December 18, 1998
NASA's 10 most popular news stories of 1998:
Science from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center tops the list of the 10 most popular NASA news stories for 1998. Highlights from around the space agency include the discovery of magnetars, water on the moon, and the biggest cosmic explosion since the Big Bang.
NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC
December 15, 1998
John Glenn Returns to Space
Senator John Glenn was named as a payload specialist last
Jan. 16, and assigned to the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery,
which was launched Oct. 29, 1998, on a nine-day mission.
First International Space Station Assembly
Phase II -- construction in orbit -- began with the first
station elements launched in 1998: Zarya in November and Unity in
December. Next, the first wholly Russian contribution, a
component called the Service Module, will be launched from Russia
Hubble Takes Image of Possible Planet Around Another Star
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope gave astronomers their first
direct look at what is possibly a planet outside our solar system
-- one that apparently has been ejected into deep space by its
Most Powerful Gamma Ray Burst since Big Bang
A cosmic gamma ray burst detected this year released a
hundred times more energy than previously theorized, making it the
most powerful explosion since the creation of the universe in the
Lunar Prospector Discovers Ice on Moon
There is a high probability that water ice exists at both the
north and south poles of the Moon, according to initial scientific
data returned by NASA's Lunar Prospector this year.
NASA Studies La Niņa
Research scientists using data from the Tropical Rainfall
Measuring Mission (TRMM), SeaWiFS and TOPEX/POSEIDON missions are
shedding new light on the phenomenon known as La Niņa. The images
show changes in sea-surface temperature, and ocean current
movement and the dissipation of El Niņo. While it is too early to
draw definite conclusions, the results to date appear to confirm
the onset of La Niņa-type conditions.
Antarctic Ozone Hole
In late 1997, larger levels of ozone depletion were observed
over the Arctic than in any previous year on record. In 1998,
using climate models, a team of scientists reported why this may
be related to greenhouse gases.
A neutron star, located 40,000 light years from Earth, is
generating the most intense magnetic field yet observed in the
Universe, according to an international team of astronomers led by
scientists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL.
NASA's remotely piloted, solar-powered Pathfinder-Plus flying
wing reached a record altitude of more than 80,000 feet during a
developmental test flight Aug. 6 in Hawaii. The altitude is the
highest ever achieved by a propeller-driven craft and surpasses
the official record altitude of 71,530 feet for a solar-powered
aircraft set by an earlier version of the Pathfinder last summer.
Eileen Collins Named First Woman Shuttle Commander
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton announced from the White
House in early 1998 that astronaut Eileen Collins (Lt. Col., USAF)
would become the first woman to command a Space Shuttle when
Columbia launches on the STS-93 mission in March 1999.