Science News

Astronomers Estimate the Mass of Dwarf Planet Eris

18 June 2007
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) joined forces with the 10-m telescopes of W.M. Keck Observatory to yield a precise estimate of the mass of Eris, the largest dwarf planet. Eris (approximately 2,400 km across) is slightly larger in diameter than Pluto, the second largest dwarf planet. Now Eris is known to be 27% more massive than Pluto.

Researchers Convert Glucose Directly to Building Block for Fuels and Plastics

18 June 2007
A team of researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have converted glucose directly and with high yield to a chemical intermediate for the production of fuels and plastics: 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). HMF can be converted into plastics, petroleum or diesel fuel extenders, or into diesel fuel. The researchers report on their work in the 15 June issue of the journal Science.

Restless Moons

17 June 2007
According to recent measurements from the Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft, Saturn's moons Tethys and Dione are hurling streams of plasma (electrically charged gas) into space. The discovery hints at the possibility of some phenomenon of geological activity, perhaps even volcanic, on these small icy moons. Before this startling discovery, only Titan, Saturn's largest moon, and volcanic Enceladus were known to be active.

A Unique Image of a Spectacular Galaxy

14 June 2007
NASA recently published an exquisite image of M81, the picturesque spiral galaxy, acquired by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The color composite image is the sharpest view ever obtained of M81.

A Flight to the International Space Station

13 June 2007
On 8 June 2007, Space Shuttle Atlantis was launched toward the International Space Station (ISS) on an 11-day mission, designated STS-117. The objectives of STS-117 include adding a new structural component to the ISS, deploying a new set of solar arrays and retracting an existing array.

Flying Between Two Saturnian Rings

12 June 2007
NASA recently published an exquisite image of Saturn's rings, acquired by the Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft. The image shows Atlas, Saturn's tiny inner moon, gliding in the space between the A and F rings.

Three Space Telescopes Image a Spiral Galaxy

11 June 2007
NASA recently published an exquisite image of the nearby spectacular spiral galaxy M81. The image was composed of images acquired by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX).

Mesmerizing Saturn

07 June 2007
NASA recently published a spectacular image of Saturn, acquired by the Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft. The captivating scene is a magnificent interplay of light and shadow of Saturn and its graceful rings.

Mercury-bound Probe Flies by Venus

07 June 2007
On 5 June 2007, NASA’s Mercury-bound MESSENGER spacecraft made its second flyby Venus, our nearest planet, for a gravity assist. This maneuver reduced the size of MESSENGER's orbit around the Sun, pulling it closer to Mercury. The spacecraft's velocity changed by nearly 24,000 km/hr.

New Views of Enceladus

05 June 2007
NASA's Cassini spacecraft recently imaged Enceladus, Saturn's volcanic moon. The image shows the giant plume of icy particles, emanating from the moon's southern polar regions.

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