Space

Asteroid AG3 missed the Earth by more than three million miles (4.9 million km), 12.86 times the distance from Earth to the moon, which may be considered a narrow miss on the cosmic scale, especially given the speed of space rocks. A giant asteroid dubbed Asteroid 2019 AG3, a massive space rock, flew past Earth on Monday (Jan 14, 2019), in the early hours of the morning (GMT), according to NASA.

What will happen to our galaxy in the future? Astronomers actually have a relatively detailed picture of what may happen to the Milky Way, through scientific and mathematical models of this galaxy. This data indicates, for example, that our galaxy will collide with its near neighbor, the Andromeda, at some point. However, this is not thought to be likely to occur for about eight billion years, by which time humanity may or may not even exist.

At one point in history, every form of popular media about spaceships portrayed them as shiny, silver saucers or rockets that gleamed as they took off or landed! More time and practical experience with space flight have distanced humanity from this type of imagery. We came to learn that high-tech carbon-fiber and other similar compounds were more likely to survive blasting into space.

A few days ago, NASA presented footage of its craft, New Horizons, as it completed a fly-by of a specific object in the Kuiper Belt. This mission was a success as the vessel was able to capture images and data on its target a certain amount of accuracy.

According to reports coming from the Chinese aeronautical authority, CNS, human exploration has pushed another frontier for the first time. This undiscovered country is the ‘far side’ of the moon, which is normally never seen by anyone but is thought of as containing pristine insights into life in the early days of the solar system that are not found on Earth.

One day in the far-flung future, a child may turn to their caregiver and ask, ‘Where did the ringed planet go?’ Admittedly, this is with the presumption that the solar system, as it is now, as well as the human race, are still around! These questions could arise because scientists have found that Saturn’s hallmark rings will be gone in 300 million years.

The solar system in which we live is bordered by a ‘ring’ of cosmic detritus known as the Kuiper Belt. Therefore, the objects found within this belt are the coldest in the system, since they are located at the farthest possible distance away from the sun.

The last few missions to bring new crew members to the International Space Station (ISS) have been unusually eventful, even for launches into space. Firstly, the personnel experienced a jarring vessel failure. This event quickly became the subject of intrigue and speculation, even though the crew members were able to resolve it themselves. Those astronauts and cosmonauts made it safely to the ISS.

There’s a new dwarf planet in our solar system, and it’s the most distant one scientists have ever discovered. This tiny world, formally known as 2018 VG18, but nicknamed Farout, is about 18 billion kilometers away, roughly 3.5 times the distance to Pluto from Earth. The pink cosmic body was nicknamed after its discoverer’s exclamation!

The flight was the first launch of a spacecraft, from the United States soil with humans on board, to reach the edge of space (50 miles high). The test flight was also the first time Richard Branson's space tourism startup has gone more than 50 miles above the Earth. This launch earned both the pilots commercial astronaut wings from the US government and put Virgin Galactic on track to become the first private company in the world to take paying customers to space. The launch has huge implications for a growing industry aiming to fly civilians on a regular basis.

While August’s Perseid meteor shower was said to be the best of the year, the Geminid shower also promises to be a worthy spectacle - definitely, worth stepping out for, on a cold December night!

One of the most interesting space studies, after the 2015-detection of gravitational waves from collisions with a black hole, was titled "Limits on Stellar-Mass Compact Objects as Dark Matter from Gravitational Lensing of Type Ia Supernovae," and it was published in the Physical Review Letters journal.

Remember Cygnus, the galaxy active enough to clearly send signals from an engulfment event on the part of its central black hole to Earth recently? Well, it is back on the scientific stage this week, as researchers publish their findings on yet another highly unique body found in Cygnus.

NASA and Russian space agency officials are breathing easier following the successful launch of three astronauts on a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan. NASA's Anne McClain, Canada's David Saint-Jacques, and Russia's Oleg Kononenko blasted off from Baikonur at 17:31 local time (11:31 UTC, 6:31 EST), on December 3rd, 2018, kicking off a 6-hour, 4-orbit journey to the International Space Station.

Despite Ulysses’ insights, a focus on low solar latitudes has left the sun’s poles relatively unexplored. Certain scientists got creative in piecing together pictures of the sun’s polar regions. This image extrapolated low-latitude PROBA2 observations of the sun to reconstruct a view of the star’s pole.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) mission support center was a hive of activity and nerves, a few days ago, as the InSight team monitored the fate of the craft this project had revolved around for years.

The InSight mission is a NASA project with the goal of setting a robotic spacecraft on the surface of Mars to collect in-depth, detailed data on the red planet. InSight will deploy a range of powerful, precise seismological instruments that may give a better idea of the makeup of Mars from core to surface. At least, that is the plan should the InSight robot touch down and land successfully. The event is scheduled for 26th November 2018, at 3 pm ET/12 pm PT.

A new possible planet around Barnard’s star has been discovered - a cold super-Earth with a minimum mass of 3.2 times that of Earth, orbiting near its snow line (the minimum distance from the star at which volatile compounds could condense). Apart from the Alpha Centauri system, which consists of three stars and is around 4.3 light years away from us, Barnard’s star is the next nearest star at 6 light years away.

A team of researchers from the University of Zaragoza, King's College London and the Institute of Astronomy in the UK, led by Ciaran O'Hare, found a collection of stars that were all moving in the same direction. They called this the S1 stream, and these stars are believed to be the remnants of a dwarf galaxy that was swallowed by the Milky Way, billions of years ago.

You may or may not have read the news about the asteroids that flew extremely close to the Earth over the last few days (November 9-10, 2018). These bodies were believed to be as big as houses, and therefore, there was a compelling reason to worry that they may encroach on our atmosphere or something similar. However, most of these scary super-close space missiles are not capable of harming us at all.

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