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Atlas Rocket Launches Classified Satellite.

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Space News for October 11, 2001

Atlas launch
Atlas Rocket Launches Classified Satellite

An Atlas 2AS booster launched Wednesday evening from Cape Canaveral carrying a classified satellite cargo for the National Reconnaissance Office - the agency that maintains spy satellites for the United States. No information has been released about the satellite's purpose, but industry experts believe it's either for data relay or communications eavesdropping.

New Method of Detecting Starbirth

A team of scientists from the European Space Agency have uncovered a method of detecting when a massive protostar has begun to warm up and become a star. Using the ESA's Infrared Space Observatory and the James Clerk Maxwell telescope on Hawaii, the team looked for the presence of Hydrogen cyanide; a toxic chemical that only forms when the star has reached a very precise stage of its evolution. Using this method, Astronomers will be able to locate protostars on the verge of forming stars, and learn more about this process.

Turbine in Wind Tunnel
Wind Turbines Could Be Used on Mars

Wind turbines designed for remote locations like Antarctica may someday lead to a similar design to supply power on Mars. Current plans use solar panels to generate power for Martian explorers which would be useless during a dust storm. So, researchers at NASA Ames are proposing a hybrid solar/wind power system which switches over during a dust storm to maintain adequate power. A prototype system is currently being developed for testing in Alaska.

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