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Two of Saturn's icy moons, Mimas and Tethys.
Two of Saturn's icy moons, Mimas and Tethys, circle the planet in this Infrared image of the Ringed planet taken by Cassini. Mimas is 397 kilometers (247 miles) across. Tethys is 1,071 kilometers (665 miles) across. It's also possible to see a large, doughnut-shaped storm near Saturn's southern pole which is at least 1,600 km (1,000 miles) across.
Scaled Composite's Burt Rutan and entrepreneur Richard Branson announced this week that they have created a new company that will create a fleet of suborbital spacecraft. This new company will own the designs for SpaceShipTwo and its White Knight Two carrier aircraft. The company will manufacture the vehicles, and then sell them to suborbital spaceline operators, like Virgin Galactic.
When Astronomers discover a supernova, it's too late to learn much about the star before it exploded. Even if Astronomers have a picture of its home Galaxy before the star went supernova, there are often too many stars in the area to pick out the progenitor star. An international team of Astronomers got a lucky break when a supernova exploded in the relatively nearby Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) which was well photographed by Hubble. By comparing archived pictures with a new photo containing the supernova, they were able to find the exact star that exploded.
Scientists from NASA, MIT and other institutions have developed a comprehensive simulation of the Earth's climate that accurately models ocean, ice, land and atmosphere. This new model, called the Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF) pulls in data from a variety of sources, such as satellites and ground observations. The research team will be releasing the software publicly on the internet to the scientific community so they can use the simulator to study various processes in the Earth's environment.
Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, Astronomers have discovered organic molecules in Galaxies more than 10 billion years light-years away. This means these organic molecules - considered the building blocks of life - were present when the universe was only a few billion years old. Spitzer found the molecules in starburst Galaxies which are going through intense star formation. This means that life has had a long opportunity to gain a foothold in the Universe.
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