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News briefs: December 28
Posted: Sat, Dec 29, 2001, 12:30 PM ET (1730 GMT)
  • An object orbiting Uranus has, at least temporarily, lost its designation as a moon. The object, originally designated S/1986 U 10, was discovered in 1999 during a reanalysis of images taken in 1986 by Voyager 2. The International Astronomical Union has decided that additional images of the object, to be taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in next couple of years, are necessary before the object can be officially considered a moon of Uranus.
  • Future astronauts may have difficulty adapting to the slightly longer day on Mars, according to a recent study by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. Researchers found that people were unable to maintain normal melatonin levels during work/sleep schedules that were slightly longer or shorter than 24 hours. The results have implications for both Martian exploration as well as shuttle missions, where astronauts often run on 23.5-hour schedules.
  • Russian Space Forces met the launch schedule for 2001 set by the Defense Ministry completely for the first time in five years, Russian media reported. A total of 32 spacecraft were launched on 23 boosters in the year. The Space Forces credited support from President Putin and the government for achieving their goals for the year.
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