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Mars Express Says Goodbye to the Earth and Moon.


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Image credit: NASA
Shuttle Program's Flaws Will Be Revealed

Jul 17, 2003 - Investigators working to determine the cause of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster are expecting to reveal some serious problems with NASA's program that oversees shuttle safety. The investigation team interviewed 72 NASA employees and contractors over a period of months and learned there were serious gaps in the agency when it came to safety. Some inspections had been removed to cut costs; quality assurance staff weren't allowed to perform "spot checks"; and the agency was using hopelessly outdated testing equipment.

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Image credit: ESA
Mars Express Says Goodbye to the Earth and Moon

Jul 17, 2003 - Now well on its way to the Red Planet, the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft took a farewell image of the Earth and Moon. The photo was snapped on July 3 when the spacecraft was 8 million kilometres away from the Earth. The picture was taken as part of a series of tests the ESA is doing to make sure the Mars Express' cameras and instruments are working properly. Once it reaches Mars in late December, the spacecraft will be able to resolve objects on the surface of Mars as small as 2 metres.

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Image credit: ESA/NASA
SOHO is Back in Business

Jul 17, 2003 - ESA/NASA's SOHO spacecraft is back to full capacity after a 9-day long blackout. On June 19, the pointing mechanism on the spacecraft's high-gain antenna malfunctioned; however, controllers were able to retrieve data through its low-gain antenna using larger receiving dishes on Earth. The spacecraft was repositioned this week to let its antenna point directly at Earth. By repositioning it every three months, mission controllers don't expect they will lose more than a fraction of data, allowing the spacecraft to continue operations for another five years.

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Image credit: Hubble
Clusters without a Home

Jul 17, 2003 - Thousands of globular star clusters wander aimlessly between galaxies, in what was once thought to be 'empty space'. This is the finding of a joint US-UK project announced today at the International Astronomical Union General Assembly in Sydney. The group, lead by Dr. Michael West of the University of Hawaii, believes these clusters were 'torn' away from their parent Galaxies and now drift as orphans. (contributed by Darren Osborne)

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