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Hubble Looks into the Heart of a Globular Cluster.

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Space News for October 4, 2001

Omega Centauri
Hubble Looks into the Heart of a Globular Cluster

Astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope to peer deep into the core of a dense cluster of stars called Omega Centauri. Located 17,000 light years from Earth, Omega Centauri contains several million stars locked together and orbiting a common centre of gravity. The stars at the core are so densely packed together, they occasionally collide and form larger stars.

NASA MAP Probe Reaches New Home

NASA's Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP), launched three months ago, has reached the L2 Lagrange Point; a very stable position about 1.6 million kilometres from Earth. MAP will scan the sky over the next two years, and build a map of the background radiation left over from the Big Bang. The devices on MAP are so precise, they can measure differences in temperature to within a millionth of a degree.

Weightless Astronaut
Fighting Bone Loss with Vibration

Scientists have known for a long time that one risk of spaceflight is the loss of bone mass due to weightlessness. So far, the only solution to combat this loss is exercise, but NASA thinks it might have another solution: vibration. New research suggests that bones which are slightly shaken may help astronauts stay healthier during long spaceflights.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
Lockheed Selected to Build Next Mars Orbiter

NASA has selected Lockheed Martin Astronautics to build a new spacecraft called the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. If all goes well, the spacecraft will launch in 2005 and provide the highest resolution images ever taken of the Red Planet. Lockheed Martin will build the orbiter bus, and be responsible for integrating eight payloads. The contract is worth $145 million USD.

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