Tag: space

Kepler space telescope; image: NASA
News Science

Two Earth-Sized Planets Discovered

Two planets have been discovered, about 1,000 light years away from Earth.

Both of the planets are about the size of Earth. Kepler-20e is slightly smaller, and Kepler-20f is slighty larger than Earth.

The surface of the planets are too hot for water to exist on them; it would not be possible for life to exist on them either. They are hot because they orbit close to a star very much like our sun.

Kepler-20e has a termperature of about 760 degrees Celcius. (In contrast, Earth’s average surface temperature is 14 degrees Celsius.)

The planets were discovered during a mission by NASA using the Kepler space telescope. They have been combing the skies searching for planets since about 2009.

Phobos-Grunt Russian space vehicle
News Science Technology

Phobos-Grunt Mission To Mars Misfires

In the 1970s, a space project called the Phobos-Grunt project was proposed by Russian space experts.

At the time, it represented a dream for the Russian space program. To build a vehicle that could go all the way to Mars, to collect information from one of its moons, Phobos. It would be Russia’s first deep-space mission, developed entirely in the post-Soviet era.

The project had lots of problems over the years. They include mismanagement, political issues and serious technical problems, according to Russian journalist Anatoly Zak.

However, the Russian space agency persisted, and eventually the Phobos-Grunt became a reality.

The Phobos-Grunt launched on Nov. 9.

Unfortunately, the unmanned vehicle would not make it to Mars.

Science Technology

Space Junk Re-Enters Earth’s Atmosphere

A bus-sized chunk of space trash fell out of the sky on Friday or Saturday, and NASA isn’t quite sure where it landed.

They say it likely landed in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the United States. They are fairly certain that it didn’t cause any injuries.

The space junk was made up of fragments of a 6.3 tonne satellite that is no longer in use.

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) was sent into space in 1991 and hasn’t been used since 2005. Its job was to collect information about chemicals in the atmosphere.

As many as 26 pieces of the satellite weighing up to 135 kilograms likely survived re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Most fragments burned up before reaching earth.

LEGO minifigs in space
Lighter Science

LEGO Figures In Space

In August, a rocket was sent to deliver a space probe, called Juno, to Jupiter to study the planet.

The probe carried three unique stowaways.

Three special LEGO figures, made of aluminum, are accompanying Juno on its five-year mission. The figures look like the Roman god Jupiter, his sister Juno and the Italian astronomer Galileo.

Jupiter carries a lightning bolt. Juno has a magnifying glass to help her search for truth. And Galileo carries a telescope and a model of the planet Jupiter.

People at NASA approached LEGO and asked them to design the special minifigs, which cost about $5,000 each. They had to build them very carefully so they didn’t interfere with any of the probe’s sensitive instruments.

Moon-landing map; Image: NASA
News Science

Scientists Discover Water On The Moon

Scientists recently found out there is 100 times more water on the moon than they thought there was.

Scientists discovered the water when they looked at some pieces of moon rock.

They found water in tiny samples of magma, which was trapped in crystal. Magma is a rock made from cooled lava.

Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield told Teaching Kids the News that the water is a very valuable discovery.

“It’s like finding diamonds or gold in a remote frontier,” Hadfield said.

Vesta asteroid/planet/protoplanet
Science

The Vesta Asteroid… Er, Planet… Er, Object?

When you want to know more about something, you check it out, right? That’s exactly what scientists at NASA are doing.

They want to know more about an object in space they call Vesta. Is it an asteroid? A planet? What exactly is it?

Two months ago, they launched the Dawn spacecraft. Its job is to orbit and observe Vesta.

Vesta is officially listed by NASA as a “minor planet,” which means that it is an object orbiting around the sun.

But Vesta isn’t really a planet at all. It’s simply an object in space.

It has also been called an asteroid, a dwarf planet (a tiny planet), and a protoplanet, which is an object that started the same way as other planets, like Venus and Mercury, but never fully developed.