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Sedna is located in the Kuiper Belt.
A new object has been discovered in the Solar System; it's nearly as large as Pluto, but 13 billion kilometres away. Tentatively named Sedna, the Inuit goddess of the Sea, it's approximately 1,700 km in diameter, which makes it the largest solar system object found since Pluto was located in 1930. Sedna is located in the Kuiper Belt, and follows a highly ecliptic orbit that takes 10,500 years to complete. The object was first discovered using the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, and then confirmed with several other instruments, including the Spitzer Space Telescope.
One of the largest astronomy catalogs ever created was released to the public today by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The released data contains six terabytes of images and catalogs, containing 88 million celestial objects and detailed spectra on 350,000 objects. Many discoveries have been made with previously released SDSS data, including the most distant quasars, coolest stars, properties of galaxies, and the locations of many asteroids. The photographs were taken using the SDSS' 2.5 metre telescope, which records images digitally using 5 filters.
More than a million people die from malaria every year, a disease spread by mosquitoes. Epidemics happen when environmental conditions, like rainfall, temperature and vegetation are perfect for the disease carrying insects. By tracking these changes with satellites, NASA scientists hope to be able to predict when and where disease outbreaks will happen to give people some warning. This would help relief agencies know where conditions are going to be the worst so they can direct their efforts.
One of the most innovative aspects of the Mars Pathfinder and Exploration Rover missions were the durable airbags which helped the spacecraft survive a hard landing on the surface of Mars. Instead of having to slow their descent from parachute speed, they could carry much less fuel... and bounce. But developing the airbags was a significant engineering challenge. How to create a fabric that could survive a long fall, across sharp rocks, which wouldn't clog up the lander when it deflated. Engineer Tommaso Rivellini explains the journey to create the airbag system which became so successful.
A Lockheed Martin-built Atlas III rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Saturday, lofting the MBSAT communications satellite into orbit - the rocket lifted off at 0540 UTC (12:40am EST). MBSAT will provide a range of telecommunications services to countries in Asia. This was the second Atlas flight this year, and 70th consecutive success for the family of rockets.
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