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Evidence Found for Early Earth Bombardment.


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Evidence Found for Early Earth Bombardment

Image credit: NASA
Researchers from the University of Queensland have discovered evidence they believe proves that the Earth was bombarded by meteorites 4 billion years ago. Although these impacts are clearly visible on the Moon, movement the Earth's tectonic plates have obscured the evidence here. The team analyzed 3.8 billion year old rocks from Greenland, and found anomalies in the element tungsten; exactly the same as those found in meteorites.

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Jul 30, 2002, 9:29pm

Keeping Mars Clean of Earth Bugs

Image credit: ESA
One concern engineers have when designing space missions is how to ensure our spacecraft don't bring along unexpected microorganisms when they reach a distant planet. There are strict international rules to avoid contamination, so engineers use several techniques to keep their spacecraft clean: sterilization through heat, vacuum, alcohol, irradiation with ultraviolet light and other kinds of radiation. Once they're done, engineers hope to have less than 300,000 microorganisms in the Beagle 2, due for launch in 2003. That sounds like a lot, but there are several billion wee beasties on even the cleanest kitchen floor.

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Jul 30, 2002, 9:14pm

Canadian X-Prize Entrant Moves Closer to Spaceflight

Image credit: Canadian Arrow
A Canadian team competing to win the $10 million X-Prize announced that they had completed a major milestone on their entrant, the Canadian Arrow. The team performed a successful test burn of their prototype engine and believe it will now work in actual flight - a main engine test could happen as early as August. Twenty one teams from 5 countries are competing for the X-Prize, which will award $10 million to the first group able to launch a three-person rocket twice in two weeks to an altitude of 100 km.

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Jul 30, 2002, 9:02pm

Scramjet Prototype Has a Successful Flight

Image credit: University of Queensland
A new jet designed to travel more than 7 times the speed of sound has been successfully tested in the Australian desert. The prototype Hyshot engine is a scramjet; unlike a traditional chemical rocket which carries heavy liquid oxygen in gigantic fuel tanks, a scramjet pulls the oxygen it needs from the atmosphere. The engine was strapped to a traditional rocket and lifted up to an altitude of 300 km at which point the scramjet kicked in and accelerated it towards the Earth - hopefully reaching a speed of 8,600 km/hour before it crashed.

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Jul 30, 2002, 8:47pm



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