Press Release

Space Science News from NASA HQ

By SpaceRef Editor
May 7, 2000
Filed under

From: Craig Tupper (

Greetings from Washington D.C.,

Found some time to make a few updates to :


For the past decade astronomers have looked for vast quantities of hydrogen
that were cooked-up in the Big Bang but somehow managed to disappear into
the empty blackness of space. Now, the Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered
this missing hydrogen; it accounts for nearly half of the “normal” matter
in the universe. The detection confirms fundamental models of how much
hydrogen was manufactured in the first few minutes of the universe’s birth
in the Big Bang.


NASA astronomers have collected the first-ever radar images of a “main
belt” asteroid, a metallic, dog bone-shaped rock the size of New Jersey, an
apparent leftover from an ancient, violent cosmic collision. Many
asteroids seem to have this kind of double-lobed shape.


In other good asteroid-related news, NEAR has successfully lowered its
orbit to its primary science orbit, only 50 kilometers above asteroid Eros.
Darn good navigation. New, high-res images from the lower orbit are being
posted at


Adding to the growing list of known planets around other stars, a team of
astronomers have announced the discovery of eight new companions to
solar-type stars. The masses of these objects range from less than that of
planet Saturn to about 15 times that of Jupiter.


More exo-planet news: astronomers using ISO data have measured the size of
a proto-planetary system, surrounding a newly-born star, seeing a very
young ‘baby-star’ surrounded by a disk of the same diameter as Jupiter’s


Fiery volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io are the main source of dust streams
that flow from the Jupiter system into the rest of the solar system,
according to new findings from our Galileo spacecraft, analyzed by an
international team of scientists.


Yep, it’s a dusty solar system out there. Stardust has successfully ended
its first period of dust collection. Some early results were reported last
week, but of course the best will come after the sample comes back to Earth
in 2006.


You can send a Genesis Gram, a 100 character (or less) thought that will
travel through space on the Genesis spacecraft, scheduled for launch in
January 2001. Seek fame, have fun, engage the kids at


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SpaceRef staff editor.