For many at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, January 1 this year didn't mean a New Year's celebration. Instead, it meant the first arrival of data from New Horizons' visit to a small Kuiper Belt object. But, like its earlier flyby of Pluto, the probe was instructed to grab all the data it could and deal with getting it back to Earth later. The full set of everything New Horizons captured won't be available for more than a year yet. But with 10 percent of the total cache in hand, researchers decided they had enough to do the first analysis of 2014 MU69.#Astronomy #Space #NewHorizons #Exploration #2014MU69 #UltimaThule #KuiperBeltObjects
Overall, 2014 MU69 looks exactly like what we'd hope for: a world that underwent some major changes immediately after its formation but has since become static, preserving its state largely as it was billions of years ago. Hopefully, more details on that state are sitting in storage on New Horizons. Because we're not likely to send something back to 2014 MU69 any time soon.
Using raw rover imagery and the sound of actual wind on Mars, I painted this little portrait of Opportunity, our faithful little martian rover friend that was lost earlier this year. Losing a rover feels a little like losing a pet. But for all that it accomplished, and for our ability to revel in all the awesome images it collected over its lifetime, its end is bittersweet. Oppy traveled 28 miles on Mars over a span of 14 years - an amazing feat of engineering and human ambition.#Mars #Rovers #OpportunityRover #Exploration #Planets #Space
WePark—a project led by San Francisco-based web developer Victor Pontis—was actually a manifestation of an idea that has become more popular in the last few years: Cities use space inefficiently and prioritize cars over people. The people at the desks were attempting to reclaim a sliver of space for human use. “Car parking squanders space that can be used for the public good—bike lanes, larger sidewalks, retail, cafes, more housing,” Pontis said. “Let’s use city streets for people, not cars.” (There are also WePark franchises in France as well as Santa Monica.)
Ursprünglich geteilt von @European Space Agency (unofficial)
Earth observation image of the week: Copernicus Sentinel-2 takes us over southern Germany, where an asteroid impact formed what is now known as the Ries crater
#news #space #science #esa #europeanspaceagency
posted by pod_feeder_v2
The Lunar Library, as the archive is known, constitutes a “civilization backup” to help ensure that our distant descendants never lose humanity's collective wisdom, according to Nova Spivack, co-founder of Arch Mission Foundation, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit behind the project. The foundation is building a space-based archive designed to survive for 6 billion years or more — a million times longer than the oldest written records in existence today.#Space #Library #Moon
After the monumentally successful flyby of Pluto in 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft continued on into the outer solar system. After traveling at more than a dozen kilometers per second out an additional billion kilometers or so, it shot past the odd little rocky iceball 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019, passing it by the razor-thin margin of just 3,500 kilometers … and that was after traveling for over 6.6 billion kilometers from Earth!#Space #Astronomy #Asteroids #NewHorizons #MU69 #UltimaThule #Exploration
New Horizons took a lot of data during this encounter, comparable to what it did at Pluto, and it'll be another year or more before it's all back on Earth. So the New Horizons team did a clever thing: They prioritized what images to send back first. Among the highest priorities was getting the highest-resolution image sent back from the closest encounter as quickly as possible.
And now that image is here.
You might think that being out there, exposed to space out past Neptune for billions of years, MU69 would be covered in craters. For Pluto that's not the case because we think its surface gets repaved, so to speak, from subsurface processes that bubble up liquid from the interior. However, MU69 is far too small for that, and is certainly solid throughout. So a dearth of craters means there must be a dearth of impactors.
Interestingly, some scientists actually predicted this! They used the number of small craters seen on Pluto and its huge moon Charon, together with measurements and estimates of sizes of small objects past Neptune (called trans-Neptunian objects [TNOs], or more specifically in this case the Kuiper Belt), first to try to figure out the size distribution of objects out there capable of hitting MU69, and then to predict the size distribution of craters on MU69. Keep in mind that this was all done before the MU69 encounter!
More than 4 years after launch and a half year surveying asteroid Ryugu in space, Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft is ready for its biggest moment yet: sample collection. The spacecraft is scheduled to touch down on Ryugu at 08:15 Japan time on 22 February (21 February 23:15 UTC, 18:15 EST). If all goes well, Hayabusa2 will gently touch Ryugu with its meter-long sample horn, fire a bullet made of tantalum into the surface, and capture the resulting cloud of dust and debris.#Space #Exploration #Asteroids #SampleCollection #Japan #Hayabusa2 #AsteroidRyugu