Tag Archives: Space Agency

Just In: This Morning An Asteroid About The Size Of A City Bus Buzzes By Earth Closer Than The Moon

An asteroid about the size of a city bus buzzed by Earth earlier today (May 3, 2014). The asteroid came closer to the Earth than the moon, but fortunately did no damage.

Asteroids flying by Earth is not totally uncommon, in fact it actually happens quite a bit. The combination of the distance from Earth and the size of the asteroid are what made this asteroid such a potential threat.

According to NASA’s Asteroid Watch project based at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif…

“The asteroid is about 25 feet (7.6 meters) wide… It made its closest approach to Earth at 4:13 a.m. EDT”

It is hard to tell exactly what the damage would have been from a collision with an asteroid about this size. Here at The Higher Learning we have covered many posts that are asteroid related, from posts about asteroid mining to posts about the threat of asteroid collisions to earth.

Fortunately in this case no collision took place, so no damage was done. According to Space.com

“The newly discovered asteroid 2014 HL129 came within 186,000 miles (299,338 kilometers) of Earth when it made its closest approach on Saturday morning, which is close enough to pass between the planet and the orbit of the moon. The average distance between the Earth and moon is about 238,855 miles (384,400 km).”

The asteroid has been named Asteroid 2014 HL129 and was discovered by scientists only days before its close encounter to Earth. According to Space.com

“Saturday’s close shave by asteroid 2014 HL129 came just days after its discovery on Wednesday, April 28, by astronomers with the Mt. Lemmon Survey team, according to an alert by the Minor Planet Center, an arm of the International Astronomical Union that chronicles asteroid discoveries. The Mt. Lemmon Survey team scans the night sky with a telescope at the Steward Observatory atop Mt. Lemmon in Arizona’s Catalina Mountains.”

You can view a video animation of the asteroids orbit around the sun to see just how close asteroid 2014 HL129 came to colliding with Earth here. 

NASA scientists and researchers around the world are constantly monitoring the skies for potentially dangerous or threatening asteroids. Space agencies around the world are united with the common goal of locating these threatening asteroids and providing solutions to protect Earth and mankind from dangerous collisions.

Check Out the full story from Space.com here. 


Russian Deputy PM to NASA: Have Your Astronauts Take A Trampoline to the Space Station

Dmitry Rogozin, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, is among the list of Russian officials who the U.S. has economically sanctioned in response to the situation in Ukraine.

Apparently, those sanctions are beginning to irk him a bit. Yesterday, he posted this tweet to his Russian twitter account:

Translation: “After reviewing the sanctions against our space industry, suggest United States delivering their astronauts on the ISS using trampoline.” (I could have fixed the sentence structure on the translation but I found it was much funnier to leave it as is and read it with a Russian accent)

If you were unaware, we have been paying the Russian space agency to launch our astronauts up to the International Space Station ever since NASA ended the American Space Shuttle program in the summer of 2011.

Russian Space Shuttle “Buran”

Speaking with journalists in the Crimea region (which was controversially annexed from Ukraine recently) , Rogozin went on to say,

“Essentially, the Americans want to clear us out of the space services market … I am sick and tired of these sanctions, to be honest, they don’t understand that the sanctions will hit them like a boomerang.”

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, a private space company who NASA has been working with increasingly in recent years had this response:

Read more from NBC here.

NASA Releases Video Outlining Their Plans to Eventually Land on Mars (Video)

NASA recently released the video below outlining their long term plans that they hope will eventually lead to humans landing and living on the surface of Mars.

Previously, the Higher Learning made a post NASA CHIEF SAYS THE “ULTIMATE” GOAL IS LANDING AND LIVING ON MARS, that highlighted the official announcement that NASA is still looking to land on Mars. Now NASA has gone a step further by releasing a video to the public. Check out the video below on NASA’s projected path to Mars. One of the future plans even includes capturing an asteroid and putting it into orbit around our moon!



NASA Discovers Most Earth-Like Planet Yet

In a former Higher Learning Post we discussed how the Kepler missions have successfully identified hundreds of potential Earth-size planets that have a “Goldilocks” distance orbit from their stars.

“Goldilocks” -orbit distance is not too hot/close to star and not too cold/far from star

In a space agency briefing earlier this month, NASA announced that they have identefied the most Earth-like planet yet. The planet is known as Kepler-186-F, and according to Dan Vergano from National Geographic the planet has,

“Red sunshine, seas, and maybe aliens? Scientists analyzing data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope today report the closest thing yet to another Earth, a world in a habitable orbit around a red dwarf star some 493 light-years away.”
Kepler-186-F according to National Geographic is “1.1 times wider than Earth” and “the mass is 1.5 times that of Earth”. Also the planet’s solar system consists of five planets that orbit a red dwarf star.
According to pioneering planet hunter Geoff Marcy of the University of California, Berkeley,
“This is an historic discovery—the first Earth-size planet found in the habitable zone around its star. This is the best case for a habitable planet yet found.”
Although the planet has a very simialar size to Earth, the planet’s red dwarf star is about half the size of our Sun. Kepler-186-F makes up for having a smaller star by having a tighter orbit cycle that is only 130 days.
It is not certain what type of atmoshper the planet has, but scientists are optimistic that although the planet may be cooler and dimmer than Earth the planet is still warm enough to prevent seas from freezing.

The Kepler spacecraft is still on the lookout for new discoveries, and scientists continue to analyze data as we continue our search for other habitable planets in our galaxy.

Check out the full post by Dan Vergano from National Geographic Here.

NASA Chief Says the “Ultimate” Goal is Landing and Living on Mars

The talk about reaching and landing humans on Mars has been going on for quite a while in the space agency community. NASA has successfully landed rovers on the surface of Mars, but bringing actual people any further than the moon has still remained a challenge.

In a former Higher Learning post we covered a video interview with Elon Musk, “The Man Who May Be Leading Us To Mars”. In this interview Mr. Musk , founder of Space-X, discusses creative solutions to reaching and even possibly having people live on Mars in the near future.

In fact, this month Chief of NASA Charles Bolden said (according to Space.com)

“The ultimate thing … is to put boots on the ground on Mars, and that’s not just to do a touch and go. It’s to live there one of these days.”

One crucial step that NASA believes will bring us closer to this goal, is to capture a space rock and put it into orbit around our Moon.

According to Space.com

“The space agency is planning an ambitious mission to send a robotic spacecraft to an asteroid, bag the space rock and bring it into orbit around the moon. NASA’s wild plan to capture an asteroid and park it near the moon is only one step on the way to Mars, NASA chief Charles Bolden said Wednesday (March 26).

Although the mission is far from landing humans on Mars, it is still…

 an important step that can be used to test propulsion systems and other technology that could help humans get to Mars.”

Check Out the full article on the Mission Involving Capturing a Space Rock and Putting it Into Orbit Around Our Moon.