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News briefs: March 30-31
Posted: Mon, Apr 1, 2002, 8:37 AM ET (1337 GMT)
  • Heinz Stubblefield, the chief financial officer of XM Satellite Radio, has resigned, the company announced Friday. Company officials said Stubblefield's resignation had nothing to do with a report by the company's auditor that the company may not have enough money to continue operating through this year without additional investment.
  • Thursday's launch of the shuttle Atlantis will be the first that uses three upgraded space shuttle main engines (SSMEs). The Block 2 SSMEs feature a number of design changes intended to make the engines safer and more reliable. A single Block 2 SSME was flown on the STS-104 and STS-108 flights last year.
  • The basic building blocks of life may have formed in interstellar space, scientists recently reported. In a pair of papers published in the latest issue of Nature, scientists said that they were able to create amino acids by bombarding the constituents of interstellar gas clouds with ultraviolet light. Since solar systems form from such clouds, scientists conclude that any new solar system should be seeded with the essential compounds from which life can form.
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