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Mercury Mission

Scientist on our planet have been spying on the solar system's smallest and strangest planet, Mercury, for the first time, NASA's spacecraft called Messenger successfully veered into a pinpoint orbit Thursday night after a 6 1/2-year trip and 4.9 billion miles and tricky maneuvering to fend off the gravitational pull of the sun. It is the fifth planet in our solar system that NASA has orbited, in addition to the Earth and the moon.
The NASA vehicle called Messenger is in orbit that brings it as close as 120 miles above the planet's surface, making it possible to really have a vivid and clear glance of the planet surface. Mercury is not only difficult to get to, but it's has some of the most extremes in the solar system; for example the temperatures on Mercury can swing wildly by 1,100 degrees. While it gets up to 800 degrees on the planet closest to the sun, it also is so cold and dark in some craters that the temperature doesn’t get above 300 degrees below zero. Radar pictures have shown that there is likely frozen ice in Mercury craters, which is one of the facts Messenger will try to confirm.
The technology behind this exploration is amazing; for instance, the spacecraft is about normal office desk and communication gears on the spacecraft are capable of receiving and transmitting information of about 100 million miles (distance between Mercury and Earth) in approximately 8 minutes.
The spacecraft (Messenger), which cost NASA $446 million, was launched in 2004. Next month it should start transmitting pictures and investigate Mercury's mysterious magnetic field and unusual density.

Aurora Australis: Amazing light show seen from space

NASA released an image on June 21 showing Aurora Australis (on the southern pole) that has been observed from the International Space Station on May 29, 2010. The photo was taken during a geomagnetic storm that was most likely caused by a coronal mass ejection from the Sun on May 24.

The spectacular display of Earth's southern auroras was captured on camera by astronauts on the International Space Station. The dazzling aurora has a sinuous ribbon shape that separates into discrete spots near the lower right corner of the image. While the dominant colouration of the aurora is green, there are faint suggestions of red left of the photo's center. Auroras usually have ever-shifting displays of coloured ribbons, curtains, rays, and spots. The most visible are found near the north and south poles as charged particles (called ions) streaming from the sun (the solar wind) interact with Earth's magnetic field. May Allah shower us with his blessings, mercy and forgiveness Ameen.  See the picture shown below:

Green flash: The Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) as observed From the International Space Station. The curve of the Earth and the blue light of the atmosphere can also be seen

Astronomical Event

Water Ice Discovered on Asteroid for the First Time

   For the first time, water ice has been found on the surface of a nearby asteroid. – According to announcement by scientists, this discovery could help explain how our Earth got its oceans. Two teams of researchers independently verified that the asteroid “24 Themis”, a large rock hurtling through space in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter – is coated in a layer of frost. The scintists also found that the asteroid contains organic material, including some molecules that might be ingredients for life. But scientists have not found any evidence for life itself on this asteroid, or anywhere else in the universe beyond Earth.

   While comets, which have characteristic tails and generally orbit farther out in the solar system, are known to have water, asteroids in that region were thought to be too close to the sun to contain water on their surface without it evaporating away. The largest asteroid in the solar system, Ceres, is thought to harbor a vast amount of frozen water, but scientists suspect all of it is buried beneath a rocky, dusty surface.

But in this new study, researchers found concrete proof of water ice on the surface of “24 Themis” by measuring the specific characteristics of sunlight bouncing off the surface of the asteroid. They saw the tell-tale signatures of H2O coating most of the surface of the 123-mile (198-km) wide rock.
Space and Astronomy News

Giant Sun Explosion
(Solar Flare)

From time to time, the burning sun surface explodes.  This phenomenon is called Sun flare. Scientists have agreed that the flare comes in circles (every 10 or 11 years.)  The following picture shows the Sun flare recorded recently that could contain 100 planets the size of our Earth.  May Allah (SWT) increase our understanding of his powers so that we can increase our Iman, Amin.  Please click on the following link to see the picture of the Sun Explosion ->  GiantSunFlare.jpg

Rogue Satellite Roaming on its own

Scientist stated that people on Earth need not to worry about a Rogue satellite that is out of hand. The rogue communications satellite is wreaking havoc in Earth's orbit and does threaten to interfere with signals coming from other satellites. Here's the backstory.

The communications satellite named GALXY 15 lost contact with ground control after a solar flare (See details above this article), probably fried its brain   Attempts from Earth to contact the satellite have been unsuccessful. Instead of just dying and drifting off into space, the satellite has continued to orbit the Earth, even though it refuses to receive instructions from its owner, Intelsat.

The satellite is still working well, with its "C-band telecommunications payload still functioning even though it has left its assigned orbital slot of 133 degrees west longitude 36,000 kilometers over the equator, this is a worrisome situation. What confuses scientists is that even though the satellite is burned, it continues to operate at full power, but with nobody telling it what to do. Why on earth we should care: The "zombiesat" (as its known in space talk) could steal a working sat signal, and interrupt programming for its TV and other communication customers.