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Asteroids Might Have Restarted Life Several Times.

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Shuttle Landing
Shuttle Lands Safely in Florida

The Space Shuttle Endeavour touched down successfully at the Kennedy Space Center Monday afternoon at 1755 GMT (12:55 pm EST). The landing was on time, despite a delay over the weekend when Endeavour was used to help the International Space Station avoid possible collision with a chunk of space debris. Endeavour delivered the crew of Expedition 4 to the station, and brought Expedition 3, Commander Frank Culbertson and cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Tyurin, back to Earth.

Lifeboat Completes Toughest Test So Far

NASA's X-38 crew rescue vehicle completed its highest, fastest and longest flight so far to date. During this eighth test of the X-38, the vehicle was dropped from a B-52 at an altitude of almost 14,000 metres. It flew for 3 minutes, nearly reaching the speed of sound, before it deployed its parafoil and landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Technicians Working to Restore FUSE Satellite

Science operations on NASA's Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) mission came to an abrupt halt on December 10th when one of the wheels used to point the spacecraft broke down. This is the second wheel to break down, and until NASA can figure out a new solution to point the spacecraft, its scientific usefulness is limited. FUSE was launched early 1999 with the goal of helping Astronomers understand the conditions in the universe shortly after the big bang.

Asteroids Might Have Restarted Life Several Times

Scientists at Stanford University believe that early life on Earth might have started several times, only to be smashed back to near extinction by huge asteroids that pummelled a younger Earth. With each 100+ km asteroid strike, the oceans would boil, the atmosphere would catch on fire, and only the thermophiles - heat loving bacteria snuggled deep in the Earth - would have survived. Since there is no evidence of life before 3.8 billion years, this theory is controversial, but there are strains of bacteria alive today which could survive such a cataclysm.

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