Press Release

Space Science News from NASA HQ

By SpaceRef Editor
April 13, 2000
Filed under



New this week at :


NEAR has moved smoothly to the next stage of its mission, after a 5-second
engine burn on April 11 nudged the spacecraft into a circular orbit about
62 miles (100 kilometers) from asteroid Eros. On April 22 it will start
the descent to its final science orbit, 50 kilometers above the spud.
Fancy driving at


Scientists and engineers have developed an ultrasonic device that can drill
and core very hard rocks (potentially useful in future planetary missions),
and that also has potential medical and other applications. Looks like a
cool spinoff from the space program at


We’re celebrating 10 years of Hubble this month! Hubble was launched on
April 24, 1990. The folks at the Space Telescope Science Institute have
put out a press release, a commemorative image of a planetary nebula, and
are launching a new public web site. Also, don’t forget to stop at the
Post Office and pick up your Hubble postage stamps, which were released for
sale on Monday, or get ’em online at the address below.

press release:
anniversary image:
new HST site:

buy HST stamps online at (make sure you get the entire url into your browser!)


Two new photo mosaics, created with images from our Mars Global Surveyor
spacecraft now in orbit at Mars, may help scientists understand what
materials make up the exotic, multi-layers of the South Pole.


Follow-up observations of an unusual object initially suspected to be the
first directly detected planet outside our solar system have shown that the
object is too hot to be a planet.

Original announcement from May 1998:

latest results:


Finally, a silly bit: I started the current format of this list in late
1997. Since that time, and thanks to all you space enthusiasts, it has
grown from about 100 subscribers to over 9,000. It should top 10,000
subscribers in the next couple of months or so. Looking forward to that
momentous occasion, I’ve decided to have a contest.

Just for fun, I am going to award prizes to the person who has referred the
highest number of subscribers. To win, you must send me a list of
subscribers/e-mail addresses that you have referred to the list. I will be
responsible for verifying the addresses and choosing the winner. I reserve
the right to make a baseless decision. 😉 The winner will receive the
following cheap gifts:

1) a bunch of space-related pins, stickers, posters, etc. mailed to you
from my personal collection (I have a lot of this stuff)

2) a free tour of NASA HQ, should you ever be in Washington DC. Watch the
bureaucrats push paper in their cubicles! Observe them writing e-mails and
counting beans! See the posters and models of space hardware! No travel
or lodging expenses etc. of any kind will be paid; you gotta get here by
yourself to collect. Whoopee! If it’s any consolation, the Air and Space
Museum is right up the street.

I will also award the same 2 prizes to someone who is NEARLY the 10,000th
subscriber, like maybe the 10,039th or something, I’m not telling exactly,
so don’t try to unsubscribe and resubscribe, I’ll be checking to make sure
that the winner is a new subscriber anyway.

This glamourous contest will not be announced on the web site, nor will I
mention it again until it is over. Any questions will be ignored.
Employees of NASA and its contractors are ineligible, they’re already
lucky. The winners may choose whether their names will be announced or not.

I hope I don’t regret this.


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SpaceRef staff editor.