In February 2008, New Scientist reported that a team of UK scientists claimed to have simulated a black hole's event horizon in the lab. Ulf Leonhardt at the University of St Andrews and his colleagues accomplished the feat by firing lasers down an optical fiber, exploiting the fact that different wavelengths of light move at different speeds within an optical fiber.
In early March, Europe launched their most advanced spaceship to date. The new generation robotic orbital freighter, named Jules Verne, blasted off from the European-controlled spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana en route to the International Space Station (ISS). This inaugural flight was not in any hurry to dock with the ISS, taking three weeks to do so. This allowed ample time to thoroughly test all aspects of the spacecraft to ensure it was ready to approach the Space Station.
The Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in New Mexico is in the process of becoming the EVLA (Expanded Very Large Array), thanks to digital technology that will give it the sensitivity to pick up a cell phone signal on Jupiter.
World renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking from Cambridge University, physics Nobel laureates David Gross and George Smoot, and NASA Administrator Michael Griffin are among an international group of physicists and mathematicians who will visit South Africa in May 2008.
The NASSP (National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme) Summer School is hosted by SAAO (South African Astronomical Observatory) with most of the activities taking place at the Observatory itself. The primary objective of the summer school is to give the students an introduction and some knowledge of basic astronomy and space science.