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Andromeda galaxy formed.
Some of the first images sent back to Earth by NASA's Opportunity rover are of exposed layered rock which could have been formed gradually by water - where there's water, there could have been life. Astrobiologist Andrew Knoll is a science team member with the rover missions, and a Fisher Professor of Natural History at Harvard University. He explains how scientists search for extreme life on Earth, and how discoveries here could help the rovers spot evidence of past life on Mars.
NASA's Opportunity rover took a close look at the Martian soil near its landing site yesterday with its microscope, and controllers released the first colour images today. What's unusual about the soil is just how many spherical-shaped particles there are. There are only a few processes which can create this shape of particles, such as the gentle rolling at the bottom of an ocean. It's possible for a Volcano or asteroid impact to create spherical particles; globs of lava can freeze in mid-air as they're ejected. The largest pebble in this image is approximately 3 mm across.
A team of Astronomers have discovered what seem to be clouds of Hydrogen gas which were left over when the Andromeda Galaxy formed. The clouds were discovered using the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank telescope (GBT), which is the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope. Galaxies like Andromeda, and our own Milky Way, were thought to have formed by the continuous merging of smaller Galaxies as well as the accretion of clouds of hydrogen. Astronomers had been unable to find these clouds until now.
Using satellite data, scientists think they might have a way to give some advance warning of landslides, which kill hundreds of people around the world every year. scientists know that regions which are about to turn into a landslide can shift slightly. Local observers would never notice a few millimeters of movement, but it's possible for satellites to track it from space using a technique called radar interferometry. Analysts compare multiple images of the same location which allows them to highlight regions which have shifted slightly.
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe announced on Monday that seven hills to the east of the Spirit rover's landing site would be named for the astronauts who lost their lives when the Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed. The hills are between 3 and 5 kilometres away from Spirit's landing spot, and NASA will submit them to the International Astronomical Union for official designation.
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