10 space sensations of the past year

The planet Kepler 16b two suns.

International experts ranked the events in space over the past year

1. Mars rover "Curiosity" went to the Red Planet to look for life

New-generation nuclear-powered was launched November 26, 2011 from Cape Canaveral. He is a self-contained chemical laboratory and several times larger and heavier than his earlier predecessors — the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. According to the calculations to get to Mars in August 2012 and to land in Gale crater with a diameter of 150 kilometers. The value of this crater lies in the fact that inside there is a mound of sediment height of about five kilometers. These rocks are believed to have been brought here one of the rivers that once flowed on the surface of Mars. According to researchers, the region is a promising place to look for signs of life. For one Martian year, or 686 Earth days, "Curiosity" must find at least protozoa and prepare to land a man on Mars.

2. In meteorites stored extraterrestrial "blocks of life"

No one knows how the first organisms or organic matter first appeared on Earth. But the most popular theory is that they are likely to have been thrown out of space. And now, this conjecture was confirmed.

A few meteorites in Antarctica discovered two of the four units of "building blocks of life" — the so-called DNA molecule, which built the genetic program of all living organisms. And these "building blocks" — adenine and guanine — extraterrestrial origin.

3. Discovered a planet with two suns, as in the TV series "Star Wars"

Planet Kepler 16b surprised scientists that orbits two stars like our sun. Exactly as depicted in the legendary directors series "Star Wars."

Recall that the fantastic planet Tatooine, where sunset and sunrise occur twice, was the birthplace of the hero Luke Skywalker saga. But on a real planet Kepler 16b life would be impossible, it is very loose. Half consists of gas and a half stone. And despite a few suns, her cold: The surface temperature of almost -100 ° C. In the piece of ice planet evolved because the lights are small and far away.

4. Figures from the designer "Lego" sent as a gift "residents" of Jupiter

August 5 American interplanetary station "Juno" (Juno) was launched to Jupiter.

The device — a gift of the aliens. On board the station, scientists placed three figures made from the designer "Lego": the gods of ancient Rome — Jupiter and Juno, as well as a miniature of Galileo Galilei, who discovered the way, the four largest moon of the gas giant. In the hands of god Jupiter — Lightning, Juno — magnifying glass as a symbol of the search for truth. A Galileo Jupiter holds globe and telescope. Figures serve as a message. Maybe "residents" of Jupiter, if there are, interested in our probe to look inside, see human crafts and want to make friends with us?

The answer to this question, we will know in five years — just enough to fly "Juno." Finish set for July 2016.

5. Found a huge diamond the size of a planet

It seems incredible, but scientists have discovered a planet-diamond — 10 carats quintillion.

According to scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the carbon inside the planet under tremendous pressure crystallized, so the planet and has become a jewel. It is located not far from the Earth — just thousands of light years. So someday people to cosmic diamond surely will get. The flight's worth: it diameter "crystal" — 55 thousand kilometers. And there will be breathing this: instead of the usual for such planets of hydrogen and helium in the atmosphere of a planet dominated by oxygen.

6. The closest planet to the Sun — Mercury — photographed probe "Messenger"

For the first time in the history of astronomy to the orbit of Mercury probe NASA released "The Messenger" (Messenger). Scientists have long waited for this event — from 1974, when the first probe Mariner 10 flew several times around this tiny planet, located directly under the hot side of the Sun. The current made the journey of nearly eight billion kilometers since the launch in 2004.

Already made almost a complete map of the planet's surface. And made a discovery. It turned out that after a powerful asteroid impact Mercury changed its orbit. According to the rules of celestial mechanics he had to rotate around its axis and around the sun simultaneously and be turned to one side of the luminary. Today, however, for two turns around the sun planet has three turns on its axis. And to substitute the sun all sides.

7. In space, there was a huge cloud of water

Scientists have found around the quasar APM 08279 5255 cloud water mass in 140 trillion masses of the World Ocean. It is the largest and most distant known source of water in the universe. Moreover, as found in astrophysics, cosmic "ocean" almost disappeared. There was a danger that it will absorb a huge black hole, which is 20 billion times the mass of our Sun.

8. Asteroid Vesta was in the care of the probe "Dawn"

Probe NASA "Dawn" (Dawn) in July 2011, close to the goal of his mission — the asteroid Vesta. It is the second-largest asteroid in the group of blocks, rotating between Mars and Jupiter. Its diameter — 530 kilometers. Now the "Dawn" was an artificial satellite of Vesta. And passes interesting pictures. For example, he recently discovered a mountain peak height of 20 km. I saw a huge crater 458 km in diameter and a depth of 12 km. West's interest to scientists because it is considered a protoplanet that is the object that failed to emerge from the "germ" of "adult" planet. So, watching the asteroid, you can see how the Earth looked like in the early days of his birth.

Mission at Vesta to be completed in July 2012. After that, "Dawn" rush to the dwarf planet Ceres.

9. Earth twins found

Orbiting telescope 'Kepler' discovered two planets around sunlike stars. One with a diameter of about Venus, and the second is almost exactly the size of Earth. However, for the life of these two objects are not suitable: too close to its star. So that the temperature on the surface of the planet reaches 760 and 427 degrees Celsius. Terribly hot. And the Kepler 20e never stopped numerous volcanic eruptions.

— The present discovery demonstrates for the first time Earth-like planets, and proves that we are now able to catch objects such — said the discovery is one of the authors, Francois Fress of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. — Now our challenge — to find an identical twin of the planet. And creatures like us.

10. U.S. space shuttle era ended

Ended a 30-year program of the U.S. space shuttle flights. After 135 flights last shuttle "Atlantis" landed at Cape Canaveral in July 2011. Shuttles will now museum pieces.

In the future, expect the U.S. to abandon services in Russia and send space missions to private space companies. It is assumed that the new aircraft will be in the U.S. in 2016.

BTW

And one failure

At the December conference "High Energy Astrophysics today and tomorrow," general director and general designer of NPO Lavochkin Victor Hart acknowledged the failure of the mission "Phobos-Grunt". Stuck in Earth orbit interplanetary probe ever gets on the Martian moon Phobos. As predicted by the U.S. Strategic Command, the unit will fall to Earth near Mirabad on the night of January 14. True, the Americans warn that this preliminary information that may be adjusted in the coming days.

Source: kp.ua

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