The Range

Snapshots From Space

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter entered orbit around Mars last week--like you'd expect it to do anything else!--and was set to start transmitting photos back to the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory via the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera. HiRISE, called "the most powerful camera ever to orbit Mars" by UA press officials, is expected to start transmitting snapshots back to the UA within a week. That's so cool!

You can take a look at the photos at Mars Mania II, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, on the UA campus. HiRISE team leader Alfred S. McEwen will show off the latest photos and give a talk. Details online.

McEwen has also co-authored (with Carolyn Porco of the Space Science Institute and Elizabeth Turtle and Jason Perry of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory) an article in the latest edition of Science that reveals there may be water erupting from geysers on Enceladus, a moon of Saturn.

The latest images from NASA's Cassini space probe, still in orbit around Saturn, show icy jets at the moon's south pole.

"We realize that this is a radical conclusion--that we may have evidence for liquid water within a body so small and so cold," Porco press-released. "However, if we are right, we have significantly broadened the diversity of solar system environments where we might possibly have conditions suitable for living organisms. It doesn't get any more exciting than this."

For the latest photos from Cassini, visit one, of these or sites.

Border Barriers

U.S. Sen Jon Kyl's plan to beef up U.S.-Mexico border security with 200 miles of new fencing and vehicles barriers, along with as many as 12,000 new Border Patrol agents, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. The proposal, which must still be approved by Congress, will cost roughly $700 million.

"The new fencing and vehicle barriers authorized in my amendment will provide much stronger border security for Arizona," Kyl said in a statement. "It will make it much more difficult for smugglers and illegal aliens to gain entry, significantly reduce crime rates in border towns, and preserve fragile desert lands and archeological resources which are impacted by illegal pedestrian and vehicular traffic."

Rainy Day

In a bizarre meteorological phenomenon known as rain, water fell from the skies last week. The storm provided the first measurable rainfall in 88 days.

Legal Brief

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard announced he would be seeking re-election this fall. Goddard, a former Phoenix mayor, said he wanted to continue his efforts to fight meth, protect consumers and bust illegal-immigrant smugglers.

Goddard is likely to face a challenge from Republican Bill Montgomery in November.

Mad World

The Arizona men's basketball team managed to beat Stanford 73-68 in the first round of the Pac-10 tourney last Thursday, March 9, but was manhandled by the UCLA Bruins, 71-59, the following day.

The struggling Wildcats drew a No. 8 seed for their 22nd consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament and are scheduled to face Wisconsin on Friday, March 17, in Philadelphia.

"They are a man-to-man team," UA Coach Lute Olson said at a press conference. "They shoot a lot of threes. They will run on steals and interceptions, but not off missed shots. I'd say they are fairly typical of Big Ten teams of the past in terms of preferring a half-court style and being physical, tough on the offensive boards. But I do feel that we have the ability to match up well with them based on how we've played throughout the course of the year."

Sheep Dip

Disproving the notion that there's no such thing as bad publicity, a Mesa Fire Department assistant chief was arrested after he allegedly tried to screw a neighbor's sheep last week, according to The Arizona Republic.

Leroy Donald Johnson was caught in the neighbor's barn with his pants unzipped while holding a sheep down, according to a police report, which notes that he told the neighbor: "You caught me. ... I tried to (expletive) your sheep."

Johnson denied any effort at animal husbandry when he was arrested by a deputy from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department, according to the Republic. He told police he had been at his neighbor's home to discuss annexation.

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