Long hidden behind a thick veil of haze, Titan, the only known moon with an atmosphere, is ready for its close-up on Oct. 26, 2004. This visit by the Cassini spacecraft may settle intense speculation about whether this moon of Saturn harbors oceans of liquid methane and ethane beneath its coat of clouds.
Gravity Probe B, a NASA spacecraft to test two predictions of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity has achieved a major milestone with the completion of the first phase of its mission and the transition into the science phase. The GP-B mission is now one step closer to shedding new light on the fundamental properties of our universe.
Four hundred years ago, sky watchers, including the famous astronomer Johannes Kepler, best known as the discoverer of the laws of planetary motion, were startled by the sudden appearance of a "new star" in the western sky, rivaling the brilliance of the nearby planets. Modern astronomers, using NASA's three orbiting Great Observatories, are unraveling the mysteries of the expanding remains of Kepler's supernova, the last such object seen to explode in our Milky Way galaxy.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., selected Northrop Grumman Space Technology, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the contractor for co-designing the proposed Prometheus Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) spacecraft. The contract award is for approximately $400 million, covering work through mid-2008.
Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's giant Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) have discovered a frigid reservoir of simple sugar molecules in a cloud of gas and dust some 26,000 light-years away, near the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. The discovery suggests how the molecular building blocks necessary for the creation of life could first form in interstellar space.
Astronomers have used an X-ray image to make the first detailed study of the behavior of high-energy particles around a fast moving pulsar. The image, from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, shows the shock wave created as a pulsar plows through interstellar space at supersonic speed. These results will provide insight into theories for the production of powerful winds of matter and antimatter by pulsars...
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