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Space News Archive - December 16, 2008

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The festive season has arrived for astronomers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in the form of this dramatic new image.

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CU-Boulder Study Provides Possible Explanation for Migration of Volcanic Activity on Mars

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Space missions are highly complex operations, not only because the satellites or space probes are unique pieces of top-notch intricate high-tech, but also because it is so challenging to get them to their assigned position in space without damage.

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A new University of Colorado at Boulder study shows the periodic "breathing" of Earth's upper atmosphere that has long puzzled scientists is due in part to cyclic solar wind disturbances, a finding that should help engineers track satellites more accurately and improve forecasts for electronic communication disruptions.

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NASA landed on Mars, photographed distant worlds, added to the International Space Station, took part in a lunar science mission with India and made major progress toward returning astronauts to the moon as the agency celebrated its 50th birthday in 2008.

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For the first time, astronomers have clearly seen the effects of "dark energy" on the most massive collapsed objects in the universe using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

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Oceanography data that will help scientists around the world better understand climate change are now available.

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Seeing the shape of material around black holes for first time.

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NASA's five THEMIS spacecraft have discovered a breach in Earth's magnetic field ten times larger than anything previously thought to exist.

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Astrophysicists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) think that their new theoretical interpretation of an imprint from the earliest stages of the universe may also shed light on what came before.

Word of the Day
humgruffin
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'