Scientist Frank Asaro (b.1927) died on June 10. Asaro discovered the iridium anomaly in the C-P boundary which led to the Asteroid-Impact Theory created by Asaro, Luis Alvarez, Walter Alvarez, and Helen Michel. Asaro’s research also led to important understandings of trade in ancient civilizations. Asaro’s daughter is SF author Catherine Asaro.
Jeff Bezos has confirmed that the engines his team discovered on the ocean floor in March are in fact the engines which launched the Apollo XI to the Moon in 1969. His announcement, based on the discovery of part numbers at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, comes one day before the 44th anniversary of the first lunar landing, accomplished by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin using the engines Bezos has recovered.
A speck of lunar dust about the size of a finger nail, which has been missing since shortly after it was brought back to Earth by the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, has been recovered by NASA and the US Attorney’s Office from an auction house in St. Louis. Originally lifted from a film canister, the dust was sold in 2001 to a German collector whose widow was trying to sell it. When informed of the dust’s provenance, she returned it to the US government.
NASA has announced that the final launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis will occur on July 8, 2011. This will also be the final launch of the space shuttle program, which began with the launch of Columbia in 1981. Atlantis was previously scheduled for a final launch in May, 2010.
A Mycenaean tablet with writing has been found at an archaeological site in Iklaina on the Peloponnesian Peninsula. The tablet has been dated to between 1450 and 1350 B.C., which would make it the oldest known writing found in Europe. The tablet contains Linear B and seems to record financial information. The tablet survives because the clay was baked in a garbage bin fire.
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Archaeologists have unearth a series of protective walls built around the Sphinx at Giza in Egypt. According to ancient texts, the walls were built to protected the sculpture from blowing sands after Pharoah Thutmose IV (1400-1390 BCE) had a dream in which the Sphinx complained blowing sand was choking it. The Sphinx is believed to have been built more than 1100 years earlier than the protective walls.
Scientists have determined that a series of highly stylized engravings on rocks, previously believed to be art rock is in fact the lost language of the Picts. The team which made the discovery, led by Rob Lee, has not yet been able to translate any of the engravings.