Mimas, one of the moons of Saturn, has been caught looking remarkably like that of the video game icon Pac-Man.
The image, taken by the Cassini spaceship which is orbiting the planet, measured temperature differences across the object’s surface and produced a map mimicking the popular character.
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Mimas is about 400km (250 miles) across. It has a distinctive scar called Herschel Crater which has led many to draw comparisons with the “Death Star” from the Star Wars movies.
A father of three from Huddersfield has been telephoned by NASA after he took photos of space, using a cheap camera and a balloon.Comments Off | Posted in: Sci/Tech
The Torino Scale, which was created by Professor Richard P. Binzel, measures how likely it is that ‘near-Earth objects’ such as asteroids and comets will hit the Earth, and how serious the impact will be.
The scale runs from 0 to 10. A ‘0′ means the likelihood of a collision is zero, whilst a ‘10′ means a collision is certain, capable of causing global climatic catastrophe that may threaten the future of civilization as we know it, whether impacting land or oceans.
The highest level ever reached on the Torino Scale was ‘4′. This occurred in December 2004, when 99942 Apophis, an asteroid 270m away from Earth caused a brief concern, however it was later downgraded to 0. Phew!Comments Off | Posted in: Sci/Tech
Does this picture show that there’s a giant silverback gorilla on Mars? *Gasp* Well, it’s certainly got alien hunters excited about the prospect of life in Space.
The image was taken by the Mars Spirit Rover in the Gusev crater, a crater over 100 miles in diameter that is thought to have once been a lake filled with liquid water.
It’s one of several images taken by Spirit that appear to show a gorilla knuckle-walking across the surface of the Red Planet.
Life or rock? I’ll let you make you’re own minds up on that one.Comments Off | Posted in: Sci/Tech
The invisible substance, which has been mysterious to scientists throughout time, was picked up using highly sensitive detectors buried 2,000 ft below the ground at the bottom of an old iron mine.
Dark matter makes up three quarters of the matter of the universe, and the scientists believe that there is a 75 percent chance that these particles are the genuine substance, rather than just background noise.Comments Off | Posted in: Sci/Tech
NASA scientists working on several missions to send robotic probes to Mars have had to live and work for months on Mars time. A day on Mars is 39.5 minutes longer than Earth’s, which consequently meant that all their Earth-made watches were completely useless, so NASA commissioned custom-made watches which had seconds 2.7% slower than normal so they could keep track of the Martian time. Genius!Comments Off | Posted in: Sci/Tech
New research shows that one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, has enough oxygen available in it’s subsurface ocean to support life.
The global ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa contains about twice the liquid water of all the Earth’s oceans combined. New research suggests that there may be plenty of oxygen available in that ocean to support life, a hundred times more oxygen than previously estimated.
The chances for life there have been uncertain, because Europa’s ocean lies beneath several miles of ice, which separates it from the production of oxygen at the surface by energetic charged particles (similar to cosmic rays). Without oxygen, life could conceivably exist at hot springs in the ocean floor using exotic metabolic chemistries, based on sulfur or the production of methane. However, it is not certain whether the ocean floor actually would provide the conditions for such life.
That would be awesome if life actually could exist there. Now all we’ve got to do is get there. I’ll fire up the sat-nav!Comments Off | Posted in: Sci/Tech
It’s the discovery that scientists had waited and hoped for, and it’s finally official – there IS water on the moon.
The Deep Impact observations of the Moon not only unequivocally confirm the presence of [water/hydroxyl] on the lunar surface, but also reveal that the entire lunar surface is hydrated during at least some portion of the lunar day.
Despite this however, the moon remains drier than any desert on Earth, with water only existing in very small quantities. One ton of the top layer of the lunar surface would hold about 32 ounces of water.
Now we’ve just got to find some gravity and an atmosphere, and we can start packing.Comments Off | Posted in: Sci/Tech
A fascinating video about the Hubble Deep Field, with exploration in 3D. It makes you realize just how small we are.
“I’ve recently discovered an animation that was rendered using the measured redshift of all 10,000 galaxies in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image.
I’ve written a short script that leads you through a quick history of both deep field images and this video ends with a fly-through of the Ultra Deep Field.
Every galaxy in the image is in its proper distance as viewed from the telescope line of sight.
As if this image wasn’t amazing enough.”1 Comment | Posted in: Sci/Tech
An intense bright spot has appeared on Venus and astronomers are not sure what it is or what has caused it.
Amateur astronomer Frank Melillo of Holtsville, New York, first spotted the new feature, which is brighter than its surroundings at ultraviolet wavelengths, on the planet’s southern hemisphere on 19 July. That same day, an amateur observer in Australia found a dark spot on Jupiter that had been caused by a meteoroid impact.
Is this another clue towards the much speculated 2012 doomsday? With unusual things occurring on Venus and Jupiter could Earth be next?
Previously:5 Comments | Posted in: Sci/Tech
A giant soap bubble has been spotted floating around in space, which astronomers say is a newly discovered planetary nebula.
A planetary nebula is the product that is left when an aging star, which can weight up to eight times the mass of the sun, ejects its outer layers as clouds of luminous gas.
The bubble, which was officially named PN G75.5+1.7 last week, was found by Dave Jurasevich of the Mount Wilson Observatory in California and later by other amateur astronomers.
“It’s a beautiful example,” says Adam Frank of the University of Rochester, New York. “Spherical ones are very rare.”
Personally, I wouldn’t have called it PN G75.5+1.7. That just doesn’t roll off the tongue.Comments Off | Posted in: Sci/Tech
This month commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing – the first steps mankind took on the moon. An historic moment, but how much do you actually know about the moon landing? Here are ten facts you probably didn’t know about Apollo 11.
1. The Apollo’s Saturn rockets were packed with enough fuel to throw 100-pound shrapnel three miles, and NASA couldn’t rule out the possibility that they might explode on takeoff. NASA seated its VIP spectators three and a half miles from the launchpad.
2. The Apollo computers had less processing power than a cellphone.
3. Drinking water was a fuel-cell by-product, but Apollo 11’s hydrogen-gas filters didn’t work, making every drink bubbly. Urinating and defecating in zero gravity, meanwhile, had not been figured out; the latter was so troublesome that at least one astronaut spent his entire mission on an anti-diarrhea drug to avoid it.
4. When Apollo 11’s lunar lander, the Eagle, separated from the orbiter, the cabin wasn’t fully depressurized, resulting in a burst of gas equivalent to popping a champagne cork. It threw the module’s landing four miles off-target.
5. Pilot Neil Armstrong nearly ran out of fuel landing the Eagle, and many at mission control worried he might crash. Apollo engineer Milton Silveira, however, was relieved: His tests had shown that there was a small chance the exhaust could shoot back into the rocket as it landed and ignite the remaining propellant.
6. The “one small step for man” wasn’t actually that small. Armstrong set the ship down so gently that its shock absorbers didn’t compress. He had to hop 3.5 feet from the Eagle’s ladder to the surface.
7. When Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface, he had to make sure not to lock the Eagle’s door because there was no outer handle.
8. The toughest moonwalk task? Planting the flag. NASA’s studies suggested that the lunar soil was soft, but Armstrong and Aldrin found the surface to be a thin wisp of dust over hard rock. They managed to drive the flagpole a few inches into the ground and film it for broadcast, and then took care not to accidentally knock it over.
9. The flag was made by Sears, but NASA refused to acknowledge this because they didn’t want “another Tang.”
10. The inner bladder of the space suits—the airtight liner that keeps the astronaut’s body under Earth-like pressure—and the ship’s computer’s ROM chips were handmade by teams of “little old ladies.”
So now you know!Comments Off | Posted in: Sci/Tech