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News briefs: November 12
Posted: Tue, Nov 13, 2001, 9:43 AM ET (1443 GMT)
XCOR Aerospace EZ-Rocket (Mike Massee/XCOR)
  • XCOR Aerospace officially rolled out its EZ-Rocket rocket plane to investors and the media Monday. The small plane, piloted by Dick Rutan, flew to an altitude of 2,700 meters during the short demonstration flight, the latest in a series of test flights by the plane. XCOR plans to use the EZ-Rocket as a springboard towards the development of a larger rocket plane capable of suborbital space flight.
  • The Japanese neutrino observatory Super-Kamiokande was damaged in an accident over the weekend, the New York Times reported Tuesday morning. Thousands of light detectors were destroyed in the observatory's main water chamber, for reasons as yet unknown. The detector is one of the best in the world at detecting neutrinos, elusive, nearly massless particles. Such detectors can provide hours of advance notice of a supernova explosion.
  • Gravity may be an impediment to the fertilization of eggs, Florida Today reported Monday. Research from previous shuttle missions showed that sea urchin eggs were more easily fertilized in zero gravity than on the ground, according to recently published research. A similar experiment, involving Japanese quail eggs, will be flown on Endeavour late this month.
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news links
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