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NASA Selects New Pluto Mission
NASA announced yesterday that it has selected a new mission to explore the planet Pluto; although, this is just a preliminary study right now, and the mission could still be shelved. The mission is called New Horizons, and is led by researchers at the Southwest Research Institute. If everything goes well, and the funding for an actual mission is approved, the spacecraft would need to launch before 2006 to make it to Pluto before 2020.
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Shuttle Launch Delayed For Spacewalk
The launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour has been pushed back until Tuesday, which will give cosmonauts on board the International Space Station time to spacewalk and fix a problem with an improperly latched Progress cargo ship. A piece of debris, believed to be a cable or wire, was blocking the station's docking port - cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Tyurin will spacewalk on Monday evening to remove it and attempt a "hard lock" between the ship and the station. If all goes well, Endeavour will launch Tuesday at 2245 GMT (5:45pm EST) to deliver the crew of Expedition 4.
New Evidence for Callisto's Ocean
A recent image taken by the Galileo spacecraft of Callisto, one of Jupiter's larger moons, provides new evidence that it may also possess an underground ocean (scientists have long theorized that Jovian neighbour Europa has an ocean). The image was taken of a region of Callisto that was struck by an enormous asteroid some time in the past; known as the Valhalla basin. Unlike other moons and planets that have suffered such a strike, there is no bulge on the opposite site of the moon. This leads scientists to believe that an underground ocean cushioned the blow of the impact.
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