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Add to NASA Daily News Summary

For Release: Nov. 3, 1999


Media Advisory m99-229a

Summary:

ASTRONOMERS FIND EVIDENCE OF FIRST PLANET ORBITING A PAIR OF


STARS

X-43 HYPERSONIC FLIGHT RESEARCH VEHICLE DELIVERED

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ASTRONOMERS FIND EVIDENCE OF FIRST PLANET ORBITING A PAIR OF


STARS

Astronomers have found evidence of the first known planet orbiting


a pair of stars. Previously, planets have been found circling
only single stars. The Microlensing Planet Search (MPS) project,
led by David Bennett and Sun Hong Rhie of the University of Notre
Dame, South Bend, IN, used a technique called gravitational
microlensing that may have revealed a planet about three times the
mass of Jupiter orbiting a binary star system. The researchers,
who are supported by NASA's Astronomical Search for Origins
Program, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Research
Corporation, report their results in the November 4 issue of
Nature. Gravitational lensing is based on a property first noted
by Albert Einstein in the 1930s. When an object such as a star or
planet moves in front of a more distant star, the gravity of this
star or planet serves as a "lens," magnifying the light from the
distant star and making it appear brighter.

Contact at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC: Donald Savage


(Phone 202/358-1547).
Contact at National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA: Amber
Jones (Phone: 703/306-1070).

For full text, see:


ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/pressrel/1999/99-127.txt

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X-43 HYPERSONIC FLIGHT RESEARCH VEHICLE DELIVERED

The world's first hypersonic air-breathing free-flight vehicle is


no longer just a paper airplane. The first of three experimental
vehicles, designated X-43A, recently arrived at NASA's Dryden
Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, to prepare for flight in May
2000. Flight of the X-43 vehicles will be the culmination of over
20 years of scramjet (supersonic combustible ramjet) research and
the first time a non-rocket engine has powered vehicles at
hypersonic speeds. Built by Micro Craft, Inc., Tullahoma, TN, for
NASA¹s Hyper-X program, the 12-foot-long, unpiloted X-43 vehicles
will significantly expand the boundaries of air-breathing
aircraft. Three flights are planned -- two at Mach 7 and one at
Mach 10. The flight tests will be conducted within the Western
Test Range off the coast of southern California.

Contact at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC: Michael Braukus


(Phone 202/358-1979).
Contact at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA:
Leslie Mathew (Phone 805/258-3458).
Contact at NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA: Chris Rink
(Phone 757/864-6786).

For full text, see:


ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/pressrel/1999/99-128.txt

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If NASA issues additional news releases later today, we will e-


mail summaries and Internet URLs to this list.
Index of 1999 NASA News Releases:
http://www.nasa.gov/releases/1999/index.html

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