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What is a Terrestrial Planet?

The terrestrial planets of our Solar System at approximately relative sizes. From left, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Credit: Lunar and Planetary Institute

The terrestrial planets of our Solar System at approximately relative sizes. From left, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Credit: Lunar and Planetary Institute

In studying our Solar System over the course of many centuries, astronomers learned a great deal about the types of planets that exist in our universe. This knowledge has since expanded thanks to the discovery of extrasolar planets, many of which are similar to what we have observed here at home.

For example, while hundreds of gas giants of varying size have been detected (which are easier to detect because of their size), numerous planets have also been spotted that are similar to Earth – aka. “Earth-like”. These are what is known as terrestrial planets, a designation which says a lot about a planet how it came to be.

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo spaceship dazzled in the moments after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on June 28, 2015 but were soon doomed to a sudden catastrophic destruction barely two minutes later in the inset photo (left).  Composite image includes up close launch photo taken from pad camera set at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral and mid-air explosion photo taken from the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida as rocket was streaking to the International Space Station (ISS) on CRS-7 cargo resupply mission.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo spaceship dazzled in the moments after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on June 28, 2015 but were soon doomed to a sudden catastrophic destruction barely two minutes later in the inset photo (left). Composite image includes up close launch photo taken from pad camera set at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral and mid-air explosion photo taken from the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida as rocket was streaking to the International Space Station (ISS) on CRS-7 cargo resupply mission. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com
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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – In the span of mere moments, euphoria at the dawn of a dazzling Dragon liftoff atop a commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying critical science, supplies and docking components for NASA’s upcoming crewed spaceships to the International Space Station (ISS), turned to doom and gloom as the Dragon cargo ship disintegrated in mid-air, to the shock of everyone watching under sun drenched skies along the Florida space coast on Sunday, June 28.

By all accounts from NASA and SpaceX and based on new up close imagery from media including myself, the cargo flight on the CRS-7 cargo resupply mission to the ISS began [click to continue…]

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Astronomy Cast Ep. 383: Approaches to Absolute Zero

The coldest possible theoretical temperature is Absolute Zero, this is the point at which no further energy can be extracted from a system. How are physicists working to get as close as possible to this extreme cold?
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Carnival of Space #412

Carnival of Space. Image by Jason Major.

Carnival of Space. Image by Jason Major.

This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Zain Husain at the Brownspaceman.com blog.

Click here to read Carnival of Space #412.
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Pluto nearing the ‘Sagittarius Spoon’ asterism in 2014. Image credit and copyright: John Chumack

Are you ready for July? The big ticket space event of the year is coming right up, as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is set to make its historic flyby targeting a pass 12,500 kilometres (7,750 miles) from the surface of Pluto at 11:50 UT on July 14th. Already, Pluto and its moons are growing sharper by the day, as New Horizons closes in on Pluto at over 14 kilometres per second. [click to continue…]

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Pluto with its enigmatic "crater" photographed on June 27. The apparent row of three depressions near the bottom of the globe are most likely artifacts from processing. Credit:

Pluto with its enigmatic “crater” photographed on June 27. The apparent row of three depressions near the bottom of the globe are most likely artifacts from processing. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

You’re probably as eager as I am for new images of Pluto and Ceres as both New Horizons and Dawn push ever closer to their respective little worlds. Recent photos, of which there are only a few, reveal some wild new features including what appears to a large crater on Pluto. [click to continue…]

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Who Were the First Men on the Moon?

Bootprint in the moon dust from Apollo 11.  Credit: NASA

Photograph of a bootprint in the moon regolith left by the crew of Apollo 11. Credit: NASA

On July 20th, 1969, history was made when men walked on the Moon for the very first time. The result of almost a decade’s worth of preparation, billion of dollars of investment, strenuous technical development and endless training, the Moon Landing was the high point of the Space Age and the single greatest accomplishment ever made.

Because they were the first men to walk on the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin are forever written in history. And since that time, only ten men have had the honor of following in their footsteps. But with plans to return to the Moon, a new generation of lunar explorers is sure to be coming soon. So just who were these twelve men who walked on the Moon?

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SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon resupply spaceship explode about 2 minutes after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 28, 2015. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon resupply spaceship explode about 2 minutes after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 28, 2015. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com
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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – The root cause of Sundays (June 28) devastating launch failure of the commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is “still unknown” says SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk, following the loss of the NASA contracted resupply mission carrying crucial gear and research experiments to the crew serving aboard the Earth orbiting International Space Station (ISS).

Meanwhile, search and recovery teams from SpaceX and the Coast Guard are scouring the ocean and beaches along the Florida Space Coast for any signs of potentially dangerous Falcon rocket debris that rained down from the sky into the Atlantic Ocean after the sudden explosion unexpectedly destroyed the vehicle barely two minutes after [click to continue…]

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What is the Habitable Zone?

GuideToSpace192

Watch this video over at our Patreon page HERE!

We’ve found hundreds of exoplanets in the galaxy. But only a few of them have just the right combination of factors to hold life like Earth’s.
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Venus and Jupiter Meet At Last

Venus and Jupiter at dusk over Australia's Outback on June 27, 2015.  Credit: Joseph Brimacombe

Venus and Jupiter over Australia’s Outback at dusk on June 27, 2015. Tonight (June 29) the duo will be just 36 arc minutes apart or a little more than one Full Moon diameter. Tomorrow they’ll be even closer. Credit: Joseph Brimacombe

The year’s finest conjunction is upon us. Chances are you’ve been watching Venus and Jupiter at dusk for some time.

Like two lovers in a long courtship, they’ve been slowly approaching one another for the past several months and will finally reach their minimum separation of  just over 1/4° (half a Full Moon diameter) Tuesday evening June 30. [click to continue…]

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