February 2005

On Deep Space and the Imagination

February 21, 2005

How do we create our image of other worlds? The obvious answer — through instrumentation on space probes — is inadequate, because the raw data sent back by our spacecraft has to be assembled into the final images we see. Consider Hubble, which uses filters recording different wavelengths of light, and then combines them to […]

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A Thought for the Weekend

February 19, 2005

“…in the historical perspective, the seafaring nations of Europe grew mighty from the wealth returned from the discovery and settlement of the new world. Those societies who stayed home languished, those who embraced the unknown prospered. Seen broadly, we’re a species which owes its current success to exploration. Exploration generates opportunities which lead to economic […]

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Mars Story Update

February 18, 2005

The Bad Astronomy site is reporting that Space.com’s story about possible life on Mars has blown up. There apparently is no upcoming article in Nature, nor did researchers Carol Stoker and Larry Lemke engage in a private meeting with space officials to discuss the implications of their work along Spain’s Rio Tinto. You can read […]

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NASA Denies Mars Claim

February 18, 2005

This news release from NASA headquarters may slow down the current life on Mars story: News reports on February 16, 2005, that NASA scientists from Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., have found strong evidence that life may exist on Mars are incorrect. NASA does not have any observational data from any current Mars missions […]

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Solar Sail Launch Now Scheduled for April

February 18, 2005

The Planetary Society offers an update on its Cosmos 1 solar sail with the announcement that the spacecraft launch date has slipped to April. Planetary Society executive director Louis Friedman said all flight components had been tested and a full-mission sequence simulated with the spacecraft’s on-board computer. The sails are not yet attached to the […]

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Is Formaldehyde an Indicator of Martian Life?

February 18, 2005

New Scientist continues the focus on possible Martian life with a story on Vittorio Formisano, a European Space Agency scientist who believes he has found formaldehyde on the Red Planet. His data come from the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer aboard Mars Express, and indicate a formaldehyde concentration of 130 parts per billion. Formisano, from the Institute […]

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A Challenge to Planetary Formation Theories

February 17, 2005

February’s issue of the journal Icarus will refine an increasingly intriguing theory of planetary formation. Richard Durisen, a professor of astronomy at Indiana University – Bloomington used computer models to demonstrate the motion of gas as it condenses around a parent star. “These are the disks of gas and dust that astronomers see around most […]

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Life on Mars? Not So Fast…

February 17, 2005

In NASA Researchers Claim Evidence of Present Life on Mars, Space.com writer Brian Berger reports that two NASA scientists have evidence that life may exist on Mars. Which is true enough, though not in itself new, since uneven methane signatures in the Martian atmosphere (detected in 2004 by Mars Express) have already revealed the possibility […]

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Neutrino Telescope May Revise Story of Early Cosmos

February 16, 2005

Construction of the world’s largest scientific instrument is proceeding in the frigid wastes of Antarctica. The initial deployment of what will become the IceCube neutrino telescope involved drilling a 1.5-mile deep hole into Antarctic ice, then installing 60 optical detectors in it that will detect the elusive particles. But that’s just the beginning: IceCube demands […]

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New Huygens Audio as Cassini Heads for Enceladus

February 15, 2005

What Cassini heard from Huygens as it descended to Titan’s surface is now available as an audio file from the European Space Agency, but it may be easier to download it from Ralph Lorenz’ home page. Lorenz is an assistant research scientist at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and a co-investigator on […]

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