All posts by Our Planet

Watch: 12 Years Ago, New Horizons’ fantastic voyage began with a spectacular launch

Twelve years ago, on January 19, 2006, aboard an Atlas V rocket, NASA’s New Horizons probe started its fantastic voyage of exploration with a spectacular launch from the Florida coast toward Pluto and the mysterious realm of the Kuiper Belt beyond.
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NASA and NOAA Analyses Suggest That Long-term Global Warming Trend Continued in 2017

According to the analyses of NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) data, long-term global warming trend continued in 2017. According to NASA, Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since 1880. NOAA scientists concluded that 2017 was the third-warmest year in their record, in a separate, independent analysis. Both agencies’ records remain in strong agreement: our planet is still getting warmer rapidly. The minor difference in rankings is due to the different methods used by the two agencies to analyze global temperatures. Both analyses also show that the five warmest years on record all have taken place since 2010.
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Top 20 Countries having most number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (2018 update)

There are total of 1031 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world (as of June 2016 – 802 Cultural, 197 Natural and 32 Mixed). Here are the top 20 countries having most number of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
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The Earth is 18 Galactic Years Old

How old is the Earth? This question preoccupied first philosophers, then scientists, for many centuries. Today, we know that the age of the Earth is approximately 4.54 billion years, with an error range of about 50 million years (4.54 × 109 years ± 1%). This number is based on evidence from radiometric dating of the oldest-known terrestrial rocks as well as lunar rock samplesNotes 1 and meteorites.
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25th launch anniversary of TDRS-6 (Amazing Photos)

Today, to celebrate 25th launch anniversary of Tracking and Data Relay Satellite 6 (TDRS-6), the American communications satellite which launched by Space Shuttle Endeavour on January 13, 1993, NASA has published two amazing photos on its twitter account. The American space agency has tweeted that “Happy 25th launch anniversary to TDRS-6, launched on this day in 1993! TDRS-6 is still operational today, well past its intended design life“.
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Want faster data and a cleaner planet? Start mining asteroids

Philip Metzger is a physicist/planetary scientist who works on technologies for mining the Moon, Mars, and asteroids; for developing extraterrestrial spaceports; and for starting robotic industry in space. He took early retirement from NASA, where he co-founded the KSC Swamp Works. He is now with the planetary science faculty at the University of Central Florida.

1,200 words

Edited by Corey S Powell

Mining asteroids might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but there are companies and a few governments already working hard to make it real. This should not be surprising: compared with the breathtaking bridges that engineers build on Earth, asteroid-mining is a simple, small-scale operation requiring only modest technological advances. If anything is lacking, it is the imagination to see how plausible it has become. I am afraid only that it might not arrive soon enough to address the urgent resource challenges that the world is facing right now.
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Snow In Sahara, World’s Hottest Desert

On Sunday, January 07, 2018, the residents of Aïn Séfra, a small town in Algeria, experienced a rare phenomenon: snow in Sahara, world’s hottest desert. In the video below, published by the National Geographic, snow dusted the desert’s sandy dunes. With temperatures touching 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 °C), this white blanket stayed briefly through the morning before melting away. However, a few residents found the opportunity to enjoy some winter fun.
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John W. Young, the astronaut who flew 4 different spacecraft, has died

John W. Young, the legendary astronaut has died on January 5, 2018, aged 87. During his 42 years of active NASA service, Young flew in six space missions (with seven launches, counting his lunar liftoff), becoming the first astronaut to achieve that number. He was the only person to have piloted, and been commander of, four different classes of spacecraft: Gemini, the Apollo Command/Service Module, the Apollo Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle (he was the first astronaut to command the Space Shuttle). He was also the ninth person to walk on the Moon as Commander of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. Young was actually one of only three people to have flown to the Moon twice, others being Jim Lovell and Eugene Cernan.
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The Oldest Surviving Aerial Photo was Taken in 1860

On October 13, 1860, the early American photographer James Wallace Black (February 10, 1825 – January 5, 1896) climbed into a hot air balloon (named Queen of the Air) with his camera, and photographed Boston from a hot-air balloon at 1,200 feet (around 365 meters). He was not the first person to do it: two years ago, French photographer (ans also caricaturist, journalist, novelist, and “balloonist”) Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (6 April 1820 – 20 March 1910), known by the pseudonym Nadar, who photographed Victor Hugo on his death-bed in 1885, took photographs of Paris from a hot air balloon too. But the Frenchman’s photos were lost many years ago. On that day, Black took 8 plates of glass negative; 10 1/16 x 7 15/16 in, but only one good print resulted, which the photographer entitled “Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It”. Today, it remains the oldest surviving aerial photo.
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