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Theories about the Universe after the Big Bang.
Wide-field observations of the early universe have turned up a strange string of Galaxies 300 million light-years long that defy current theories about the evolution of the universe shortly after the Big Bang. The Astronomers who discovered the string of galaxies, which are more than 10 billion light-years away, compared it to supercomputer simulations of the early Universe, which wasn't able to reproduce strings this large this early. The next step of this research will be to map an area of the sky ten times as large to get a better idea of the large scale structure of the Universe.
Astronomers from the Harvard Center for Astrophysics studied Comet Kudo-Fujikawa as it swept past the Sun in early 2003, and they noticed it was emitting large amounts of carbon and water vapour. This new view of the Comet matches observations of other stars that indicate there could be comets emitting similar material. Since other stars probably have comets, it increases the likelihood that they could also have rocky planets, like the Earth.
NASA engineers confirmed today that the Spirit rover has successfully unfolded itself and "stood up" from its contracted travel position on the surface of Mars. The latest image taken by the rover shows its front wheels locked into the proper position. The lander's airbag is still partially blocking the main exit ramp, so engineers are considering whether to continue trying to pull the airbag in, or use another ramp to roll off the lander. The second rover, Opportunity, is expected to arrive on Mars on January 24, 2004.
An international team of Astronomers have discovered a double pulsar system - the first ever seen. The two objects orbit a common centre of gravity once every 2.4 hours; one rotates at 3000 times a minute, while the other spins at only 22 times a minute. This discovery is important because it will allow Astronomers to test various theories of relativity as the two objects interact with each other. The two pulsars will probably merge to become a black hole in 85 million years.
New research from astrobiologists suggests that some of the building blocks for life could have formed early on in the Earth's oceans if simple minerals, like borax, were present. A chemical called ribose is a key component of RNA and DNA, which are required by all forms of life on Earth. It was originally thought that ribose was too unstable to form unless it's kept cold, but the scientists found that it could bond to various chemicals, in borate and remain usable.
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