The week in science: Space station rendezvous, a WISE-eyed beauty and bullets of sound


  • Space shuttle Discovery docked at the International Space Station early Wednesday, after a rare antenna breakdown that knocked out radar tracking. Today, a pair of astronauts completed a spacewalk to disconnect an old, empty ammonia tank outside the station, and they prepared a new one to replace it. [Star-News]

  • Two out of a record four women in space right now have connections to the Pasadena area.

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    A new infrared image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer draws out a crisp view of the leggy “hidden galaxy,” IC 342, which is usually obscured behind our own Milky Way galaxy. [NASA/JPL]

  • NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released its handy guide to the best meteor-shower viewing in 2010. [NASA/JPL]
  • JPL’s latest robot, SOLO-TREC, can run almost indefinitely on nothing but the ocean’s warmth. The autonomous underwater vehicle could make studying the ocean a lot easier and a lot cheaper, prospects that are exciting to scientists and Navy researchers. [Star-News]
  • Caltech researchers say they’ve developed “sound bullets” so powerful and concentrated that they could be used to targets tumors and kidney stones without harming surrounding tissue in the body. On the flip side, these bullets could also be weaponized. [CBS News]
  • Scientists at JPL have detected first-ever signs that the planet Venus may be geologically active. Evidence from the European Space Agency’s Venus Express mission of volcanic hot spots points to recent lava flows on the surface of the planet. The findings were published this week in the journal Science. [NASA/JPL]

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    Local seismologists at Caltech and the U.S. Geological Survey went to work this week to understand Sunday’s 7.2-magnitude earthquake centered near the city of Mexicali. They say the Baja earthquake, felt widely throughout the Southland, is not likely to increase chance of Los Angeles area shaker. [Star-News]

  • Deep in the harsh environment of the Mediterranean Ocean’s L’Atalante basin, researchers have discovered three new species of multicellular organisms that live permanently without oxygen. [Science]
(AP Photo, NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA, Leo Jarzomb / Staff)

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