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News briefs: February 11
Posted: Tue, Feb 12, 2002, 8:34 AM ET (1334 GMT)
  • NASA's Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere, Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) spacecraft has started its science mission, NASA reported Monday. TIMED was launched into Earth orbit on a Delta 2 two months ago, and has recently completed a series of on-orbit tests. TIMED will study the chemistry and energy flow of a poorly-known region of the Earth's upper atmosphere.
  • The Mars Society has started using a new Mars habitat simulator in Utah. The first crew moved into the Mars Desert Research Station last week. The facility is similar to a similar habitat located on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic. Both will be used by researchers to study technologies and techniques that may be used by future human missions to the Red Planet.
  • Tides in the ocean believed to exist beneath the surface of the Jovian moon Europa may be essential to the development of life, according to research by a University of Arizona planetary scientist. Martin Greenberg, in an article in American Scientist magazine, notes that tides that can reach heights of 500 meters not only allow life-supporting substances to mix, but can create an environment of change that would promote evolution.
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