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News briefs: May 15
Posted: Thu, May 16, 2002, 8:07 AM ET (1207 GMT)
  • Congressman Nick Lampson (D-TX) introduced legislation in the House of Representatives Wednesday designed to focus the nation's space exploration efforts. The Space Exploration Act of 2002 would create a series of goals leading up to human missions to the Moon in 15 years and Mars in 20 years. The introduction of the bill relatively late in a busy legislative session makes it unlikely that the bill will pass this year, however.
  • Solar astronomers have discovered powerful winds ripping through the Sun's atmosphere. In a paper published in the current issue of Nature, scientists using data from the TRACE and SOHO spacecraft have found evidence of winds of 320,000 kmph passing through the atmosphere, creating forces more intense than gravity. The discovery will help scientists understand coronal loops, giant arches of electrified gas that extend into the Sun's corona, or outer atmosphere.
  • The bodies of seven workers killed in the collapse of a hanger roof at the Baikonur Cosmodrome were buried in Kazakhstan Wednesday, the AP reported. Six of the seven, distantly related to one another, were buried together in the town of Kazalinsk, near the space center. The search continues for an eighth person also believed to have been killed in the collapse. The investigation of the collapse continues; some officials have raised the possibility that heavy rains in the days before the accident may have contributed.
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