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Moment of truth
The Voyager I spacecraft is the most distant man-made object in the universe. It was launched in 1977 and as in 2002, it was more than 8 billions miles from the Earth.

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ADA Comp.
A highly standardized modular programming language designed for complex and critical applications, such as flight control, transportation, safety monitoring and in military applications. Named after Ada Lovelace.

adamantine Min.
Having a diamond-like luster.

adamantine compound Chem.
Compound with the same tetrahedral crystal structure as the diamond. For example, sphalerite, a black or brown zinc sulfide mineral.

adaptive optics Astron.
Optical systems which adjust to compensate for blur optical effects due to the medium between the object and its image. The technique is used in astronomical telescopes (such as the Keck II telescope) in order to obtain sharper images by reducing blurring efects due to turbulent atmosphere on the Earth. The image can be corrected in a real time observation. The basic technique involves the use of a reference bright star to analyse the distortion of its wavefront. Actuators are then used to change the surface of the deformable mirror to correction for any distortions.

adiabatic Phys.
Without loss or gain of heat. According to the First Law of Thermodynamics the adiabatic condition states that the work done is due to the change in the internal energy of the system without external interference: DU = -PDV with Q=0 for the adiabatic case.

adware Comp.
A computer program once installed will automatically present adverts on screen, often without user's instruction or intention.

aerocapture Space
Concept of slowing down or alter a sapcecraft's flight tracjectory by using a planet's atmosphere. The idea is to put a spacecraft in orbit using the atmospheric drag without consuming any fuel.

aerolite Space
A meteorite that consists of mostly stoney materials and is one of the three main groups of meteorites. Aerolites are the most abundant group of meteorites that are rather similar to earth rocks in their appearance and compositions. They contains mostly silicate minerals. It is further subdivided into chrondrites and achondrites, distinguished by the structural feature called chondrules.

aetiology Med.
See etiology.

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