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Galileo went past Jupiter's Moon Io.
When Galileo went past Jupiter's Moon Io, it found parts of it reached temperatures as high as 1,610 degrees Celsius (2,910 Fahrenheit). The Moon is so hot because it's continually being squeezed by Jupiter's immense gravity - the friction from the tidal interaction keeps it warm. Observations from Galileo and Earth-based Telescopes have seen that the volcanoes are so hot they're vapourizing sodium, potassium, silicon and iron into the moon's atmosphere.
Astronomers have used the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) satellite to detect molecular nitrogen in interstellar space. Nitrogen is common in the Earth's atmosphere, and believed to be the fifth most abundant chemical in the Universe, but Astronomers hadn't been able to find it in interstellar molecular clouds, where it's believed to be very common. This discovery should help Astronomers better understand the formation of stars and planets out of clouds of dust and gas.
Since its existence was first theorized in the 1960s, scientists have been searching for the mysterious Higgs boson. This subatomic particle is believed to be responsible for mass, and would help explain why objects feel inertia and have momentum. Unfortunately, physicists were unable to find the particle in the 1990s using the world's largest atom smashers. A new estimate for the particle's mass from Berkeley Lab explains why it might have eluded discovery. Fortunately, CERN's new Large Hadron Collider, due to start up in 2007 should have the ability to find the Higgs particle at a heavier mass.
Now only three weeks from entering orbit around Saturn, it's time for Cassini to begin making some close up observations. Its first target is the tiny Moon Phoebe, which is only 220 kilometres (137 miles) across. The images are already better than anything taken by Voyager 2, and show a varied surface, with mountains and craters. Cassini will get its best view on June 11 when it zooms past the Moon at a distance of only 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles). It should have enough resolution at the point to see objects the size of office buildings.
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