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Astronomers have spotted a large comet.


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Comet.
Astronomers from Penn State University have spotted a large Comet.

Soyuz Launches Expedition 9 to the Station.

A Soyuz TMA-3 rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome early Monday carrying three passengers to the International Space Station. On board are European Space Agency Astronaut André Kuipers and the crew of Expedition 9: Gennady Padalka and Michael Fincke. Kuipers will only stay on board the station for nine days to perform some experiments before returning to Earth with the crew of Expedition 8. The Soyuz is expected to reach the station around 0500 UTC Wednesday (1:00am EDT).

SETI Researcher Named to Top 100 List.

SETI researcher Jill Tarter has been named this week to time Magazine's Top 100 "influential and powerful people" of the 20th Century - she was chosen for the "Scientist and Thinker" category. Tarter has devoted her life to the search for extraterrestrial civilizations by looking for radio signals coming from distant stars. She's currently overseeing the development of the Allen telescope Array, which will have 32 radio dishes working as a single instrument later this year.

Big Comet Vaporizes in a Distant Star.

Astronomers from Penn State University have spotted a large Comet crashing into a distant star 3,200 light-years away. They used the 9.2-metre Hobby-Eberly telescope at the McDonald Observatory in Texas to observe star LkHalpha 234, which is 6 times the mass of the Sun, but only 100,000 years old. They observed the star several times, and during one observation the light from the star changed as if it was obscured by cometary material. They were able to calculate that a 100 km Comet must have vaporized near the star to create this effect.

Bounce Rock's Mystery Ends.

"It figures that if there was only one rock for what seems like miles in every direction, we'd find a way to hit it," said Steven Squyres, the principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rover mission. He was describing an unusual object, later called "Bounce Rock" that Spirit bounced off of during its airbag landing. scientists were split over whether this unusual object was a rock at all - they thought it could have been a piece of Spirit's landing equipment, or maybe even a meteorite. But when Spirit finally analyzed it up close, the case was closed: it's a rock that was probably blasted out of an impact crater 50 km away.

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