July appears like a truly occupied month for NASA. After the late Pluto flyby of the New Horizons, todayNASA is going to declare the discovery of “another Earth” i.e. another Earth-like planet. This possible discovery has been made with the help of NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. Today, at a press conference, NASA will be sharing the recent discoveries made by Kepler Space Telescope.
Finding it hard to believe? Read what NASA had to say in the official statement: Click here
Today, and thousands of discoveries later, astronomers are on the cusp of finding something people have dreamed about for thousands of years — another Earth.
The very first exoplanet that was discovered orbiting another Sun-like star was found 20-years ago in 1995. Today, as NASA hints, we could be greeted by another Earth.
NASA is holding a live teleconference to announce the new Kepler Telescope discoveries from 9:00 am PDT / 12:00 pm EDT on July 23.
Kepler Telescope was launched in 2009 to search the planets in Goldilocks zone i.e. a safe distance from a star for a planet to hold liquid water. It is expected that NASA announcement will feature the most Earth-like planet to date, or another Earth.
Just 21 years ago, these Earth-size planets were science fiction. Thanks to its launch, the Kepler Telescope has made a disocvery of more than 1,000 planets, and 3,000 bodies that fall under the “planet candidates.” It was earlier this year, when NASA found eight new planets in the Goldilocks zone.
Last week’s Pluto flyby turned Pluto into a meme. If you missed the best Pluto memes from the internet, take a look at them here.
Lego’s official ‘Women of NASA’ set goes on sale November 1
Lego has a new set that originated by a member of its Lego Ideas fan-sourced creation platform: The Women of NASA, a package that includes NASA pioneers Nancy Grace Roman, Margeret Hamilton, Sally Ride and Mae Jamison, as well as a space shuttle model, the Hubble telescope and display stands for all.
The Lego set was originally proposed by MIT News deputy editor Maia Weinstock on the Ideas platform last year, and quickly made its way to the 10,000 mark needed for official project approval by Lego.
Weinstock had suggested that the set include computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, who developed onboard software for the Apollo missions while working at NASA during the 60s; Katherine Johnson, who calculated and verified launch and landing trajectories for Mercury and Apollo programs (and who was depicted in the film Hidden Figures); Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Nancy Grace Roman, who helped plan and create the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s astronomy research program; and Mae Jamison, the first African-American woman in space.
The final kit includes all but Katherine Johnson, which Lego says is only because it requires approval from all involved, and apparently there was some hiccup in gaining approval from Johnson and her family at this time.
The set was designed by Lego’s Gemma Anderson and Marie Sertillanges, and sticks close to Weinstein’s original vision. Anderson and Sertillanges went to great lengths to capture specific details in the Lego recreations of these space icons, including how Sally Ride’s name tag says just “Sally,” which is in keeping with a request she actually made in real life.
Again, the Women of NASA set is on sale starting November 1, and will retail for $24.99.
Rogue Chinese space station is on a collision course with Earth
Sometime in the next couple of months, the Tiangong-1 space station is going to fall to Earth — and we’ll have no idea where it’s going to land until a couple of hours before it does.
The space laboratory was being controlled by the Chinese government until an amateur space tracker noticed in June 2016 that it had apparently gone rogue. A few months later, Chinese officials told the UN they no longer had control and they had no idea when it was going to land.
As Jonathan McDowell, Harvard astrophysicist, told The Guardian, “Not knowing when it’s going to come down translates as not knowing where it’s going to come down.” And if no one has control, that means there’s no way to stop it from landing on a populated area. It’s not likely that it’ll happen, but it’s still a possibility.
Tiangong-1 was China’s first space station, launched in 2011. It weighs 8.5 tons and has completed almost 35,000 orbits. It’s expected to make landfall sometime between now and March or April next year.
SpaceX’s Interplanetary Spaceship and Rocket simulation is out of this world
Elon Musk today gave us our first glimpse at what interplanetary travel and colonization could look like. In an Instagram post, Musk provided a series of five videos offering a look at a computer simulation of the SpaceX Interplanetary Spaceship and Rocket, and how it could, conceivably, one day shuttle humans between Earth and Mars.
Use the right arrow button to see additional videos in the series
The series of five short videos opens with a view of the new rocket design, a people carrier meant to ferry people between planets. We see astronauts boarding the vessel before it departs from Cape Canaveral Florida, blasting off the launchpad with over 28 million pounds of thrust.
In the second video, we see the rocket leaving the atmosphere at over 2,000 miles per hour. The booster then separates from the spaceship, heading back to Earth.
The booster sticks the landing on the launch mount in video three. Propellant is then loaded on to the rocket, and it’s re-used, blasted back into orbit to dock with, and refuel the spaceship while in orbit. The tanker, again, returns to Earth while the spaceship departs for Mars.
Video four shows the solar arrays departing from the spaceship. The arrays provide an estimated 200kW of energy that’ll power the ship as it coasts toward Mars.
And finally, video five, shows the spaceship entering Mars’ atmosphere and landing vertically, much like SpaceX’s rocket. Conditions are harsh, with temperatures reaching heights of 1,700 degrees Celsius (3,092 degrees Fahrenheit). Astronauts in specialized suits depart the vessel and, we presume, begin their lives on the red planet.
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