Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Space travel and Astronomy
The Space Shuttle Must Be Stopped: It's costly, outmoded, impractical and, as we've learned again, deadly. One opinion from Time magazine. Also What Went Wrong? The clues lie in the craft's last minutes and rain of debris. Inside the search for answers.

Elevator to Space? -"Long imagined by science-fiction writers but seen by others as hopelessly far-fetched, the space-elevator concept has advanced dramatically in recent years along with leaps forward in the design of carbon nanotubes. Using the lightweight, strong carbon material, it's feasible to talk of building a meter-wide "ribbon" that would start on a mobile ocean platform at the equator, west of Ecuador, and extend 62,000 miles up into space."

Lives Lost, Lives Saved: The Benefits of Shuttle Science -"The astronauts were, in fact, scientists. Their names will appear in future scientific papers that result from research done during the 16-day mission.The price they paid for science was terrible, all agree. But even the families of the astronauts said the explorers left Earth with "a willingness to accept risk in the pursuit of knowledge -- knowledge that might improve the quality of life for all mankind." Amid their grief, the families also said "the bold exploration of space must go on," according to a statement released yesterday by NASA." The article also as more information on some of the many experiements that were done.

Interactive Space Shuttle -A behind the scenes look at the innerworkings of the Space Shuttle. TV: In Their Own Words... Remembering Columbia's Crew -A tribute to the Crew of the Columbia Mission

South Pole Telescope Follows Trail Of Neutrinos Into Deepest Reaches Of The Universe- "A unique telescope buried in Antarctic ice promises unparalleled insight into such extraordinary phenomena as colliding black holes, gamma-ray bursts, the violent cores of distant galaxies and the wreckage of exploded stars."

Promising New Comet Called NEAT Graces Evening Sky -" During the next few weeks skywatchers can look for a recently discovered comet that may become plainly visible in the evening sky, and could possibly shine very brightly, just before a close encounter with the Sun. Officially catalogued as C/2002 V1, the comet is currently visible with a pair of binoculars. Astronomers who attempt to forecast the future characteristics and behavior of these cosmic vagabonds have found this one to be particularly capricious. It may not brighten much more. Or it may soon be visible to the naked eye."

Why Mars will be So Close to Earth in August- "Anyone who had a Spirograph drawing toy as a kid has a head start in grasping why Earth and Mars will be closer to each other this August than ever in recorded history."

The New History of Black Holes: 'Co-evolution' Dramatically Alters Dark Reputation- "Black holes suffer a bad rap. Indicted by the press as gravity monsters, labeled highly secretive by astronomers, and long considered in theoretical circles as mere endpoints of cosmic evolution, these unseen objects are depicted as mysterious drains of destruction and death. So it may seem odd to reconsider them as indispensable forces of creation."

How Asteroids Trigger Volcanos- "Since the scenario has never played out in modern times, scientists don't really know exactly what will happen when the next space rock slams into Earth. One long-supposed incendiary side-effect is enhanced volcanic activity, which can make life pretty miserable for survivors who find themselves on or near the flanks of a newborn plume of molten rock. Some scientists suspect the Hawaiian Islands were born of an asteroid impact."

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