After providing the world with spectacular close-up images of Pluto and its icy moons in the summer of 2015, NASA’s New Horizons is zipping off into uncharted territory a billion miles away. On January 1, 2019, the spacecraft will fly past the most remote world ever explored by mankind. Dubbed (486958) 2014 MU69, the small frozen object that lies in the Kuiper Belt may help scientists reveal the origins of our solar system. To mark this historic event, the US Space Agency is asking the public to help find a nickname that is easier to remember than the elaborated moniker assigned by researchers.
Kids News - Space Articles
Many kids dream of venturing into space to search for new planets or to conduct cutting-edge research on the International Space Station (ISS). In August 2017, twelve eager men and women came one step closer to realizing their lifelong ambition, when they reported to the Johnson Space Center in Houston to begin two years of grueling training. If they succeed, they will be NASA’s biggest graduating class of astronauts since 2000.
Earlier this month, millions of Americans were treated to a rare spectacle: a total solar eclipse that was visible from coast-to-coast. While Florence, a massive asteroid that will zip past our planet on September 1, will not overshadow the stunning event, it will make history of its own. According to Paul Chodas at the Center for Near Earth Object (NEO) Studies, the space rock is the largest to pass this close to our planet since the first near-Earth asteroid was discovered over a century ago.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which promotes and safeguards the science of astronomy, passed a resolution that classified all celestial bodies, (except satellites) in our solar system into three distinct categories – planets, dwarf planets, and small Solar System Bodies. To qualify as a planet, the body had to orbit around the sun, have sufficient mass for its self-gravity to pull it into a round shape, and have cleared the neighborhood around its orbit. Since Pluto did not meet the third criterion, it was downgraded to a dwarf planet.
About forty light years, or 235 trillion miles, away in the constellation Aquarius lies a planetary system with seven Earth-sized planets, at least three of which could be habitable. The exciting news was revealed to the public at a NASA press briefing and through the release of a study in the journal Nature on February 22.
In January 2016, Professor Mike Brown, the California Institute of Technology researcher who demoted Pluto to dwarf status, reported that he and some colleagues had discovered evidence of a ninth planet in our solar system. Dubbed Planet X, the gaseous giant believed to be two to three times the size of Earth, purportedly has a highly elliptical orbit and takes over 20,000 earth years to revolve around the sun. Though exciting, the find was based on computer simulations, which means that no one has ever seen this mysterious planet.
To get into the spirit of last night’s NFL Championship game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) also decided to play “ball.” In a video released by NASA, Tim Kopra is seen gently tossing a football down the length of the ISS. By the time it got to the end, the ball had covered an astounding 564,664-yards or the distance of 5,646.64 football fields!
NASA’s Near Earth Object (NEO) Observations Program has discovered and cataloged over 15,000 Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) since they began scouring the skies in 1998. However, every now and again, one manages to escape their powerful telescopes and keen eyes. This was certainly the case with asteroid 2017 BS32, which was discovered on January 30 just three days before its close encounter with Earth.