October 28, 2010
Future Human Exploration of Mars
NASA is considering a manned mission to Mars in 2030, to explore Mars and possibly start to colonize the planet. It is called the Hundred Year Starship program and it is not anywhere near a certainty yet, but the long term goal of the program is to colonize other planets. It will be interesting to see what will happen in the future with this program (if anything at all) since it would require many new technologies and resources.
October 25, 2010
Moon's Crater History
Professor Miller recently posted an article about the recent water that was found on the moon. After reading it, I was interested in learning about what other moon-related discoveries were being made.
A little over a month ago NASA posted its findings about moon's crater impact history. More craters were found in the moon's highlands than in its lunar maria. Additionally, the percentage of large impacts far outnumbered smaller impacts.
We are able to study the crater history of the moon because it is preserved. What I mean by this is that while craters were just as forceful in impacting the Earth's surface during its youth, water and wind have since eroded them (or most of them), essentially erasing their presence. The moon does not experience erosion because it is not affected by water and wind, which is why we (or NASA!) is able to study it. This article might prove useful for studying because it is exactly what we are learning about now!
Please refer to the link below for the full article:
Jones, Nancy N., and Bill Steigerwald. "NASA's LRO Exposes Moon's Complex, Turbulent Youth." NASA. 16 Sept. 2010. Web. 25 Oct. 2010.
Water on the moon
Theres a pretty cool video at the end :) - live footage of the spacecraft's impact with the surface of the moon
Click here to see the video.
October 22, 2010
The Most Distant Object Ever Seen
The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted what is now the most distant galaxy ever seen, which is 13 billion light years away.
The universe we see in this galaxy is when the universe was only 600 million years old.
Here's the link.
Asteroid collisions with the Earth
A fellow professor sent me this link to a YouTube video:
If you are curious, the impact that killed the dinosaurs is the Chicxulub crater in Mexico, which is 170km in size (and struck the Earth ~65 million years ago). This crater was created by an asteroid that had a diameter of around 5 miles. The object in this movie has a diameter of 300 miles. A rare event, for sure. But devastating.
Here is a link to an article describing the Congressional Mandate to find all of these asteroids by the year 2020.
October 18, 2010
I recently read on NASA's website about an asteroid collision that occurred in either February or March 2009 that was captured on camera. The collision took place within the asteroid belt and the significance of the camera shots is that until now, only models had been used to learn about these [yearly] collisions, ie. where and how the debris scatters and the frequency of collisions.
The body in question was originally thought to be a comet but upon further investigation, it was discovered that the object was, indeed, an asteroid. It's important to continue taking pictures of these asteroids to learn about the composition of dust and other matter in space and what percentage of this debris is made as a result of asteroid collisions.
Scientists are also interested in learning more about the peculiar X shape caused by this collision.
Check out the website for images of this collision and the complete article!
"NASA's Hubble Captures First Images of Aftermath of Possible Asteroid Collision." NASA. 13 Oct. 2010. Web. 15 Oct. 2010.
The Saga of Pluto
As we learned in class, Pluto is now nothing but a dwarf planet. It's not even considered a planet in our solar system!! This slideshow describes the ups and downs and hardships of this small mass. With relevancy to our class, pay special attention to:
Picture 6: Mentioning of the Kuiper belt..how does this relate to Pluto today?
Picture 12: Dwarf planets, including both Pluto and Eris
October 11, 2010
Irish Man Discovers Supernova
What does everyone think about this?
October 02, 2010
"The Universe, in High Definition" Slideshow
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has released new pictures, which the NY Times has delightfully made into a special little slideshow, of sorts. I would encourage everyone to look at them -- they're STUNNING, absolutely stunning.
All of the pictures are amazing, but in relevance to the class, take special note of picture:
4: The description mentions the different colors of the stars, and then relates that over the the age of the stars
5: The two images are using either infrared of visible light, hence the changes in the image.