Volume: 05, Issue: 19 12/12/2007 
Artist's impression of the five-Earth mass planet, Gliese 581 c, found in the habitable zone around the red dwarf Gliese 581, with the instrument HARPS on the ESO 3.6-m telescope. Copyright ESO.
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Artist's illustration of supernova SN 2006gy. Image credit: Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss; X-ray: NASA/CXC/UC Berkeley/N.Smith et al.; IR: Lick/UC Berkeley/J.Bloom & C.Hansen.
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Artists' concepts of the Terrestrial Planet Finder observatories. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Planet Quest.
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Other Articles in This Issue:
Atlantis Launch Delayed Until January 2008
NASA Spacecraft Make New Discoveries About Northern Lights
Spacecraft Reveals New Insights About the Origin of Solar Wind
Science Events/Activities

2007: The Year in Space

From 10 to one, we are counting down the most fascinating space news events from the past year. It has been an exciting year filled with many accomplishments and discoveries. We look forward to continuing to spread the news by sharing the exciting developments and achievements 2008 is yet to bring.

10) NASA Opens Applications for New Astronaut Class
NASA is accepting applications for the 2009 Astronaut Candidate Class. Those selected could fly to space for long-duration stays on the International Space Station and missions to the moon. After a six-month period of evaluation and interviews, NASA will announce final selections in early 2009.
For more information, please visit the following website:

9) New NASA Satellite Images Show Vast Size of California Wildfires
NASA satellites have obtained new images of the California wildfires, illustrating the scale of the blazes. The National Interagency Fire Center reports that 12 large, uncontained fires have burned more than 335,000 acres in Southern California.
For more information and images, please visit the following websites:

8) Astronomers Claim to Find the Most Distant Known Galaxies
Using natural “gravitational lenses,” an international team of astronomers claim to have found the first traces of a population of the most distant galaxies yet seen. The light we see from them today was left more than 13 billion years ago, when the universe was just 500 million years old.
For more information, please visit the following website:

7) Cassini Spacecraft Images Seas on Saturn’s Moon Titan
Instruments on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have found evidence for seas, likely filled with liquid methane or ethane, in the high northern latitudes of Saturn’s moon Titan. One such feature is larger than any of the Great Lakes of North America and is about the same size as several seas on Earth.
For more information, please visit the following website:

6) Success of missions STS-120, STS-118, STS-117
On STS-117 a new set of solar arrays were installed and unfolded on the starboard side of the station and prepared to track the sun and generate power. On STS-118, the s5 truss was installed on the ISS. As a continuation of the Teacher in Space Project, Barbara Morgan flew as a fully-trained astronaut. On STS-120 the Harmony module was installed on the ISS to provide attachment points for European and Japanese laboratory modules.
For more information, please visit the following website:

5) Mars Rover Spirit Unearths Surprise Evidence of Wetter Past
A patch of Martian soil analyzed by NASA's rover Spirit is so rich in silica that it may provide some of the strongest evidence yet that ancient Mars was much wetter than it is now. The processes that could have produced such a concentrated deposit of silica require the presence of water.
For more information, please visit the following website:

4) Delivery of the Columbus Module
Columbus is the European Space Agency's research laboratory for the International Space Station. The module will be prepared in the SSPF for delivery to the space station on a future space shuttle mission. Columbus will expand the research facilities of the station and provide researchers with the ability to conduct numerous experiments in the life, physical and materials sciences.
For more information, please visit the following website:

3) "Hot Jupiters" Discovered
A team of planet-hunters based in the United Kingdom has announced the discovery of three new exoplanets. The astronomers, who are part of the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) project, observed the distant planets as they orbited in front of their host stars, a phenomenon known as transiting.
For more information, please visit the following website:

2) Brightest Supernova Recorded
The brightest stellar explosion ever recorded may be a long-sought new type of supernova, according to observations by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ground-based optical telescopes. This directory indicates that violent explosions of extremely massive stars were relatively common in the early universe, and that a similar explosion may be ready to go off in our own galaxy.
For more information, please visit the following website:

1) Astronomers Find First Earth-like Planet in Habitable Zone
Astronomers have discovered the most Earth-like planet outside our Solar System to date, an exoplanet with a radius only 50% larger than the Earth and capable of having liquid water. Using the ESO 3.6-m telescope, a team of Swiss, French, and Portuguese scientists discovered a super-Earth about 5 times the mass of the Earth that orbits a red dwarf, already known to harbor a Neptune-mass planet. The astronomers also have strong evidence for the presence of a third planet with a mass of about 8 Earth masses.
For more information, please visit the following website:

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