supernovas. The supernovas are seen
 as white flashes of light. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


"We knew there were really massive young galaxies eons ago, but we thought they had all
 matured into older ones more like our Milky Way. If these galaxies are indeed newly formed,
 then this implies parts of the universe are still hotbeds of galaxy birth," said Dr.
Chris Martin. He is principal investigator for the Galaxy Evolution Explorer at the
 California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., and co-author of the study.

Martin and colleagues, led by Dr. Tim Heckman of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore,
Md., unearthed three-dozen bright, compact galaxies that greatly resemble the youthful
 galaxies of more than 10 billions years ago. These new galaxies are relatively close to us,
 ranging from two to four billion light-years away. They may be as young as 100 million to
one billion years old. The Milky Way is approximately 10 billion years old.

The Galaxy Evolution Explorer was launched on April 28, 2003. Its mission is to study
the shape, brightness, size and distance of galaxies across 10 billion years of cosmic
 history. The Explorer's 50-centimeter-diameter (19.7-inch) telescope sweeps the skies
 in search of ultraviolet-light sources.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



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Cassini shows moon's influence at ringed Saturn


CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


Mimas orbits beyond the outer fringes of Saturn's main rings, perturbing the orbits of
 ring particles and creating gaps like the Huygens Gap within the Cassini Division
 (the wide, dark gap near lower left). The outer edge of the B ring (lower left corner)
and the thin, outermost section of the A ring appear notably brighter than the bulk
 of the A ring, suggesting differences in ring particle density or composition. Small knots
in the thin F ring are visible at lower right. Mimas is 398 kilometers (247 miles) across


Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06550.jpg

This view is from Cassini's vantage point beneath the ring plane. The image was taken
in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Nov. 18, 2004,
 at a distance of approximately 4.7 million kilometers (2.9 million miles) from Saturn.
The image scale is 27 kilometers (17 miles) per pixel. Contrast was enhanced to aid visibility.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




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Mars rover Opportunity visits heat shield impact site



NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has returned this view of its discard heat shield,
 which crashed to the planet's surface during the craft's descent and landing last January.


Credit: NASA/JPL
Download a larger version here
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07157.jpg

The image was taken during the rover's 325th martian day (December 22) and released
by NASA on Tuesday.

The main structure from the successfully used shield is to the far left. Additional fragments
 of the heat shield lie in the upper center of the image. The heat shield's impact mark
 is visible just above and to the right of the foreground shadow of Opportunity's camera mast.
 This view is a mosaic of three images taken with the rover's navigation camera.

Opportunity has driven well over one mile on the plains of Meridiani while searching for
evidence of past water on the Red Planet.


This orbital view shows the course the rover drove from its
landing to its 324th martian day, or sol (Dec. 21, 2004), including
the historic path of Opportunity's six months of exploration inside Endurance Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS/OSU

Download a larger version here
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07154.jpg

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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