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Jupiter's moon, Amalthea.


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Jupiter's moon, Amalthea.
New observations of Jupiter's moon, Amalthea.

Jovian Moon Was Probably Captured.

Observations of Jupiter's moon, Amalthea, reveal that it probably didn't form with the giant planet. The observations were made with the powerful Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, which found that Amalthea has unusual amounts of water-carrying minerals. These typically form in low temperature environments. Astronomers theorize that Jupiter's moons formed from several small objects merging together, and Amalthea could be an example of one of these building blocks that never had a chance to merge.

Russian cargo spacecraft Launches with Supplies for the Station.

An unmanned Progress cargo ship lifted off from Kazakhstan over night, carrying much needed supplies for the International Space Station. Food supplies were getting low on board the station, so the Progress is loaded up with a 112-day supply of food, as well as water, air, propellant, and additional spare parts for the station. It's expected to dock automatically on December 25th to the aft port of the Zvezda living quarters module.

Huygens Set to Detach from Cassini Today.

After a 7 year journey, and travelling more than 3.2 billion km (1.9 billion miles) with Cassini, Huygens is about to head out on its own. In just a few hours, controllers will give the order to detach Huygens from Cassini using tension-loaded springs, and send its on its way for its encounter with Titan in 20 days. The exciting part of Huygens mission will take just over two hours as it plummets through the moon's atmosphere, sending back details to Cassini. And if Huygens is really lucky, it'll survive on the surface of Titan for another two hours.

Asteroid 2004 MN4 Gets the Highest Score on the Torino Scale.

A newly discovered 400-metre (1,300 ft) asteroid has been given a 2 on the Torino asteroid impact scale; the first time this has ever happened. According to current calculations, asteroid 2004 MN4 will have a 1/300 chance of striking the Earth on April 13, 2029. Astronomers expect the threat rating will decrease as more observations are made. If it actually did strike the Earth, an asteroid this large would do a significant amount of damage.

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