MOON MAY SHED LIGHT ON EARTH’S CLIMATE

According to a new NASA-funded study, insights into Earth’s climate may come from an unlikely place: the moon.

Scientists looked at the ghostly glow of light reflected from Earth onto the moon’s dark side. During the 1980s and 1990s, Earth bounced less sunlight out to space. The trend reversed during the past three years, as the Earth appears to reflect more light toward space.
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ISS STATUS REPORT: SS04-011

A Russian Progress robotic resupply ship launched today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to deliver cargo to the residents of the International Space Station (ISS).

As the Station flew over Africa, the 14th Progress spacecraft to travel to the ISS lifted off its Central Asian launch pad right on time at 8:34 a.m. EDT. Less than 10 minutes later, craft reached orbit, deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas. Its computers are loaded with preprogrammed commands for engine firings and rendezvous maneuvers for an automated linkup to the rear port of the Station’s Zvezda Service Module on Thursday at 10:55 a.m. EDT.
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Rosetta’s scientific ‘first’ – observation of Comet Linear

ESA’s comet-chaser Rosetta, whose 10-year journey to its final target Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko started on 2 March, is well on its way. The first phase of commissioning is close to completion and Rosetta has successfully performed its first scientific activity – observation of Comet Linear.

The commissioning activities, which started a couple of days after launch, included the individual activation of all instruments on board the Rosetta orbiter and the Philae lander. This first check-out worked flawlessly and showed that the spacecraft and all instruments are functioning well and in excellent shape.
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RAW INGREDIENTS FOR LIFE DETECTED

NASA has announced new findings from the Spitzer Space Telescope, including the discovery of significant amounts of icy organic materials sprinkled throughout several “planetary construction zones,” or dusty planet-forming discs, which circle infant stars.

These materials, icy dust particles coated with water, methanol and carbon dioxide, may help explain the origin of icy planetoids like comets. Scientists believe these comets may have endowed Earth with some of its water and many of its biogenic, life-enabling materials.
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Cassini-Huygens approaching Saturn and Titan

Launched in October 1997, the ESA/NASA Cassini-Huygens mission is currently heading for Saturn. While ESA’s Huygens probe will be the first ever to land on the surface of a moon in the outer Solar System, NASA’s Cassini orbiter will continue to explore Saturn and its rings.

More info at:
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMP0HHHZTD_Life_0.html

Lessons learnt from Beagle 2

The Mars Express spacecraft, carrying the Beagle 2 lander, was launched on 2 June last year, arriving in the vicinity of Mars in December. The separation of Beagle 2 from Mars Express occurred on 19 December. The satellite continued its mission with its successful insertion into a Mars orbit on 25 December, the day on which Beagle 2 was due to land.
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Hayabusa Earth Swing-by

The Space Engineering Spacecraft “Hayabusa” (MUSES-C) launched on May 9, 2003, by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been flying smoothly in a heliocentric orbit for about a year using its ion engines.
On May 19, Hayabusa came close to the Earth, and successfully carried out an earth swing-by to place it in a new elliptical orbit toward the asteroid “ITOKAWA”.
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Rocket carrying ham radio reaches space

Following its May 17 launch from Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, a solid-fuel amateur rocket carrying a ham radio avionics package easily exceeded its primary goal of attaining an altitude of 100 km–62 miles–considered the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space, its sponsors say. An Amateur Radio direction finding team later recovered the rocket’s avionics package intact. Avionics Team Leader Eric Knight, KB1EHE, told ARRL that the 21-foot, 10-inch diameter Civilian Space Xploration Team (CSXT) http://www.civilianspace.com/ GoFast vehicle reached an altitude of 77 miles according to its onboard instruments, making it the first civilian rocket to do so.
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