4/14/2004:

Intermediate Word:  macula lutea  (a) central retinal region of most distinct vision  (b) nictitating membrane  (c) abdominal membrane  (d) playing a musical instrument
Difficult Word: - anuran  (a) tailless  (b) can endure heavy drought  (c) rounded nose cone  (d) pertaining to frogs


Hunt For Earth-Like Planets Intensifies - SpaceDaily  An international group of astronomers led by Dr. Jean-Philippe Beaulieu (Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris) and Dr. Martin Dominik (University of St Andrews) are about to continue their hunt for extrasolar planets with an enhanced world-wide telescope network in May this year. They are hoping to secure the firm evidence for the existence of Earth-mass planets orbiting stars other than the Sun, which has so far eluded astronomers. Dr Dominik will describe the project, known as PLANET (Probing Lensing Anomalies NETwork), at the Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting at the Open University on Thursday 1 April. From the 500-700 microlensing events announced annually by the survey campaigns OGLE and MOA that monitor tens of millions of stars on a daily basis.
Life Beneath The Ice - SpaceDaily  The high-resolution Galileo images and other data revolutionised our knowledge of Europa's surface and interior structure, making it seem more likely that the ice is (at least at some times and in some places) relatively thin (much less than 10 km) and overlying a liquid water ocean. The images showed localized areas of 'melt-through' demonstrated by 'chaos' regions, where detached rafts of the icy shell can be seen dispersed in a now-refrozen matrix. This sort of environment is currently regarded as the most likely place for life on Earth to have begun, and life on Europa could have arisen in just the same way. If so, life could survive there today, supported by chemical energy in the same way that the 'hydrothermal vents' on Earth's ocean floors support ecosystems that do not depend on sunlight.  

Europe Targets Human Exploration Of The Moon And Mars - SpaceDaily  These are exciting times for space exploration. For the first time in a generation, human missions beyond Earth orbit are being seriously considered by space agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Europe has initiated the Aurora programme, with the ultimate aim of landing people on Mars by 2033, while the US has recently redirected its human space activities towards a return to the Moon. Europe's Aurora programme could be a major part of such a strategy. The UK will shortly have to decide whether or not to participate in the human spaceflight aspects of Aurora. 





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