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Interesting facts about space.

Beneath The Icy Crust Of Enceladus. The research paper written by scientists with the Cassini mission, published in the journal Science, suggests the presence of hydrogen gas. Hydrogen gas, that could potentially provide a chemical energy source for life, is pouring into the subsurface ocean of Enceladus from hydrothermal activity on the seafloor of this bewitching, distant moon-world.



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Unfortunately, the various economic troubles which are plaguing Europe has caused ESA to spend less money than before, so many space programs in Europe has halted. However, both in China as well as in India, there are several ambitious programs present, which may cause any one of these nations to send another man to the moon in the next decade. Naturally, only time will tell; but nothing will change the fact that mankind's future is in the stars.



and finally

Some of these grads are aware that even if we could travel at warp 9 (Star Trek's imaginary multiplication of the speed of light) that it would take about one hundred thousand years to make the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy and upon return, the earth would be about 1.2 million years older than it is today. But why harp on the small stuff.

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However, it was little Enceladus that gave astronomers their greatest shock. Even though the existence of Enceladus has been known since it was discovered by William Herschel in 1789, its enchantingly weird character was not fully appreciated until this century. Indeed, until the Voyagers flew past it, little was known about the moon. However, Enceladus has always been considered one of the more interesting members of Saturn's abundantly moonstruck family, for a number of very good reasons. First of all, it is amazingly bright. The quantity of sunlight that an object in our Solar System reflects back is termed its albedo, and this is calculated primarily by the color of the object's ground coating. The albedo of the dazzling Enceladus is almost a mirror-like 100%. Basically, this means that the surface of the little moon is richly covered with ice crystals--and that these crystals are regularly and frequently replenished. When the Voyagers flew over Enceladus in the 1980s, they found that the object was indeed abundantly coated with glittering ice. It was also being constantly, frequently repaved. Immense basins and valleys were filled with pristine white, fresh snow. Craters were cut in half--one side of the crater remaining a visible cavity pockmarking the moon's surface, and the other side completely buried in the bright, white snow. Remarkably, Enceladus circles Saturn within its so-called E ring, which is the widest of the planet's numerous rings. Just behind the moon is a readily-observed bulge within that ring, that astronomers determined was the result of the sparkling emission emanating from icy volcanoes (cryovolcanoes) that follow Enceladus wherever it wanders around its parent planet. The cryovolanoes studding Enceladus are responsible for the frequent repaving of its surface. In 2008, Cassini confirmed that the cryovolanic stream was composed of ordinary water, laced with carbon dioxide, potassium salts, carbon monoxide, and a plethora of other organic materials. Tidal squeezing, caused by Saturn and the nearby sister moons Dione and Tethys, keep the interior of Enceladus pleasantly warm, and its water in a liquid state--thus allowing the cryovolcanoes to keep spewing out their watery eruptions. The most enticing mystery, of course, is determining exactly how much water Enceladus holds. Is there merely a lake-sized body of water, or a sea, or a global ocean? The more water there is, the more it will circulate and churn--and the more Enceladus quivers and shakes, the more likely it is that it can brew up a bit of life.



Most of the moons of our Sun's family circle the quartet of large gaseous planets located in our Solar System's outer limits: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The four solid inner planets--Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars--are almost entirely moonless. Earth is the only inner planet that hosts a large Moon, while Mars sports only a pathetic duo of misshapen little Moons (Phobos and Deimos), that are either captured asteroids that escaped from the Main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, or are instead the outcome of a primordial collision between Mars and a large protoplanet.



The most widely accepted scenario, explaining our Moon's mysterious and ancient birth, is termed the Giant Impact Theory. According to this theory, Earth's Moon was born as the result of a gigantic collision between our still-forming planet and a primordial Mars-sized protoplanet that has been named Theia. The tragedy that was the doomed Theia probably had an orbit that crossed Earth's--making such a catastrophic collision difficult to avoid. It is thought that the impacting Theia hit our planet hard, but swiped it with a glancing blow at precisely the right angle. In fact, Theia came very close to bouncing off Earth, but was swallowed instead. The blast dispatched shock waves across our ancient planet, hurling debris and gas screaming into space. For a short time, Earth had a ring around it that was composed of this ejected material.