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Liquid water once flowed across the surface of Mars.
NASA scientists coined the term "blueberries" to describe the tiny hematite balls found on Mars by Spirit and Opportunity over the last few months - it was one of the most powerful pieces of evidence that liquid water once flowed across the surface of Mars. Researchers from the University of Utah had a hunch these hematite concretions would turn up on the Red Planet, since there are similar conditions in Utah's national parks. The geologists believe the blueberries on Earth were formed 25 million years ago when minerals precipitated from groundwater flowing through sandstone.
A Russian-built Proton rocket successfully launched an Intelsat 10-02 communications satellite today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahkstan. The rocket lifted off on Thursday at 2227 UTC (6:27 am EDT), and began the 9-hour journey to reach geosynchronous orbit. When it begins operations in August, the Intelsat 10-02 satellite will provide television, data and other telecommunication services to Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
All eyes will be on Mojave next week to see if Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne can reach 100km (62 miles) of altitude, but another team in Texas could be hot on their heels. Armadillo Aerospace's John Carmack reported that a prototype of his team's rocket completed a successful test flight this week. The rocket lifted off from the launch pad, flew to a height of 40 metres (131 feet), and then returned to within less than 0.3 metres (1 foot) of its starting position. Carmack isn't sure his team will be able to meet the deadline to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize, but they may push to make an attempt if Rutan's team fails.
The latest image from Cassini shows four dark turbulent storms in Saturn's southern hemisphere. Storms like this are short lived, and will often merge together, or spawn new storms. This image was taken over a month ago, on May 15, when the spacecraft was 24.7 million km (15.3 million miles) away from Saturn. Cassini will arrive at Saturn at the end of June.
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