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Astronomy Picture of the Day 01-01-04
NASA ^ | 01-01-04 | Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell

Posted on 12/31/2003 10:35:59 PM PST by petuniasevan

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2004 January 1
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Structure in N63A
Credit: X-ray: J. Warren (Rutgers) et al., CXC, NASA
Optical: Y.Chu (U. Illinois), STScI, NASA
Radio: J.Dickel (U. Illinois) et al., ATCA

Explanation: Shells and arcs abound in this false-color, multiwavelength view of supernova remnant N63A, the debris of a massive stellar explosion. The x-ray emission (blue), is from gas heated to 10 million degrees C as knots of fast moving material from the cosmic blast sweep up surrounding interstellar matter. Radio (red) and optical emission (green) are brighter near the central regions where the x-rays seem to be absorbed by denser, cooler material on the side of the expanding debris cloud facing the Earth. Located in the neighboring galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud, the apparent age of this supernova remnant is between 2,000 and 5,000 years, its extended glow spanning about 60 light-years. The intriguing image is a composite of x-ray data from the orbiting Chandra Observatory, optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope, and radio from the Australia Telescope Compact Array.

TOPICS: Astronomy; Astronomy Picture of the Day; Science
KEYWORDS: remnant; supernova; xray
Happy New Year!

Status report on Beagle:

1623 GMT (11:23 a.m. EST)

Mars Odyssey made another attempt to detect the Beagle 2 lander this morning. But like all the previous tries, this one was also unsuccessful.

It took several hours for officials to confirm the results of the orbiter's overflight of the landing site because the Deep Space Network on Earth was occupied by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover and Stardust projects.

In the planned communications session with an orbiting spacecraft, Beagle switches into "listening" mode for 80 minutes. During the pass over the landing site Mars Odyssey sends out a series of 'hails' which, if picked up by Beagle, will enable the lander's receiver to lock onto the signal from the orbiter and activates the lander's transmitter and communications can proceed.

"Scientists took the opportunity this morning to upload another command to Beagle 2 to try to reset its internal clock," the Beagle 2 project announced. "This time, however, the instructions were embedded in the 'hail' command. This is designed to initiate the contact sequence with Beagle 2 and doesn't require a response from the lander to confirm the data have been received.

"No initial result was achieved during this pass of Odyssey but it is hoped that the command may bring success in a future communication slot."

The next opportunity for retrieval of a signal from Beagle 2 will be with Mars Express in early January. Officials said the specific date and time of the next attempt is still being assessed.

NASA has Mars missions planned through decade

Posted: December 31, 2003

An artist's concept of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Photo: NASA/JPL
The Mars Exploration Rovers represent the next step in an ambitious, on-going program to explore the Red Planet, to map out its structure, composition and meteorology and to determine whether it ever harbored life.

NASA plans to follow the 2003 rover missions with launch of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in August 2005, a 1,900-kilogram (4,200-pound) spacecraft loaded with nine state-of-the-art instruments and cameras that are "truly an order of magnitude beyond that which we've done with Odyssey and MGS," said James Garvin, NASA's chief Mars scientist.

In 2007, NASA will launch a so-called Scout mission. Four such missions currently are under consideration: A lander built with spare parts left over from the scrapped 2001 mission; a rocket-powered airplane; an orbiter to look for trace gases in the atmosphere that are indicative of biological processes; and a mission to bring a sample of the martian atmosphere back to Earth for detailed analysis.

An artist's concept of SCIM. The mission would collect millions of dust particles and about a quart of atmospheric gas from Mars during a fast flythrough of the martian atmosphere for return to Earth. Credit: University of Arizona
In 2009, NASA hopes to launch the Mars Science Laboratory, a large nuclear-powered rover that will "carry with it the most sophisticated, carbon-sniffing gear invented by humans," Garvin said. The MSL would operate for a year or more.

"We believe there is missing carbon and once we understand it, what it's like, where it came from, we'll understand more about the possibilities of life, or at least of there having been life on Mars at at least one extremely high priority site."

Following the 2009 launch, NASA will either press ahead with a sample return mission or additional missions to further refine potential landing sites. Ultimately, Garvin hopes, humans will follow.

"We think we have a hell of a program," Garvin said. "It's going to be exciting. I think we're going to find some remarkable stuff."

1 posted on 12/31/2003 10:36:00 PM PST by petuniasevan
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To: petuniasevan

2 posted on 12/31/2003 10:41:07 PM PST by Soaring Feather (I do Poetry. Feathers courtesy of the birds.)
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To: MozartLover; Joan912; NovemberCharlie; snowfox; Dawgsquat; Vigilantcitizen; theDentist; ...

michael miserable failure moore hillary evil bitch clinton al sore loser gore bill lying rapist clinton

3 posted on 12/31/2003 10:41:54 PM PST by petuniasevan (OVERDRAWN?? Whaddaya MEAN??? I still have checks left!)
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To: bentfeather
You're fast! Happy New Year!
4 posted on 12/31/2003 10:42:47 PM PST by petuniasevan (OVERDRAWN?? Whaddaya MEAN??? I still have checks left!)
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To: petuniasevan
HaPPy NeW YeaR BumP
5 posted on 12/31/2003 10:43:49 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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To: petuniasevan
For once, I am on top of my pings!

Happy New Year. LOL
6 posted on 12/31/2003 10:44:09 PM PST by Soaring Feather (I do Poetry. Feathers courtesy of the birds.)
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To: petuniasevan; RadioAstronomer
I like the aesthetics of this picture.
7 posted on 01/01/2004 10:08:13 AM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: petuniasevan
Happy New Year
8 posted on 01/01/2004 10:55:00 AM PST by firewalk
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To: petuniasevan
No mention of the Mars Telecom Orbiter (MTO) -- the first Martian communications satellite. That one is due for a 2009 launch.

9 posted on 01/01/2004 4:02:49 PM PST by MikeD (Why yes, I AM a rocket scientist!)
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To: petuniasevan
I like the idea of SCIM. Would it be possible to do an Apollo-style mission where a lander touches down, collects samples, then boosts itself back to an orbiting surveyor which then rockets back to Earth?

As always, thanks for the great articles and up-to-the minute reports, petuniasevan!
10 posted on 01/02/2004 1:09:17 AM PST by BradyLS (DO NOT FEED THE BEARS!)
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To: BradyLS
I should have said "an unmanned Apollo-style mission."
11 posted on 01/02/2004 1:11:22 AM PST by BradyLS (DO NOT FEED THE BEARS!)
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