NASA’s Messenger Spacecraft Crashes into Mercury, Captures Stunning Shots Before Demise


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Artist rendering of Messenger above Mercury.

NASA confirmed Thursday afternoon that its Messenger spacecraft collided into Mercury’s surface at more than 8,000 mph, creating a new crater on the planet.

NOTE : MESSENGER (a backronym of MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) was a robotic NASA spacecraft which orbited the planet Mercury.MESSENGER became the second mission after Mariner 10’s 1975 flyby to reach Mercury when it made a flyby in January 2008, followed by a second flyby in October 2008, and a third flyby in September 2009, prior to entering Mercury’s orbit in March 2011. It was the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.

“Going out with a bang as it impacts the surface of Mercury, we are celebrating Messenger as more than a successful mission,” John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate said. “The Messenger mission will continue to provide scientists with a bonanza of new results as we begin the next phase of this mission — analyzing the exciting data already in the archives, and unraveling the mysteries of Mercury.”

But before Messenger’s years-long mission came an end, NASA released several new photos of Mercury, as taken by the spacecraft. Some of these photos were composite imagery, combining years of data and photos collected by Messenger, according to CNET.

Here’s one of the incredible false-color images recently published by NASA. The different colors signify variations in mineral composition, topography and other factors on Mercury’s surface.

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Here are some images of Mercury,

Click Image to Start Slideshow

The mission ended, according to NASA, because the spacecraft’s thrusters have run out of fuel.

Source : Weather.com

Hubble Space Telescope turns 25 and Here are some of the Most Amazing Pictures Taken by it


Hubble Space Telescope marks 25th anniversary in orbit this week. So, There are some  best images taken by Hubble Space Telescope during its 25 years journey. These Images are 100% real and contains no CGI

Hubble has traveled 3.4 billion miles, circling Earth nearly 137,000 times and making more than 1.2 million observations of more than 38,000 celestial objects, according to the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. The most distant objects spotted by Hubble — primitive galaxies — are some 13 billion light-years away and date to within 400 million or so years of the universe’s origin, known as the Big Bang.

Hubble provides an average of 829 gigabytes of archival data every month, according to the institute. Altogether, Hubble has produced more than 100 terabytes of data.

Some of the images have description about it. if anyone wants to read image description just click that image. and  Enjoy……

Image Credit : hubblesite.org

Source:Fox news

[VIDEO] 209 Seconds That Will Make You Question Your Entire Existence


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VIDEO : NASA Asteroid Bennu’s Journey


ALL CREDIT GOES TO NASA

Bennu’s Journey is a 6-minute animated movie about NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, Asteroid Bennu, and the formation of our solar system. Born from the rubble of a violent collision, hurled through space for millions of years, Asteroid Bennu has had a tough life in a rough neighborhood – the early solar system. Bennu’s Journey shows what is known and what remains mysterious about the evolution of Bennu and the planets. By retrieving a sample of Bennu, OSIRIS-REx will teach us more about the raw ingredients of the solar system and our own origins.

Image shows how EVERY planet can fit between Earth and Moon !!!


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How many planets can you fit between Earth and the moon? If your answer was anything less than ‘all of them’ then we’re afraid you’re incorrect.

In an amazing mosaic image it’s shown how you can fit all other worlds in the solar system between us and our natural satellite, with room to spare.

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In reality the distance between Earth and the moon varies from 225,622 miles (363,104km) to 252,088 miles (405,696km) – the lower limit of which would not leave room for Neptune.

However, Fraser Cain from Universe Today did the maths and found the numbers were a little off, with the actual distance left when using the average Earth-moon distance would be about 2,729 miles (4,392km). This, he says, would be enough to also fit Pluto in the line-up and another dwarf planet except Eris, which is too large.

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Last year astronomical artist Ron Miller created eye-opening illustrations imagining what the night sky would look like if the moon was replaced by the other planets in the solar system. Here we see how big Jupiter would look in the sky if it were in the position of the moon.

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This incredible image was taken by Nasa’s Juno spacecraft on its way to Jupiter in August 2011. It shows how big the gap is between Earth (the white dot on the left) and the moon (the dot on the right). Here they are 250,000 miles (402,000km) apart. It was taken from a distance of six million miles (9.7 million km).

So,By seeing these images you will get the idea of HOW BIG IS THE UNIVERSE

source : DailyMail

NASA looks at future exploration of our Solar System


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The new Paramount film “Interstellar” imagines a future where astronauts must find a new planet suitable for human life after climate change destroys the Earth’s ability to sustain us.

Multiple NASA missions are helping avoid this dystopian future by providing critical data necessary to protect Earth. Yet the cosmos beckons us to explore farther from home, expanding human presence deeper into the solar system and beyond.

For thousands of years we’ve wondered if we could find another home among the stars. We’re right on the cusp of answering that question.

If you step outside on a very dark night you may be lucky enough to see many of the 2,000 stars visible to the human eye. They’re but a fraction of the billions of stars in our galaxy and the innumerable galaxies surrounding us.

Multiple NASA missions are helping us extend humanity’s senses and capture starlight to help us better understand our place in the universe.

Largely visible light telescopes like Hubble show us the ancient light permeating the cosmos, leading to groundbreaking discoveries like the accelerating expansion of the universe. Through infrared missions like Spitzer, SOFIA and WISE, we’ve peered deeply through cosmic dust, into stellar nurseries where gases form new stars.

With missions like Chandra, Fermi and NuSTAR, we’ve detected the death throes of massive stars, which can release enormous energy through supernovas and form the exotic phenomenon of black holes.

Yet it was only in the last few years that we could fully grasp how many other planets there might be beyond our solar system. Some 64 million miles (104 kilometers) from Earth, the Kepler Space Telescope stared at a small window of the sky for four years. As planets passed in front of a star in Kepler’s line of view, the spacecraft measured the change in brightness.

Kepler was designed to determine the likelihood that other planets orbit stars. Because of the mission, we now know it’s possible every star has at least one planet. Solar systems surround us in our galaxy and are strewn throughout the myriad galaxies we see.

Though we have not yet found a planet exactly like Earth, the implications of the Kepler findings are staggering—there may very well be many worlds much like our own for future generations to explore.

NASA also is developing its next exoplanet mission, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which will search 200,000 nearby stars for the presence of Earth-size planets.

As of now, the distance between stars is too great for spacecraft to traverse using existing propulsion. Only one spacecraft is poised to leave the solar system in the near future. Voyager 1, launched in 1977, made the historic entry into interstellar space in August of 2012, reaching the region between stars, filled with material ejected by the death of nearby stars millions of years ago. It won’t encounter another star for at least 40,000 years.

The near-term future of exploration should be cause for much excitement, though, as humans and robotic spacecraft pioneer the path Voyager traveled, deeper into our solar system, where extra-terrestrial life may exist, and where humans could one day thrive.

Life as we know it requires water and heat. On our watery planet, we find life teeming at even the most extreme temperatures. Scientists are eager to know if evidence of microbial life exists on other planets and moons within our reach.

On Jupiter’s moon Europa, for example, there is a temperate ocean caught between a volcanic core and icy surface. Just as life exists in the dark, hot reaches of Earth’s ocean, so too could it exist on Europa, waiting to be discovered. NASA is studying a future mission to the watery moon next decade.

Many scientists question if Earth formed with the water it has now. Comets and asteroid impacts early in the planet’s history may have brought the water and help transform our atmosphere. Upcoming missions to capture samples of asteroids, like OSIRIS-REx, could reveal the building blocks of life embedded in the rock, which could lead to new insights about the origins of life.

Perhaps the most enticing target to search for evidence of life, however, is Mars. A fleet of spacecraft on the surface and orbiting Mars have revealed the Red Planet once had conditions suitable for life.

While the planet’s flowing water and atmosphere have significantly diminished, evidence of past life could still be discovered by future exploration. It could even be a home for future human pioneers.

Martian natural resources like water ice embedded in rock could be extracted to create breathable air, drinkable water, and even components for spacecraft propellant. An ability to live off the land will greatly enable multiple human missions to Mars and forever change the history of humankind.

This Journey to Mars begins aboard the International Space Station where astronauts 250 miles above Earth are learning how to live in space for long durations—key knowledge needed for round trips to Mars, which could take 500 days or more. A new generation of U.S. commercial spacecraft and rockets are supplying the space station and will soon launch astronauts once again from U.S. soil.

As these 21st century spaceflight innovations open low-Earth Orbit in new ways, NASA is building the capabilities to send humans farther from Earth than even before. In December, we’ll conduct the first flight test of the Orion Spacecraft, which will carry astronauts next decade on missions beyond the moon to an asteroid and Mars, launched on the giant Space Launch System rocket.

Many other missions in the near future will expand the frontier of exploration in our solar system. In 2015, New Horizons will fly by Pluto and see the icy world up close for the first time. In 2016, NASA will launch the InSight mission to Mars and asteroid sample return mission OSIRIS-REx.

In 2018, Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, will see light from the universe’s first stars. In about 2019, we’ll launch a robotic spacecraft to capture and redirect an asteroid.

In 2020, we’ll send a new rover to Mars, to follow in the footsteps of Curiosity, search for ancient Martian life, and pave the way for future human explorers.

In 2021, SLS and Orion will launch humans on the first crewed mission of the combined system. In the mid-2020s, astronauts will explore an asteroid redirected to an orbit around the moon, and return home with samples that could hold clues to the origins of the solar system and life on Earth.

In doing so, those astronauts will travel farther into the solar system than anyone has ever been.

It’s an exciting time as NASA reaches new heights to reveal the unknown and benefit humankind. Be a part of the journey and connect with us at www.nasa.gov/connect

Spacecraft Spots Ice at Mercury’s North Pole


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NASA ‘s MESSENGER spacecraft has sent back its first visible-light images of water ice on Mercury, the tiny charbroiled planet that orbits closest to the sun.

The findings, described in the journal Geology, reveal that the ice deposits look surprisingly “fresh” — and hint that water could have been very recently delivered to rocky little Mercury.

Even though Mercury sits less than 36 million miles from the sun — which is less than two-fifths of the Earth’s comfortable 93 million miles from sun — some ice still manages to cling to the planet’s surface. That’s because the ice lies at the poles, in permanently shadowed regions inside craters that are eternally shielded from sunlight and remain very, very cold.

More than two decades ago, ground-based radar observations picked up signs of this polar ice, and the MESSENGER spacecraft later lent support to the idea with its own suite of instruments. But it’s tough to actually see these permanently shadowed regions with the spacecraft’s visible-light camera because, well, it’s dark there. But recently, the team was able to refine the images of the ice-deposit surfaces with the help of what little light was reflecting off the crater walls.

The scientists examined Prokofiev, which at roughly 69.6 miles in diameter is the largest crater at Mercury’s north pole thought to have water-ice deposits. There, the surface ice had a “cratered” texture — showing that it was placed there more recently than the smaller underlying craters.

And in other spots, such as Berlioz crater, the researchers found that the water ice was “covered by a thin layer of dark, organic-rich volatile material.” The boundaries of those icy regions were surprisingly sharp — they hadn’t been in place long enough to get smoothed out.

“The sharp boundaries indicate that the volatile deposits at Mercury’s poles are geologically young, relative to the time scale for lateral mixing by impacts,” the study authors wrote, “and either are restored at the surface through an ongoing process or were delivered to the planet recently.”

To put that idea in perspective, estimates indicate that there could be roughly enough water-ice on Mercury to fill Lake Ontario. And if at least some of that water is indeed being delivered to the planet, it sheds new light on dynamics in the inner solar system, the scientists said.

“If Mercury’s currently substantial polar volatile inventory is the product of the most recent portion of a longer process,” the study authors wrote, “then a considerable mass of volatiles may have been delivered to the inner Solar System throughout its history.”