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Mars Exploration Rovers encounter mysterious phenomena.
Since arriving at the Columbia Hills, Spirit, one of the Mars Exploration Rovers, has encountered some mysterious phenomena. The rover’s right front "arthritic" wheel that plagued Spirit’s 2-mile trek across the plains is now suddenly working perfectly and the once dust-covered solar panels whose power output was cut in half have now been miraculously wiped clean. But the biggest mystery of the Columbia Hills may lie in the angled rock outcrops that Spirit has found in the vicinity of "Larry’s Lookout" on Husband Hill.
An international team of Astronomers have performed a robust survey of quasars to confirm a prediction from Albert Einstein about how gravity should magnify the light travelling from distant objects. The study showed how the light from 200,000 quasars is being tugged by the gravity of 13 million Galaxies as it travels from the quasars to the Earth. The researchers used the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to uncover thousands of new quasars which could then fine-tune their observations.
During its recent Titan flyby, NASA's Cassini spacecraft discovered that the outer layer of the moon's thick atmosphere is filled with complex hydrocarbons. Titan is very cold, so scientists expected that these hydrocarbons would condense out of the atmosphere and rain down on the moon's surface. Instead, some process of interaction between Titan's atmosphere, sunlight, and Saturn's magnetic field are keeping them aloft and cycling them through the atmosphere.
A Zenit-3SL rocket lifted off from the floating Sea Launch platform today, placing the Spaceway F1 broadcast satellite into orbit for DIRECTV. The rocket launched at 0731 UTC (3:31 am EDT) and placed the 6,080 kg (13,376 lb) satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. The Spaceway F1 will provide HD broadcast services to North America. It's the heaviest commercial communications satellite ever launched.
Since they're orbiting hundreds of kilometres above the Earth's surface, satellites should be safe from climate change, right? Well... maybe not. According to researchers from the University of Southampton, rising levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere is actually decreasing the density of the thermosphere (where low-Earth orbiting satellites and the International Space Station are travelling). This will allow space debris in this region to orbit more quickly, and impact satellites and space stations more frequently.
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