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Asteroid Toutatis made its closest approach to the Earth.
It was a nailbiter this morning at the Mojave spaceport in California when SpaceShipOne successfully returned to space; half way to winning the $10 million X-Prize.
Sep 29, 2004 - Twenty-five years ago, on September 28, 1979, the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope (CFHT) was inaugurated on top of Mauna-Kea, a 4,200-meter high dormant Volcano on the island of Hawai¹i.
From the photographic emulsion of the first light to today's 340 Mega-Pixel digital camera, CHFT¹s instruments are cutting edge; its camera is the largest ever built in operation on a telescope. With high-resolution or multi-object spectroscopy, adaptive optics and polarimetry, CFHT has played an important role for a quarter of a century in the development of astronomy, thanks to the support of its member agencies in Canada, France and the State of Hawaii.
NASA's Institute for Advanced Concepts has selected 12 proposals for further study as part of its goal of finding revolutionary ideas that could help the agency's plans for human space exploration. Proposals selected as part of Phase 1 will receive $75,000 for a six-month study. Those selected for Phase 2 will have two years and $400,000 to further develop their concept. Some of the Phase 1 winners include an Infrared observatory on the Moon, lunar space elevators, electrostatic radiation shields and a plasma propulsion system.
As predicted, asteroid Toutatis made its closest approach to the Earth today, passing a mere 1.5 million km (930,000 miles) away from our planet - 4 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. The 4.6 km (2.9 mile) long asteroid hasn't made an approach this close since 1353. Since it was first discovered in 1989, Toutatis has been closely studied by Astronomers because it has an orbit that brings it close to the Earth every 4 years. Unfortunately, it's still too dim to see with the unaided eye, but skilled amateur Astronomers with Telescopes watching the southern skies have spotted it. Toutatis won't get this close again until 2562.
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