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Cassini turned its gaze on Saturn's mysterious Moon Titan.
A team of Astronomers led by the University of Hawaii's Institute for astronomy have found evidence that asteroids change colour as they get older. The team used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), which has accurate colour measurements on 100,000 asteroids. They found that asteroids turn redder over time because of the constant bombardment of radiation from the Sun and cosmic rays. With more research, Astronomers should soon be able to judge the age of an asteroid just by its colour.
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) MUSES-C spacecraft snapped pictures of the Earth and Moon as it made a flyby past our planet. The maneuver is called a gravity assist, which uses the Earth's gravity to give the spacecraft a boost in speed. The ion engine powered spacecraft skimmed past our planet at an altitude of only 3700 km before continuing on towards its final target: asteroid Itokawa (1998SF36). It will reach the asteroid in summer 2005, and then spend 5 months orbiting and collecting samples from its surface. It will then leave the asteroid and return the samples to Earth in 2007.
An Atlas IIAS placed an SES Americom television broadcast satellite into orbit on Wednesday, marking the 72nd consecutive flight for the Atlas family. The rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 2222 UTC (6:22 pm EDT), and placed the AMC-11 satellite into a transfer orbit 28 minutes later. This was the second to last launch for the Atlas 2 family of boosters. The final launch will carry a military payload in July.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft turned its gaze on Saturn's mysterious Moon Titan again, taking another early look at its haze-obscured surface. The spacecraft was 29.3 million kilometres (18.2 million miles) when it took this picture with its narrow angle camera. Cassini's pictures of Titan are now better than anything that can be taken with Earth-based telescopes. scientists will get an even better view of Titan when the spacecraft reaches Saturn and its moons in July 2004.
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