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Posts tagged "space"
Houston we have liftoff! NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory lifted off from the launch pad at 7:02 a.m. EST today.
The one-ton Mini Cooper-sized rover, which is the largest machine NASA can currently put down on the Martian surface, will now look forward to an eight-month cruise to the Red Planet, arriving in August 2012. The probe will survey the Martian landscape with HD cameras, search for signs of habitability and life past or present, and drill inside rocks to examine the planet’s composition.
(via cosmicphenotype)Source apod.nasa.gov
11 awesome things the Mars rover can do
Gadgets include an HD camera, a set of tool designed to analyze Martian dirt and a laser that shoots rocks to analyze the composition of the vaporized bits.
(via astrotastic)Source mothernaturenetwork
Small galaxies, like the Pegasus dwarf spheroidal shown here, play a pivotal role in galaxy formation’s big picture. The galaxy, almost obscured by the glare of foreground stars in our own Milky Way, measures just 2,000 light-years across and orbits M31, the famous Andromeda spiral. Galaxies like the Pegasus dwarf and the recently identified Ursa Major dwarf are thought to be the building blocks from which larger galaxies formed.Source astronomy.com
Here’s something exciting for us space junkies to look forward to, mark Nov. 25 (yep, the day after some of us stuff our faces):
In just 7 days, Earth’s most advanced robotic roving emissary will liftoff from Florida on a fantastic journey to the Red Planet and the search for extraterrestrial life will take a quantum leap forward. Scientists are thrilled that the noble endeavor of the rover Curiosity is finally at hand after seven years of painstaking work.
NASA’s Curiosity Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover is vastly more capable than any other roving vehicle ever sent to the surface of another celestial body. Mars is the most Earth-like planet in our Solar System and a prime target to investigate for the genesis of life beyond our home planet.
Curiosity is all buttoned up inside an aeroshell at a seaside launch pad atop an Atlas V rocket and final preparations are underway at the Florida Space Coast leading to a morning liftoff at 10:25 a.m. EST on Nov. 25, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday.
(via project-argus)Source universetoday.com
In February 1984, Mission Specialist Bruce McCandless II went further away from the confines and safety of his ship than any previous astronaut had ever been. This space first was made possible by the Manned Manuevering Unit or MMU, a nitrogen jet propelled backpack. After a series of test maneuvers inside and above Challenger’s payload bay, McCandless went “free-flying” to a distance of 320 feet away from the Orbiter. This stunning orbital panorama view shows McCandless out there amongst the black and blue of Earth and space.Source nasa.gov
Nature’s best magnifying glass views an early spiral galaxy
The gravity of a gigantic cluster of galaxies has bent and magnified the light of the distant spiral galaxy Sp1149, making its spiral arms visible and available for study by astronomers. Normally, gravitational lensing distorts the structures of distant galaxies beyond recognition. The inset labeled “galaxy” shows how Sp1149 would look without lensing.
First galaxies were born much earlier than expected
The giant cluster of elliptical galaxies in the center of this image contains so much dark matter mass that its gravitational field bends light. This means that for distant galaxies in the background, the cluster acts as a magnifying glass, bending and concentrating the distant object’s light towards Hubble. These gravitational lenses are one tool astronomers can use to extend Hubble’s vision beyond what it would normally be capable of seeing.
Rotating sunspots spin up a super solar flare
The largest solar flare recorded in nearly 5 years was triggered by interactions between five rotating sunspots. Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire studied observations of the flaring region of the Sun taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) over a period of 5 days.
“Sunspots are features where magnetic field generated in the Sun’s interior pushes through the surface and into the atmosphere,” said Daniel Brown from the University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom. “Twisting the Sun’s magnetic field is like twisting an elastic band. At first you store energy in the elastic, but if you twist too much the elastic band snaps, releasing the stored energy. Similarly, rotating sunspots store energy in the Sun’s atmospheric magnetic field. If they twist too much, the magnetic field breaks, releasing energy in a flash of light and heat that makes up the solar flare.”
Fermi finds super-energetic millisecond pulsar
In three years, NASA’s Fermi has detected more than 100 gamma-ray pulsars, but something new has appeared. Among a type of pulsar with ages typically numbering a billion years or more, Fermi has found one that appears to have been born only millions of years ago.
Hubble directly observes the disk around a black hole
This picture shows a quasar that has been gravitationally lensed by a galaxy in the foreground, which can be seen as a faint shape around the two bright images of the quasar.
The Glowing Eye
The glowing eye of NGC 6751 in the constellation Aquila, the nebula is a cloud of gas ejected several thousand years ago from the hot star visible in its center.
(via scinerds)Source kenobi-wan-obi
The Skull Nebula
Distance: Some 1,600 light-years away from Earth
Planetary nebula NGC 246 surrounds a dying star in the constellation Cetus. Expelled over a period of thousands of years, the lovely, intricate nebula is the outer atmosphere of a once sun-like star.
(via scinerds)Source kenobi-wan-obi