Scott Maxwell is a Mars rover driver. He’s driven both Spirit and Opportunity, and will now be part of a team driving Curiosity on the surface of Mars.
“It’s a priceless national asset that happens to be sitting on the surface of another planet. You better take that damn seriously.
Also, in case you’re wondering, his normal car is a red Prius. #themoreyouknow
Ed White performs first U.S. spacewalk
Astronaut Edward H. White II, pilot for the Gemini-Titan 4 space flight, floats in space during America’s first spacewalk.
Four dead planetary systems, each lit by the burned-out core of a star that once resembled the sun, provide a harrowing forecast for Earth’s eventual demise.
Astronomers used the space-based Hubble telescope to probe the chemical signatures of dusty disks encircling the four star systems. In each they found a surprising abundance of elements that make up about 93 percent of Earth’s mass.
“What we are seeing today in these white dwarfs several hundred light years away could well be a snapshot of the very distant future of the Earth,” said Boris Gänsicke, an astrophysicist at the University of Warwick, in a press release.
Images: Three panels illustrate the death sequence of a planetary system. Four terrestrial planets orbit a sun-like star (top); the host star turns into a red giant and mixes up planetary orbits, causing them to collide (middle); dusty debris and asteroid-like objects are all that remains around the star, now a white dwarf (bottom). (Copyright of Mark A. Garlick/University of Warwick) [high resolution]
1. RINGS FROM AFAR
Measuring 175,000 miles wide but as little as 30 feet thick, Saturn’s rings contain debris of varying ages and composition, all revolving at different speeds.
2. THREE MOONS
Titan and Dione, along with speck-sized Prometheus appear in rare alignment. Tiny so-called shepherd moons help shape the rings and prevent them from dispersing.
Concentric rings wind in front of Satrun’s biggest moon, Titan, with tiny Janus in teh foreground. The rings are so massive that they have their own atmosphere, separate from Saturn’s. Cassini found evidence of oxygen all around the icy rings.
4. RINGS CLOSE UP
Into the Sword of Orion
Distance: 1500 Light Years
Image Copyright Robert Gendler 2006
The region of Orion and Monoceros has unique importance as one of the great regions of active star formation in our galaxy.
Its proximity and favorable position in the sky have made this one of the most extensively studied regions in the Milky Way.
Sifting through Dust near Orion’s Belt
A new image of the region surrounding the reflection nebula Messier 78, just to the north of Orion’s Belt, shows clouds of cosmic dust threaded through the nebula like a string of pearls. The observations, made with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope, use the heat glow of interstellar dust grains to show astronomers where new stars are being formed.
Meerab Atiq won the grand prize in the 3rd-5th grade category and attends Beaconhouse School System in Lahore, Pakistan. Meerab also won 1st place in the 3rd-5th grade painting category.Credit: Space Foundation
Triton Dramatic Fade
The above picture of Triton, Neptune’s moon was taken in 1989 by the only spacecraft ever to pass Triton: Voyager 2. Voyager 2 found fascinating terrain, a thin atmosphere, and even evidence for ice volcanoes on this world of peculiar orbit and spin. Ironically, Voyager 2 also confirmed the existence of complete thin rings around Neptune.
There are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe, handily divided into three basic types: spiral, elliptical and “irregular.” But even when you think you know a galaxy, it just might surprise you. Such is the case with the so-called “Sombrero Galaxy” (a.k.a. NGC 4594).
Discovered in 1767 by Pierre Mechain, its name derives from the fact that, when viewed from Earth, the galaxy looks like a wide-brimmed hat: a thin disk with a bulge in the center.
Black holes get fat on tasty, tasty stars
We already know that black holes swallow stars — and entire solar systems — but what effect does a stellar diet have on black holes? A new study suggests that eating stars is what turns baby black holes into supermassive black holes.