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South Pole of the Moon.
The team responsible for the Cassini spacecraft's imaging system have produced the most detailed mosaic image of Jupiter ever created - the whole planet is visible down to a resolution of 60 km. The spacecraft took a series of 27 images over the course of an hour on December 29, 2000. The separate photos were then blended together on a computer to account for Jupiter's rotation and the movement of the spacecraft.
Three of the Universe's largest explosions: gamma-ray bursts, X-ray flashes, and supernovae could actually come from the same event - the collapse of a supermassive star. An Astronomer from Caltech has found that the different kinds of explosions seem to contain the same amount of energy, they're just divided up differently between low and high-energy jets. NASA is going to launch a new gamma-ray detecting spacecraft, called SWIFT, which should be able to detect 100 gamma-ray busts a year. This should give scientists new targets to study.
At the South Pole of the Moon, there is a region that is always in the shadow of craters which scientists have long believed could have deposits of water ice. Despite the fact that ice was detected by two spacecraft that orbited the moon, a new survey of the area by the giant Arecibo radio observatory has failed to find any surface deposits of ice. This doesn't mean that the ice isn't there, but it might be trapped in a large area under the surface, like lunar permafrost. Arecibo is a good instrument for detecting ice because it gives a very specific echo signature in the radio spectrum.
The European Space Agency's mission to Mars, Mars Express, is right on schedule to arrive at the Red planet on December 25, 2003. The British-built Beagle 2 lander will also reach Mars the same day, but it will be released from Mars Express on December 19. Beagle 2 doesn't have any propulsion system of its own, so it's critical that Mars Express releases it on the right trajectory. It will plunge through Mars' atmosphere, deploy a parachute, and then land on the surface with the help of an airbag. Assuming everything went well, it will then be able to start examining rocks searching for evidence of life.
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