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News briefs: June 12
Posted: Thu, Jun 13, 2002, 7:27 AM ET (1127 GMT)
  • Efforts to secure a deal for pop star and space tourist hopeful Lance Bass are "nearing a climax", MSNBC reported this week. Negotiations with two TV networks to sponsor Bass's flight on a Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS are in progress and should reach a resolution by next week, according to MirCorp president Jeffrey Manber. Time is running out to work out a deal: while Bass has won medical clearance, he needs to start training as soon as possible in order to be ready for the October flight.
  • A NASA comet mission is ready for launch early next month, project officials sad Wednesday. The Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) mission is scheduled for launch at 2:56 am EDT (0656 GMT) July 1 on a Delta 2 from Cape Canaveral. The spacecraft will fly by the comet Encke in November 2003 and Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 in June 2006, passing as close as 100 km to the nuclei of these comets.
  • Astronomers have discovered a group of asteroids that are fragments of a larger asteroid that broke up relatively recently. A paper in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature reported the discovery of 13 asteroids known as the "Karin cluster", after its largest member. The orbits of those asteroids show that they were part of a single larger body, 25 kilometers across, that astronomers believe was shattered in a collision 5.8 million years ago. It is the first time that such a breakup has been precisely dated.
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news links
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