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NASA Releases a Map of the Whole Earth.

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NASA Releases a Map of the Whole Earth

Aug 25, 2003 - NASA has released a new image of the entire Earth based on images taken during the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. The global data set greatly improves maps of the Earth's surface between 60-degrees North and South of the equator - 80% of the globe. Previous maps of the United States have a similar resolution as the SRTM30 data - about 1 km - but the rest of the world is often inaccurate. SRTM is capable of producing even higher-resolution maps, down to 30 metres.

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NASA SIRTF Launches on Board a Delta II Rocket

Aug 25, 2003 - NASA's Space Infrared telescope Facility (SIRTF) successfully launched on board a Delta II rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 0535 GMT (1:35 am EDT). The Deep Space Network station in Canberra, Australia reported the first data from the observatory 64 minutes after launch. The last of the Great Observatories, SIRTF will use Infrared detectors to help expand astronomers' knowledge of many objects in the sky, including brown dwarfs, planet-forming discs of debris around other stars, and distant galaxies. The observatory will undergo two months of testing followed by another month of science verification; after that, SIRFT will be ready for use.

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Image credit: INPE
Brazilian Rocket Explodes, at Least 20 Killed

Aug 22, 2003 - At least 20 people were killed and more injured when a rocket exploded at the Brazilian Alcantara Launch Center. One of the VLS-3 rocket's engines is believed to have caught on fire, triggering an explosion that caused the launch pad to collapse. The two research satellites atop the rocket were also destroyed. This disaster is just the latest in a series of setbacks which have plagued the Brazilian rocket launch program - two rockets in 1997 and 1999 had to be destroyed shortly after take off.

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