#Rosetta #comet #67P
Image Credit: Voyager Project,
On another Valentine's Day 25 years ago, cruising four billion miles from the Sun, the Voyager 1 spacecraft looked back one last time to make this first ever Solar System family portrait. The complete portrait is a 60 frame mosaic made from a vantage point 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane. In it, Voyager's wide angle camera frames sweep through the inner Solar System at the left, linking up with gas giant Neptune, the Solar System's outermost planet, at the far right. Positions for Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are indicated by letters, while the Sun is the bright spot near the center of the circle of frames. The inset frames for each of the planets are from Voyager's narrow field camera. Unseen in the portrait are Mercury, too close to the Sun to be detected, and Mars, unfortunately hidden by sunlight scattered in the camera's optical system. Closer to the Sun than Neptune at the time, small, faint Pluto's position was not covered.
Image Credit & Copyright: Arno Rottal (Far-Light-Photography)
The Rosette Nebula is not the only cosmic cloud of gas and dust to evoke the imagery of flowers -- but it is the most famous. At the edge of a large molecular cloud in Monoceros, some 5,000 light years away, the petals of this rose are actually a stellar nursery whose lovely, symmetric shape is sculpted by the winds and radiation from its central cluster of hot young stars. The stars in the energetic cluster, cataloged as NGC 2244, are only a few million years old, while the central cavity in the Rosette Nebula, cataloged as NGC 2237, is about 50 light-years in diameter. The nebula can be seen firsthand with a small telescope toward the constellation of the Unicorn (Monoceros).
Die Raketenstufe diente der Erprobung von Andockmanövern, wie sie für die späteren Mondflüge erforderlich waren.
Apollo 7, Filmrolle 3, Bild 1545
Datum: 11. Oktober 1968
(Credit: NASA/Post processing: Olaf Prause)
Image Credit & Copyright: David Lane & R. Gendler (3 insets)
Which is older -- the rocks you see on the ground or the light you see from the sky? Usually it’s the rocks that are older, with their origin sentiments deposited well before light left any of the stars or nebulas you see in the sky. However, if you can see, through a telescope, a distant galaxy far across the universe -- further than Andromeda or spiral galaxy NGC 7331 (inset) -- then you are seeing light even more ancient. Featured here, the central disk of our Milky Way Galaxy arches over Toadstool hoodoos rock formations in northern Arizona, USA. The unusual Toadstool rock caps are relatively hard sandstone that wind has eroded more slowly than the softer sandstone underneath. The green bands are airglow, light emitted by the stimulated air in Earth's atmosphere. On the lower right is a time-lapse camera set up to capture the sky rotating behind the picturesque foreground scene.
Image Credit: Voyager 2,
Two hours before closest approach to Neptune in 1989, the Voyager 2 robot spacecraft snapped this picture. Clearly visible for the first time were long light-colored cirrus-type clouds floating high in Neptune's atmosphere. Shadows of these clouds can even be seen on lower cloud decks. Most of Neptune's atmosphere is made of hydrogen and helium, which is invisible. Neptune's blue color therefore comes from smaller amounts of atmospheric methane, which preferentially absorbs red light. Neptune has the fastest winds in the Solar System, with gusts reaching 2000 kilometers per hour. Speculation holds that diamonds may be created in the dense hot conditions that exist under the cloud tops of Uranus and Neptune. Twenty-six years later, NASA's New Horizons is poised to be the first spacecraft to zoom past Pluto this July.
Our mission: Challenge the Moon!
We're the Part-Time Scientists, an official team on the Google Lunar X PRIZE. We want to land a rover on the moon and send and receive HD video from this far-away object. For real. Hell yeah, it's rocket science!
To get our mission of the ground we are using a rocket that delivers our payload into low Earth orbit (LEO).
Low Earth orbit is where most satellites are, and we will be using a rocket that normally launches satellites. This may be a Dnepr, a rocket which was initially developed as an ICBM (InterContinental Ballistic Missile - meant to carry nuclear warheads), but currently used as cheap, reliable satellite carriers. It's not the biggest or newest rocket out there, but it should do the job, which is to get our payload from Baikonur Cosmodrome to LEO.
The rocket lifts our package, also called a payload, into low Earth orbit. From there it needs to go to the surface of the moon.
The lander is the vehicle that is responsible for this part of the trip. It has rocket engines that take it from LEO into an orbit around the moon, and from there safely down to the lunar surface.
The trip from LEO to lunar orbit is longest part of the journey, maybe two weeks.
The safe landing on the moon surface is the hardest part of the journey. Thousands of little things could go wrong, and each of those little things could mean failure for our mission.
The lander is the rocket’s payload, but it has a payload of its own, the rover.
We have to send a rover to the moon to win the GLXP competition, but we want it to do a few extra things as well. After all, how many times do you get send a rover to the moon? May as well make the most of it.
After the lander gets safely to the moon’s surface, our rover Asimov will complete the GLXP requirements of driving 500 meters and transmitting HD video back to earth.
We will be driving the rover from Earth like a remote control car, just without being able to see it and with a ~3 second delay between sending a control signal from Earth and receiving the video back from the moon.
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