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NASA began the countdown for launch of the Space Shuttle.


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NASA Space Shuttle Discovery.
NASA launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Tuesday will Be Launch Day for Discovery.

NASA began the countdown for launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery on July 23. If all goes well, and there are no further delays, Discovery will blast off on Tuesday, July 26 at 1439 UTC (10:39 am EDT). They still have no resolution for the malfunctioning fuel gauge, but managers have said they'll be willing to let the shuttle fly, even if the problem resurfaces, because of redundant systems.

Deep Impact: Before and After.

The powerful Palomar observatory has released its before and after images of Comet Tempel 1 after it was struck by Deep Impact. In the earliest images taken after impact, the photos show a plume of material extending 320 km (200 miles) from the comet's centre. This dust plume lasted for several nights, and allowed Astronomers to measure its rotation. Two days later another, smaller plume was visible, which could have vented from an outburst of gas and dust coming from the impact site.

Saturn Disappears Behind the Sun.

Saturn is about to go behind the Sun. For a few days, NASA won't be able to communicate with Cassini since it's currently in orbit the planet. As Saturn neared the edge on July 24, radio distortion from the Sun made communications with Cassini impossible. NASA expects to reacquire a signal from Cassini on July 27. This situation gives scientists an opportunity to probe the Sun's corona, since communications will have to pass through it. This photograph was taken by SOHO, which is parked in a gravitationally stable spot between the Earth and Sun.

Why Are There Smooth Spots on Eros?.

By creating a detailed map of asteroid 433 Eros, a researcher from Cornell University has helped answer questions about its interior. Even though Eros is largely pockmarked from thousands of meteor strikes, it does have a few puzzling smooth parts. The smooth parts appear to have been caused by seismic waves that passed through the asteroid's interior and shook the ground smooth after it was hit by large impacts. This means that Eros' interior is cohesive enough to transmit these seismic waves.

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