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Friday landing for Endeavour


The Endeavour astronauts tested the shuttle's re-entry systems today before packing up for the trip back to Earth Friday to close out a 16-day space station assembly mission. There are no technical problems of any significance, but forecasters are predicting a slight chance for rain and thunderstorms near Endeavour's Florida runway at the 10:48 a.m. EDT landing time.

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Gigantic bubbles boiling on the surface of star Betelgeuse


Giant star Betelgeuse shed the equivalent mass of the Earth every year but how do it does is not properly understood. Using state of the art imaging techniques, astronomers have revealed a vast plume of gas and gigantic bubbles boiling on the surface of star Betelgeuse. The new technique will provide clues to how they shed the mass?


The images show that the whole outer shell of the star is not shedding material evenly in all directions, which may be due to either large scale gas motions caused by heating, or because of the star's rotation. Betelgeuse's atmosphere is bouncing vigorously up and down in bubbles that are as large as the supergiant star itself, and could be responsible for the ejection of the massive plume into space.


Betelgeuse is the nearest star to Earth.

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Ammonia on Saturn's moon

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has revealed the presence of ammonia on Saturn's icy moon Enceladus.

If there is an underground ocean on Enceladus, then ammonia would be vital to it. Ammonia acts as an antifreeze, allowing water to remain liquid at temperatures as low as –97 degrees Celsius . This is the first time that scientists have found ammonia on an icy satellite of a giant planet.
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Something has struck Jupiter


Following up on a tip by an amateur astronomer that a new dark "scar" had suddenly appeared on Jupiter, on 20th July, 2009 between 3 and 9 a.m. PDT (6 a.m. and noon EDT) scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., using NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, gathered evidence indicating an impact.


New infrared images show the likely impact point was near the south polar region, with a visibly dark "scar" and bright upwelling particles in the upper atmosphere detected in near-infrared wavelengths, and a warming of the upper troposphere with possible extra emission from ammonia gas detected at mid-infrared wavelengths.


It could be due to the comet but the scientists are not sure .

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Never before seen photo shows Neil Armstrong's face


An amazing never before seen photo of Neil Armstrong showing his face through his space suit visor has come to light on the 40th anniversary of the first manned Moon landing.


It shows Armstrong's face in clear view as he walks across the lunar surface.

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Video of Neil Armstrong's first Moon Walk

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Enjoy the video of Neil Armstrong's first moon walk restored by NASA.


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Earth's gravity and solar eclipse

A team of Chinese scientists is planning to conduct a once-in-a-century experiment on July 22, the day of the total solar eclipse, which would test the controversial theory that gravity drops slightly during a total eclipse.

According to a report in New Scientist, geophysicists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences are preparing an unprecedented array of highly sensitive instruments at six sites across the country to take gravity readings during the total eclipse due to pass over southern China on July 22.

The results, which will be analyzed in the coming months, could confirm once and for all that anomalous fluctuations observed during past eclipses are real.

The first sign that gravity fluctuates during an eclipse was in 1954, when French economist and physicist Maurice Allais noticed erratic behaviour in a swinging pendulum when an eclipse passed over Paris.

Pendulums typically swing back and forth as a result of gravity and the rotation of the Earth. At the start of the eclipse, however, the pendulum's swing direction shifted violently, suggesting a sudden change in gravitational pull.

In the run up to July's eclipse, Chinese researchers have prepared eight gravimeters and two pendulums spread across six monitoring sites.

At over five minutes, the event will be the longest total solar eclipse predicted for this century.
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Indian moon mission saved

India's only satellite Chandrayaan -I orbiting moon came close to overheating and failure but scientists improvised to save it.

Last month the satellite lost a critical instrument called the star sensor. The sensor helps the $80-million satellite stay oriented so its cameras and other recording equipment are constantly aimed at the lunar surface. Without the sensor , the mission is useless.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) team used other systems such as an antenna mechanism and gyroscope to make sure that satellite was " looking at the moon". Now, the mission is safe and the systems are working.

Chandrayaan is scheduled to last two years. Scientists hope that Chandrayaan project will boost India's capacity to build more efficient rockets and satellites.
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Endeavour arrives at Space Station


Endeavour has arrived at the International Space Station for its construction mission that will install an external science deck to complete Japan's Kibo facilities, pre-stage critical spare parts for the outpost and replace aging batteries in the power grid.

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Shuttle Endeavour finally launched


Shuttle Endeavour finally roared to life and blasted off Wednesday on its sixth try, rocketing away through a hazy sky toward a Friday rendezvous with the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center.


Multiple pieces of foam insulation fell from the ship's external tank during the early moments of flight, but it was not immediately clear whether the shuttle's fragile heat shield suffered any significant damage.


With commander Mark Polansky and pilot Douglas Hurley at the controls, Endeavour's three main engines ignited in staggered sequence and throttled up to full thrust, followed seconds later by ignition of the shuttle's twin solid-fuel boosters at 6:03:10 p.m. EDT.

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Venus nicknamed as Earth's twin


Venus and Earth both share a similar size, gravity and bulk composition and hence, sometimes it is nicknamed as Earth's twin. But with a thick cloak of sulphuric acid clouds and a surface pressure nearly one hundred times that of Earth , makes it less hospitable than Earth. Venus once possessed Earth-like oceans, which evaporated into space to leave a barren landscape.


Venus is a big planet, being heated by radioactive elements in its interior. Some areas in Venus appear to be composed of darker rock , which shows relatively recent volcanic flows.


Both Russia and America sent probes to Venus during the 1970s and 80s – Venera and Pioneer, respectively – that sampled rocks made of basalt. Basalt is formed from cooling lava erupted by volcanoes, and, as is the case on Earth, where magma up-wells along ocean ridges to make new oceanic crust.


The new map of Venus reveals lighter coloured and older rocks with characteristics similar to Earth's granitic continents. Granite is created when basaltic rocks are forced down into the fiery interior of the planet by the process of plate tectonics, which builds and destroys the Earth's crust in an endless cycle. Water combines with the basalt to form granite and the mixture is reborn through volcanic eruptions.


According to the planetary scientists if there is granite in Venus then there must have been ocean in the past.


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Shuttle Endeavour launch on sunday postponed

NASA on Sunday postponed the launch of space shuttle Endeavour for the day due storms near Kennedy Space Center.

NASA will next try to launch the shuttle on Monday at 6:51 p.m.

Endeavour's launch was postponed twice last month because of a liquid hydrogen leak.

Endeavour, carrying seven astronauts and a key component for Japan's Kibo science laboratory, is to head to the International Space Station for a 16-day mission. Five spacewalks are planned for the crew after the shuttle docks.
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A galaxy : Stephan's Quintet


Stephan's Quintet is a compact group of galaxies discovered about 130 years ago and located about 280 million light years from Earth.

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Fireworks in Helix nebula


Image taken by Subaru Telescope shows comet -shaped knots lighting up the Helix nebula.


A nebula is cloud of gas and dust in space. Some nebulas are regions where new stars are being formed, while others are the remains of dead or dying stars. Nebulas come in many shapes and sizes. There are four different types of nebulas- planetary , reflection, emision and absorption nebulas.


Helix nebula is located about 710 light years from Earth and was first planetary nebula in which knots were abserved.

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No water ice found in Japanese lunar mission

Japanese Selene lunar orbiter have failed to detect any signs of water in permanently shaded craters around the South pole of the Moon.

Although the Japanese lunar orbiter found no ice it did find a crater much deeper than other lunar craters of a similar diameter and internal temperatures that could support ice delivered by comets over billions of years.

It has also returned beautiful images of the Earth and Moon as the 40th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing by Apollo 11.
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Fermi solves the mystery of gamma ray pulsars

A pulsar is a highly magnetised rapidly spinning neutron star , the dense core remaining aftera supernova explosion.

NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope solves the mystery of previously unidentified gamma-ray sources. Fermi has now uncovered 16 pulsars based on their high energy gamma rays alone.

Fermi can 'feel' the gamma-ray pulsations gives important information about the mechanism behind the emissions. Radio pulsars emit narrow beams of radio waves that sweep around like a lighthouse beacon, bathing the Earth in radiation to enable detections. If the radio beam misses the Earth, the pulsar cannot be detected by radio telescopes, but FermiÕs ability to detect so many radio-quiet gamma-ray pulsars indicates that the gamma-rays are emitted in a beam that is wider and more fan-like than the radio beam.


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First images from Lunar Reconnissance Orbiter


NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has transmitted its first images since reaching moon.


LRO will help NASA to locate potential resources , describe the moon's radiation environment and identify safe landing sites for future explorers.

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New black hole found


A new black hole more than 500 times the mass of Sun has been discovered using ESA's XMM-Newton space telescope.
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