Thursday, February 21, 2019

THIS IS A BIG DEAL - NASA FUNDED RESEARCH CREATES DNA-LIKE MOLECULE

Hey Space Placers!

Look at this:

Hachimoji DNA
This illustration shows the structure of a new synthetic DNA molecule, dubbed hachimoji DNA, which uses the four informational ingredients of regular DNA (green, red, blue, yellow) in addition to four new ones (cyan, pink, purple, orange).
Credits: Indiana University School of Medicine

Reading like something out of a science fiction novel, scientists have created a new synthetic DNA molecule. The discovery forces astrobiologists to consider what might constitute life beyond what we know it to be here on Earth. 

The research shows that there are other means to create a "double-helix structure that can store and transfer information".

This is just another example of how "life always finds a way"......my personal belief that life is probably teeming in our solar system and on other exoplanets. There are just too many exoplanets and stars and galaxies out there for us to be the only life form in it all. Until, and IF we discover an off Earth form of life we are it. All the more reason why our planet and ALL of its life forms are so precious.....

Sky Guy in VA


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE REACHES BEYOND THE MOON

Hey Space Placers!

Here's some big news about our home planet - our atmosphere stretches way out beyond the Moon's orbit!

Not to scale depiction of Earth's atmosphere
CREDIT: ESA
What also makes this a very interesting story is that the discovery was made reviewing observations made TWO decades ago by a Sun observing spacecraft!

Apollo 16 astronauts Shepard and Mitchell  photographed this region of the Earth's atmosphere called the Geocorona using the first telescope on the Moon. The picture was taken in ultraviolet light.

The Earth and its hydrogen envelope, or geocorona, as seen from the Moon. This ultraviolet picture was taken in 1972 with a camera operated by Apollo 16 astronauts on the Moon.
CREDIT: NASA

This really shows the power of going back over archived data to make new discoveries.

Pretty amazing.....

Sky Guy in VA

Monday, February 18, 2019

SKY GUY VIEWING ALERT!!! BIGGEST FULL MOON OF 2019 - 2/19/19

Hey Space Placers!

The biggest Full Moon of 2019 will occur on 2/18-19 2019. This will be the closest Full Moon to Earth for 2019 and it will also be a Supermoon.

Full Wolf Supermoon 2018
Greg Redfern
What this adds up to is a beautiful and bright Full Snow Moon on the nights of February 18 and 19. The Full Snow Moon will be brighter than usual and its larger size in the sky is harder to detect for most. The Full Snow Moon is so named as February finds much of North America covered with snow hence the name from our ancestors. Tides will also be larger due to the closeness of the Full Snow Moon.

If you have snow on the ground the Full Snow Moon will REALLY light up your landscape!

Enjoy the view.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, February 15, 2019

6 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT OPPY

Hey Space Placers!

A follow up to yesterday's (2/14/19) blog about Opportunity.

I chose this pic because it is a fitting pictorial to the road travelled by Oppy during her almost 15 years making 28 MILES of tracks in the Martian soil.

The Road Well Travelled on Mars by Opportunity
In this navigation camera raw image, NASA's Opportunity Rover looks back over its own tracks on Aug. 4, 2010
NASA/JPL
6 things you should know about Opportunity.

Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, February 14, 2019

THANKS, OPPPY

Hey Space Placers!

NASA made it official - Mars Rover Opportunity is dead. The Agency made one last attempt to make contact and there was no response. So, for a vehicle that was designed for 90 days operation in the harsh environment of Mars finishes an almost 15 YEAR run!



In the end Mars' great dust storm of 2018 robbed Oppy of solar power and the Rover joined its twin, Spirit, in becoming a permanent part of the martian landscape. But oh what a marvelous 28 miles of roving and discovery did Oppy provide us.

Thanks, Oppy......

Sky Guy in VA


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

ULITMA THULE SURPRISE

Hey Space Placers!

I'm back.

Big finding from New Horizons fly by of Ultima Thule - SURPRISE!!!   It's flat and not spherical.



Scientists' understanding of Ultima Thule has changed as they review additional data. The "old view" in this illustration is based on images taken within a day of New Horizons' closest approach to the Kuiper Belt object on Jan. 1, 2019, suggesting that both of "Ultima" (the larger section, or lobe) and "Thule" (the smaller) were nearly perfect spheres just barely touching each other. 

But as more data were analyzed, including several highly evocative crescent images taken nearly 10 minutes after closest approach, a "new view" of the object's shape emerged. Ultima more closely resembles a "pancake," and Thule a "dented walnut."

The bottom view is the team's current best shape model for Ultima Thule, but still carries some uncertainty as an entire region was essentially hidden from view, and not illuminated by the Sun, during the New Horizons flyby. The dashed blue lines span the uncertainty in that hemisphere, which shows that Ultima Thule could be either flatter than, or not as flat as, depicted in this figure. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute