An international team of scientists, led by a NASA-funded researcher, announced today, they observed a nearby head-on collision of two galaxy clusters. The clusters smashed together thousands of galaxies and trillions of stars. It is one of the most powerful events ever witnessed. Such collisions are second only to the Big Bang in total energy output.

The event was captured with the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton observatory. Scientists are calling the event the perfect cosmic storm: galaxy clusters that collided like two high-pressure weather fronts and created hurricane-like conditions, tossing galaxies far from their paths and churning shock waves of 100-million-degree gas through intergalactic space.
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Two NASA education programs, to inspire the next generation of explorers, have launched for the new school year. They are open for applications and proposals.

Schools from across the country are eligible to apply online for an opportunity to partner with the NASA Explorer Schools (NES) Program. NES is designed to bring mathematics, science, technology and engineering learning to educators, students and families.
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As NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity resumed reliable contact with Earth, after a period when Mars passed nearly behind the sun, the space agency extended funding for an additional six months of rover operations, as long as they keep working.

Both rovers successfully completed their primary three-month missions on the surface of Mars in April and have already added about five months of bonus exploration during the first extension of their missions.
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AMSAT board election

The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation has announced the results of its 2004 Board of Directors election.

Tom Clark, W3IWI, Lou McFadin, W5DID, and Paul Shuch, N6TX, were the top three vote getters, earning new two-year seats on the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors.

Shuch displaced Bruce Paige, KK5DO, who becomes first alternate; the second alternate is Steve Diggs, W4EPI. Clark and McFadin were AMSAT Board incumbents, while Shuch is new to the Board. Other AMSAT-NA Board members include President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH; Executive Vice President Rick Hambly, W2GPS, Gunther Meisse, W8GSM, and Barry Baines, WD4ASW.

AMSAT-NA holds its 22nd Space Symposium and Annual Meeting and October 7-10 in Arlington, Virginia.


The NASA Genesis Mishap Investigation Board (MIB) arrived at Dugway Proving Ground (DPG), Utah, September 10, to take charge of the investigation. The Genesis Sample Return Capsule (SRC) impacted the ground after its drogue and parafoil systems failed to deploy during re-entry September 8. Dr. Michael Ryschkewitsch is the leader of the MIB.

Thanks to excellent work by the Genesis Project Team, functioning as an initial response team, the wreckage of the SRC and its contents of scientific samples were recovered from the dry lakebed. The science team continues work securing and curating the recovered sample materials, working independently from the activities of the MIB.
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NASA is looking for a few adventurous students, willing to test their science experiments, while floating aboard the agency’s famous “Weightless Wonder” aircraft.

The Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, annually gives undergraduate student teams the opportunity to research, design, fabricate, fly and evaluate a reduced gravity experiment. The student teams follow much the same path as scientists who develop experiments that fly in space.
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Water and Methane on Mars

Recent analyses of ESA’s Mars Express data reveal that concentrations of water vapour and methane in the atmosphere of Mars significantly overlap. This result, from data obtained by the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS), gives a boost to understanding of geological and atmospheric processes on Mars, and provides important new hints to evaluate the hypothesis of life present on the Red Planet.
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NASA International Space Station Science Officer Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, told youngsters at an elementary school in Japan September 17 that he’s been so busy during his duty tour in space that it’s hard to believe it’s almost over. Fincke spoke via Amateur Radio from NA1SS aboard the space station with fifth and sixth-graders at Aoyama Gakuin Elementary School near Tokyo. The contact was arranged by the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. Fincke answered the youngsters’ questions in both Japanese and English.
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