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News briefs: January 22
Posted: Wed, Jan 23, 2002, 8:48 AM ET (1348 GMT)
  • Two scientists have come up with an alternative explanation for phenomena known today as black holes. The astronomers believe that what most astronomers currently believe are black holes are instead "gravastars", a condensed mass surrounded by a shell of gravitational energy created by a space-time phase transition. Their study has been submitted to the journal Physical Review Letters.
  • The University of Minnesota plans to continue its participation in a telescope project in Arizona despite the objections of native American tribes. Those tribes, and environmentalists, have attempted to block the construction of the Large Binocular Telescope on Mt. Graham for years, but failed. The telescope, built by a consortium of American and European observatories, will be completed in 2004.
  • JPL announced Tuesday that it has named Matthew Landano as its new director of the office of safety and mission success. The office oversees the engineering and reliability of JPL's spacecraft missions. Landano has served most recently as project manager for the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission.
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