Science  

Eclipse 2017 from Space by NASA

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse passed over North America. People throughout the continent captured incredible images of this celestial phenomenon. NASA and their partner agencies had a unique vantage point on the eclipse from space and this is a combination of photos captured from their satellites.
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NASA Cassini Spacecraft Captures Saturn's Rings External Link

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captures Saturn’s rings, planet Earth and its moon in this rare photograph. This pale blue dot is home.
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Earth and Kepler-186F

Scientists discover another Earth-like planet

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting a start within the habitable zone of our galaxy, Kepler-186f, approximately 500 light years away from Earth in the Cygnus constellation.  This habitable zone is the region around a star where planetary-mass objects with sufficient atmospheric pressure can support liquid water at their surfaces.  This discovery is rated the first Earth-sized planet to be found in the habitable zone of another star.

Kepler-186 System

In addition to this discovery, there are four other planets that orbit a start near this system.  If the nearby star to this planet is similar to our sun, then the probability of sustaining life on this planet rises greatly.  Kepler-186f orbits its star once every 130 days.

"We know of just one planet where life exists - Earth. When we search for life outside our solar system we focus on finding planets with characteristics that mimic that of Earth," Elisa Quintana, research scientist at the SETI Institute at NASA's Ames Research Center, stated. "Finding a habitable zone planet comparable to Earth in size is a major step forward."
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Earth's second moon

Earth's Second Moon, 3753 Cruithne

Everyone knows and loves the moon.  What you may not know is that it's not Earth's only natural satellite.  In 1997, another body was discovered, 3753 Cruithne, also called a quasi-orbital satellite of Earth.  This means that Cruithne doesn't orbit Earth in a nice ellipse the same way our moon does.  Instead, Cruithne scuttles around the inner solar system in what's called a horseshoe orbit.

The video illustrates what a horseshoe orbit looks like, specifically for Cruithne orbiting around Earth.  This is something not widely known, but this type of orbit is actually pretty common in our solar system.  Cruithne's orbit is so wide, that its sometimes goes into the neighborhood of Venus and Mars.  It orbits the sun about once a year, but it takes nearly 800 years to complete this messy ring shape around Earth's orbit.

Even though Cruithne could technically be considered Earth's second moon, there isn't too much information about what it's like on surface.  It's only approximately five kilometers across, the surface gravity is very weak.  Walking briskly is probably enough to send you strolling out into outer space.

Even though Cruithne is small, if it were to strike Earth, it would be an extinction-level event, similar to what is believed to have happened at the end of the Cretaceous period.  However, it's not going to hit us any time soon.  It's orbit is tilted out of the plane of the solar system, and astrophysicists have provided simulations confirming that it will not come anywhere near us anytime soon.
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petri dishes

Laboratory-Grown Penises May Be Coming Soon

Scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine are currently working on a way to transplant penises onto men with genital abnormalities or injuries.

A donor penis is required to start the process, where the cells are stripped using a detergent.  The researchers are then left with a collagen scaffold which they mix a combination of cultivated smooth muscle and endothelial cells into from the recipient.  Using the patients own cells eliminates the risk of immunological rejection that can occur when transplants are given from another individual.

Because the cells are taken from the male's genitals, it is impossible to conduct a female-to-male sex reassignment procedure.

The team has engineered six human penises that are ready for trial testing.  If they are successful, they can help men with genital abnormalities or defects across the world.

The same team is known for successfully implanting a lab-grown bladder into a human back in 1999.  Since then, they've transplanted engineered vaginas into women born with defects or without vaginas entirely, and have started working on growing tissues and organs for more than 30 different areas of the body.
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Space

13.7 Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution in 46 Seconds

See a simulation of 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution in just 46 seconds created by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

With today's technology and power supercomputers, scientists are able to virtually turn back time and simulate these types of formations and growths of galaxies from shortly after the Big Big.  Scientists believe that galaxies begin life as spinning clouds of dust and stars traveling through space.  As these clouds cross paths, they become intertwined and spiral into larger systems.
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Kepler-186f

NASA discovers Earth-sized planet that could be habitable

NASA has discovered an Earth-sized planet that could potentially be habitable.  Designated Kepler-186f and discovered about 500 light years away from home in the constellation Cygnus, this new planet is likely a rocky world and may be similar to Venus, Mars, and Earth.  The system is also home to four other planets, orbiting around a host star about half the size and mass of the sun.

Elisa Quintana of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute at NASA stated:

"This is the first definitive Earth-sized planet found in the habitable zone.
Finding such planets is a primary goal of the Kepler space telescope."


The institute stated:

"This discovery not only proves the existence of worlds that might be similar to our own, but will undoubtedly shape future investigations of exoplanets that could have terrestial surface environments."
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Lunar eclipse chart

Minor Lunar Eclipse expected this Friday night

The moon will pass through Earth's faint outer shadow, known as the penumbra, this Friday evening, with the time of the deepest eclipse occurring at 7:50pm ET.  People in the Mountain and Pacific time zones may not see the eclipse since this will occur in the later afternoon hours before the moon rises.

Lunar eclipses occur when Earth's core (umbral) shadow falls across the moon, casting it in shadow.  During a partial eclipse, the umbra covers only a part of the moon, while a penumbral eclipse involves only Earth's fainter outer shadow, causing a much less dramatic dimming effect.  The effect of a penumbra eclipse is subtle compared to a total lunar eclipse, but it's still worth the watch!


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Voyager 1

Voyager 1 has left the building!!!!

For the first time in history, a man made object has left the solar system.  NASA scientists have confirmed that Voyager 1 has left the heliosphere, which is the magnetic boundary between us and the aliens.

Voyager 1 has now been labeled a traitor to humanity, seeing as how it's going to lead the aliens right to us.  Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum have both stated that they are more than ready to save us from the impending alien invasion.  Bill Pullman is now beginning to ready his campaign for President, and is also beginning to write rough drafts of motivational speeches.  Randy Quaid will now increase his level of alcoholism by an extra bottle of whiskey a day, hoping to one day redeem himself as a hero.

Scientists have stated that they did a bunch of sciencey stuff, similar to wizardry, to figure out that the space craft had indeed left the solar system.  They mentioned something about plasma waves, which tells us that Voyager 1 may indeed be surfing and will one day become the Silver Surfer.

There was no mention, of whether or not Voyager 1 mooned the former planet Pluto, on the way out.

Voyager 2 will leave the solar system in about 3 or 4 years, at which point the two space craft will begin their real life, buddy comedy, wacky adventures of deep space together.    Who knows what kind of shenanigans those two will get up to, but let's hope the Klingons are forgiving.

Image is from NASA's website cause NASA is AWESOME!!!  Seriously, you should check those guys out.  They're all....smart and stuff.
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