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Hubble brings exotic beauties to the IYA party April 7, 2009

Posted by Sarah in pics, science, space.
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Remember when the folks at NASA gave us all the opportunity to vote for a target to observe with the Hubble Space Telescope? (more…)

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The threat of space debris March 15, 2009

Posted by Sarah in science.
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Space debris, the rubbish from old, defunct, or shattered satellites circling the Earth in an expanding sphere, has been a hot topic these last few weeks. Back in 2007 China came under fire for demonstrating its military muscle by shooting one of its satellites to pieces from the ground. In February two satellites collided in orbit at high velocity, spraying debris throughout space and causing fears of some of the rubble crashing down to Earth. While our growing extraterrestrial rubbish tip may seem like a pretty trivial thing to concern ourselves with, the threat it poses to our scientific and technological endeavours in outer space has become worryingly clear.

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Hubble to become satellite roadkill? February 18, 2009

Posted by Sarah in science.
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The long-awaited final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope may be under threat because of the large amounts of space debris from last week’s high-speed satellite collision posing a threat to the Shuttle and its astronauts, Nature reported on its news website yesterday. The collision of a US Iridium and a defunct Russian military communication satellite in a low  (800 km) Earth orbit blasted thousands of pieces of satellite shrapnel out into space, all of which is now orbiting the Earth in one of the busiest satellite lanes in a slowly expanding cloud. Each shard is moving fast enough to cause substantial, if not catastrophic, damage to any spacecraft it collides with. Cancellation of the mission would amount to a death sentence for Hubble, which is in dire need of repairs and upgrades for continued operation.

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Space Debris over Texas (or not) February 15, 2009

Posted by Sarah in science.
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The internet is all atwitter over the sighting of a fireball over the city of Austin, Texas, and numerous other similar sightings throughout the state(?). Speculation abounds that it may have been debris from the this week’s high-speed collision of two satellites in space, causing both to shatter to pieces – although the Federal Aviation Authority has not been able to confirm. After Twitter, blogs and local news, the bigger papers like the New York Times have picked up on the story too, although information so far appears to be sketchy and speculative. In any case I hope no one has been injured. Here’s a quick bunch of links for more info:

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