Astronews Daily (2455534)

December 3, 2010 12:15 by scibuff

Top Stories

Back-in-Action Cassini Doesn’t Disappoint – Here are a few raw images from the Cassini spacecraft‘s most recent flyby of Enceladus. The probe seems to be in good health following several weeks in safe mode, after a bit flipped in the command and data subsystem computer. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

X-37B space plane returns to Earth in the next few days – The landing window for the U.S. military X-37B space plane opens Friday, but officials are mum about the timing of specific opportunities to return the craft to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. -Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

Special fueling test could be ordered for Discovery’s tank – NASA managers and engineers met Thursday to discuss the potential root cause of cracks in the shuttle Discovery’s external tank, what additional tests might be needed and what, if any, modifications might be required before another launch attempt can be made. -William Harwood / Spaceflight Now

Landing on Mars in 2016 – I remember going up to a leading French planetary scientist at a meeting in Paris last year and asking if he was interested in taking part in Europe’s mission to land a spacecraft on Mars in October 2016. “No,” was his response, “because there is no science on it.” –Jonathan Amos / BBC

Super Venus steampunk planet! – Last year, astronomers discovered a remarkable planet orbiting another star: it has a mass and radius that puts it in the “super-Earth” category — meaning it’s more like the Earth than a giant Jupiter-like planet. Today, it has been announced that astronomers have been able to analyze the atmosphere of the planet (the very first time this has ever been accomplished for a super-Earth), and what they found is astonishing: the air of the planet is either shrouded in thick haze, or it’s loaded with water vapor… in other words, steam! –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

[more stories]

Videos

NASA science update - Astrobiology - The search for life

  

Photos

Alauda binary system

Alauda binary system

Comet 103p/Hartley and M46

Comet 103p/Hartley and M46

Aurora Borealis from Greenland

Aurora Borealis from Greenland

Harrat Khaybar, Saudi Arabia

Harrat Khaybar, Saudi Arabia

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

A Flame in Orion's Belt

A Flame in Orion's Belt - This mosaic image taken by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, features three nebulae that are part of the giant Orion Molecular Cloud. The image covers an area of the sky about three times as high and wide as the full moon (1.5 by 1.8 degrees). Included in this view are the Flame nebula, the Horsehead nebula and NGC 2023. - Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team

The photo above is “Pick of the Day” from one of the three galleries: Astronomy Gallery, Space Shuttle Gallery and Space Station Gallery.

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