We meager humans are now capable of travelling great distances or viewing a great many things once considered out of reach. From the deepest regions of space, to landing rovers on Mars, the brilliant machines we’ve created only continue to get faster, better, and more thorough. Thanks to these advances, we’re able to spot a good many details of our galaxy that have gone previously unnoticed or unexplored, and we’ve collected some of our favorite recent space exploration news for your perusal.
As another example of the way we’ve improved machines, the plane featured in the above video can interpret 5,000 data samples per second in order to maximize its efficiency. That’s 300,000 points of data a minute, and 18,000,000 an hour. That’s a somewhat staggering amount of information to sort through just to ensure the best flight possible, and it’s all thanks to our continuing effort as a species to move forward.
No. 1 | Kepler-47 Discovery
"Turns out that what we thought we understood about planetary formation may have just been thrown out by NASA‘s discovery of Kepler-47, the first circumbinary planetary system ever discovered. The current theories on planetary formation in a system with two stars would make this an exceedingly rare occurrence, which means we may not yet fully understand exactly how planets come to exist in the vast reaches of space." - NASA Discovers Kepler-47, First System With Two Planets Orbiting Two Stars
No. 2 | Planck Telescope Spots Gas Bridge
"The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Planck Space Telescope has laid it’s super-powerful eye in the sky on a never before seen cosmic phenomenon. The photo above is Planck’s first image of a pair of galaxy clusters connected by a cloud of superheated gasses that spans a mind-boggling distance of 10 million lightyears. No word yet on if this actually represents the Asgardian Rainbow Bridge of Thor fame, so in the absence of good evidence, we’re just going to really, really hope so." - Planck Telescope Spots Galaxy Clusters Connected By Cosmic Gas Bridge, Still Unclear Which One Houses Asgard
No. 3 | NASA Fixates on Shiny Thing Found by Curiosity Rover
"One might think that NASA would be excited to examine the first scoop of soil that they’ve retrieved using the Curiosity rover that spectacularly landed itself on Mars not that long ago. Instead, NASA’s next focus appears to be on the partially-visible shiny object in the foreground of the above image. Even NASA themselves admit that it might just be a bit of rover hardware, but they’re going to give it a thorough examination anyway." - NASA’s Curiosity Rover Takes First Scoop of Soil, Fixates on Shiny Thing Instead
No. 4 | Hubble Finds New Most Distant Object
"The universe is crazy big, everybody. How big? So big that the Hubble Telescope just found a new candidate for the title of Most Distant Object in the Universe. That object is MACS0647-JD, a galaxy far, far away. It’s so far away from us, in fact, that we can’t even measure the distance in lightyears. Instead, we have to measure it in redshift, and this galaxy’s redshift goes all the way up to 11." - Hubble Finds New Most Distant Object, Reminds Us the Universe is Still Enormous
No. 5 | Saturn's Polar Vortex
"This is a composite image taken by NASA’s Cassini probe of the enormous, swirling storm that dominates Saturn’s north pole earlier this week. We've seen images of the storm, before, but never gotten this much detail on it and…man, just wow. Keep reading for an even bigger image of the monster cyclone, which is estimated to measure up to 4,000 kilometers across. That’s about 2,500 miles, meaning that the vortex you’re looking at would span the distance between New York City and Los Angeles." - New Images Of Saturn’s Polar Vortex Are Thoroughly Ridiculous
No. 6 | NASA Telescope Proposals
"Back in June, it was revealed that the National Reconnaissance Office would be gifting NASA with two high-end secret space telescopes. Why an intelligence agency would just unload two expensive telescopes like that remains a mystery, but NASA’s perfectly happy to take their leftovers considering the budget they operate under. The agency’s now accepting proposals from the community on what to do with their newfound plethora of scopes. Please, nobody suggest a thorough study of Uranus." - NASA Now Accepting Proposals on What to Do With Their Spiffy New Telescopes
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