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Friday, April 5, 2002


Green Mars

Chlorophyll on Mars.
Chlorophyll on Mars.
Credit: NASA
(CNN) - A reexamination of data from a 1997 mission to Mars suggests that the surface contains chlorophyll, a discovery that could bolster prospects of finding life on the planet. The study turned up six potential chlorophyll hot spots. "Two intriguing cases occur in small areas on the ground near the spacecraft," the report summary added.

(More info: CNN.com)


- posted by Brian @ 22:32 EST

(permanent link)

Tuesday, April 16, 2002


Planet Incubator

(CNN) - Astronomers speculate that the Earth and its siblings originated in a dust ring around the sun, much like the one enshrouding the young star Beta Pictoris. The observations provide some of the strongest evidence that planets form in such stellar dust disks, according to two independent teams of astronomers that announced the discovery this week. The Beta Pictoris data show multiple warps in the stellar disk, which likely indicates the presence of one or more planets, according to the scientists. "We've seen disk features before that could be due to planets. To date, however, most of these were discovered far outside the region [analogous to] where planets reside in our own solar system," astronomer David Koerner said in a statement. "And plausible nonplanetary explanations have been found for some of them." The distortions in the dust ring around Beta Pictoris, however, occur much closer in, at distances comparable to the giant gas planets in our solar system.

(More info: CNN.com)


- posted by Alex @ 23:34 EST

(permanent link)

Monday, April 22, 2002


Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle.
Space Shuttle.
Credit: NASA
(CNN) - There's danger ahead for space shuttle astronauts unless the U.S. Congress pays for long-term upgrades to the aging spaceship fleet, a NASA safety expert said.

"I have never been as concerned for space shuttle safety as I am right now," said Richard D. Blomberg, former chairman of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's aerospace safety advisory panel...["U]nless Congress provides money to adequately upgrade the shuttle fleet now," he said, "Nobody will know for sure when the safety margin has been eroded too far."

As Congress decides how much money to grant NASA next year and how the agency should spend it, lawmakers are growing frustrated with such internal institutional debates over the shuttle's future, whether it should be upgraded, replaced or both, and whether to contract out some of its services.

(More info: CNN.com)


- posted by Brian @ 18:35 EST

(permanent link)

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