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Comet ISON vanishes as it circles the sun

Comet ISON appears to have flown too close to the surface of the sun Thursday and vanished as it circled the fiery surface, astronomers said. The large block of ice and rock had been expected to skim just 730,000 miles (1.17 million kilometers) above the sun's surface around 1830 GMT. It was estimated that ISON would undergo temperatures of 4,900 degrees Fahrenheit (2,700 Celsius) and lose three million tonnes of its mass per second as it made its journey around the sun. Most astronomers had predicted that ISON would not survive the trip.

Gold rush in space? Asteroid miners prepare, but eye water first

By Susan Thomas LONDON (Reuters) - Mining in space is moving from science fiction to commercial reality but metals magnates on this planet need not fear a mountain of extraterrestrial supply - the aim is to fuel human voyages deeper into the galaxy.

Two killed in Russian space centre accident

Two officers were killed Tuesday and three hospitalised with toxic burns suffered during a chemical spill at Russia's Plesetsk military launch pad, the defence ministry said. The accident happened while the soldiers were cleaning a nitrogen gas tank during routine maintenance, Russian news agencies quoted a defence ministry official as saying. The ministry did not disclose details of the accident, saying only that it was caused "by the officers' failure to follow safety procedures."

European satellite burns up after plunging into Earth's atmosphere

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A 1-ton European science satellite plunged back into Earth's atmosphere and incinerated with debris most likely landing in the southern regions of the Atlantic Ocean, officials said on Monday. The last contact by ground tracking stations with Europe's Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer, known as GOCE, was at 5:42 p.m. EST (2242 GMT) on Sunday as the spacecraft flew just 75 miles above Antarctica, the European Space Agency said.

European science satellite disintegrates: space agency

A spent science satellite that had measured Earth's gravity field reentered the atmosphere on Sunday night and mostly disintegrated as planned, the European Space Agency (ESA) said Monday. An estimated 25 percent of the one-tonne GOCE satellite reached the Earth's surface over the southernmost regions of the South Atlantic ocean, it said, and "no damage to property has been reported". Scientists had predicted that several dozen fragments of GOCE, totalling some 200 kilogrammes (440 pounds) -- about the weight of car engine -- would survive contact with the atmosphere.

European science satellite disintegrates: space agency

A spent science satellite that had measured Earth's gravity field reentered the atmosphere on Sunday night and mostly disintegrated as planned, the European Space Agency (ESA) said Monday. As expected, an estimated 25 percent of the one-tonne GOCE satellite reached the Earth's surface, said an ESA statement, but "no damage to property has been reported". It did not say where the fragments hit.

Italy warns of 'minimal' risk of satellite debris

Italian officials warned there was a "minimal" risk that debris from a defunct European satellite re-entering the atmosphere could hit Italy late Sunday or early Monday. "It is not yet possible to exclude the possibility, even minimal, that one or several fragments could fall on Italy in two windows of time," the Civil Protection agency said in a statement. It said debris from the satellite "potentially" could hit between 1844 and 1924 GMT Sunday and between 0648 and 0728 GMT Monday.

European science satellite to break up late Sunday

Fragments from a science satellite are likely to crash to Earth late Sunday or early Monday after the one-tonne probe breaks up at the end of its mission, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Friday. In a statement, the agency said when and where the pieces would land was still unclear. Experts have previously said the statistical risk to humans is remote. Several dozen fragments totalling around 200 kilos (440 pounds), or about the weight of car engine, will survive contact with the atmosphere, according to computer models.

Scientists expect 'dead' European satellite will crash to Earth early next week

BERLIN - The European Space Agency says its GOCE research satellite will crash to Earth on Sunday night or during the day on Monday, but debris is unlikely to cause any casualties. Scientists say the 1,100-kilogram (2,425-pound) satellite already has fallen to an altitude of 170 kilometres (105 miles) and is spiraling steadily downward. Once it reaches an altitude of 80 kilometres (50 miles) the earth observation satellite will break apart and four-fifths will burn in the atmosphere.

Six-tailed asteroid stuns scientists

A strange asteroid that appears to have multiple rotating tails has been spotted with NASA's Hubble telescope between Mars and Jupiter, astronomers said Thursday. Instead of appearing as a small point of light, like most asteroids, this one has half a dozen comet-like dust tails radiating out like spokes on a wheel, said the report in Astrophysical Journal Letters. "It's hard to believe we're looking at an asteroid," said lead investigator David Jewitt, a professor in the University of California Los Angeles Department of Earth and Space Sciences.
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