21 Lutetia is an asteroid that’s around 100km wide, and spends most of its time kickin’ around the Asteroid Belt. On July 10, the ESA probe Rosetta performed a flyby, making it the largest asteroid we’ve done so with. The probe passed it at a distance of 3160 km, traveling 15km/s. These amazing photos (and the rendered video above) are what it gathered.
Continue reading Space Porn: 21 Lutetia
See that little yellow dot above and to the left of that sun? The star is 1RSX J160929.1-210524, and the dot is around 8 times the size of Jupiter. It’s a planet. And the first one to be directly photographed. Not only is it rather large, but it’s damned far from the star, some 300 AU [...]
This week I had the pleasure of writing up one of the most impressive scientific achievements in recent memory — the creation of a synthetic genome which controlled a bacterium.
I also wrote about supernovae being the cause of calcium, which is [...]
Meet Samarium. Rare-earth metal, atomic symbol Sm, number 62. What’s really cool about it, is that it has three extremely long-lived isotopes: 147Sm (1.06 × 1011y), 148Sm (7 × 1015y) and 149Sm (>2 × 1015y). That’s right, 148Sm has a half-life of 7,000,000,000,000,000 years! When these decay, they become an isotope of neodymium. This makes it appropriate for dating extremely old objects — [...]
My semi-regular science post is up at io9.com! This time, we’re asking why the Earth wasn’t a giant freaking ball of ice for most of its life. Go on, [...]
There’s bad science, and then there’s the Sun. Amateur astronomer thinks a hunk of Mars rocks is some sort of ape-like alien. That’s some fine journalism there, Lou. This is something called pareidolia, where our mind tries to make sense of more-or-less random information. If you’ve ever seen shapes in television static, or heard voices on [...]
Two rocks found in the antarctic appear to be meteoric chunks of a long since destroyed dwarf planet, from the early years of our solar system. The reason for this theory is their high concentration of feldspar, which most likely formed during a period when most solar bodies were covered in magma—allowing the relatively light feldspar [...]
That mammoth 8.8 earthquake in Chile? It turns out it shifted the Earth’s axis by a tiny degree. It’s not by much, the planet shifted its mass by about 8cm. This means that the average day is now shortened by 1.26 microseconds, so in approximately 2.5 x 10^13 years, we’ll lose a day. That’s 2.5 trillion [...]
The BBC is reporting that India’s lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 identified ice on the Moon’s north pole. According to the results presented at a planetary science conference in Texas, the ice must be at least a couple of meters thick in order to be substantial enough to gather a reading, with an estimated mass of 600 million tonnes.
Two amazing infographics for you today:
The Extremes of Earth and Mars, by Peter Main
More after the jump…
Continue reading Infographics: Depths and Heights