Recent fruits of the space/astronomy link  updated October 5, 2005  ©D. Carrigan (subject line must be sensible)

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WMAP picture
In the last years the Wilkinson Microwave Astronomy Probe (WMAP) has provided a beautiful picture of minute variations in the black body temperature over the universe. This map has done much to refine the understanding of cosmology. On the map red is hotter, blue colder. Temperatures differ by millionths of a degree. The Mollweide projection is centered on the galaxy with the galactic equitorial plane horizontal. The effect of galactic emission has been stripped out. WMAP link

Details on the picture

General information on microwave background
Europa surface
NASA's Galileo mission has produced astonishing pictures of the Jovian moon  Europa. The pictures from Europa are particularly intriguing since they show icy surfaces with tectonic-like ridges that may be floating on an ocean. Some suggest Europa could harbor life.

Life on Europa
extrasolar planet spectrogram
The graph is a recent spectrograph from Hubble showing the presence of Oxygen and Carbon, some of the ingredients of life, in the atmosphere of the famous extrasolar planet HD209458 (click graph to enlarge). The observations were made with a special spectrograph on the Hubble Space telescope (STIS).

Interestingly, none of these results depend directly on humans in space although people in space have been important in refurbishing Hubble.

Future missions are needed to continue the drive for new science in the next forty years.

Atmosphere on HD209458

The Hubble spectrograph

Hubble main page