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NASA has given Opportunity rover the "thumbs up".


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Opportunity rover Endurance crater.
NASA has given Opportunity the "thumbs up" to drive into Endurance crater.

Opportunity Rover Will Enter Endurance Crater.

NASA has given Opportunity the "thumbs up" to drive into Endurance crater; even though it might not be able to get back out again. There's just so much science in there that it's worth the risk. Opportunity has been investigating the rim of the crater since late May to find the best possible place to go in to avoid rolling over. The earliest chance to enter the crater will be next week, when it will drive to the southern edge of the crater and make a final check of the steepness of the slope.

Fabric of the Cosmos: Book Review.

So you're at this cocktail party and your eye is totally captured by this vivacious and charming individual circling the room. You get your chance and approach. You start talking and when asked what you do, before your brain kicks in, your mouth says, "theoretical physicist". You're doomed. You're a charlatan and you will be exposed in no time. But wait, there is hope. Before your next party, read Brian Greene's book on The Fabric of the Cosmos and though you won't be able to impress graduate students, you will certainly add life to a party's conversation.

Galaxy Stripped Clear of Star Forming Material.

A new photo of spiral Galaxy NGC 4402 shows how it's being stripped of its star forming material as it falls towards the Virgo super cluster - and experiences a wind from the hot cluster gas which can reach millions of degrees. The photo was taken using the WIYN 3.5-metre telescope at Kitt Peak, and it shows how the Galaxy is actually being bowed upward from the galactic "wind" blowing from the lower left of the image. Once the cold gas is fully blown out of the galaxy, it will be essentially dead, and incapable of forming new stars like regular galaxies.

Cassini Ready to Begin Its Saturn Tour.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is now less than a month away from its close encounter with Saturn and its moons. It's been travelling for almost seven years and on July 1, 2004 at 0230 UTC (10:30 pm EDT, June 30), the spacecraft will officially enter orbit around the Ringed Planet. On board Cassini are 12 instruments which will be used to analyze Saturn and its moons over the course of 4 years to understand their chemistry, magnetic fields, and interactions. Cassini is carrying a passenger; the European Space Agency's Huygens probe, which will be deployed on December 25, 2004 to land on the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

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