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News briefs: July 30
Posted: Wed, Jul 31, 2002, 8:15 AM ET (1215 GMT)
  • An X-Prize contender has successfully completed its first engine test. The Canadian Arrow team tested a prototype of part of its liquid propellant engine, which uses liquid oxygen and ethyl alcohol, over the weekend. A full main engine test could take place as soon as August.
  • Astronomers last week observed an occultation of a star by Pluto, the New York Times reported Tuesday. The occultation, where the planet passes in front of the star as seen from the Earth, was observed by two teams in Chile on July 19. Observations of a similar occultation in 1988 revealed the existence of Pluto's tenuous atmosphere. Another Pluto occultation may be visible from the Pacific on August 20.
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