Science News

Discovery of a Dinosaur Footprint

02 September 2012
NASA recently announced the discovery of a dinosaur footprint at its Goddard Spaceflight Center (GSFC). The elephant-foot-sized footprint was discovered by Ray Stanford, an amateur paleontologist. It is estimated to be 112 million years old.

Discovery of a Rare Planetary System

30 August 2012
NASA's Kepler spacecraft has discovered a distant planetary system, in which planets do not circle a single star, but rather orbit two stars. This rare type of planetary systems is termed circumbinary system, since the central object is a binary star, two gravitationally-bound stars orbiting each other. The newly discovered system, known as Kepler-47, is located 4,900 light-years away from Earth, and is visible in the sky among stars of the remarkable constellation Cygnus, The Swan.

First Moonwalker Dies

26 August 2012
On 25 August 2012, Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon during NASA’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission, died at 82, following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.

Saturn Eclipses Its Volcanic Moon

20 August 2012
NASA recently published a wonderful image of two Saturnian moons, acquired by the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft. The moons are Enceladus, a small geologically active moon, and Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Intriguingly, Enceladus (504 km across), shining above center, is partially eclipsed by the immense shadow of its giant parent planet. Titan (5,150 km across) is the pale apparently smaller object to the right.

Spacecraft Images Lightning in Saturn’s Atmosphere

13 August 2012
These false-color images from NASA's Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft show lightning blazing within a huge long-lasting storm that churned in Saturn in 2011.

Sophisticated Probe Lands on Mars

07 August 2012
On 6 August 2012, NASA's advanced space probe Curiosity, a six-wheeled robotic rover, touched down safely on Mars. The landing ends a 36-week spaceflight, and begins a two-year exploration of our fascinating cosmic neighbor. Now, there are five space probes exploring the Red Planet, two rovers and three spacecrafts in Mars orbits. Curiosity will study the geology and climate of Mars and investigate whether the planet has ever been hospitable for life.

Energetic Particles Blast from the Sun

04 August 2012
NASA recently published an exquisite image of the Sun (Fig. 1), showing a strong eruption of giant clouds of energetic atomic particles, blasting from the Sun into space. The eruption occurred on 19 July 2012, and was captured by the SOHO spacecraft, a sophisticated observatory in orbit around the Sun. This type of solar eruptions is termed coronal mass ejection (CME), since it originates in the Sun’s tenuous extremely hot outer atmosphere, the solar corona.

Space Telescope Pictures a Cloud of Stars

30 July 2012
NASA recently published a wonderful picture of DDO 82, a curious small galaxy, resembling a cloud of vapor. The image was acquired by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), a large sophisticated astronomical observatory, exploring the cosmos from Earth orbit.

Pioneering Spacewoman Dies

24 July 2012
On 23 July 2012, Dr Sally Ride, America’s first woman to fly into space, passed away, at age 61. On 18 June 1983, Ride achieved history, when she made her first spaceflight, aboard Space Shuttle Challenger, on its STS-7 mission. Since she was 32, during STS-7, she also was the youngest American to reach space.

A Hot Alien Planet

19 July 2012
Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (SST), a sophisticated telescope exploring the cosmos in infrared light from orbit around the Sun, have detected what they believe is an alien planet orbiting a nearby star. The possible planet is estimated to be just two-thirds the size of Earth, one of the smallest planets ever spotted outside the Solar System. Planets orbiting beyond the Solar System are termed exoplanets or extrasolar planets. In their earnest search for exoplanets, astronomers have discovered approximately 800 exoplanets, and hundreds of planet candidates await confirmatory observations.

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