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Neutron Star's Magnetism Measured for the First Time.

Image credit: NASA
Shuttle May Fly After Extreme Inspections

Jun 11, 2003 - NASA is indicating that a new regime of inspections will be required for its fleet of Space Shuttle to start flying again. In the case of Columbia, it's believed that a hairline crack only a few centimeters long was created when a chunk of foam from its fuel tank smashed into its wing. NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe said that it's going to take an "extremely meticulous" inspection system to catch this kind of problem for future flights. When launches do resume, they will be daytime flights only, so cameras can monitor the shuttle's flight to orbit. The shuttle may return to flight in December or some time in 2004.

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Image credit: NASA
Russian Cargo Vessel Arrives at Station

Jun 11, 2003 - A Russian Progress 11 cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station today, after spending three days catching up to it in orbit. The Progress reached the station at 1115 GMT (7:15am EDT) and docked automatically to the Pirs Docking Compartment on the Zvezda Service Module. On board the ship is more than two tonnes of food, fuel, water, supplies and scientific gear. This makes a total of three ships docked to the space station, including another Progress ship and the Soyuz that delivered the current crew.

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Image credit: ESA
Neutron Star's Magnetism Measured for the First Time

Jun 11, 2003 - Using the space-based XMM-Newton X-Ray observatory Astronomers with the European Space Agency have made the first direct measurement of a Neutron star's magnetic field. A neutron star is a very dense object with the mass of a large star packed into a radius of only 20-30 km, and they were predicted to have very strong magnetic fields which acted like a brake, slowing down their rotation. But after observing a neutron star called 1E1207.4-5209 for over 72 hours with the XMM, the Astronomers discovered that it was 30 times weaker than they were predicting. What causes these objects to slow down is once again a mystery.

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Image credit: ESO
Flattest star Ever Discovered

Jun 11, 2003 - Astronomers with the European Southern Observatory have discovered a star which is extremely flat All rotating objects in space are flattened due to their rotation; even our Earth is 21 kilometres wider at the equator than it is pole-to-pole. But this new star, called Achernar, is 50% wider at its equator than at its poles. Obviously it's spinning quickly, but its shape doesn't fit into the current Astrophysics models. It should be losing mass into space at the rate it's going. time for some new models.

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