Saturday, 1 January 2011

# Download 2011 International Space Station Calendar

Download 2011 International Space Station Calendar in PDF-format

Source: NASA

    Asteroid Itokawa Sample Return

    Hayabusa photographs its own shadow on asteroid Itokawa in 2005 prior to collecting samples from the big space rock. [more]

    Source: Nasa Science News

    Asteroid Itokawa Sample Return

    Dec. 29, 2010:  The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency's Hayabusa spacecraft has brought home to Earth tiny pieces of an alien world–asteroid Itokawa.
    "It's an incredible feeling to have another world right in the palm of your hand," says Mike Zolensky, Associate Curator for Interplanetary Dust at the Johnson Space Center, and one of the three non-Japanese members of the science team. "We're seeing for the first time, up close, what an asteroid is actually made of!"

    He has good reason to be excited. Asteroids formed at the dawn of our solar system, so studying these samples can teach us how it formed and evolved.
    Hayabusa launched in 2003 and set out on a billion kilometer voyage to Itokawa, arriving a little over two years later. In 2005, the spacecraft performed a spectacular feat -- landed on the asteroid's surface(1). The hope was to capture samples from the alien world.
    But there was a problem. The projectiles set to blast up dust from the surface failed to fire, leaving only the particles kicked up from landing for collection. Did any asteroid dust made it into the collection chamber?

    More ...

    Venus is closest to the Earth today

    If you're feeling romantic tonight, it might be because Venus is closest to the Earth today for 2011. Just 92,750,680km away. 
    - Auke Slotegraaf on Twitter

    Best Space Discoveries of 2010: Nat Geo News's Most Popular

    Space Photos This Week