Images of Mars Captured by Hubble
Thanks to Mars’ closest approach to the Earth in over 8 years, the Hubble Space Telescope was able to take a set of detailed images of the Red Planet. Hubble captured the images when Mars was only 87 million km away, and was able to resolve details on the surface on 12 km across.
Planets Without Stars Could Still Contain Life
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Planetary scientist David Stevenson believes that Earth-sized planets ejected from early solar systems could still contain life, huddled around volcanic vents similar to our own oceans. Unfortunately, these planets would be almost impossible to detect.
Rock Crystal Could Have Been Oldest Telescope
Professor Giovanni Pettinato of the University of Rome believes that a rock crystal called the Nimrud lens found in 1850 by archaeologist Sir John Layard could have been used for an ancient telescope. The ancient Assyrians astronomers were renowned for their understanding of the skies, and this lens could have contributed to their knowledge.
China Closes in on Manned Space Flight
China is continuing its ambitious plans to put two men into space by the end of the year 2000. This is just the first part of their overall manned space program, which will launch an independent space station and achieve a lunar landing early in the next millenium.