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SCIENCE

"You've got mail" - on Mars

To reach colonists on Mars, you might attach "mars.sol" to the e-mail address. Of course, the space missions making that possible may be lifetimes away, but initial steps toward extending the Internet's reach are already in the works. The first component, a short-range transceiver, hitched a ride on the Mars Odyssey, which was launched in April and is due to reach the red planet in October. As envisioned, an Internet on Mars could connect various surface landers and orbiting satellites. Additional Internets could appear elsewhere, all linked to form a giant Interplanetary wide Web.

ENVIRONMENT

Real cost of manicured lawns

The air pollution from cutting grass for an hour with a gasoline-powered lawn mower is about the same as that from a 100-mile automobile ride, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Stockholm, Sweden, say that lawn-mower emissions can be cut more than 80 percent by using a catalytic converter, like those used in automobiles. The small engines from lawn and garden equipment make up 10 percent of some types of air pollution, according to the EPA.

The recommendation for catalytic converters is reported in the June 1 issue of Environmental Science & Technology, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society.

SCIENCE

Survey looks into the cosmos

Pasadena, Calif. - After a year of scanning the sky from the Apache Point Observatory in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the most comprehensive mapping survey of the cosmos, released its first detailed reports yesterday. SDSS detected the most distant object ever observed and a view of galaxy distribution in one wedge of the sky out to three billion light years. The early SDSS results for distribution of matter in the universe reinforce the current model of a low-density universe whose expansion is accelerating, says Dr. Alex Szalay of Johns Hopkins University.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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