NASA Proves Building Blocks Of DNA Come From Space.
"NASA researchers studying meteorites have found that they contain several of the components needed to make DNA on Earth. The discovery provides support for the idea that the building blocks for DNA were likely created in space, and carried to Earth on objects, like meteorites, that crashed into the planet’s surface. According to the theory, the ready-made DNA parts could have then assembled under Earth’s early conditions to create the first DNA.
Orbital skydives to follow inflatable heatshield success?
"NASA has announced a successful live test of a prototype inflatable heat shield
for re-entry to a planet's atmosphere. The blow-up shield could have important implications for future missions to Mars - and also, perhaps, for the nascent field of orbital spacesuit skydiving
Mysterious New 'Dark Flow' Discovered in Space.
"As if the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy weren't vexing enough, another baffling cosmic puzzle has been discovered. Patches of matter in the universe seem to be moving at very high speeds and in a uniform direction that can't be explained by any of the known gravitational forces in the observable universe. Astronomers are calling the phenomenon 'dark flow.'
The stuff that's pulling this matter must be outside the observable universe, researchers conclude." [more inside]
Mt. Erebus from space.
NASA's Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment
software, which controls the Earth Observing-1
spacecraft, took some amazing images
of the lava lake of Antarctica's Mount Erebus volcano
without any human interaction. [Via Fark.]
Close-up images of comet Wild 2
were taken by the Stardust spacecraft
on Jan. 2, and NASA released 2 of them this week. The spacecraft flew within 149 miles of the comet, 242 million miles from Earth. Stardust has been overshadowed by the Mars Exploration Rover
, but I find it just as impressive, if not even more so. Now I'm looking forward to the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft
, which will reach Saturn on July 1.
NASA's 2003 budget cancels the Europa and Pluto missions.
Instead it seeks to produce nuclear powered propulsion. I am sad about the Europa
missions, I was really looking forward to those, but I am intrigued by the prospect of nuclear propulsion in space.
Public Survey for Input to the Planetary Decadal Survey.
The Planetary Society is seeking input from the public for NASA's planetary research priorities for the next 10 years. The deadline for taking the survey is January 31st.