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3.26 billion years ago, an enormous asteroid—one four to six times wider than the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs—impacted the Earth. Researchers Donald Lowe and Norman Sleep, both of Stanford University, recently reconstructed the collision, which involved an asteroid 23 to 36 miles (37 to 58 kilometers) wide and created a crater about 300 miles (500 km) in diameter. The scientists gathered information about the collision by studying rock formations in the Barberton greenstone belt in South Africa.

Scientists are still trying to figure out how such a massive collision would have impacted the geological activity on Earth; some theories suggest that the collision could have spurred the transition from an early “tectonic regime” to the plate-tectonic system that we see today. The impact would have also presented enormous obstacles for early life on Earth, which likely began to evolve around 3.8 billion years ago. By studying the effects of this and other impacts on Earth, scientists are beginning to understand more about the evolution of both life on Earth and the planet itself.

Information about past asteroid impacts clearly puts our fragile position in perspective. With a Penny4NASA, humanity will be better prepared for an asteroid-related threat. Take action! Write Congress today: http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/

Read more here: http://www.space.com/25430-asteroid-impact-bigger-dinosaur-extinction.html

#Penny4NASA #NASA #NEO #Asteroid #Dinosaur #Space #Science  
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Shawn McFadden's profile photoPassakorn Inthanil's profile photoNick Dean's profile photoChris Fink's profile photo
 
Wow, that's a big piece of rock!
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Astronomers May Have Discovered The First Exomoon

NASA funded researches have discovered the first exomoon candidate. An exomoon is a moon that orbits a planet that resides outside of our Solar System. Using a technique called gravitational microlensing, they saw what could be either a planet and a moon, or a planet and a star. They can't confirm their findings because gravitational lensing events happen only once due to chance encounters. However, this discovery will be encouraging to astronomers who are actively hunting for exomoons.

Read more about this discovery here: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2014-109

This artist conception depicts the two possibilities; the planet/moon pairing on the left and the star/planet couple on the right. Which do you think it is?

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

#Penny4NASA #NASA #Space #Science #Moon
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Today's SpaceX launch to the International Space Station will be the first to test the deployment of landing legs (seen below) on the rocket's first stage as it attempts a soft landing at sea. If all goes well this will be a significant step forward in developing reusable-rocket technology that could dramatically reduce the cost of space exploration.

Watch this video of the Falcon 9 Reusable rocket's first flight test: F9R First Flight Test | 250m

Most of NASA's funding goes to out-of-house contractors, such as SpaceX, in the private sector. By advocating for an increase in NASA's budget you are helping SpaceX reduce the cost of space exploration for all of us. Take action today! Tell Congress to increase NASA's budget: http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/

You can follow the SpaceX launch here: http://www.spacex.com/webcast/

Image Credit: SpaceX

#Penny4NASA #NASA #ISS #SpaceX #Space #Science
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44 years ago today, James Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert made a successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, bringing an end to Apollo 13's perilous journey. Considered a "successful failure" in that the intended objective of landing on the moon never transpired, the crew of Apollo 13 worked with NASA on improvisational procedures to return home after an oxygen tank exploded two days following liftoff.

At a distance of approximately 200,000 miles from Earth, Jack Swigert was advised by Mission Control to stir the cryotanks associated to the onboard oxygen supply; a seemingly routine procedure. Two minutes later, the crew of Apollo 13 reported a "loud bang," later determined to be the number-2 oxygen tank exploding. This explosion caused extreme damage to the Command Module's power and oxygen capabilities, forcing the crew to power it down completely, and utilize the LEM -- originally intended to land on the lunar surface, as a lifeboat. 

Engineered to transport Haise and Lovell to the Fra Mauro Highlands, the LEM now had to be retrofitted for it to be habitable for three men over four days. Due to a hardware flaw, Mission Control was imposed the task of developing a working procedure to quickly lower the carbon dioxide levels if the crew were to have any chance of survival. In what still stands as one of the finest displays of improvisation in NASA's history, Lovell, Haise and Swigert were able to "fit a square peg into a round hole" by fabricating a device for the CO2 filters from the Command Module to be used on the LEM. 

Now being able to breathe, Apollo 13 faced another huge hurdle: developing a power-up procedure from scratch after the Command Module was completely powered off. With only a limited allocation of power due to the Command Module shutdown, the flight controllers identified alternative methods for the crew of Apollo 13 to begin re-entry.

After a longer-than-usual radio blackout, Lovell, Haise, and Swigert made a safe splashdown southeast of the Samoan Islands on April 17th, 1970. Lasting nearly six days, the entire world stood united as they awaited the fate of Apollo 13 -- whose journey has been inspirational for generations, and resulted in Ron Howard's exhilarant motion picture released in 1995.

Fun fact: The phrase "Failure Is Not An Option" was not coined by Gene Kranz, as is widely believed. 
http://www.spaceacts.com/notanoption.htm

#NASA   #Penny4NASA   #Space   #SpaceExploration   #Apollo   #Apollo13  
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As NASA’s Cassini mission nears it’s 10th anniversary, the team is looking for your help in naming its final mission phase!

As is illustrated in the accompanying image, “In late 2016, the Cassini spacecraft will begin a completely new type of mission at Saturn. During its final months, the intrepid spacecraft's orbit will carry it high above the planet's north pole and then send it plunging between the planet and the innermost edge of its dazzling rings.” 

Originally coined, “the proximal orbits”, the Cassini team is reaching out to the public to help them come up with something a little more exciting. Those who’ve submitted a suggestion won’t have to wait long to hear if theirs was selected; the big reveal will be in May 2014!

Choose your favorite names from the list provided, or submit one of your own: http://goo.gl/lnQhcL

For more information on the contest, visit: 
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/name

Celebrate Cassini by writing to Congress to let them know you support doubling funding for NASA: http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/

#NASA   #Penny4NASA   #Cassini   #JPL   #10years   #Saturn   #mission   #namecontest   #proximalorbits   #science   #space  
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Nasa always steps ahead,the letters n/nasa/always/steps/ahead.
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NASA Completes LADEE Mission In Spectacular Fashion By Crashing It Into The Moon

Ground controllers confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the surface on the far side of the moon late Thursday evening as planned.

LADEE lacked the fuel to continue operations and was intentionally crashed into the lunar surface. "At the time of impact, LADEE was traveling at a speed of 3,600 miles per hour – about three times the speed of a high-powered rifle bullet," said LADEE project scientist Rick Elphic.

Read more here: http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/april/nasa-completes-ladee-mission-with-planned-impact-on-moons-surface/#.U1LvoqZLtFs

#Penny4NASA #NASA #LADEE #Space #Science #Moon  
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Vladimir Golubovic's profile photoJames Davis's profile photoJoseph Miller's profile photoKimani Coye's profile photo
 
Any actual photos or just cartoons? As usual.
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Falcon 9 First Stage Landing

"Data upload from tracking plane shows first stage landing in Atlantic was good! Flight computers continued transmitting for 8 seconds after reaching the water. Stopped when booster went horizontal. Several boats enroute through heavy seas..." via +SpaceX 

For updates follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Penny4NASA1

#Penny4NASA #NASA #ISS #SpaceX #Space #Science  
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Congratulations to SpaceX on the successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station!

This will be SpaceX's third cargo resupply mission to the ISS and the first to test the deployment of landing legs for the rocket's first stage as it attempts a soft landing at sea.

You can follow the SpaceX launch here: http://www.spacex.com/webcast/

Image Credit: SpaceX

#Penny4NASA #NASA #ISS #SpaceX #Space #Science
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Astronomers Find First Earth-Size Planet That Could Support Life!

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has discovered the first Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of another star. The habitable zone is the region around a star in which planets are capable of supporting liquid water at their surface. This region is sometimes referred to as the Goldilocks zone because it defines the area where the conditions are not too hot or too cold, but "just right" for planets to support water on the surface. The discovery Kepler-186f confirms that planets of Earth's size exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our Sun. It also marks a significant step forward in finding other planets similar to our own.

Read more about the exciting discovery of Kepler-186f here: http://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/nasas-kepler-discovers-first-earth-size-planet-in-the-habitable-zone-of-another-star/index.html#.U1BDx6ZLtFt

#Penny4NASA #NASA #Kepler #Space #Science #Astronomy
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Saturn May Have Produced a New Moon!
 
Say hello to Peggy! This new possible moon was spotted all clumped up on the outer rings of Saturn. Carl Murray (Queen Mary University, London), the lead author of the research paper recently published in the journal Icarus said, “We may be looking at the act of birth, where this object is just leaving the rings and heading off to be a moon in its own right.” Nobody knows yet what Peggy might be, but one possibility is that it’s an accumulation of ring material that has collapsed gravitationally under its own weight. Some of Saturn’s moons, especially the ones orbiting near the rings, are thought to have formed this way.

It’s always amazing to see the discoveries heralded by astronomers that demonstrate how much we have yet to learn about our own Solar System. It’s why NASA and space exploration is important because we should try and make sense of the Universe and how it came to be. Seeing a possible moon form would be a first for us and it’s happening right in our own backyard! Cassini will try and get a closer look at Peggy in late 2016 when it makes a closer approach
 
We could continue making discoveries and send more missions out into the Solar System, and even beyond with a #Penny4NASA . So what are you waiting for? Take action today by visiting www.penny4nasa.com/take-action

Read more about the discovery of Peggy here: http://www.universetoday.com/111233/is-saturn-making-a-new-moon/

#Astronomy   #Cassini   #Moon   #Saturn  
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Nick Dean's profile photoGursimran Bedi's profile photoTroublemaker John's profile photoJoe Jansen's profile photo
 
Technically every particle we see as the ring is a small moon! 
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"NASA's annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. For twice that—a penny on a dollar—we can transform the country" - Neil deGrasse Tyson
Introduction
Penny4NASA was founded to uphold the importance of space exploration and science. We believe wholeheartedly that our federal funding of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, at a mere 0.48% of the total, does not reflect the hugely important economic, technological and inspirational resource that this agency has been throughout its 50+ year history. With approximately $10 coming back into the economy for every $1 spent, thousands of new science and engineering students becoming inspired continuously, and the multitude of technologies that NASA research has both directly and indirectly made possible, we believe that NASA needs to be funded at a level of at least 1% of the U.S. federal budget. This isn't a partisan argument, and this isn't a fiscal budget argument, this is the American people saying that as a society our tax dollars to reflect that importance of science and space exploration. And 0.48% doesn't cut it. We are calling for NASA budget to be increased to at least 1% of the US federal budget.
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