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Astronomy 2005

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  1. -01-14-05 Cassini Spacecraft Probe to Land on Titan (CNN News)
      "The Huygens probe is plunging through the orange clouds of Saturn's moon Titan, and scientists hope to soon have their first glimpse of the mysterious moon." 1-05

  2. -01-14-05 Cassini Spacecraft Probe to Land on Titan (NASA)
      "Mission managers for the European Space Agency's Huygens probe said the spacecraft is on course for its descent to Saturn's mysterious moon Titan on Friday, Jan. 14. The probe, which detached from NASA's Cassini orbiter last month, will be the first object to explore on-site the unique environment of Titan, whose chemistry is thought to be very similar to that of early Earth, before life formed." 1-05

  3. -07-04-05 NASA Strikes Comet (CNN News)
      "A NASA space probe slammed into a comet early Monday, capping a six-month mission that researchers hope will give them new clues about the birth of our solar system." 7-05

  4. -07-25-05 Space Shuttle Astronauts (CNN News)
      "The astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery are also groundbreakers -- the first to fly since the Columbia disaster in 2003." 7-05  

  5. -07-25-05 Space Shuttle to Launch (CNN News)
      "NASA said Monday it is ready to launch the first space shuttle since the 2003 Columbia disaster despite not fully understanding what caused a problem with a sensor in the external fuel tank."

      "Discovery is set to launch from Kennedy Space Center at 10:39 a.m. ET Tuesday [July 26]." 7-05  

  6. -07-27-05 NASA Grounds Shuttles (CNN News)
      "There will be no more shuttle launches until NASA engineers determine the effect of debris that fell from the shuttle Discovery during blastoff Tuesday, said Bill Parsons, space shuttle program manager." 7-05

  7. -08-07-05 Discovery to Land (CNN News)
      "NASA engineers on the ground and astronauts in space are preparing for the first re-entry of a space shuttle since the 2003 Columbia disaster."

      " 'Staff preparing NASA's main landing facility for Monday's 4:46 a.m. ET scheduled touchdown were feeling a bit of "nervous excitement," an agency spokesman said.' " 8-05

  8. -09-04-05 Fastest Space Traveler Located (Scientific American)
      "Superman may be faster than a speeding bullet, but there is a neutron star in our galaxy that can compete for the title of fastest space traveler. Astronomers have tracked the movement of a pulsar, making the first direct measurement of its impressive speed." 9-05

  9. -10-07-04 Residue Seen from Supernova of 1604 (MSNBC News)
      "Four hundred years ago this week, a previously unseen star suddenly appeared in the night sky. Discovered on Oct. 9, 1604, it was brighter than all other stars."

      "No supernova in our galaxy has been discovered since the 1604 event." 10-04

  10. -11-23-05 Supernovae Back Einstein's Constant (Scientific American)
      "Now new observations from an international team of astronomers seem to show that dark energy is like the cosmological constant, unvarying throughout space and time. By measuring the distances to 71 far-off supernovae, the scientists were able to ascertain with a high degree of confidence that the effect dark energy exerts on supernovae light does not vary with distance. The researchers also plugged this data into a so-called equation of state, which measures the relationship between pressure and density, and found that dark energy must be less than -0.85--awfully close to Einstein's cosmological constant at -1. 'Our observation is at odds with a number of theoretical ideas about the nature of dark energy that predict that it should change as the universe expands and, as far as we can see, it doesn't,' says team member Ray Carlberg of the University of Toronto." 11-05

  11. -12-11-05 Life Began in Space? (Scientific American)
      "Louis Allamandola and his colleagues at the NASA Ames Research Center have created primitive cells of a sort—empty, two-layer membranes (see image)—from elementary chemicals, exposed to conditions like those in interstellar clouds. 'Scientists believe the molecules needed to make a cell's membrane, and thus for the origin of life, are all over space,' Allamandola says. 'This discovery implies that life could be everywhere in the universe.' " 12-05

  12. 08-06-03 Mars Rover Expedition (CNN)
      "A NASA robot packed with eight cameras, geology instruments and super-rugged wheels roared into space on Tuesday, one of three missions headed to Mars this summer during the most favorable cosmic conditions in centuries."

      "Their geologic studies, scheduled to last three months, are designed to find physical evidence of water activity on Mars from billions of years ago, when the planet was thought to have been wetter and warmer -- and possibly inhabited by microbes."

      "Like surfers who have been waiting for the big wave, the spacecraft are riding to the red planet as Mars and Earth make their nearest pass to each other since prehistoric times."

      "A closer approach won't take place until 2287, according to Sky & Telescope Magazine." 8-03

  13. 08-06-05 Discovery Shuttle Starts Home (MSNBC News)
      "With the most anxiety-ridden part of their flight still to come, shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven set off for home Saturday after leaving the international space station."

      "Monday’s planned predawn re-entry will be the first by a space shuttle since Columbia’s catastrophic descent 2˝ years ago." 08-05

  14. 09-19-05 NASA to Replace Shuttle Design (Bloomberg.com)
      "NASA plans to replace the space shuttle with a reusable spacecraft shaped like the Apollo capsule that first took U.S. astronauts to the moon in 1969, the U.S. space agency said today."

      "The Crew Exploration Vehicle will be three times as big as the Apollo capsule and can be used as many as 10 times, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said in a statement."

      "The spacecraft will be able to take as many as four astronauts to the moon and as many as six people on missions to Mars, NASA said. It will also be able to deliver supplies and crews to the International Space Station." 9-05

  15. 11-14-04 Ion propulsion rocket gets to the Moon (CBS News)
      "A European Space Agency rocket entered moon orbit Monday in a unique mission using a pioneering power plant."

      "The s-called SMART-1 spacecraft blasted off from Kourou, French Guiana, Sept. 27, 2003, on top of an Ariane 5 rocket, the Washington Post reported."

      "Since then its ion propulsion engine has been slowly moving the spacecraft by expelling positively charged atoms, or ions, of the gas xenon, accelerated by an electrical field inside the spacecraft's engine."

      "The engine does not combust fuel; rather it splits atoms with electricity to get ions, accelerates them at high speed, and then ejects them, driving the spacecraft forward. SMART-1 generates its electricity by converting sunlight with outsize solar arrays that give the spacecraft a 45-foot wingspan." 11-04

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