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*** JULY 2007 ***

...A retired NASA scientist whose instruments probed the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn's largest moon, Titan, received an award for his work.
Hasso Niemann, who recently retired from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., received the Al Seiff Memorial Award during a technical meeting in France. The award honors researchers for outstanding contributions to the understanding of atmospheres of planets or moons through the use of high-speed probes that enter those atmospheres.
"Niemann devoted his career to the development of mass spectrometer technology and harnessing its capabilities to measure the composition of unknown planetary atmospheres," said Jim Arnold, who retired from NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., as chief of the Space Technology Division. Mass spectrometry is a method that scientists use to reliably identify ionized molecules by measuring their mass. Arnold - now a scientist with the University of California, Santa Cruz -- nominated Niemann for the award...

Someday, astronauts on the moon may pour liquid onto a disc-shaped mesh to make a huge mirror for a powerful telescope, according to a technical article just made public.
The liquid would include a silver-coated surface, and would be part of an optical-infrared telescope with a 66-foot (20-meter) to 328-foot (100 meter) aperture capable of observing objects 100 to 1,000 times fainter than the James Webb Space Telescope, the authors say. The technical paper will appear in the issue of the journal, Nature.
"In this case we have shown how the moon is ideal (for) using liquid mirror technology to build a telescope much larger than we can affordably build in space," said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley, and a co-author of the technical paper. The lead author is Ermanno Borra, Laval University, Quebec, Canada. "Such telescopes, perhaps 100 meters in diameter can see back to the early phases of the universe after the Big Bang," Worden added.
The authors envision making lunar, infrared telescopes to study normal and dwarf galaxies.
"The lunar, liquid-mirror project was supported by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts. It enabled a team of scientists including myself to show how the moon - our first target in the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) - might support astronomy," Worden explained.
" We hope that this or similar possibilities will excite the scientific community about the opportunities contained within the VSE," Worden observed...