SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY
Falcon 9 Launch Successful
A private cargo rocket built by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. of Hawthorne, Calif. blasted off last week, headed to the International Space Station. The rocket carried only about 1,000 pounds of cargo. The importance of the launch was more technical and symbolic.
In other space news, stargazers will have a chance on June 5 to glimpse a transit of Venus, in which the planet passes directly between Earth and the sun. Venus will take six hours to march across the star's face, appearing as an inky black dot in silhouette against the solar disk.
The moon nearly blotted out the sun last week, creating a blazing "ring of fire" eclipse visible in many parts of the world.
In 2019, a spacecraft known as Euclid will begin a mission to study dark energy. But it is being launched by the European Space Agency, not NASA, with American astronomers serving only as very junior partners.
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PODCASTS: Expanding With the Cosmos
Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.
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