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High-energy cosmic ray particles crash into the Earth.
NASA has announced that its next Centennial Challenge will invite teams to try and extract air from lunar soil: the MoonROx (Moon Regolith Oxygen) challenge. Specifically, the teams will need to build a piece of hardware within mass and power requirements that can extract 5 kg (11 lbs) of oxygen out of simulated lunar soil within an 8 hour period. The first team to succeed will win $250,000 USD. The competition expires June 1, 2008, if nobody is able to take the prize.
When high-energy cosmic ray particles crash into the Earth's atmosphere, they produce some of the brightest radio flashes ever seen in the sky. And they had largely gone unnoticed until now. A new detector called LOPES uses prototype antennas which will eventually be built into the largest radio telescope in the world to watch the sky for these radio flashes. By studying these flashes, Astronomers may gain some insights into the nature and origin of these cosmic rays.
NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft turned its gaze on its satellite neighbours recently, and took pictures of both Mars Odyssey and the ESA's Mars Express spacecraft. Mars Express was photographed from about 250 km (155 miles) away, while Mars Odyssey was only 90 km (56 miles) away. In both cases, the spacecraft were moving quickly relative to each other, so the timing had to be perfect to actually capture anything with Surveyor's camera.
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