Landing humans on Mars will be hard, but keeping them alive will be even harder. NASA scientists are on the verge of designing some of the most innovative rockets and training the astronauts who will pilot them.
Suppose you placed a camera at a fixed position, took a picture of the sky at the same time every day for an entire year, and overlaid all of the photos on top of each other. What would the sun look like in that combined image? A stationary dot? A circular path? Neither. Oddly enough, it makes a ‘figure 8’ pattern, known as the Sun’s analemma.
We strip apart black holes, one of the most feared objects in the universe, and tear off swirling galaxies of stars, planets, and cosmic dust layer by layer to explore the secrets of these hungry menaces lurking right on our cosmic doorstep.
This is the story of pioneering missions to neighboring planets and our first glimpses of their awe-inspiring terrains. From the giant lava plains of Venus to the volcanoes on Mars that dwarf Mount Everest, we journey around the rocky planets and then to the icy moons of Jupiter, Saturn and beyond.
Today Phil helps keep you from ticking off an astronomer in your life by making sure you know the difference between a meteor, meteorite, and meteoroid. When the Earth plows through the stream emitted by a comet we get a meteor shower. Meteors burn up about 100 km above the Earth, but some survive to hit the ground. Most of these meteorites are rocky, some are metallic, and a few are a mix of the two. Very big meteorites can be a very big problem, but there are plans in the works to prevent us from going the way of the dinosaurs.
In just half a century, the human population has doubled to 7.4 billion, and during that time, astronaut and satellite photos have been capturing the startling changes on our planet. See how humans have made their mark reshaping the planet in our quest for new sources of food, power, and shelter. From glimmering new megacities like Shenzhen, China to areas affected by climate change like Mt. Kilimanjaro and Florida, witness Earth's changing look--the spectacular and the shocking--from 250 miles up.
2017 • Astronomy