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The first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury.
Astronaut Mike Fincke and Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka spent 4.5 hours outside the International Space Station on Tuesday, preparing for the arrival of the European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), which will start delivering cargo to the station next year. They installed two antennas and replaced six laser reflectors with four new advanced versions which the ATV will use to guide itself in to dock. They ended up back in the station with 40 minutes to spare from their original mission plan - there were no problems with the Russian-built spacesuits which shortened a previous spacewalk.
Particle physicists believe they have uncovered the reason why our universe favours matter, instead of being made up of equal parts matter and antimatter. Their experiment was done with the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in the USA, which collides electrons and antimatter positrons together to produce a spray of exotic particles. Although complete opposites, the various particles and anti-particles should have similar decay times, but the experimenters found that the anti-particles seem to decay much quicker.
NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft lifted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral on Tuesday, to begin its mission to become the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury. The spacecraft was designed and built by Johns Hopkins University Applied physics Laboratory (APL), and will make a roundabout trip before reaching its final destination. It'll make 15 orbits of the Sun, and fly once past the Earth, twice past Venus and three times past Mercury before easing into its final orbit in 2011. The first and only spacecraft sent to Mercury was Mariner 10, which made three flybys in 1974-75, and only mapped less than half its surface.
This image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows the strange twisted cloud structures at the heart of the Lagoon Nebula (M8). The nebula is being driven by the central hot star, O Herschel 36, and several others, which are ionizing the outer visible parts of the nebula - making it visible. Similar to tornadoes on Earth, temperature differences between different clouds of gas create a horizontal "windshear", which twists the clouds into funnel shapes.
This is what it would look like if you were flying over a region of Mars' Valles Marineris at an altitude of 5,000 metres (3.1 miles). The photo was taken by the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft on May 2, using its High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) at a resolution of approximately 30 metres/pixel. scientists have constructed this perspective view of the region, which makes it easier to understand how the different surface features relate to each other.
Here's an image of Saturn's Moon Tethys, taken by Cassini on July 13, when the spacecraft was 4.8 million km (3 million miles) away. Tethys is only 1060 km (659 miles) across, and in this visible light image, you can only see a few details of its surface, including a large crater in its southern hemisphere. Cassini will make a close flyby of the Moon in September 2005.
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