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#AsteroidDay: Scientists Rock | Episode 1

Launching Asteroid Day introduces us to the people and vision behind Asteroid Day, a growing global awareness movement where people from around the world are coming together to learn about asteroids, the hazards they may pose, and how we can do to protect our planet, families, communities, and future generations.

Asteroid Day is a global awareness campaign where people from around the world come together to learn about asteroids and what we can do to protect our planet, families, communities, and future generations from future asteroid impacts. Asteroid Day is held each year on June 30, the anniversary of the largest impact in recent history, the 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia.

Watch here: http://buff.ly/291SyNd
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#AsteroidDay: AIM at Didymos

ESA’s proposed Asteroid Impact Mission and its twin CubeSats, with its microlander in place on the smaller of the two Didymos asteroids. ESA performs a wide variety of asteroid research, and is participating in international Asteroid Day today.

AIM is proposed for launch in 2020 to be in place around Didymos in late 2022 when the NASA DART spacecraft impacts. As well as demonstrating key deep-space technologies and studying Didymoon in unprecedented detail, the mission will be ideally placed to document the effect of the impact on the asteroid body and its orbital path. AIM and DART together form the international Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA).

Asteroid Day is an annual global movement to increase public awareness of potential asteroid impacts with Earth, and the importance of guarding against them. It is held each year on 30 June, the anniversary of the largest impact in recent history, the 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia.

ESA asteroid experts will be speaking at Asteroid Day events in Barcelona, Rome, Heidelberg and Munich.

More information on ESA events today: http://buff.ly/293UDsP
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I still need to tag u guys with my seti 2015 tour shirt from jan! ♦KARRIE
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An Update on Planet Nine

In January of this year, Caltech researchers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown presented evidence of a distant ninth planet in our solar system. They predicted this planet to be of a mass and volume consistent with a super-Earth, orbiting on a highly eccentric path with a period of tens of thousands of years.

Since Batygin and Brown’s prediction, scientists have been hunting for further signs of Planet Nine. Though we haven’t yet discovered an object matching its description, we have come up with new strategies for finding it, we set some constraints on where it might be, and we made some interesting theoretical predictions about its properties.

Here are some of the newest constraints on Planet Nine from studies published just within the past two weeks: http://buff.ly/293c54X
Here are some of the most recent outcomes in the search for a possible ninth planet in our solar system, first predicted earlier this year.
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+James Marsh thank you for your input. I will leave this post wiser than when I entered it. 
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Meet RobERt, the dreaming detective for exoplanet atmospheres

Machine-learning techniques that mimic human recognition and dreaming processes are being deployed in the search for habitable worlds beyond our solar system. A deep belief neural network, called RobERt (Robotic Exoplanet Recognition), has been developed by astronomers at UCL to sift through detections of light emanating from distant planetary systems and retrieve spectral information about the gases present in the exoplanet atmospheres. RobERt will be presented at the National Astronomy Meeting (NAM) 2016 in Nottingham by Dr Ingo Waldmann on Tuesday 28th June.

"Different types of molecules absorb and emit light at specific wavelengths, embedding a unique pattern of lines within the electromagnetic spectrum," explained Dr Waldmann, who leads RobERt's development team. "We can take light that has been filtered through an exoplanet's atmosphere or reflected from its cloud-tops, split it like a rainbow and then pick out the 'fingerprint' of features associated with the different molecules or gases. Human brains are really good at finding these patterns in spectra and label them from experience, but it's a really time consuming job and there will be huge amounts of data.

We built RobERt to independently learn from examples and to build on his own experiences. This way, like a seasoned astronomer or a detective, RobERt has a pretty good feeling for what molecules are inside a spectrum and which are the most promising data for more detailed analysis. But what usually takes days or weeks takes RobERt mere seconds."

Read more at: http://buff.ly/299RwTN
Machine-learning techniques that mimic human recognition and dreaming processes are being deployed in the search for habitable worlds beyond our solar system. A deep belief neural network, called RobERt (Robotic Exoplanet Recognition), has been developed by astronomers at UCL to sift through detections of light emanating from distant planetary systems and retrieve spectral information about the gases present in the exoplanet atmospheres. RobERt w...
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Moon discovered over dwarf planet Makemake in the Kuiper Belt

A Southwest Research Institute-led team has discovered an elusive, dark moon orbiting Makemake, one of the "big four" dwarf planets populating the Kuiper Belt region at the edge of our solar system. The findings are detailed in the paper "Discovery of a Makemakean Moon," published in the June 27 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.

"Makemake's moon proves that there are still wild things waiting to be discovered, even in places people have already looked," said Dr. Alex Parker, lead author of the paper and the SwRI astronomer credited with discovering the satellite. Parker spotted a faint point of light close to the dwarf planet using data from Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. "Makemake's moon -- nicknamed MK2 -- is very dark, 1,300 times fainter than the dwarf planet."

A nearly edge-on orbital configuration helped it evade detection, placing it deep within the glare of the icy dwarf during a substantial fraction of its orbit. Makemake is one of the largest and brightest known Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), second only to Pluto. The moon is likely less than 100 miles wide while its parent dwarf planet is about 870 miles across. Discovered in 2005, Makemake is shaped like football and sheathed in frozen methane.

Read more: http://buff.ly/29jbFEd
Scientists have discovered an elusive, dark moon orbiting Makemake, one of the 'big four' dwarf planets populating the Kuiper Belt region at the edge of our solar system.
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Opal-Studded Meteorite Hints at Origins of Earth's Water

On Earth, opal is made up of silica — a common ingredient in sand — and water. As water runs across the planet, it picks up sand and other pieces of silica. When it evaporates, it leaves behind traces of that material that build up to form opals. Scientists have only found one other meteorite carrying the mineraloid — a rock that traveled from Mars. While the Red Planet has opal-like deposits on its surface, none have been found on asteroids.

Hilary Downes, a geochemist at the Birkbeck Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of London, and her colleagues found that the meteorite EET 83309 is made up of thousands of broken-up rocks and minerals, suggesting that it came from the surface of an asteroid. Research on the meteorite by other scientists reveals that the rock was exposed to radiation from the sun, solar wind and other cosmic sources. Since an asteroid lacks an atmosphere to shield it from deadly radiation, its surface is constantly dosed with the deadly rays.

Bits and pieces of other asteroids were also embedded in the meteorite, suggesting that the parent asteroid was struck by numerous impacts. As a result of one of the many impacts, water could have been delivered to the surface of the asteroid, forming opal.

Read more: http://buff.ly/290f7Fq
A meteorite carrying opal suggests that water on other rocks smashed into its parent asteroid. The discovery means that ancient impacts could have delivered at least some of Earth's water.
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#AsteroidDay: Rocks From Space, June 30, 2016

SETI Institute scientists, Franck Marchis, Michael Busch, and Peter Jenniskins are interested in space rocks. They study everything from asteroids the size of mountains to bits of gravel shed by melting comets. One question is what happens when Earth collides with these rocks? Beyond the disaster scenarios like the death of the dinosaurs, we learn about our solar system by collecting fallen space rocks –meteorites—and observing shooting stars—meteors--when space rocks burn up in our atmosphere. Want to learn more? On June 30, there is a world-wide celebration of space rocks: Asteroid Day.

Bios of our scientists: http://buff.ly/291QUvn

The California Academy of Sciences is holding an all-day event in San Francisco. For information about the event, visit: http://buff.ly/299yTil
SETI Institute scientists, Franck Marchis, Michael Busch, and Peter Jenniskins are interested in space rocks. They study everything from asteroids the size of mountains to bits of gravel shed by melting comets. One question is what happens when Earth collides with these rocks?
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Hubble Reveals Stellar Fireworks in 'Skyrocket' Galaxy

As we celebrate the Fourth of July by watching dazzling fireworks shows, another kind of fireworks display is taking place in a small, nearby galaxy.

A stellar fireworks show is lighting up one end of the diminutive galaxy Kiso 5639. The dwarf galaxy is shaped like a flattened pancake, but because it is tilted edge-on, it resembles a skyrocket, with a brilliant blazing head and a long, star-studded tail. Kiso 5639 is a rare, nearby example of elongated galaxies seen in abundance in the early universe. Astronomers suggest that the frenzied star birth is sparked by intergalactic gas raining on one end of the galaxy as it drifts through space.

Read more: http://buff.ly/29fMmEz
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Awasome
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Sick Burn! NASA Fires Off Test of Next-Generation Rocket Engine

Lying horizontally, the engine for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket booster released a massive blast of flame and a wall of black smoke for two solid minutes during today's Qualification Motor-2 (QM-2) test (see photos of the test here). This is the last engine test before NASA's Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) in 2018, in which SLS will send an uncrewed Orion capsule on a flight beyond the orbit of the moon and back to Earth. Eventually, NASA aims to use Orion and SLS to send humans to Mars.

Today's QM-2 test of the SLS booster engine took place at facilities owned and operated by the private spaceflight company Orbital ATK. The company has been contracted by NASA to build the solid rocket booster that will "operate in parallel with SLS's main engines for the first two minutes of flight," according to the same NASA statement. (When it's complete, SLS will consist of a core stage with four main engines, along with two solid rocket boosters like the one that was tested today.)

The QM-2 test was preceded by a similar engine test in March 2015. The test today was a "cool" test, meaning the engine propellant was chilled to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), which helps scientists "understand the effects of temperature on how the propellant burns," according to NASA's website.

Read more: http://buff.ly/299SHCz
Thousands of spectators gathered in the Utah desert today (June 28) to watch a column of flame explode from the engine of NASA's next-generation rocket booster.
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basically Space shuttle boosters revised.
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A ‘Super Grand Canyon’ on Pluto’s Moon Charon

Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, is home to an unusual canyon system that’s far longer and deeper than the Grand Canyon.

The inset above magnifies a portion of the eastern limb in the global view of Charon at left, imaged by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft several hours before its closest approach on July 14, 2015. A deep canyon informally named Argo Chasma is seen grazing the limb. The section of it seen here measures approximately 185 miles (300 kilometers) long. As far as New Horizons scientists can tell, Argo’s total length is approximately 430 miles (700 kilometers) long – for comparison, Arizona’s Grand Canyon is 280 miles (450 kilometers) long.

At this fortuitous viewing angle the canyon is seen edge-on, and at the northern end of the canyon its depth can be easily gauged. Based on this and other images taken around the same time, New Horizons scientists estimate Argo Chasma to be as deep as 5.5 miles (9 kilometers), which is more than five times the depth of the Grand Canyon. There appear to be locations along the canyon’s length where sheer cliffs reaching several miles high occur, and which could potentially rival Verona Rupes on Uranus’ moon Miranda (which is at least 3 miles, or 5 kilometers, high) for the title of tallest known cliff face in the solar system.

The image was obtained by New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) at a resolution of approximately 1.45 miles (2.33 kilometers) per pixel. It was taken at a range of approximately 289,000 miles (466,000 kilometers) from Charon, 9 hours and 22 minutes before New Horizons’ closest approach to Charon on July 14, 2015.

Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Larger image: http://buff.ly/29nGpnX
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a real big hat...?
the burrow.....
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NASA Rover Findings Point to a More Earth-like Martian Past

Researchers found high levels of manganese oxides by using a laser-firing instrument on the rover. This hint of more oxygen in Mars' early atmosphere adds to other Curiosity findings -- such as evidence about ancient lakes -- revealing how Earth-like our neighboring planet once was.

This research also adds important context to other clues about atmospheric oxygen in Mars' past. The manganese oxides were found in mineral veins within a geological setting the Curiosity mission has placed in a timeline of ancient environmental conditions. From that context, the higher oxygen level can be linked to a time when groundwater was present in the rover's Gale Crater study area.

"The only ways on Earth that we know how to make these manganese materials involve atmospheric oxygen or microbes," said Nina Lanza, a planetary scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. "Now we're seeing manganese oxides on Mars, and we're wondering how the heck these could have formed?"

Microbes seem far-fetched at this point, but the other alternative -- that the Martian atmosphere contained more oxygen in the past than it does now -- seems possible, Lanza said. "These high manganese materials can't form without lots of liquid water and strongly oxidizing conditions. Here on Earth, we had lots of water but no widespread deposits of manganese oxides until after the oxygen levels in our atmosphere rose."

Read more: http://buff.ly/290fpw9
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T!-o have. Yuklmjjkmni/.0+0+7&7%6
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How to hide geology on Mars | Lori Fenton's Blog

A Piece of Mars: Three things are trying to hide in this 0.96×0.48 km (0.6×0.3 mi) scene. 1) Craters are slowly being both scoured and buried by migrating sand, 2) the sand itself is hiding in the lee of crater rims and other topographic obstructions to the wind, and 3) small patches of ice (blue in this stretch) are hiding on shady slopes (north is to the right in this southern hemisphere image, taken during southern winter).

Image credit: HiRISE ESP_045792_1395 NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona

Larger image: http://buff.ly/2914ipl
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Our mission is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.
Introduction

We believe we are conducting the most profound search in human history — to know our beginnings and our place among the stars.

The SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education and public outreach.

The Institute comprises 3 centers, the Center for SETI Research, the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe and the Center for Education and Public Outreach.

Founded in November 1984, the SETI Institute began operations on February 1, 1985. Today it employs over 120 scientists, educators and support staff. Research at the Institute is anchored by two centers. Dr. Gerry Harp leads the Center for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research and  Dr. David Morrison is the Director for the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe. Edna DeVore leads our Center for Education and Public Outreach.