Florida Space Research and Information

January 30, 2009

Earth-hunter telescope prepared for launch

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NASA unveiled a modest telescope on Friday with a sweeping mission — to discover if there are any Earth-type planets orbiting distant stars.

Cosmic Log: Pick your space pix

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Science editor Alan Boyle's Weblog: Here's your chance to decide which cosmic curiosity will get the star treatment from the Hubble Space Telescope.Science editor Alan Boyle's Weblog: Here's your chance to decide which cosmic curiosity will get the star treatment from the Hubble Space Telescope.


Mighty, mysterious Orion dominates the sky

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Orion as imagined, with the stars that make it up. This view shows the hunter as of around 8 p.m. local time this week from the southern United States. The most brilliant of all the constellations dominates our evening sky this week, climbing well up in the south around 9 p.m. local time. It is, of course, Orion, the Hunter.  But just exactly who was he?  


January 29, 2009

Aging Mars rover’s glitches puzzle NASA

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NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit examine a group of angular rocks given informal names corresponding to peaks in the Colorado Rockies on Oct. 10, 2007.NASA engineers are scratching their heads over some unexpected behavior from the long-lived Spirit rover, which began its sixth year exploring Mars this month.


Attempts to contact aliens date back 150 years

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With its 1,000-foot reflector dish, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is the world's largest single-dish radio telescope and most powerful radar. Frank Drake used it in 1974 to send the first CETI message. The desire to contact intelligent life on other planets is much older than the UFO craze and the SETI movement. Several 19th century scientists contemplated how we might communicate with possible Martians and Venusians.


Cosmic Log: See a black hole’s blast

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Science editor Alan Boyle's Weblog: The European Southern Observatory has put together one of the best images ever made of huge jets blasting out from a galactic black hole.Science editor Alan Boyle's Weblog: The European Southern Observatory has put together one of the best images ever made of huge jets blasting out from a galactic black hole.


January 28, 2009

Rock reveals moon had liquid metal core

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Scientist-Astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt collects lunar rake samples during the third Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Analysis of a rock collected during this mission suggests the moon once had a liquid metal core.One of the most enduring mysteries stemming from the Apollo moon missions is why rocks brought back to Earth for analysis are magnetized.


Massive planet sees extreme heat waves

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This photo shows computer-generated images charting the development of severe weather patterns on exoplanet HD 80606b. Astronomers have observed a planet some 200 light years from Earth that, for a few hours, becomes 700 degrees Celsius (1,300 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter every time its elliptical orbit brings it close to its sun. One extrasolar planet takes heat waves to the extreme: Within six hours, temperatures on the gas giant can soar by more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (555 degrees C).


PlayStation 3 helps solve black hole mystery

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The PS3 Gravity Grid, a series of 16 Playstation 3 gaming consolesused to perform computer simulations at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.  Astronomers have figured out how long it takes black holes to stop vibrating after they've been rattled, and as usual, they did it by running a simulation. But instead of a supercomputer, they used a batch of Sony Playstation 3 gaming consoles wired together.


Super-rich still want to boldly go into space

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The economic downturn has not dampened rich people's enthusiasm for space tourism, the world's first commercial space flight company says.
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