"The double sunset that Luke Skywalker gazed upon in the film "Star Wars" might not be a fantasy. Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have observed that planetary systems dusty disks of asteroids, comets and possibly planets are at least as abundant in twin-star systems as they are in those, like our own, with only one star."
Space & Planetary Science: March 2007 Archives
"China and Russia will mount a joint effort to explore Mars and one of its moons in 2009, Chinese state media reported on Wednesday following an agreement to boost cooperation between the two ambitious space powers. A Russian rocket will lift a Chinese satellite and Russian exploration vehicle to survey Mars and Phobos, the innermost and biggest of the red planet's moons, the China Daily reported, citing China's National Space Administration."
LPSC: More from NASA night, Planetary Society
"Last year, NASA night almost broke out into a giant brawl after Mary Cleave spoke about how she didn't understand why we were angry after the announcement of major cuts to Research and Analysis (R&A) funding. Good times. I think we must have scared her off -- she, who is retiring in April, didn't show her face in Houston. Instead we were treated to Jim Green, the new head of planetary sciences, who was honest and sympathetic and actually listened to what we had to say. It was incredible."
Taking a Stern Look at NASA Science, Science (subscription)
"Finding room for lunar research in NASA's $5.4 billion science budget is one of many challenges facing Alan Stern, who next month takes over the troubled program. He's a planetary scientist from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and a one-time astronaut candidate. Last week, during a meeting with the National Academies' Space Studies Board, Stern pledged to wring more science out of a flat budget and find ways to ease controversial cuts to university grants."
NASA Declares No Room for Antimatter Experiment, Science (subscription)
"The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is a model of international cooperation, led by a dynamic Nobel Prize winner, and promises to do impressive science in space. But it may never get a chance to do its thing. The problem is that NASA has no room on its space shuttle to launch the $1.5 billion AMS mission, which is designed to search for antimatter from its perch on the international space station. "Every shuttle flight that I have has got to be used to finish the station," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin told a Senate panel on 28 February."
"The amount of water trapped in frozen layers over Mars' south polar region is equivalent to a liquid layer about 11 metres deep covering the planet. This new estimate comes from mapping the thickness of the dusty ice by the Mars Express radar instrument that has made more than 300 virtual slices through layered deposits covering the pole. The radar sees through icy layers to the lower boundary, which in places is as deep as 3.7 kilometres below the surface."
"Tomorrow, a major scientific journal will publish findings from Mars Express data. The embargo for this story expires at 18:00 GMT, when ESA will publish the story on its portal: http://www.esa.int"
"Yuri's Night is proud to announce that New Horizons, the NASA spacecraft currently en route to the ninth planet, Pluto, and the Kuiper Belt, will begin its final encounter with the Pluto system on April 12, 2015. The year 2015 will be the 54th anniversary of the spaceflight of Yuri Gagarin, the first person to orbit the Earth and the 34th anniversary of the first Shuttle launch. Each April 12, Yuri's Night holds parties around the planet to commemorate these occasions. New Horizons mission PI Dr. Alan Stern will be present at the Yuri's Night Washington, D.C. party to talk more about the mission."
"Images taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, provided detailed, three-dimensional information that was used to create this animation of a hypothetical flyover."
"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that, as Pluto passes overhead through New Mexico's excellent night skies, it be declared a planet and that March 13, 2007 be declared "Pluto Planet Day" at the legislature."
Editor's note: 13 March is the day the discovery of Pluto was announced in 1930 by the IAU.
"NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured never-before-seen views of Saturn from perspectives high above and below the planet's rings. Over the last several months, the spacecraft has climbed to higher and higher inclinations, providing its cameras with glimpses of the planet and rings that have scientists gushing. The images taken over last two months are being released today and include black and white and color mosaics, as well as a dramatic movie sequence showing the rings as they appeared to Cassini while it sped from south to north, rapidly crossing the ring plane."
"NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took this true-color view of Jupiter in support of the New Horizons Mission. The image was taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on February 17, 2007, using the planetary camera detector. Jupiter's trademark belts and zones of high- and low-pressure regions appear in crisp detail. Circular convection cells can be seen at high northern and southern latitudes. Atmospheric features as small as 250 miles (400 km) across can be discerned."