Who’s excited for the NASA spacecraft New Horizons Pluto flyby??? CauseScience is!!!![tweet https://twitter.com/NASA/status/620656430601895936] [tweet https://twitter.com/NASA/status/620641204653420546] [tweet https://twitter.com/NASANewHorizons/status/620638853360017410]
The NASA spacecraft New Horizons has sent back some early pictures of PLUTO (Image Credit: New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), July 8, NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI), and will fly by PLUTO next Tuesday – July 14th!!
After a more than nine-year, three-billion-mile journey to Pluto, it’s show time for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, as the flyby sequence of science observations is officially underway.
In the early morning hours of July 8, mission scientists received this new view of Pluto—the most detailed yet returned by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard New Horizons. The image was taken on July 7, when the spacecraft was just under 5 million miles (8 million kilometers) from Pluto, and is the first to be received since the July 4 anomaly that sent the spacecraft into safe mode.
Sad, but cool, farewell to NASA’s Messenger Spacecraft today as it crashes into Mercury. Messenger left its mark both scientifically, and on Mercury!!! Info on the Messenger mission here.
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To become the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, MESSENGER followed a path through the inner solar system, including one flyby of Earth, two flybys of Venus, and three flybys of Mercury. This impressive journey yielded the first return of new spacecraft data from Mercury since the Mariner 10 mission more than 30 years ago. Here you can find details about that journey, the MESSENGER spacecraft, and the instrument payload.
NASA spacecraft Dawn is approaching the dwarf planet Ceres and sending back amazing images of the planet.
Recent images show numerous craters and unusual bright spots that scientists believe tell how Ceres, the first object discovered in our solar system’s asteroid belt, formed and whether its surface is changing. As the spacecraft spirals into closer and closer orbits around the dwarf planet, researchers will be looking for signs that these strange features are changing, which would suggest current geological activity.
Explanation: Our solar system’s ruling giant planet Jupiter and 3 of its 4 large Galilean moons are captured in this single Hubble snapshot from January 24. Crossing in front of Jupiter’s banded cloud tops Europa, Callisto, and Io are framed from lower left to upper right in a rare triple-moon conjunction. Distinguishable by colors alone icy Europa is almost white, Callisto’s ancient cratered surface looks dark brown, and volcanic Io appears yellowish. The transiting moons and moon shadows can be identified by sliding your cursor over the image, or following this link. Remarkably, two small, inner Jovian moons, Amalthea and Thebe, along with their shadows, can also be found in the sharp Hubble view. The Galilean moons have diameters of 3,000 to 5,000 kilometers or so, comparable in size to Earth’s moon. But odd-shaped Amalthea and Thebe are only about 260 and 100 kilometers across respectively.
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, on approach to dwarf planet Ceres, has acquired its latest and closest-yet snapshot of this mysterious world.
At a resolution of 8.5 miles (14 kilometers) per pixel, the pictures represent the sharpest images to date of Ceres.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft returned its first new images of Pluto on Wednesday, as the probe closes in on the dwarf planet. Although still just a dot along with its largest moon, Charon, the images come on the 109th birthday of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the distant icy world in 1930.
The NASA Planet Quest website has tons of information on the search for exoplanets, and the 4,994 exoplanets currently being studied. Be sure to check out the Exoplanet Travel Bureau and their travel posters for exoplanets! You can download high resolution versions of the posters at the website! Each poster has an informative blerb about the exoplanet as well:
Kepler-186f is the first Earth-size planet discovered in the potentially ‘habitable zone’ around another star, where liquid water could exist on the planet’s surface. Its star is much cooler and redder than our Sun. If plant life does exist on a planet like Kepler-186f, its photosynthesis could have been influenced by the star’s red-wavelength photons, making for a color palette that’s very different than the greens on Earth. This discovery was made by Kepler, NASA’s planet hunting telescope.
Super cool… super fun… super space science!! Tons more awesome science about exoplanets at the NASA Planet Quest webpage!