The plan could help jump-start manned exploration of deep space, carving out a path to the Red Planet and perhaps even more far-flung destinations.
The new finds represent the latest update to the catalog of the $600 million Kepler mission, which launched in March 2009.
On the nights of January 7/8, 1610, Galileo Galilei noted in his notebooks the discovery of the first 4 Jovian moons, which he named after the powerful Medici family, naming them Medicean I, II and III. The name Europa (above left) comes from Greek mythology-Europa was abducted by Zeus (the Greek name for Jupiter) in the form of a bull and bore him many children. Io is also named for a child of Zeus (Jupiter) the daughter of Inachus, who was raped by Jupiter. Jupiter, in an effort to hide his crime from his wife, Juno, transformed Io into a heifer. Calllisto (on the right) was named for another seduction of Jupiter. Callisto was the daughter of Lycaon, who was a follower of Artemis, famous as goddess of the hunt and for her chastity. To punish Callisto for lying with Jupiter, Artemis banished her. Without protection, Jupiter was forced to change Callisto and her son into bears to hide them from his wife Hera’s fury. Eventually, Jupiter placed them both in the sky as the Ursa Major and Minor, the Big and Little Bears (known today as the Big and Little Dippers). Ganymede was the fourth moon discovered by Galileo, named for the shepherd boy known for his incredible beauty and kidnapped by Jupiter. These names would not become common for several hundred years. Today, Jupiter has fifty named moons:3. Ganymede
50. Herseand an additional 16 provisional moons:1. S/2003 J2
2. S/2003 J3
3. S/2003 J4
4. S/2003 J5
5. S/2003 J9
6. S/2003 J10
7. S/2003 J12
8. S/2003 J15
9. S/2003 J16
10. S/2003 J18
11. S/2003 J19
12. S/2003 J23
13. S/2010 J 1
14. S/2010 J 2
15. S/2011 J1
16. S/2011 J2All images courtesy NASA. Thanks also to NASA for additional historical background
Is that the River Nile? Nope. But it is the biggest river ever imaged on another world. White liquid methane rapids rafting on Titan anyone?
Cookie Monster, Mercury craters show resemblance in NASA photo
This isn’t the first time craters on Mercury have resembled a popular fictional character.
omg it really does
it’s an amazing feat of engineering, cooperation and video game-style controls.
Space Shuttle Endeavour will spend the rest of its days as a museum exhibit at the California Science Center (CSC) in Los Angeles. But its final mission has just commenced — a two day haul through LA streets.
A multi-axle, a computer controlled wheeled crawler called the Over Land Transporter (OLT) will carry the shuttle for most of the journey. But a Toyota Tundra will haul it the last 400 meters.
Although not a publicized viewing area for the public, local police departments advised thousands may turn up to see Endeavour waiting for its next move. Are you going to stop and say hey?
this ring shadow is gorgeous!
sometimes I wish Earth had rings.
Saturn’s southern reaches are draped in the shadow of the huge planet’s iconic ring system in a spectacular new picture from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.
The near-infrared photo was snapped on June 15 beautifully captures the ring shadow on the planet.
A few weeks ago, we caught some amazing photos of an August 31 coronal mass ejection, a stunning eruption from the surface of the Sun that (luckily) wasn’t pointed our way. And thanks to NASA, now we have some HD video to go along with it.
(via Bad Astronomy)
Chemistry On Mars
The Mars Science Laboratory will be seeking clues to the planetary puzzle about life on Mars, the Curiosity rover is one of the best-outfitted chemistry missions ever. Scientists say Curiosity is the next best thing to launching a team of trained chemists to Mars’ surface.
“The Mars Science Laboratory mission has the goal of understanding whether its landing site on Mars was ever a habitable environment, a place that could have supported microbial life,” says MSL Deputy Project Scientist, Ashwin Vasavada, who provides a look “under the hood” in this informative video from the American Chemical Society.
“Curiosity is really a geochemical experiment, and a whole laboratory of chemical equipment is on the rover,” says Vasavada. “It will drill into rocks, and analyze material from those rocks with sophisticated instruments.”
Curiosity will drive around the landing site at Gale Crater and sample the soil, layer by layer, to piece together the history of Mars, trying to determine if and when the planet went from a wetter, warmer world to its current cold and dry conditions.
The payload includes mast-mounted instruments to survey the surroundings and assess potential sampling targets from a distance, and there are also instruments on Curiosity’s robotic arm for close-up inspections. Laboratory instruments inside the rover will analyze samples from rocks, soils and the atmosphere.
The two instruments on the mast are a high-definition imaging system, and a laser-equipped, spectrum-reading camera called ChemCam that can hit a rock with a special laser beam, and using Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy, can observe the light emitted from the laser’s spark and analyze it with the spectrometer to understand the chemical composition of the soil and rock on Mars.
Breathtaking was the right word.
I think my eyes went to the size of bread plates.
Thanks to some image editing, Daniel Luke Fitch’s version of the rover’s Mars approach is extra crisp and breathtaking.
These are the first tracks made on this part of the Red Planet… to our knowledge…ASA’s new Mars probe lived up to its billing as a rover on Wednesday with a successful first test drive, its first motion since settling down inside an ancient impact basin on Aug. 6.
Favorite quote of the story from a NASA project manager: “We built a rover, so unless the rover roves, we really haven’t accomplished anything.”
NASA’s ultralight material is strong enough to support a car yet flexible
The new aerogel offers Earth some potential new technologies too as it makes for an excellent insulator for homes and refrigerators.
NASA’s Astronaut Group 8 was the first selection in nine years of astronaut candidates since Group 7 in August 1969. Due to the long delay between the last Apollo lunar mission in 1972 and the first flight of the Space Shuttle in 1981, few astronauts from the older groups stayed with NASA. Thus in January 1978 a new group of 35 astronauts, including NASA’s first female astronauts, was selected. Since then, a new group of candidates has been selected roughly every two years.
In Astronaut Group 8, two different astronaut groups were formed: pilots and mission specialists. (With shuttle classes, NASA stopped sending non-pilots for one year of UPT.) Of the 35 selected, six were women, three were male African Americans, and one was a male Asian American. Within this group a sizable number of American spaceflight firsts were achieved:
- First American woman in space: Sally Ride (June 18, 1983, STS-7)
- First African-American in space: Guion Bluford (August 30, 1983, STS-8)
- First American woman to perform an EVA: Kathryn Sullivan (October 11, 1984, STS-41-G)
- First mother in space: Anna Fisher (November 8, 1984, STS-51-A)
- First Asian-American in space: Ellison Onizuka (January 24, 1985, STS-51-C)
- First African-American to pilot and command a mission: Frederick Gregory (April 29, 1985, STS-51-B; November 23, 1989, STS-33)
- First American to launch on a Russian rocket: Norman Thagard (March 14, 1995, Soyuz TM-21)
- First American woman to make a long-duration spaceflight: Shannon Lucid (March to September 1996, Mir NASA-1)
- First American active duty astronauts to marry: Robert Gibson and Rhea Seddon
- First mother to be hired as an astronaut: Shannon Lucid
- First Army astronaut: Bob Stewart