NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered 11 new planetary systems hosting 26 confirmed planets. These discoveries nearly double the number of verified Kepler planets and triple the number of stars known to have more than one planet that transits, or passes in front of, the star
In daring mission, NASA is about to snatch pieces of an asteroid
SPACE THE FINAL FRONTIER ASTEROID SAMPLES TO BE TAKEN
In just a few hours, the world will know whether NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully reached out and touched Bennu, a tiny, top-shaped asteroid that’s been spinning through the solar system for a billion years. During the maneuver, the spacecraft will swoop down, scoop up a bit of material, and depart seconds later with precious cargo: rocks and dust dating back to the solar system’s birth.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will navigate a very tight area the size of a few parking spaces—26 feet—as it attempts to sample material from the surface of asteroid Bennu.
Guided by a digital map, OSIRIS-REx will fly between giant boulders that ring the landing zone, making for a hazardous descent. The target landing site, highlighted here with a blue circle, is 26 feet wide.
The mission is humankind’s third attempt—and NASA’s first—to sample the surface of an asteroid. The first two asteroid sampling missions, performed by Japan’s Hayabusa and Hayabusa2 spacecraft, picked up only small amounts of fine-grained material. By contrast, OSIRIS-REx is designed to pick up as much as 4.4 pounds of material that ranges in size from tiny grains to two-centimeter-wide pebbles.
On February 11, 2016, OSIRIS-REx underwent environmental testing in a Lockheed Martin thermal vacuum chamber. Launched nearly seven months later on September 8, 2016, the spacecraft is now more than 200 million miles from Earth—and poised to touch the surface of another world.
Assuming all goes well, a radio dish in Spain will receive the signal that OSIRIS-REx completed its task at 6:12 p.m. ET on October 20. The spacecraft will depart Bennu in March 2021, reaching Earth two and a half years later to eject the sample-filled capsule, which will parachute to the deserts of Utah for collection and study.
If successful, OSIRIS-REx will provide a wealth of insight into Bennu‘s history, and perhaps help scientists better understand the origins of water and life on Earth.
“Asteroids are like time capsules floating in space that can provide a fossil record for the birth of our solar system,” Lori Glaze, the director of NASA’s planetary science division, said in a press briefing on October 19. “They can provide valuable information about how the planets—including our own—came to be.”
Some space rocks also pose a threat to life’s future—and that includes Bennu. NASA estimates there’s a 1-in-2,700 chance of Bennu colliding with Earth sometime in the late 2100s. Decades from now, if future measurements confirm a collision course, data from OSIRIS-REx would help scientists monitor the asteroid and alter its orbit to avert a potentially catastrophic impact.
After a few failed attempts to get it out, NASA had to get a bit creative. Ultimately, it freed the probe up by giving it a solid thwack with InSight’s shovel.
NASA expected its probe, dubbed “the mole,” to dig its way through sand-like terrain. But because the Martian soil clumped together, the whole apparatus got stuck in place.
Programming InSight’s robotic arm to land down on the mole was a risky, last-resort maneuver, PopSci reports, because it risked damaging fragile power and communication lines that attached nearby. Thankfully, engineers spent a few months practicing in simulations before they made a real attempt.
With tentative results that the mole is working again, NASA hopes to again task it with burrowing beneath the surface of Mars.
Once it’s down there, it will hopefully be able to complete its research mission: analyzing temperature fluctuations inside the Red Planet in an attempt to understand how similar Mars’ core is to that of Earth.
For more than 60 years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has known that the changes occurring to planetary weather patterns are completely natural and normal. But the space agency, for whatever reason, has chosen to let the man-made global warming hoax persist and spread, to the detriment of human freedom.
It was the year 1958, to be precise, when NASA first observed that changes in the solar orbit of the earth, along with alterations to the earth’s axial tilt, are both responsible for what climate scientists today have dubbed as “warming” (or “cooling,” depending on their agenda). In no way, shape, or form are humans warming or cooling the planet by driving SUVs or eating beef, in other words.
But NASA has thus far failed to set the record straight, and has instead chosen to sit silently back and watch as liberals freak out about the world supposedly ending in 12 years because of too much livestock, or too many plastic straws.
In the year 2000, NASA did publish information on its Earth Observatory website about the Milankovitch Climate Theory, revealing that the planet is, in fact, changing due to extraneous factors that have absolutely nothing to do with human activity. But, again, this information has yet to go mainstream, some 19 years later, which is why deranged, climate-obsessed leftists have now begun to claim that we really only have 18 months left before the planet dies from an excess of carbon dioxide (CO2).
The truth, however, is much more along the lines of what Serbian astrophysicist Milutin Milankovitch, after whom the Milankovitch Climate Theory is named, proposed about how the seasonal and latitudinal variations of solar radiation that hit the earth in different ways, and at different times, have the greatest impact on earth’s changing climate patterns.
The below two images (by Robert Simmon, NASA GSFC) help to illustrate this, with the first showing earth at a nearly zero orbit, and the second showing earth at a 0.07 orbit. This orbital change is depicted by the eccentric, oval shape in the second image, which has been intentionally exaggerated for the purpose of showing the massive change in distance that occurs between the earth and the sun, depending on whether it is at perihelion or aphelion.
“Even the maximum eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit – 0.07 – it would be impossible to show at the resolution of a web page,” notes the Hal Turner Radio Show. “Even so, at the current eccentricity of .017, the Earth is 5 million kilometers closer to Sun at perihelion than at aphelion.”
For more related news about climate change and global warming from an independent, non-establishment perspective, be sure to check out ClimateScienceNews.com.
The biggest factor affecting earth’s climate is the SUN
As for earth’s obliquity, or its change in axial tilt, the below two images (Robert Simmon, NASA GSFC) show the degree to which the earth can shift on both its axis and its rotational orientation. At the higher tilts, earth’s seasons become much more extreme, while at lower tilts they become much more mild. A similar situation exists for earth’s rotational axis, which depending on which hemisphere is pointed at the sun during perihelion, can greatly impact the seasonal extremes between the two hemispheres.
Based on these different variables, Milankovitch was able to come up with a comprehensive mathematical model that is able to compute surface temperatures on earth going way back in time, and the conclusion is simple: Earth’s climate has always been changing, and is in a constant state of flux due to no fault of our own as human beings.
When Milankovitch first put forward his model, it went ignored for nearly half a century. Then, in 1976, a study published in the journal Science confirmed that Milankovitch’s theory is, in fact, accurate, and that it does correspond to various periods of climate change that have occurred throughout history.
In 1982, six years after this study was published, the National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences adopted Milankovitch’s theory as truth, declaring that:
“… orbital variations remain the most thoroughly examined mechanism of climatic change on time scales of tens of thousands of years and are by far the clearest case of a direct effect of changing insolation on the lower atmosphere of Earth.”
If we had to sum the whole thing up in one simple phrase, it would be this: The biggest factor influencing weather and climate patterns on earth is the sun, period. Depending on the earth’s position to the sun at any given time, climate conditions are going to vary dramatically, and even create drastic abnormalities that defy everything that humans thought they knew about how the earth worked.
But rather than embrace this truth, today’s climate “scientists,” joined by leftist politicians and a complicit mainstream media, insist that not using reusable grocery bags at the supermarket and not having an electric vehicle are destroying the planet so quickly that we absolutely must implement global climate taxes as the solution.
“The climate change debate is not about science. It is an effort to impose political and economic controls on the population by the elite,” wrote one commenter at the Hal Turner Radio Show.
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We hear a lot about Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, and that’s because we have extremely fancy hardware floating around and, in some cases, cruising on the surface of those planets. The planets that lie further away from the Sun don’t get nearly as much attention, but they may soon, as NASA is currently spitballing some missions that will give us a better look at Uranus than we’ve ever gotten.
The theoretical missions, which would see NASA spacecraft heading to both Uranus and Neptune, would be of huge scientific benefit.
The idea is to determine what the planets are made of, get an idea of the atmospheric composition, and take lots of fantastic photographs, too.
Researchers hope to study the weather and overall climate of the planets, while determining how they fit into the overall makeup of our Solar System.
Both Uranus and Neptune still hold many secrets yet to be revealed, and the proposed missions would include both flybys and an orbiter that would send an atmospheric probe to Uranus in order to sample its gasses and detect elements. A similar option exists for Neptune, though the actual details of the mission(s) would need to be fully fleshed out before it comes anywhere near a formal proposal.
The missions are still a long way from reality, both in funding and in time frame. NASA says that 2030 through 2036 would be feasible for a Uranus trip, while a Neptune mission would need to take place before 2030 or after 2040, due to the timing of a gravity-assisted boost around Jupiter. We hope that these missions soon become reality and we get to know more about Uranus.