PlanetJon

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Welcome to PlanetJon

PlanetJon was originally established in 1999 and provided free multiplayer gaming servers and other video game related services. Now though, after those games faded away and spare time became limited, the website is devoted to my interest in all things space related - the planets, solar activity, the exploration of planet Mars, the solar system and beyond - and provides a collection of news and information from around the web.

Somewhere out there, in another galaxy, far, far, away, is a planet called Jon.

  • Scientists Urge Europe to Stick With “Armageddon”-style Asteroid Mission

    22 Sep 2017 | 3:06 pm

    Scientists Urge Europe to Stick With “Armageddon”-style Asteroid Mission For decades, scientists have known that in near-Earth space there are thousands of comets and asteroids that periodically cross Earth’s orbit. These Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) are routinely tracked by NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) to make sure that none pose a risk of collision with our planet. Various programs and missions have also been proposed to divert or destroy any asteroids that might pass too closely to Earth in the future. One such mission is the Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA), a collaborative effort between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). Recently, the ESA announced that it would be withdrawing from this mission due to budget constraints. But this past Wednesday (Sept. 20th), during the European Planetary Science Conference in Riga, a group of international scientists urged them to reconsider. In addition to NASA and the ESA, AIDA was designed with assistance from the Observatoire de la Côte d´Azur (OCA), and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL). To test possible asteroid deflection techniques, the mission intends to send a spacecraft to crash into the tiny moon of the distant asteroid named Didymos (nicknamed “Didymoon”) by 2022 to alter its trajectory. This mission would be a first for scientists, and would test the capabilities of space agencies to divert rocks away from Earth’s orbit. NASA’s contribution to this mission is known as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the spacecraft which would be responsible for crashing into Didymoon. Plans for this spacecraft recently entered[…]

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  • NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sampler Slingshots Around Earth Friday, Sept. 22 – Catch It If You Can!

    21 Sep 2017 | 10:01 pm

    NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sampler Slingshots Around Earth Friday, Sept. 22 – Catch It If You Can! KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Barely a year after NASA’s OSIRIS-REx robotic asteroid sampler launched on a trailblazing mission to snatch a soil sample from a pristine asteroid and return it to Earth for research analysis, the probe is speeding back home for a swift slingshot around our home planet on Friday Sept. 22 to gain a gravity assist speed boost required to complete its journey to the carbon rich asteroid Bennu and back. As it swings by Earth NASA’s first ever asteroid sample return mission, OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security – Regolith Explorer), will pass only 11,000 miles (17,000 kilometers) above Earth just before 12:52 p.m. EDT on Friday. And NASA is asking the public to try and ‘Catch It If You Can’ – by waving hello and/or taking snapshots during and after the probes high speed flyby. Plus you can watch NASA Facebook Live event at Noon Friday: https://www.facebook.com/NASAGoddard/ OSIRIS-REx will be approaching Earth at a velocity of about 19,000 mph on Friday as it begins flying over Australia during the Earth Gravity Assist (EGA) maneuver. Since blastoff from the Florida Space Coast on Sept. 8, 2016 the probe has already racked up almost 600 million miles on its round trip journey from Earth and back to set up Friday’s critical gravity assist maneuver to Bennu and back. As OSIRIS-REx continues along its flight path the spacecraft will reach its closest point to Earth over Antarctica, just south of Cape Horn, Chile. It will gain[…]

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  • New Study Says a Fast Radio Burst Happens Every Second in the Universe

    21 Sep 2017 | 8:57 pm

    New Study Says a Fast Radio Burst Happens Every Second in the Universe When astronomers first noted the detection of a Fast Radio Burst (FRB) in 2007 (aka. the Lorimer Burst), they were both astounded and intrigued. This high-energy burst of radio pulses, which lasted only a few milliseconds, appeared to be coming from outside of our galaxy. Since that time, astronomers have found evidence of many FRBs in previously-recorded data, and are still speculated as to what causes them. Thanks to subsequent discoveries and research, astronomers now know that FRBs are far more common than previously thought. In fact, according to a new study by a team of researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), FRBs may occur once every second within the observable Universe. If true, FRBs could be a powerful tool for researching the origins and evolution of the cosmos. The study, titled “A Fast Radio Burst Occurs Every Second throughout the Observable Universe“, recently appeared in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The study was led by Anastasia Fialkov, a postdoc researcher and Fellow at the CfA’s Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC). She was joined by Professor Abraham Loeb, the director of the ITC and the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard. As noted, FRBs have remained something of a mystery since they were first discovered. Not only do their causes remain unknown, but much about their true is still not understood. As Dr. Fialkov told Universe Today via email: “FRBs (or fast radio bursts) are astrophysical signals of an undetermined nature. The observed bursts are[…]

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  • More Surface Ice on Mercury than Previously Thought, says New Study

    20 Sep 2017 | 7:36 pm

    More Surface Ice on Mercury than Previously Thought, says New Study Back in 2012, scientists were delighted to discover that within the polar regions of Mercury, vast amounts of water ice were detected. While the existence of water ice in this permanently-shaded region had been the subject of speculation for about 20 years, it was only after the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft studied the polar region that this was confirmed. Based on the MESSENGER data, it was estimated that Mercury could have between 100 billion to 1 trillion tons of water ice at both poles, and that the ice could be up to 20 meters (65.5 ft) deep in places. However, a new study by a team of researchers from Brown University indicates that there could be three additional large craters and many more smaller ones in the northern polar region that also contain ice. The study, titled “New Evidence for Surface Water Ice in Small-Scale Cold Traps and in Three Large Craters at the North Polar Region of Mercury from the Mercury Laser Altimeter“, was recently published in the Geophysical Research Letters. Led by Ariel Deutsch, a NASA ASTAR Fellow and a PhD candidate at Brown University, the team considered how small-scale deposits could dramatically increase the overall amount of ice on Mercury. Despite being the closest planet to the Sun, and experiencing scorching surface temperatures on its Sun-facing side, Mercury’s low axial tilt means that its polar regions are permanently shaded and experience average temperatures of about 200 K (-73 °C; -100 °F). The[…]

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  • Weekly Space Hangout -Sept 20, 2017: ANU Citizen Science Project for Supernovae

    20 Sep 2017 | 6:08 pm

    Weekly Space Hangout -Sept 20, 2017: ANU Citizen Science Project for Supernovae Hosts: Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain) Dr. Paul M. Sutter (pmsutter.com / @PaulMattSutter) Dr. Kimberly Cartier ( KimberlyCartier.org / @AstroKimCartier ) Dr. Morgan Rehnberg (MorganRehnberg.com / @MorganRehnberg ChartYourWorld.org) Special Guest: This week’s guests are Dr Brad Tucker (@btucker22) and Dr Anais Möller (@anais_moller) of ANU Citizen Science Project for Supernovae. Brad is an Astrophysicist/Cosmologist, and currently a Research Fellow at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Mt. Stromlo Observatory at the Australian National University. Anais is a cosmologist based in the Australian National University with an expertise in type Ia supernova cosmology. She has worked at low and high redshift supernovae surveys with the goal to study the effect of dark energy in our Universe. Announcements: If you would like to join the Weekly Space Hangout Crew, visit their site here and sign up. They’re a great team who can help you join our online discussions! We record the Weekly Space Hangout every Friday at 5:00 pm Pacific / 8:00 pm Eastern. You can watch us live on Universe Today, or the Weekly Space Hangout YouTube page The post Weekly Space Hangout -Sept 20, 2017: ANU Citizen Science Project for Supernovae appeared first on Universe Today.

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