One of the biggest challenges to manned space missions is the expense. The NASA rule-of-thumb is that every unit mass of payload launched requires the support of an additional 99 units of mass, with “support” encompassing everything from fuel to oxygen to food and medicine for the astronauts, etc.
Many of us have gotten used to believing that Mars is just another lonely, lifeless planet. True, its atmospheric conditions are just too extreme to be habitable by any life form that we know of. But that doesn’t make it an uninteresting planet at all. Through continuous advancements in technology, we’ve learned a lot about the red planet. Here are some of the most fascinating facts about Mars that you might not have known.
Moons — also called satellites — come in many shapes, sizes and types. They are generally solid bodies, and few have atmospheres. Most of the planetary moons probably formed from the discs of gas and dust circulating around planets in the early solar system. So, enjoy a range of interesting solar system moon facts.
The sun lies at the heart of the solar system, where it is by far the largest object. It holds 99.8 percent of the solar system’s mass and is roughly 109 times the diameter of the Earth — about one million Earths could fit inside the sun.
Astronomers are moonstruck! The man in the moon, we learned just last week, formed from dark flowing lava over three billion years ago, instead of a long supposed giant asteroid impact. Now, we learn that same volcanism may have kept on erupting until surprisingly recent times.
Usually when someone on the internet writes about ‘geometric forms’ found on the Moon, it’s a crazy UFO hunter who doesn’t understand pixelation of composite images taken at high altitudes. This is different.
Earlier this year, it has been identified a mysterious “ghost” object that had suddenly appeared and then disappeared on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Now, new observations by the Cassini team show this elusive feature is back again. Titan just got a little more mysterious.
Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth’s water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments come into being and how likely they are to be found elsewhere.
When the International Astronomical Union came up with an official definition of a planet in 2006, they booted Pluto out of the club and reclassified it as a dwarf planet. But some say the discovery of exoplanets requires that we revisit this definition and give Pluto a second chance.
NASA agency has no official plans for a mission to the Jovian moon, whose icy crust covers a watery ocean in which life could theoretically exist.
Mercury is the last of the classical planets, the planets known to the astronomers of Egypt and Greece and Rome and the Far East. It’s an object that has captivated the imagination and the attention of astronomers for millennia.
It might be one of your classmates, a work colleague. Or maybe even a punk kid who does oil drilling in the middle of the ocean. But NASA is sure the first humans to step foot on Mars are already walking the Earth today, meaning that smart kid you made fun of in fifth period might change history.