I felt that Carl Sagan’s Cosmos would be a great way to start familiarizing yourself with astronomy if you are a space enthusiast. This thirteen-part television series is really an enjoyable way to learn about space although it is three decades old. However, all of the episodes have an update at the end which shows developments that occurred in the early 1990s.
An unmanned Atlas V rocket launched towards Mars from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Saturday, carrying the Mars Science Laboratory rover. The rover, dubbed Curiosity, will explore Mars's Gale Crater, looking for organic materials that might suggest life forms once existed on the planet.
It will take 8 1/2 months before Curiosity reaches the surface of Mars, more than 350 million miles away. It is scheduled to land on the planet's surface in August 2012.
I have a real interest in life that exists outside of the Earth and I guess you could have gleaned that from the articles that I have written on this blog. This post will continue on that trend.
Fossum compared the crew of the space station to military personnel, stating that the two groups have many things in common. Both are away from home, working in a hostile environment for the good of their fellow human beings.
With all the attention on Asteroid 2005 YU55, I wanted to talk more about the likelihood of an impact event taking out human beings and other forms of life on Planet Earth. The last asteroid to hit Earth was the one that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 60 million years ago called the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. This is pretty bad news because it means that another asteroid is due soon. What needs to be pointed about Asteroid 2005 YU55 is that it travels on an elliptical path and regularly passes the terrestrial planets. This is concerning because we have just started identifying it and it could be getting closer and closer to the Earth every time it travels on its orbit. But astronomers say that it is not a collision threat for the next 100 years even though they have placed it on the potentially hazardous list.
Using their DC-8 research plane, NASA officials were able to report an enormous iceberg the size of New York City forming in the Antarctica region. The iceberg is expected to be approximately 300 square miles in size! It is breaking off the Pine Island Glacier and will contribute significantly to rising sea water.
The polar regions are much more sensitive to global warming than are the temperate and tropical regions of the Earth and the rise in average global temperature has caused an accelerated melting of the Pine Island Glacier. Even if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide tomorrow, there is enough built up in the system to affect the melting rate of the Antarctica Ice for more than 2000 years.
This is alarming to think about but also difficult for a human who only has an average lifespan of 70-100 years to really fully understand or fully appreciate. Worrying about what is going to happen several generations from now is just too difficult for the average human being to deal with.
The detection of this iceberg forming is part of a NASA mission called Operation IceBridge. They will continue to monitor the situation and will make periodic reports to the public. NASA is also conducting similar missions over Greenland with the DC-8 research plane. Both polar regions have been greatly affected by global warming.
There have been lots of places in the Solar System that have been proposed as being habitable for organic life. There are 8 places that are frequently suggested and five of these are moons. Large bodies of underground liquid oceans are widely thought as conceivable. Any forms of life there may have developed in the same way as species found around deep sea vents here on Earth.
Looking closer to home at the other terrestrial planets has revealed that there may be chances of smaller forms of life. Venus, for instance, may have microbes in the unwavering cloud layers 50 kilometers beyond the surface according to scientists. This speculation is backed by the observation of hospitable climates and chemical disequilibrium. Life on Mars has been a subject of discussion for a long time. Liquid water is believed to have been present on the Red Planet earlier in its history. A breakthrough happened when methane was found in the Martian atmosphere and NASA scientists are attempting to determine its biological or abiotic cause. Another important discovery occurred in July 2008 when laboratory tests on a soil sample by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander had found water. The Mars Global Surveyor’s images display an indication of liquid flows on the cold surface of Mars that could have even been in the last decade.
During a conference football game between Scottsdale high school rivals the Horizon Huskies and the Notre Dame Prep Saints, at least four bright lights appeared in the sky southeast of Horizon High School's football field.