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Submission + - Odd fossil trees provide vital clues to climate

Device666 writes: uly 31, 2007 — It may look like a haunted forest — but a rare cluster of fossilized trees is luring scientists in, not scaring them away. [...] The remains of the 16 uncovered trees [...] are an oddity because they did not petrify, or turn to stone, as preserved trees usually do. Instead, the trees retain their original wood, giving scientists vital clues to the puzzling geology and climate of ancient central Europe.

"The importance of the findings is that so many trees got preserved in their original position in one place," Alfred Dulai, a geologist at the Hungarian Natural History Museum.

Submission + - SpaceX Celebrates Launch of Falcon 1

iamlucky13 writes: Barely under a year since a fuel leak doomed their first launch, upstart aerospace company SpaceX has cleared the ground a second time with their Falcon 1 rocket. The flight proceeded smoothly until a roll control issue caused premature engine shutdown and loss of telemetry at T plus 5:05. News is currently limited to brief mission status reports. Although the ultimate fate of the rocket and payload are unknown, the company appears pleased with preliminary performance indications. "We in the Washington, D.C. office are celebrating with champagne," said company VP Gwynne Shotwell. "We don't have any information yet from the launch control center, but the Falcon clearly got to space with a successful liftoff, stage separation, second stage ignition and fairing separation."

The flight of the $7 million rocket was to demonstrate its capabilities for DARPA and included two NASA experiments. CEO Elon Musk noted many improvements had been made since the first launch attempt, and has cited similar challenges in the development of other rocket systems. A launch attempt yesterday was scrubbed to resolve telemetry issues with just 62 seconds left. Today's countdown was kept exciting by an automated abort after engine ignition due to marginal chamber pressure. The countdown was restarted after refueling the rocket, with launch at 01:10 GMT from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific.

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