Outer Space & Universe
Outer Space & Universe
Space, also known as outer space, is the near-vacuum between celestial bodies. It is where everything (all of the planets, stars, galaxies and other objects) is found.
On Earth, space begins at the Kármán line (100 km above sea level). This is where Earth's atmosphere is said to stop and outer space begins. This is not a firm boundary but is a convention used by scientists and diplomats.
Items in space are free to move back and forth; up and down; and left and right. These three dimensions are what make 3D space. Items also move forward through time, which is sometimes called the fourth dimension.
The majority of space contains very little matter and so most of it is a vacuum. Scientists do not know how big space is but we do know that space is extremely big, and is always expanding.
According to the big bang theory, all matter and energy in the Universe was compressed into a very small space. Then it exploded and started expanding. Space is still growing in size today; this means the distance from one galaxy to distant galaxies is getting longer.
Gravity is the force that keeps the Moon in orbit around the Earth and the planets in orbit around the Sun. Gravity can stretch and bend space similar to how a heavy ball placed on a stretched sheet of rubber will cause the rubber to stretch. The scientist who discovered that space can bend is named Albert Einstein. How gravity bends space is part of his theory of general relativity.
Astronauts, Cosmonauts, Taikonauts and Spationauts
An astronaut is any person who is trained by NASA to travel and perform tasks in space. Although the space traveler may not necessarily be a United States citizen, each astronaut does go through a rigorous training regiment by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Other space travelers go by other names then astronaut depending on their country of origin.
In the United States, astronaut is derived from the Greek words ástron (star) and nautis (sailor). While, in Russia, a space traveler goes by the name космонавт (English: cosmonaut), which is derived from the Greek words kosmos (universe) and nautis (sailor). Westerners call a space traveler from China a taikonaut, based on the 1998 writings of Chiew Lee Yik and Chen Lan where the term tàikōng (great emptiness), Chinese for “space”. In China, the term yuháng yuán (universe navigator) is used for space traveler.
Only the United States of America (United States), Russia (earlier, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), and the People’s Republic of China (China) have sent manned spacecraft into space. Other countries have assisted these countries by sending their own space travelers on space missions. For instance, a French space traveler is called a spationaut (from the French word spationaute), which is derived from the Latin spatium (space) and Greek nautis (sailor). (plural in Greek nautes = sailors)
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2014 is shaping up to be the year of earth science for NASA, with five missions devoted to studying our planets surface, atmosphere, changing climate, weather, and more.
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After 10 years on the Martian surface, the rover continues to deliver new discoveries about the 4th planet from the Sun. Here are some of the highlights.
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Some of the engineers were still in school when the the Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars. Today they are living out their dream and extending the original 90-day mission to 10+ years. Hear their stories.
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The harsh conditions have created issues with a piece of machinery that has not been serviced by human hands in over 10 years. The Opportunity team discusses what they have had to contend with.
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The Mars Science Laboratory radiation detector, in operation for over a year on the Red Planet, is showing levels that are manageable for human exploration but the planet has not been hit with any big solar storms during this time.
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Data from several NASA satellites have been analyzed and the lowest temperature detected was a record breaking -136° F (-93.2° C) on Aug 10th, 2013 on a high ridge in Antartica. Its ~8°F degrees cooler than the previous record.
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A new record for cold temperatures minus 136 F (minus 93.2 C) was set Aug. 10, 2010 on the East Antarctic Plateau. NASA scientists have figured out how our planet creates these bone chilling temperatures.
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This cosmic pirouette of Earth and our moon was captured by the Juno spacecraft as it flew by Earth on Oct. 9, 2013. Set be inserted into Jupiter orbit in August 2016.
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See how amateur ham radio operators beamed messages to NASA's Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft during its Earth flyby of Oct. 9, 2013. Did their morse code messages of hello reach Juno? --- Juno's Earth and Moon Fly-by Time-lapse: http://goo.gl/qzY5gr Credit
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Amateur radio operates beamed up 'Hi' in morse code on Oct. 9th, 2013 to NASA's Juno spacecraft. It was received by the probe and the audio from the event was sent back to Earth.
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On 10 December 2013, a lander that uses NASA automated landing tech, conducted a free-flight in which it flew forward and landed 23 feet from its launch point. It could be used deliver cargo to asteroid and other planetary surfaces.
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Come along for the ride as SPACE.com's @MiriKramer flies with fmr. Air Force pilot Russell Campell aboard a Marchetti SF260. 10 seconds of weightlessness into a 4G turn, Cuban 8 maneuver and more..she even gets to fly the plane! Read more about it here: h
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This computer animation shows how the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft wakes up from deep space hibernation on 20 January 2014. The spacecraft is headed for a 2014 rendezvous with the Comet 67P/Churyumov--Gerasimenko.
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The Hubble Space Telescope imaged a water vapor plume emanating from the Moon in Dec. 2012 observations. The artist impression uses actual Jupiter and Europa images with the size of the plume being accurate but the brightness is increased for effect.
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ISS Mission Operations Integration Manager Kenny Todd explains what happened with the station's cooling loop on Dec 12, 2013 and the efforts to fix the problem. The ISS crew is not in danger but an Orbital Science's cargo delivery may be delayed.