BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR CHRISTINA HARTMAN
You're watching multisource science news analysis from Newsy
After a trip that’s covered nearly five billion miles, NASA’s Messenger probe is finally ready to start its mission. It’s arrived at the planet Mercury, beginning a years’ study to shed light on the sunniest planet. The Baltimore Sun has more.
“Fifteen years of planning and 6 1/2 years of maneuvering in space will all come down to the crunch Thursday evening as mission managers in Maryland try to slip NASA's Messenger spacecraft into orbit around Mercury. The braking maneuver, playing out 96 million miles from Earth, will have to slow the desk-sized planetary probe by 1,929 mph and ease it into a polar orbit around the planet closest to the sun.”
Getting to the Mercury wasn’t easy. The tiny planet moves about 65,000 mph faster than Earth. Instead of sending Messenger up with tons of fuel, NASA engineers picked up gravity boosts from the Earth, the Moon, Venus, and Mercury itself to get it up to speed.
Now the fun begins. The probe will make highly elliptical sweeps around Mercury’s poles, then zip back out again. Hanging out in Mercury’s shadow for a while will allow the instruments to cool off, then it’s back in again every 12 hours. That’s over 700 orbits, with all of Messenger’s sensors firing. (Video source: NASA)
Though Mercury is relatively close by, this will be the first time scientists have gotten a detailed look at it. The planet is kind of an oddity: it’s denser than the other rocky planets and has a gas trail like a comet. As UANews explains, it’s also unusually active.
“One of the mysteries scientists are hoping to solve with the MESSENGER mission surrounds Mercury's magnetic field. At a diameter only slightly larger than that of the moon ... Mercury should have solidified to the core. However, the presence of a magnetic field suggests the planet's innards are partially molten.”
NASA’s other probes have been shelling out data on planets in other solar systems, but astronomers still don’t know all the ins and outs of how rocky planets form. One of the researchers told Space**** that’s why studying Mercury is so important.
“Discovering more about this searing hot, rocky sibling of Earth could shed light on how our solar system formed, and how alien planets coalesced around faraway stars... ‘Many exoplanets discovered to date are as close or closer than Mercury is to our host star...’ ”
After a warm-up to get its sensors online, Messenger is expected to start sending back data in April. That means we could be just weeks away from finally answering the question, “Is there mercury on Mercury?”
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Watch Beyond 50's video book trailer on "The Future in the Stars" (Findhorn Press) that was written by Alison Chester-Lambert. The author explains about dwarf planets that have been newly discovered in a realm at the edge of our Solar System. They tell a fascinating story about the coming industrial discoveries and social transformations of the 21st century. She will also debunk the hype around 2012 and provide the REAL astrological meaning behind the energy of that special year. A new Industrial and Social Revolution is about to happen. To order a copy of "The Future in the Stars" from Findhorn Press, visit www.findhornpress****.
*Produced and edited by Joy and Daniel Davis of Beyond 50 Productions.
BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR CHRISTINA HARTMAN
What knocked Uranus over? Scientists might finally have answered one of astronomy’s longest standing questions. But first, a writer for io9 explains why the planet is such a mystery.
“Uranus is unique among all the planets of the solar system because it essentially orbits on its side, with its axis tilted nearly perpendicular to the Sun. … Uranus's spin axis lies 98 degrees off of its orbital plane with the Sun. No other planet is tilted more than 30 degrees off its axis...”
The tilt of the planet has always posed a problem for astronomer’s vision of the early solar system.
Up until now, the dominant theory is that an impact from a planet several times the size of Earth could have knocked Uranus over. The problem with that theory is that if it were true, the planet’s moons wouldn’t be in the orbit or rotation they have now. (Video source: The Science Channel)
Basically, if the impact happened early in the planet’s formation, its moons wouldn’t be spinning the direction they are. If it happened later, the moons wouldn’t be orbiting the way they do. But ScienceNow reports new computer models appear to have figured it out.
“This problem would disappear if one impact tilted the planet to, say, 50° or so, and a second blow delivered an additional tilt of 48°. A larger series of smaller impacts is also possible. In each case, the planet and the disk material would remain orbiting in the same direction.”
So it sounds simple enough: two separate impacts each knocked the planet halfway to its current rotation. But that creates its own problems with one pre-existing theory. Universe Today quotes the study’s author saying Uranus shouldn’t have been getting hit at all.
“The standard planet formation theory assumes that Uranus, Neptune and the cores of Jupiter and Saturn formed by accreting only small objects in the protoplanetary disk. They should have suffered no giant collisions. The fact that Uranus was hit at least twice suggests that significant impacts were typical in the formation of giant planets. So, the standard theory has to be revised.”
The new theory of multiple impacts could also explain why Pluto has so many large moons -- it was getting pelted as well.
(Earths) Solar System Change 2012. Moving From 3D - 5D
The iPhone 5 is coming and Prager tells Glenn his predictions. Also Voyager is about to leave the solar system, and transportation and taxis are being disrupted by Uber, Lyft, Side-car, Hailo, and more.
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A short Film about the 8 Planets.
For the classroom or for the home.
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Little films for a big planet.
Lunar Eclipse as seen from Tucson Arizona
a free product with hoours of fun , serch earth and many other place in the universe. great for kids to learn with
Scales and distances between Earth and our others planets.
I think it's some kind of a meteor rock what do YOU think?
This unique timepiece was done in Maya as a monument to time itself. His head, a representation of earth with a day and night side, has a geocentric orrery featuring the five visible planets with a golden Sun and silver Moon, making up the seven celestial bodies. His golden halo is the ecliptic with the twelve signs of the Zodiac inscribed around it. The tilt of his head represents the tilt of the earth. The dial aligns where the equator and the ecliptic intersect thus indicating the age. His wings, one with a lion, one with an ox, one with an eagle, and one with a man, represent the Cherubim. Here we catch Kronos flaring out his wings, an event that only happens every few thousand years or so, the change of an age.
Confidential secrets about Life on Mars revealed Proving logically bigfoot,bunnyear etc theories wrong.