NASA’s 10 Greatest Science Missions - Deepstash

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NASA’s 10 Greatest Science Missions

NASA’s 10 Greatest Science Missions

https://www.space.com/6378-nasas-10-greatest-science-missions.html

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Pioneer

Pioneer

Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 were launched in 1972 and 1973. They were the first spacecraft to visit Jupiter and Saturn in a one-way voyage.

  • Pioneer 10 traveled through the solar system's asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
  • A year-and-a-half after it's launch, it made the first flyby of the planet Jupiter and took up-close photos of the Great Red Spot.
  • A year later, Pioneer 11 flew by Jupiter, then toward Saturn, where it discovered a couple of small moons around the planet and a new ring.

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Voyager

Voyager

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes followed after the Pioneers.

  • They made many important discoveries about Jupiter and Saturn.
  • Discoveries include rings around Jupiter and volcanism on Jupiter's moon.
  • Voyager made the first flybys of Uranus, where it discovered ten new moons.
  • It found that Neptune weighs less than first thought.
  • Both Voyager crafts can continue to transmit radio signals until at least 2025.
  • It is now exploring the edge of the solar system.

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WMAP

WMAP

The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) was launched in 2001 and measured the temperature of the radiation left over from the Big Bang.

  • The craft can map out the fluctuations in the presumed cosmic microwave background radiation.
  • The data from WMAP revealed a better estimate for the age of the universe.
  • It confirmed that about 95 percent of the universe is composed of dark matter and dark energy.

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Spitzer

Spitzer

The Spitzer Space Telescope observes the heavens through infrared light.

  • It takes stunning photos of galaxies, nebulae, and stars.
  • In 2005, Spitzer detected light from extrasolar planets.

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Spirit & Opportunity

Spirit & Opportunity

In 2004, these twin Mars Exploration Rovers landed on opposite sides of the planet and explored it for more than five years.

Among the major finds is evidence that the surface of Mars once had liquid water.

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Cassini-Huygens

Cassini-Huygens

NASA/ESA spacecraft was launched in 1997 and reached Saturn in 2004. Since then its been orbiting around the planet and taking photos of the planets' rings, moons, and weather.

The Huygens and Cassini probes separated. Huygens made a trip to the moon Titan and landed on solid ground in 2005. Cassini is the first to orbit Saturn and study the system in detail.

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Chandra

Chandra

The earth's atmosphere blocks out most X-rays and prevents astronomers from viewing the universe in X-ray light - a high-energy, short-wavelength light.

  • In 1999, the Chandra X-ray Observatory was sent up to space. It scans the skies in X-ray light and can see X-ray sources 100 times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.
  • Chandra showed scientists the first glimpse of Cassiopeia A, a supernova remnant.

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Viking

Viking

NASA's Viking 1 was the first man-made object that soft-landed on Mars in July 1976.

The Viking 1 lander is also the longest-running Mars surface mission, and sent the first color pictures back from the surface of Mars,

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Hubble

Hubble

The photos of the Hubble Space Telescope is recognized around the world. It has radically changed science.

NASA developed a tool that could reveal starts, planets, nebulae, and galaxies in detail.

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Apollo

Apollo

NASA's best space mission was the Apollo, taking humans along. The Apollo trips brought moonrocks home. The astronauts gathered data that helped us learn the likely age of the moon and what it's made of.

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Asteroids

Asteroids
  • Asteroids are rocks which revolve around the sun. They are usually too small to be considered as a planet since they can be as small as 2 meters but they can be as big as 94...

The formation of asteroids

Asteroids are what's left after the formation of our solar system from billions of years ago.

It is believed that the reason why they were formed were because of the birth of Jupiter. Its birth hindered any planetary bodies to form in the space between Mars and Jupiter, which resulted to the small objects that were present to crash onto each other and fragment themselves.

The two theories that back this up are the Nice model and the Grand Tack.

Categorizing asteroids

The different types of asteroids are:

  • Main belt asteroids - Lies in between Mars and Jupiter; holds more than 200 asteroids
  • Trojan asteroids - found outside the main belt; usually orbits larger planets
  • Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) - circles close to earth; there are three types of NEAs, Apollo, Aten, and Atira
  • The C-type - carbonaceous asteroids
  • The S-type - silicaceous asteroids
  • The M-type - metallic asteroids
  • The V-type - has a basaltic and volcanic crust

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Star Wars

Star Wars

The first movie of the blockbuster franchise, retroactively titled as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, exploded into the movie theatres in 1977. It became a global cultural phenomenon and gave bir...

The Story Set In Space

The Star Wars story is a classic Hero’s Journey, in which the protagonist, Luke Skywalker in a galaxy, far, far away, learns that he is able to harness a certain force. He eventually joins the rebellion against the Galactic Empire, and along with his allies, destroys the Death Star, uniting with his father, who had fallen on the dark side.

Sequels Prequels

The original story and its continuation in the two sequels released in the 80s had limited computer graphics technology, which eventually became better in the 90s. The Director, George Lucas, then released three ‘prequels’ which had better technology and visual effects, though the story wasn’t in the same league.

The northern lights, or aurora borealis

The northern lights, or aurora borealis

The magnetic fields of the sun distort and twist as the Earth rotates on its axis. When these fields become knotted together, they create sunspots. Usually, these sunspots occur in pairs.

A...

Auroras on other worlds

Auroras also occur on planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. These gas giants have thick atmospheres and strong magnetic fields. These auroras are a little different from Earth's as they are formed under different conditions.

Venus has an aurora generated by its magnetotail. Mars experiences local auroras due to magnetic fields in the crust. There are also northern hemisphere auroras caused by particles hitting the Maritan atmosphere.

Cycles and particles

Northern lights occur roughly every eleven years. Record-keeping of the sun's activity began in 1749. Since then, there have been 22 full cycles.

Particles ejected from the sun travel 93 million miles toward Earth before they are drawn toward the magnetic north and south poles. As the particles move through the Earth's magnetic shield, they mix with the oxygen, nitrogen, and other elements that result in the display of lights.