NASA's newly released video provides viewers with a flight over the surface of dwarf planet Ceres, based on images from the Dawn spacecraft. It shows Ceres in enhanced color, which helps to highlight subtle differences in the appearance of surface materials, as well as showcasing the most prominent craters, such as Occator, and the tall, conical mountain Ahuna Mons. Dawn is the first mission to visit Ceres, the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The spacecraft is currently in its final and lowest mapping orbit, at approximately 240-miles from the surface. Click here to view the first image in this week's funny internet trolls gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of droneboarding.
NASA's New Horizon spacecraft has spotted an anomaly on Pluto's surface, and while it may look like a snail, the research team claims it's just a dirty block of water ice. That's right, they say it's floating in denser solid nitrogen, which has been dragged to the edge of a convection cell. The images you see above, captured at the very center of Sputnik Planum, an icy plain that forms the left side of Pluto's 'heart' feature, were transmitted to Earth on Dec. 24. Continue reading for more up-close images and another video.
WR 124 (above) is a Wolf-Rayet star in the constellation of Sagitta surrounded by a ring nebula of expelled material known as M1-67. It is one of the fastest runaway stars in the galaxy with a radial velocity around 200 km/s, and was discovered by Paul W. Merrill in 1938, identified as a high velocity Wolf Rayet star. It's surrounded by an intensely hot nebula formed from the star's extreme stellar wind. The nebula M1-67 is expanding at a rate of over 150,000 km/h (100,000 mph) and is nearly 6 light-years across, leading to the dynamical age of 20,000 years. Continue reading for more amazing space photos that were captured this year.
Ever wonder just how much wind a human can withstand without any permanent damage? Well, NASA found out with this crazy wind blast test from 1946. To be more specific: "Test conducted in 1946 where a human subject was exposed to blasts of air. The test was performed at NASA Langley Research Center's 8 ft High Speed Tunnel." Continue reading for another NASA centrifuge gravity simulation test from the 1960s.
Are you a US citizen with a bachelor's degree in science, math or engineering? Then you might want to consider becoming a NASA astronaut for future missions to the red planet, and you could earn as much as $144,566 per year. "The next class of astronauts may fly on any of four different U.S. spacecraft during their careers: the International Space Station (ISS), two new commercial spacecraft being built by U.S. companies, and NASA's Orion deep-space exploration vehicle," said the job description. Apply here now. Click here to view the first image in this week's funny work pictures gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of a fire hose taking on a flamethrower.
Mars may be known as "The Red Planet", but it's so much more than that, as it's home to the tallest mountain in the solar system, as well as other beautiful sights, and these photos show why. This is the fourth planet from the Sun, and the last of the terrestrial planets. Similar to other planets in our solar system (besides Earth), Mars is named after a mythological figure - the Roman god of war - and thought to be the case due to the blood-red color of the planet, which was also used by other ancient cultures. Click here to view the first image in this week's funny Facebook status updates gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of milling machines devouring steel.
In one little known experiment, a NASA research group in 1995 repeated Swiss pharmacologist Peter N. Witt's 1948 experiments on the effect of caffeine, benzedrine, marijuana and chloral hydrate on European garden spiders. Their results were qualitatively similar to those of Witt, but the novelty was that the pattern of the spider web was quantitatively analyzed with modern statistical tools, and proposed as a sensitive method of drug detection. The drugs were administered by dissolving them in sugar water, and a drop of solution was touched to the spider's mouth. In some later studies, spiders were fed with drugged flies. Click here to view the first image in this week's demotivational posters gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of the world's simplest motor, which consists of several batteries.
Some researchers and conspiracy theorists believe that NASA is covering up the remains of an ancient civilization on Mars. Their latest finding was captured by Opportunity rover and described as a "man-made dome" that appears to have been built by intelligent beings, or so they'd like to think. There's reportedly glow or light in the middle of the dome, which is evidence that it may be reflecting sunlight. "What if we are looking at the ultimate evidence that proves the red planet was in fact inhabited in the distant past by beings that developed across the red planet just as humans developed across Earth? While it could be some sort of natural rock formation, that would need to be extremely strange, we cannot dismiss the fact that we could be looking at the remains of an alien structure on Mars," said website Unsilent Majority. Continue reading for a video of the supposed dome entrance and more information.
Here's another look at NASA's fascinating aerogel, which is currently the world's lightest solid (graphene version that is) with a composition of 99.8% air and 0.2% silica gel - it feels like fragile expanded polystyrene to the touch. Also known as "Blue Smoke", this material can withstand a 1-kilogram dynamite explosion and shield precious objects, such as the space shuttle, from a flame that exceeds 1400° C. Despite its weight, it can support over 1,000 times its own weight. Production of aerogels is done by the sol-gel process. First a gel is created in solution and then the liquid is carefully removed to leave the aerogel intact. Continue reading for three more videos and information.
Not a day passes without someone, researcher or an amateur astronomer, spotting something in NASA's archives. This time, it's an object that is flying too close to the sun to be human technology, thus making it an "alien spaceship," or so they'd like to believe. The images were captured by the space agency's specialist telescopic cameras used to monitor solar activity earlier this month. Continue reading for a video of more sun anomalies and information.