Our Eyes in Space via I Fucking Love Science
Our Eyes in Space via I Fucking Love Science
December 20, 2012 — The spacecraft has delivered another glorious backlit view of Saturn and its rings.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, in orbit around Saturn for more than eight years, has delivered another glorious backlit view of the planet Saturn and its rings.
On October 17, 2012, during its 174th orbit around the gas giant, Cassini was deliberately positioned within Saturn’s shadow, a perfect location from which to look in the direction of the Sun and take a backlit view of the rings and the dark side of the planet. Looking back toward the Sun is a geometry referred to by planetary scientists as “high solar phase” — near the center of the target’s shadow is the highest phase possible. This is a scientifically advantageous and coveted viewing position as it can reveal details about both the rings and atmosphere that cannot be seen in lower solar phase.
The last time Cassini had such an unusual perspective on Saturn and its rings, at sufficient distance and with sufficient time to make a full system mosaic, occurred in September 2006 when it captured a mosaic, processed to look like natural color, entitled “In Saturn’s Shadow-The Pale Blue Dot.” In that mosaic, planet Earth put in a special appearance, making “In Saturn’s Shadow” one of the most popular Cassini images to date.
The mosaic being released today by the mission and the imaging team does not contain Earth — along with the Sun, our planet is hidden behind Saturn. However, it was taken when Cassini was closer to Saturn and therefore shows more detail in the rings than the one taken in 2006.
“Of all the many glorious images we have received from Saturn, none are more strikingly unusual than those taken from Saturn’s shadow,” said Carolyn Porco, Cassini’s imaging team lead based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “They unveil a rare splendor seldom seen anywhere else in our solar system.”
This image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows a vast river system on Saturn’s moon Titan. It is the first time images from space have revealed a river system so vast and in such high resolution anywhere other than Earth.
NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region at the far reaches of our solar system that scientists feel is the final area the spacecraft has to cross before reaching interstellar space.
Scientists refer to this new region as a magnetic highway for charged particles because our sun’s magnetic field lines are connected to interstellar magnetic field lines.
Check out the article here
Ice Water Found on Mercury!
NASA announced today that its Messenger spacecraft has discovered “compelling” evidence of frozen water and possible organic materials on Mercury’s north pole (shown left in red), confirming the decades of suspicion in the scientific community.
“The neutron data indicate that Mercury’s radar-bright polar deposits contain, on average, a hydrogen-rich layer more than tens of centimeters thick beneath a surficial layer 10 to 20 centimeters thick that is less rich in hydrogen,” according to David Lawrence, a Johns Hopkins University physics scientist working on the Messenger project.
A form of spacecraft propulsion using the radiation pressure of light from a star or laser to push enormous ultra-thin mirrors to high speeds. Japan’s JAXA successfully tested IKAROS in 2010. The goal was to deploy and control the sail and for the first time determining the minute orbit perturbations caused by light pressure. Orbit determination was done by the nearby AKATSUKI probe from which IKAROS detached after both had been brought into a transfer orbit to Venus.
A NASA probe orbiting Mars has captured new photos of two dead spacecraft frozen in place at their Red Planet graves.
The photos were taken by NASA’s powerful Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which has been circling the planet since 2006.
The spacecraft first spied NASA’s dead Phoenix Mars Lander in the Martian arctic on Jan. 26 in a color photo that reveals the lander and its frigid surroundings as they appeared following Phoenix’s second winter on the planet. The Phoenix spacecraft landed successfully on Mars in 2008.
In a separate photo, MRO also spotted the three-petal landing platform that delivered NASA’s Mars rover Spirit to the surface of the Red Planet in January 2004. The platform used parachutes and airbags to bounce to a stop on Gusev crater so the Spirit rover could begin its mission.
Rosetta’s Closest Asteroid Flyby Photos (July 10, 2010)
The Rosetta spacecraft took its first close-up images of the asteroid Lutetia on July 2010, revealing it to be a heavily cratered, elongated rock.
Image: ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
Virgin Galactic, Virgin’s commercial space flight branch, just recently announced that the first phase in the construction of the world’s first spaceport available to civilian consumers has been completed, making the ambitious project 90% complete.
‘Spaceport America’, as it’s been dubbed, is being built on an 18,000 acre site in the desolate sand plains of New Mexico, 45 miles of Las Cruces. Its nearly two-mile long, 200-foot wide runway-or “spaceway” is already complete, while the space-age looking terminal hangar is almost ready.
The spaceport, according to Virgin officials, is just months away from being completely ready, when the second phase in its inception will be done as well. The second phase, already in motion, is comprised in the completion of the Vertical Launch Complex facility, two visitor centres in nearby towns and a further visitor centre on the main spaceport site.
GPOYW - Antonov edition
Above: The Antonov-124 with the spacecraft container outside, on its way to Baikanur, in October 2010
Below: The Antonov-124, taken today, with spacecraft inside ready to meet a launch date next month
coolest. life. ever.