The Universe normally does an overview of ‘space news’ each month. But after the events of last week, we thought it would be a good idea to re-cap!
This is a selection of breaking news stories, all covered by The Universe, from February 11-17, 2013.
Meteor explodes over Russia – Image: AP (Nasha Gazeta Newspaper http://www.ng.kz/AP)
More Information: http://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=475602839171560&set=a.433415610056950.106382.334816523250193&type=1&theater
2012 DA14 Flyby – Image: Dave Herald, Murrumbateman, Australia
More Information: http://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=475124325886078&set=a.433415610056950.106382.334816523250193&type=1&relevant_count=1
Landsat Data Continuity Mission Launch –
Image: United Launch Alliance
More Information: http://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=473579899373854&set=a.371203752944803.89148.334816523250193&type=1&relevant_count=1
Hubble Images Interacting Galaxies:
Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA
More Information: http://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=476314879100356&set=a.455520841179760.110988.334816523250193&type=1&relevant_count=1
Image: Peter Ward, Barden Ridge Observatory
Gold nugget forming bacteria: http://bit.ly/14C1QIK
Bionic eye: http://bit.ly/WTitKo
Sea urchins: http://bit.ly/WbLZNl
Mammal ancestor: http://bbc.in/YZKkie
Stem cells: http://bit.ly/Y3s94C
Earth like planets: http://hvrd.me/12iA29h
via I fucking love science .
About Orbital Objects
The skies above Earth are teeming with manmade objects large and small. The U.S. Space Surveillance Network uses radar to track more than 13,000 such items that are larger than four inches (ten centimeters). This celestial clutter includes everything from the International Space Station (ISS) and the Hubble Space Telescope to defunct satellites, rocket stages, or nuts and bolts left behind by astronauts. And there are millions of smaller, harder-to-track objects such as flecks of paint and bits of plastic.
Gravitational pull will ensure that anything we’ve ever put in orbit will eventually make its way back to Earth. And though thus far no one has ever been killed by reentering space debris, NASA estimates on average one piece returns to Earth each day.
NASA and other national space agencies have identified orbital debris as a serious problem and are currently devising plans to mitigate existing space junk and curb future debris.
- Let’s Destroy Space Junk! By Putting Tons of Metal Dust into Orbit? (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- Simulations Will Help Keep Track of Remote Space Junk (wired.com)
- Space Junk: Ideas for Cleaning up Earth Orbit (universetoday.com)
- Space Junk Hazards Force International Response (space.com)
The week before, two friends of mine got into an argument. Brandon, excited for the landing, brought it up to Sam, who was decidedly not: “Pretty cool, but I wish they spent that money forgiving my student loans.” His law school debt was, in a different sense, astronomical.
Brandon bit back. “No offense, but I think that space exploration trumps having another blood sucking lawyer around.”
Sam didn’t flinch. “What’s the benefit? What have we gained from Mars or the moon? Why not spend the cash on other research–infectious diseases perhaps? Government has limited resources; If it spends money, the results must benefit the populace.”
Brandon was having a hard time articulating his point. “The benefit is exploring,” he said. “It’s to gain as much understanding of the universe.”
Sam was unconvinced. “That’s open-ended,” he said. “Exploring for shits and giggles should be left to the private sector. There’s got to be a benefit, otherwise the government should be spending the money on more pressing things.”
This argument occurs, year after year, at dinner parties and in Congress alike. Every time, someone asks the question: why are we paying for NASA? Why did we send Curiosity, at such enormous cost, when we’ve already sent three rovers? Why do we continue to spend billions on rovers and space telescopes and shuttles and space stations when there’s so much to fix here on earth? Just, why?