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Universe Age Set at 12.5 Billion Years.
February 7, 2001
Four Big Space Anniversaries
Atlantis Prepares for its Destiny
universe Age Set at 12.5 Billion Years
FOUR BIG SPACE ANNIVERSARIES
Space historian Larry Klaes takes a look back at four special anniversaries of Space exploration that occurred on January 31st: Ham the Chimp's flight into space, Russian-built Luna 9 lands on the Moon, Apollo 14 reaches the Moon, and the first US satellite is launched. Brush up on your space history knowledge with this collection of anniversaries.
ATLANTIS PREPARES FOR ITS DESTINY
The Space Shuttle Atlantis has been fueled and is all ready to launch the US-built Destiny laboratory module to space station Alpha. Atlantis and its 5-astronaut crew are expected to launch at 2311 GMT (6:11pm EST) and rendezvous with the station shortly thereafter. The $1.38 billion Destiny payload is so large and cumbersome, the astronauts expect removing it from the shuttle cargo bay and attaching it to the station is going to be an extremely complex operation. Meteorologists predict a 100% chance of good weather for the launch.
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UNIVERSE AGE SET AT 12.5 BILLION YEARS
Based on new research, a group of French Astronomers have estimated the Age of the universe to be approximately 12.5 billion years (plus or minus another 3 billion years). The team used the ESO Very Large telescope (VLT) in Paranal, Chile to analyze the amount of uranium-238 in one of the oldest stars in the Milky Way: CS 31082-001. Uranium is similar to Carbon-14 in that it decays at a very predictable rate; it has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. Based on this technique, the Astronomers determined that the star is 12.5 billion years old; therefore, the universe must be older than this star.
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