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Space News Archive - March 15, 2006

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Imagine a space tool so revolutionary it can determine the impact of climate change, monitor the melting of glaciers, discover invisible waves, predict the strength of hurricanes, conserve fish stocks and measure river and lake levels worldwide, among other scientific applications.

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Studying several tens of distant galaxies, an international team of astronomers found that galaxies had the same amount of dark matter relative to stars 6 billion years ago as they have now. If confirmed, this suggests a much closer interplay between dark and normal matter than previously believed.

Dark matter could light up the first stars in the universe if the dark matter is made up of sterile neutrinos.

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For the first time, astronomers have succeeded in weighing a binary pair of brown dwarfs and precisely measuring their diameters. These kinds of exact measurements are not possible when observing a single brown dwarf.

Cosmic nebulae usually look like blobs in space, but astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope reported on Wednesday they have found a nebula twisted like the double helix of DNA.

To learn if Mars ever supported life, researchers should look underground, a scientist presenting results of the Mars Express mission said at a conference this week.

Pity the brown dwarf. It’s too large to be a planet, but too small to be a star.

Word of the Day
postliminy
  • In Roman antiquity, the return of a person who had been banished, or taken prisoner by an enemy, to his old condition and former privileges.
  • In international law, that right by virtue of which persons and things taken by an enemy in war are restored to their former status when coming again under the power of the nation to which they belonged.
The word 'postliminy' comes from a Latin word meaning 'threshold'.