Space & Planetary Science: October 2005 Archives

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #3972

"We have recently discovered a young brown dwarf in the Taurus star-forming region that exhibits several characteristics {very faint for its spectral type, forbidden emission lines, anomalous near-IR colors} that are often observed in stars occulted by edge-on circumstellar disks."

You Make the Call, NASA Chief Tells Scientists, Science (subscription)

"Researchers say they are willing to make those choices, but they note that NASA has disbanded its own advisory council. The agency has not sought advice yet from the academy panel on how to manage its fiscal crisis and avoid a civil war among disciplines fighting for limited resources."

~ 7.5 Earth-Mass Planet Orbiting the Nearby Star, GJ 876

"High precision, high cadence radial velocity monitoring over the past 8 years at the W. M. Keck Observatory reveals evidence for a third planet orbiting the nearby (4.69 pc) dM4 star GJ 876." ... "This inclination yields a mass for companion d of m = 7.53 +- 0.70 Earth masses, making it by far the lowest mass companion yet found around a main sequence star other than our Sun."

Interdisciplinary Scientists Propose Paradigm Shift in Robotic Space Exploration, California Institute of Technology

"Just ask any geologist. If you're studying the history of a planet and the life forms that may have lived on it, the really good places to look are rugged terrains like canyons and other areas where water, igneous activity, wind, and seismic rumblings have left their respective marks. Flat is not so good."

Future Smart Robotic Space Missions Will Be Multi-tiered, Researchers Say, University of Arizona

"Remote-sensing orbiters, probes, landers and rovers are returning astonishing discoveries about our solar system. But some of the most exciting geological and potentially astrobiological places in our family of planets and moons are dangerous and difficult to explore."

9 Planets? 12? What's a Planet, Anyway?, NY Times

"The solar system is much more complicated now, astronomers say, than in 1930 when Clyde Tombaugh added Pluto to the inventory of wandering lights circling the Sun. In addition to Earth, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Neptune, Uranus and Pluto, schoolchildren now learn that there are also comets and asteroids bumping about in the night. But there are also the Oort cloud, a hypothesized halo of cometary bits hibernating in deep, deep space, and the Kuiper Belt, a ring of icy bodies beyond Neptune's orbit. Not mention the dozens of moons circling the planets."

Editor's note: NASA management has decided to terminate the Space Environments and Effects (SEE) Program. An email was sent to a large distribution list informing people of the decision.


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