SPAAAAAAACE 5/31/13 - Space Love
http://www.space.com/21396-mars-rat-cur ... photo.html
Poor guy just lost his bike. Chill!
I love it when big important science people take things like this seriously.
Reusable Space Craft
Everybody knows about SpaceX and the Dragon Capsule, and its cool as hell. They plan on using it to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS within two to three years.
http://www.space.com/21386-spacex-reusa ... -cost.html
SpaceX and Boeing are both working on getting the human safety ratings worked out:
http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil- ... ak73rW1GDo
There is also the little baby space shuttle from a different company, which they are totally saying isn't a little baby space shuttle:
Is...is this a thing? Too many spaceships?
Tonight is the night we have all been waiting for, everyone! (Well, actually it might be just me...)
Either way, tonight the asteroid 1998QE2 will make its closest approach to Earth, at around 5pm EST, coming as near as 5.8 million km from us. (That is about 15 times as far away as the Moon.) While it is always interesting for astronomers to observe a close approach, this one is particularly interesting because it was recently discovered that this asteroid has its very own moon. Like two celestial besties, flying through space together, it's actually kind of sweet.
Binary asteroids are common in the solar system, with many asteroids even being part of a triple system. In fact, around 16% of the larger objects in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, (larger than about 200 meters across) are part of binary or triple systems. The 1998QE2 is pretty large, about 2.7 kilometers in diameter, and the preliminary estimate for its little moon-buddy is about 600 meters. We have never been able to directly observe a binary asteroid system at such a short distance, so we will hopefully be able to gather a lot of information about the asteroids composition, origin and the behaviour of the system.
The asteroid belt is studied quite closely, because this is where the majority of Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) come from. NASA uses the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer telescope in orbit to identify, track and study the asteroids. The orbits can be predicted after a certain point, and it can then be determined if the asteroid will become a threat to Earth. If an asteroid is predicted to either cross our orbit, or skim very close, it is designated a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA). Our method of dealing with these threats is...... oh, umm, well we don't really have a method for dealing with them, so I suppose we just sit tight and hope for the best!
Alright, that's not entirely accurate, there is a mission planned for 2016, (OSIRIS-REx) to send a robot to poke around on a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid, known as Bennu. The mission is described as being for "reconnaissance", and I'm sure that will be super helpful when a mighty space rock is hurtling towards our oh-so-fragile selves. I presume step two is to send Bruce Willis up there. (Note: this should probably be step two in every plan). Go Brucey, you hero!
Not to worry, though. Our dynamic space duo will be well out of the danger zone when they make their closest approach tonight, and we won't see them again for at least two hundred years.
I like to imagine they are on their way to fight some space crime. Perhaps a cape is involved, I haven't seen any evidence to suggest there isn't.
If we are nice, Lobo might help.
Read more about this frackin shit!
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/aster ... 30530.html
http://www.universetoday.com/102521/how ... ore-102521
Don't let those asteroids sneak up on you! We keep tabs on the Near Earth Objects, so you don't have to!
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