Universe Today #774 - February 5, 2004
U N I V E R S E
T O D A Y
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I'M LOOKING FOR EXPERTS TO ANSWER READER QUESTIONS
Feb 5, 2004 - We get a lot of space and astronomy questions on the Universe Today forum, and we answer what we can. Many times, though, the question is more detailed and technical and really requires an expert to answer. I've got a list of astronomers and scientists that I sometimes turn to, but I could always use more.
If you're working in space and astronomy, and willing to answer the occasional reader question, please drop me an email. I would really appreciate it. It probably wouldn't be more than a question every few months, so nothing too onerous.
Oh and keep asking your questions, we'll keep looking for the answers.
MORE SUPPORT FOR LIFE IN MARTIAN METEORITE
Feb 5, 2004 - Researchers from the University of Queensland believe they have more evidence that supports the theory that NASA researchers found life in a Martian meteorite back in 1996. Their new technique uses an electron microscope to see through the bacteria and into the gel surrounding the magnetic crystals inside the creature. Their research indicates that the bacteria likely lived four billion years ago, before life was even believed to have formed here on Earth. Their research was published in the Journal of Microscopy.
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ROSETTA LANDER NAMED PHILAE
Feb 5, 2004 - The European Space Agency has given the lander portion of the Rosetta mission a name: Philae. This is the name of an island in the Nile where a French explorer, Jean-François Champollion, discovered an obelisk with a bilingual inscription of the names Cleopatra and Ptolemy. This gave Champollion the clues he needed to decipher the Rosetta stone, and begin translating ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. The name was proposed by a 15-year old girl from Italy. If all goes well, Rosetta will lift off on February 26 to begin its 10-year mission to reach and land on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
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ROVER SEES SPHERES IN THE MARTIAN SOIL
Feb 5, 2004 - Scientists on Earth have investigated the microscopic pictures of Martian soil returned by NASA's Opportunity rover, and found features that are unlike anything seen on Mars before, including spherical particles that could have been formed by the erosion of water. Opportunity also used its instruments to create a mineral map of the area, and discovered large quantities of hematite right at the surface, especially near the rim of the crater which the rover landed in. Engineers will have the rover drive forward about 3 metres - halfway to the outcrop of rock - and dig a trench with its wheel to see material down a few centimetres.
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WALLPAPER: HUBBLE'S VIEW OF M64
Feb 5, 2004 - The latest image released from the Hubble Space Telescope reveals spiral galaxy M64 in a new light. Nicknamed the "Black Eye" galaxy because of the dark bands of obscuring clouds, M64 is well known to amateur astronomers because of how it looks in small telescopes. What's unique to M64 is that the stars rotate in one direction, while the interstellar gas in the outer regions goes in the opposite direction - likely the outcome of a galactic collision.
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