NASA’s annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. Imagine what we could do with a full penny.http://bit.ly/-Imagine
The Penny4NASA campaign was founded to highlight how dramatically underfunded NASA has become in recent years. NASA’s appropriations budget for FY2014 is currently $17.6 billion, representing 0.48% of the U.S. federal budget, or less than half a penny on your tax dollar. We are firmly committed to seeing NASA funded to a level commensurate with the tremendous economic, technological and inspirational value it confers. With your help we can get NASA the funding it deserves! http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/
On Earth Day, the B612 Foundation released a video highlighting new data showing that extraterrestrial impacts occur about 3 to 10 times more frequently than previously thought.
Using data from the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization they discovered 26 recorded asteroid impacts on Earth between 2000 and 2013. They range in energy from 1 to 600 kilotons. To put this in perspective, the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima exploded with an energy of 15 kilotons.
“The fact that none of these asteroid impacts shown in the video was detected in advance is proof that the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck.” - Ed Lu, CEO of the B612 Foundation and former NASA astronaut
The B612 Foundation is an asteroid-hunting nonprofit organization that is planning to launch the Sentinel mission. Sentinel is an early warning infrared space telescope capable of tracking up to 90% of near-Earth objects larger than 140 meters in size. Although there are plans to track asteroids smaller than 140 meters as well. The space telescope will launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in 2017 or 2018. But they need your help!
Ancient Martian life could potentially be preserved in leftover glass from impact craters.
When asteroids or comets strike the Earth, there’s enough energy released to create enough heat to melt rock and soil on impact. This creates fragments of glass, while quickly trapping and preserving organic matter during the process. Scientists believe this process might have happened during Mars’ long history of asteroid/comet impacts.
"There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known." - Carl Sagan
Seldom is there a photograph so breathtakingly beautiful that it can alter your perspective about your place in the Cosmos. Last year, the Cassini probe orbiting Saturn took such a photo showing the Earth as seen from the outer Solar System.
Encapsulated within this photograph is a reminder of how incredibly small we are and also how far we’ve come as a species. Photographs, such as this, give us pause and remind us of the common bonds we all share and of the insignificance of that which divides us. Take a moment to appreciate this Pale Blue Dot we all share.
Astronomer Phil Plait has put together some fun facts about our planet in honor of today’s Earth Day, such as, “What does the Earth have that no other planet we know of has? A lot of water on the surface - nearly a third of the planet.”
Astronauts and cosmonauts—while getting to play with multibillion-dollar toys in space—also have an incredibly unique chance to view the Earth from a completely different perspective than many of us.
This perspective creates a newfound appreciation for our pale blue dot, as philosopher David Loy describes:
“To have that experience of awe is to, at least for the moment, let go of yourself, to transcend the sense of separation. So it’s not just that they were experiencing something other than them, but that they were, at some very deep level, integrating and realizing their interconnectedness with that beautiful blue-green ball.”
To the observer, borders seem to disappear as countries flow seamlessly into one another. Like a singular organism, Earth becomes something more than a map of divisions based upon ideology and geography. Those who share this vantage point see Earth as one ecosystem, with all parts artfully woven together to create a perfect home for millions of plant and animal species. Conflicts between nations become less apparent, and the need for a united planetary society to protect our beautiful home becomes increasingly obvious and imperative.
This realization of the interconnectedness of all life on Earth and the need to protect it, dubbed the Overview Effect, has been reported among astronauts from the Apollo program all the way through to the current International Space Station astronauts.
Astronauts are counted among the few who get to observe the Earth from the outside with the naked eye. For those of us on the surface, NASA continues to release stunning images and video from their Earth-orbiting spacecraft. Let’s keep their funding coming, so that all of humanity has the chance to learn about the importance of our beautiful home in space! http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/
Watch the short documentary “Overview” by The Planetary Collective, featuring commentary from experts and former Astronauts! http://vimeo.com/55073825
As members of the human race, we call this chunk of rotating rock, fire, and ice home, and we should realize how amazing Earth is everyday, not just April 22nd.
With that said, Earth Day has been celebrated worldwide since 1970, and has contributed greatly towards the spread of environmental awareness we see today. However, such a renowned appreciation of Earth — as it truly is, not as a map — didn’t take place until astronauts were able to gaze upon our planet during the early days of space exploration.
On this day, we leave you with a great quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson regarding the historical context of this annual event. These stirring words were featured in We Stopped Dreaming (Episode 2) - A New Perspective, a video created by our very own Evan Schurr.
Appearing once every 75 to 76 years, Halley’s Comet the only naked-eye comet which can be viewed not once, but twice in a lifetime. According to a biography, in 1909 Mark Twain said, “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it.” Halley’s perihelion, the point in the comet’s orbit when it is closest to the Sun, occurred on April 20, 1910. Mark Twain passed away the following day.
This image includes a portrait of Mark Twain taken in his later years alongside one of the first photos ever taken of Halley’s Comet as seen during its 1910 apparition. Halley is next expected to appear in July of 2061. In the meantime, you can catch the Orionoid meteor shower, which is created from Halley’s fragments, each year in October.
"But to carve the Grand Canyon, Earth required millions of years. To excavate Meteor Crater, the universe, using a sixty-thousand-ton asteroid traveling upward of twenty miles per second, required a fraction of a second. No offense to Grand Canyon lovers, but for my money, Meteor Crater is the most amazing natural landmark in the world." - Neil deGrasse Tyson, The Sky Is Not The Limit