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Genesis Suffers A Crash Landing
Topic: Missions
The Genesis sample capsule crash-landed today after its parachutes failed to deploy. A recovery crew is in the field now, hoping to recover materials from the shattered capsule.

Rebuilding the Biggest Building
Topic: Missions
One of the world's largest buildings sustained damage over the weekend as hurricane Frances pounded a natural scar on the face of a manmade wonder. Florida's Space Coast has witnessed many launches designed specifically to study and predict the damaging effects of hurricanes--one of the few storms so large that it can best be viewed from orbit.

It's a Bird, It's a Planet
Topic: Missions
When the space station passes across the Sun or moon, the scene offers an interesting demonstration of how planet hunter's look for new candidates by measuring the periodic dimming of a parent star.

Spooky Spaceflight
Topic: Missions
Once derided by Einstein as "spooky action at a distance", quantum entanglement could hold out the promise of a novel means of space propulsion, perhaps even making interstellar travel feasible.

Countdown Meets Perfect Storm
Topic: Missions
The early Monday morning launch of the first orbital mission to Mercury encountered a difficult weather pattern that scrubbed what operators call an 'instantaneous' launch window. Although the mission will extend to seven years until 2011, only twelve seconds are available to time a successful trajectory.

The Doodle Gig
Topic: Missions
How is the search for life elsewhere reflected culturally in symbols that we recognize daily? One signpost invented to characterize the 'state of the internet' is the occasional change in the logo of the world's most popular search engine. How that doodle has come to recognize astrobiology seems to violate conventional wisdom on what is meant by tinkering with one's cherished brand recognition.

Moonrise: The Next Frontiers
Topic: Missions
Two new missions have been advanced as part of the New Horizons flights, one to return a moon sample from the lunar south pole, the other to test if Jupiter sports a rocky core.

New Worlds of Words
Topic: Missions
A dictionary like no other in the world, the Oxford English Dictionary has been described as "among the wonders of the world of scholarship". This week, the OED announced the term, astrobiology, among its latest new entries.

Hubble Comes to Home Computers
Topic: Missions
The Hubble Space Telescope releases imagery data in a file format called FITS, which has previously not be directly accessible in some of the more popular home computer image software. A new plug-in released by the European Space Agency's Hubble team changes a computer to an astronomy workstation.

Light This Candle
Topic: Missions
In the early days of the astronaut program, scientists weren't sure if the human body could survive space flight. In Neal Thompson's engaging biography of Alan Shepard, "Light This Candle," he writes of the extreme tests astronauts had to undergo in order to prove themselves fit for space.

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