This week has been a remarkable time for astronomy after NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reached Pluto.
The spacecraft traveled 3 billion miles in order to capture high-definition photos of the former last planet in our solar system and its moons. These photos provided new insights into the mysterious Pluto that NASA scientists have long wondered about.
According to Alan Stern, principal investigator for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, “the steep topography means that the bedrock that makes those mountains must be made of H2O — of water ice,” said Stern. “We can be very sure that the water is there in great abundance.”
The photos also revealed that the dwarf planet did not have any craters even though it is in close proximity to the Kuiper Belt. This belt has many icy bodies that could have crashed into Pluto at some time or another.
“That lack of craters means the surface of Pluto is young, less than 100 million years old, the researchers said. That’s a small fraction of the age of the solar system — 4.5 billion years, ” reports Amanda Barnett for CNN.
As New Horizons flew by Pluto, it also captured images of Charon (Pluto’s largest moon) and four other smaller ones. The spacecraft is estimated to have about 20 years of power left, so there is more information to come.
Amazingly, the information gathered from the Pluto flyby will take 16 months to download by NASA.
Saturn’s largest moon has hydrocarbon lakes that could support life. Out of all the celestial bodies in our solar system, Titan has a makeup that could give potential alien life a chance at existence.
Europa is one of Jupiter’s many moons and has enough water to support life. Underneath an icy surface is an extreme cold reservoir of water that may contain a variety of bacteria. As of this year, the Obama administration has provided $15 million in funding for an expedition to the moon. There is also a probe called the Europa Clipper in the works.
Becoming an astronomer is a very long and arduous process. One must earn a doctorate degree and pay a lot of dues. Astronomers study the stars, planets, celestial bodies and how space operates as a whole. They monitor satellites and observe the night sky. Astronomy makes use of mathematics, chemistry, quantum mechanics and other science disciplines.
Digital Game Developer
Salary: Up to $200,000
These software developers spend long hours looking at a computer screen. They must know 3-D animation, math, science and computer science to have a career like this. They must also love long hours and video games.
Evolution does not cause something to go from “lower” to a “higher” stage of development. In many cases, organisms can evolve without any major improvements. Some examples of this are fungi, sharks, crayfish and mosses. These organisms have all remained virtually the same over a great period of time.
The Hottest Planet in Our Solar System
Even though Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, Venus is really the hottest. The surface temperature of Venus is so hot it can melt lead. The temperature at the surface is 740 K (467 degrees Celsius or 872 degrees Fahrenheit).