Back in 2006, the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona noticed that a mysterious body had begun orbiting the Earth. This object had a spectrum that was remarkably similar to the titanium white paint used on Saturn V rocket stages and, indeed, a number of rocket stages are known to orbit the Sun close to Earth. But this was not an object of ours. Instead, 2006 RH120, as it became known, turned out to be a tiny asteroid just a few metres across--a natural satellite like the Moon. It was captured by Earth's gravity in September 2006 and orbited us until June 2007 when it wandered off into the Solar System in search of a more interesting neighbour. 2006 RH120 was the first reliably documented example of a temporary moon ...
Tag Archives | Moon
Dan Vergano writes in USA Today:
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NASA hauled back loads of rocks and dust from the moon, but apparently hasn’t kept good track of those samples on Earth. The space agency has lost or misplaced more than 500 pieces of the lunar rocks and other space samples, NASA’s inspector general reported Thursday, making the case for better inventory controls.
Astronauts on the Apollo moon landings from 1969 to 1972 returned 842 pounds of lunar rock and soil to Earth. The space agency now loans samples, along with meteorite and comet dust, to about 377 researchers worldwide.
The space agency now lists 517 moon rock samples as missing or stolen. However, the inspector general audit suggests much more is missing, based on inquiries to a sample of 59 scholars loaned moon rocks, comet dust or meteorites. The audit found 19% could not locate all of their samples.
Edward Lovett and Ned Potter Report on ABC News:
We have a visitor — a large asteroid called 2005 YU55 that is expected to come within approximately 201,700 miles of Earth on Tuesday, according to NASA. That’s slightly less than the distance from Earth to the moon.
Asteroids often pass this close, but most are tiny. Countless thousands of pieces come plunging into the atmosphere, but they burn up without doing any harm. If they’re as large as grains of sand, we may, if we’re lucky, see them in the night sky as shooting stars.
But 2005 YU55 is at least 1,300 feet wide — larger than an aircraft carrier, according to radar measurements. The last time an asteroid this big passed by was in 1976, and the next one scientists know of won’t be until 2028, NASA says. (There have been some rude surprises in between, but not involving anything remotely as large.)
Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., said this fly-by is an opportunity to learn more about c-type — that is, carbon-based — asteroids, to find “clues as to what it was like when our solar system was forming.”
More: ABC News
Lunar man-bats, unicorns, bipedal beavers and a triad of mysterious solar temples featured in a sensational hoax perpetuated by the New York Sun in 1835. This from Victorian Gothic:
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Imagine that you wake up one morning, sit at your computer, and you are bombarded with links to a developing story from a major news outlet: Stephen Hawking, by making novel use of Cambridge University’s new quantum supercomputer to analyze data from SETI’s telescope array, has discerned that the universe is awash with signals from intelligent life. It reads like a regular science story, at first, but soon it is revealed that Hawking and his colleagues have tapped into an extra-terrestrial television transmission, and are even now watching, breathless, as the first, dream-like images of alien civilizations display themselves on the Q-computer’s tiny monitor.
You and your friends refresh your browsers compulsively, talking over each new description that emerges of strange alien races and the exotic landscapes they inhabit, as gleaned from upon the wacky sitcoms and low-budget reality shows that they are indiscriminately beaming into space.
Former National Aeronautics and Space Administration Data and Photo Control Department manager, Ken Johnston, who worked for the space agency's Lunar Receiving Laboratory during the Apollo missions has been fired for telling the truth. Johnston asserts NASA knows astronauts discovered ancient alien cities and the remains of amazingly advanced machinery on the Moon. Some of the technology can manipulate gravity. He says the agency ordered a cover-up and forced him to participate in it. Over the past 40 years other scientists, engineers and technicians have accused NASA of cover-ups and obscuring data. The growing number of accusers' allegations range from hiding information about anomalous space objects and lying about the discovery of artifacts on the surface of the Moon and Mars, to denying the evidence of life reported back by the Viking lander during the mid-1970s.
R. Prasad writes in the Hindu:
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No-fly zones will come into effect on the moon for the very first time by the end of this month! Why, even buffer zones that spacecraft may have to avoid will come into existence. The reason: avoiding any spraying of rocket exhaust or dust onto certain historical sites and artifacts on the moon.
The historical sites are of course the Apollo landing sites and artifacts present on the moon. And the “recommendations” are for preserving and protecting these historical sites. There are currently more than three dozen historical sites that preserve the more than four-decade-old remains.
“Apollo 11 and 17 sites [will] remain off-limits, with ground-travel buffers of 75 meters and 225 meters from each respective lunar lander,” states the July 20 guidelines of NASA. Science journal had obtained the guidelines.
According to Science, by the end of this month NASA is expected to come up with a set of “recommendations” for spacecraft and astronauts visiting the “U.S.
It’s probably just hype around the release of the “documentary” Apollo 18 that just opened in theaters across America, but Space.com is reporting on a purported conspiracy about the astronauts finding signs of alien life and that being the reason we never again sent humans to the moon:
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Apologies to anyone whose bubble will burst, but “Apollo 18,” the film opening Friday (Sept. 2), is fictional.
The film, purporting to be produced from footage kept secret by NASA and leaked to the media, chronicles a NASA mission to the moon that went awry when astronauts encountered signs of alien life there.
Whether because the studio actually believes anyone will be fooled or simply because it makes for a fun marketing angle, the Weinstein Co., which produced the picture, is calling it a “documentary.”
“Decades-old found footage from NASA’s abandoned Apollo 18 mission, where two American astronauts were sent on a secret expedition, reveals the reason the U.S.
If and when Earth is no longer able to sustain human life, where should we go? NASA says that a colony could be dug several feet below the surface of our moon (with a cover to protect residents from high-energy cosmic radiation, which can damage our DNA and lead to cancer).
Or we could head for the resource-rich moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Mars is very Earth-like, with enough carbon in its soil to grow plants, and daytime temperatures that reach 70°F. And that’s only the start of our options. Popular Science explores:
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Earth won’t always be fit for occupation. We know that in two billion years or so, an expanding sun will boil away our oceans, leaving our home in the universe uninhabitable—unless, that is, we haven’t already been wiped out by the Andromeda galaxy, which is on a multibillion-year collision course with our Milky Way. Moreover, at least a third of the thousand mile-wide asteroids that hurtle across our orbital path will eventually crash into us, at a rate of about one every 300,000 years.
You knew there was more on the far side of the Moon than we were told. First up: volcanoes. From International Business Times:
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Among mysteries lying on the far side of the Moon, which cannot be seen from Earth, are volcanoes as well, new photos from a NASA orbiter have revealed.
The volcanoes that litter the Moon’s ‘other side’ are of the rare silicate types, not the basaltic volcanoes seen on the visible side of the moon.
According to researchers, the new findings reveal that the Moon is home to more complex geological activity than initially thought. The findings also reveal that the Moon has not stopped throwing surprises after all!
A team led by Bradley L. Jolliff, a planetary scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, has reported the latest findings in the journal Nature Geoscience.
According to Jolliff, the primary author of the report, most of the volcanic activity on the moon has been found to be basaltic in nature.