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Phoebe, a Moon of Saturn that the spacecraft passed on June 11.
Scientists working with NASA's Cassini spacecraft have stitched together photos taken by the spacecraft to build a complete picture of Phoebe, a Moon of Saturn that the spacecraft passed on June 11. The tiny Moon is likely an ancient collection of ice, rock and carbon-containing compounds similar to Pluto and Neptune's Moon Triton. planetesimals like this could be very common in the outer reaches of the Solar System, as they were ejected during the early formation of the planets. Phoebe was probably captured early on by Saturn, perhaps 4 billion years ago.
A team of physicists from the University of California have built a cluster of nearly 300 computer processors capable of simulating some of the mysteries of the Universe. "The Space Simulator" has a theoretical performance of 1.5 teraflops, which places it at #344 on the list of the 500 fastest computers in the world. It was developed on a budget, though, at a cost of only $1,000 per processor; $500,000 for the whole cluster. It's been used to simulate the structure and evolution of the Universe, supernovae explosions, and X-ray emission from the centre of the galaxy.
Auditors with the US Government delivered a negative report this week about NASA's ability to properly estimate large projects, and manage them effectively. As part of this study, the General Accounting Office reviewed 27 programs, 10 of them in-depth, and came to the conclusion that "NASA lacks a clear understanding of how much programs will cost and how long they will take to achieve their objectives". In an appendix of the report, however, NASA acknowledged the flaws and detailed the steps it was taking to correct the situation.
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory has revealed an extremely hot region at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy. A team of Astronomers from UCLA turned Chandra's gaze on a region approximately 100 light-years across, and then painstakingly removed the glow from more than 2,500 point sources of X-ray radiation (neutron stars, black holes, etc). What remained was the characteristic radiation from gas being heated to 100 million degrees. It could be that the glow isn't coming from gas, but a collection of point sources, like a cluster of 200,000 Neutron stars.
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