Showing posts from April, 2013

NASA Probe Observes Meteors Colliding With Saturn's Rings

Source:   NASA RELEASE 13-120 Excerpt: ...NASA's Cassini spacecraft has provided the first direct evidence of small meteoroids breaking into streams of rubble and crashing into Saturn's rings. These observations make Saturn's rings the only location besides Earth, the moon, and Jupiter where scientists and amateur astronomers have been able to observe impacts as they occur.  ... Saturn's rings act as very effective detectors of many kinds of surrounding phenomena, including the interior structure of the planet and the orbits of its moons.  ...  http://

Kepler's Tally of Planets (Interactive)

Source:  Jonathan Corum, New York Times                  This is an interactive showing more than 100 Kepler planet discoveries with a known size and orbit, including five planets orbiting Kepler 62, announced on April 18.

Kepler's Smallest Habitable Zone Planets

Source:  NASA Kepler Mission Excerpt:  ...We're a step closer to knowing if our galaxy is home to a multitude of planets like Earth or if we are a rarity. The three habitable zone super-Earth-size planets are in two systems containing a total of seven newly discovered planets...Star Kepler-62 is not Sun-like: just 2/3 the size of the Sun, cooler, older, and only 1/5 as bright. Planet Kepler-62f, 40% larger than Earth, the smallest known habitable zone exoplanet, orbits every 267 days. Planet Kepler-62e, about 60% larger than Earth, orbits every 122 days in the the habitable zone's inner edge.

NASA-Funded Asteroid Tracking Sensor Passes Key Test

Source:   NASA RELEASE 13-109 Excerpt:...An infrared sensor that could improve NASA's future detecting and tracking of asteroids and comets has passed a critical design test. The test assessed performance of the Near Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) in an environment that mimicked the temperatures and pressures of deep space. NEOCam is the cornerstone instrument for a proposed new space-based asteroid-hunting telescope. ...The sensor could be a vital component to inform plans for the agency's recently announced initiative to develop the first-ever mission to identify, capture and relocate an asteroid closer to Earth for future exploration by astronauts. ...NASA's NEOWISE is an enhancement of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, mission that launched in December 2009. WISE scanned the entire celestial sky in infrared light twice. It captured more than 2.7 million images of objects in space, ranging from faraway galaxies to asteroids and comets close to Earth.