Features the most insightful and informative videos on all areas of the sciences, history, philosophy, and the arts, with an additional focus on the values of Humanism, Freethought and methodological Skepticism.
If there are any freely available programs or shows which you know of that I missed, please let me know about them.
Rotating Globe of Ganymede Geology
Animation of a rotating globe of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, with a geologic map superimposed over a global color mosaic. The 37-second animation begins as a global color mosaic image of the moon then quickly fades in the geologic map.
Playing Tag With an Asteroid
What’s the best way get a sample of an asteroid? Play tag with it! That’s the plan for OSIRIS-REx, a NASA spacecraft that will approach the asteroid Bennu in 2018. The collection will be done with an instrument on board called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, or, TAGSAM. Learn how it works in this video.
This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/a011400/a011435/index.html
via NASA explorer.
Disk Detective: Search for Planetary Habitats
A new NASA-sponsored website, DiskDetective.org, lets the public discover embryonic planetary systems hidden among data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission.
The site is led and funded by NASA and developed by the Zooniverse, a collaboration of scientists, software developers and educators who collectively develop and manage the Internet’s largest, most popular and most successful citizen science projects.
WISE, located in Earth orbit and designed to survey the entire sky in infrared light, completed two scans between 2010 and 2011. It took detailed measurements of more than 745 million objects, representing the most comprehensive survey of the sky at mid-infrared wavelengths currently available. Astronomers have used computers to search this haystack of data for planet-forming environments and narrowed the field to about a half-million sources that shine brightly in the infrared, indicating they may be “needles”: dust-rich circumstellar disks that are absorbing their star’s light and reradiating it as heat.
Planets form and grow within these disks. But galaxies, interstellar dust clouds, and asteroids also glow in the infrared, which stymies automated efforts to identify planetary habitats.
Disk Detective incorporates images from WISE and other sky surveys in the form of brief animations the website calls flip books. Volunteers view a flip book and then classify the object based on simple criteria, such as whether the image is round or includes multiple objects. By collecting this information, astronomers will be able to assess which sources should be explored in greater detail.
The project aims to find two types of developing planetary environments. The first, known as Young Stellar Object disks, typically are less than 5 million years old, contain large quantities of gas, and are often found in or near young star clusters. For comparison, our own solar system is 4.6 billion years old.
The other type of habitat is called a debris disk. These systems tend to be older than 5 million years, possess little or no gas, and contain belts of rocky or icy debris that resemble the asteroid and Kuiper belts found in our own solar system. Vega and Fomalhaut, two of the brightest stars in the sky, host debris disks.
Through Disk Detective, volunteers will help the astronomical community discover new planetary nurseries that will become future targets for NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope.
This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11436
via NASA explorer.
Forget Mars, the place we really want to go looking for life is Jupiter’s moon Europa. Dr. Mike Brown, a professor of planetary science at Caltech, explains what he finds so fascinating about this icy moon, and the potential we might find life swimming in its vast oceans.
via Universe Today.
Opportunity: 10 Years on Mars - Science
Two Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, landed on the Red Planet in January, 2004, on a 90-day mission. Spirit’s mission lasted 2,269 days (over 6 years) and ended in 2010. Ten years after landing, the Opportunity rover continues to explore. The rover’s science team explains how Opportunity traversed the Red Planet, examined the diverse environment and sent back data that transformed our understanding of Mars.
Opportunity: 10 Years on Mars - Operating A Rover
There are no vehicle repair stations on Mars. The Opportunity rover landed on the Red Planet in January 2004 for a 90-day mission. Ten years later it’s still going strong despite not being serviced by human hands in over a decade. The engineering team discusses the demands of driving a rover millions of miles away, keeping it alive in the extreme Martian elements and doing long-distance repairs.
New Observations of Europa from the Hubble Space Telescope
Previous spacecraft missions to Jupiter’s moon Europa revealed complex patterns adorning the surface and generated a scientific debate about its icy outer shell and subsurface ocean. New observations from the Hubble Space Telescope present a surprising twist to our understanding of this unusual planetary satellite.
Where Did Earth’s Water Come From?
Earth didn’t have water when it formed, but it does now! How did it get wet?
Created by Henry Reich
Animation: Ever Salazar
Production and Writing Team: Alex Reich, Peter Reich, Emily Elert
Music: Nathaniel Schroeder: http://www.soundcloud.com/drschroeder
Want to add captions to MinuteEarth videos? - minuteearth.subtitl.us
Dynamic Mars from Long Term Observations
There has been a continual spacecraft presence at Mars since 1997. The longevity of spacecraft missions examining the Red Planet has enabled detection and examination of changes on multiple time scales. Active processes include planet-encircling dust storms about every three to four Mars years, evolution of the polar caps, fresh impacts, migrating sand, and a suite of processes on slopes, some of which may involve liquid water. The distribution of shallow ice is much better known, with implications for recent climate change. The longer the observations continue, the deeper the understanding grows about active processes on Mars.
Science from Juno’s Earth Flyby
In October, the Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft did a flyby of Earth before its long journey. The Juno team presents a low-resolution Earth flyby video as well as data acquired by the spacecraft as it zipped past the home planet. Team members will also discuss results from the mission’s outreach campaign inviting amateur radio operators to “Say Hi to Juno” as the spacecraft passed, and the scientific goals for the mission once it reaches Jupiter.
What Is A SuperEarth?
The Universe is always surprising us with how little we know about… the Universe.
It’s continuously presenting us with stuff we never imagined, or even thought possible.
The search for extrasolar planets is a great example.
Since we started, astronomers have turned up over a thousand of them.
These planets can be gigantic worlds with many times the mass of Jupiter, all the way down to little tiny planets smaller than Mercury.
Astronomers are also finding one type of world that feels both familiar and yet totally alien… the super earth.
In the strictest sense, a super earth is just a planet with more mass than Earth, but less than a larger planet like Uranus or Neptune.
via Universe Today.
HUGE Water Geysers Found on Jupiter’s Moon!
Imagine a geyser hundreds of kilometers high… sound crazy? Well on Jupiter’s moon, they exist and what these super geysers eject could give us invaluable insight into this unique, ice-covered planet.
via DNews Channel.
Facts About Our Neighbouring Planets (plus Pluto and Asteroid Belt)
The sun is quite big, but did you know that the sun makes up 99.96 percent of our solar systems mass? That leaves a small 0.14 percent for all the planets, asteroids and other matter around the solar system.
Or how about that the surface temperature of the sun is 5505 degrees Celsius, while six of the eight plants in our solar system have an average surface temperature below 100 degrees Celsius.
The coldest of them all, Neptune, which has a mass the equivalent of 17 Earths, takes a long 165 Earth years to orbit around the sun just once. Since its discovery in 1846 it has only orbited the sun once, which happened in 2011. Think summer is too short hear on Earth? Seasons on Neptune last for more than 40 years, but with Neptune’s seasons being harsh and unpredictable it wouldn’t be a great place to live, not to mention the average temperature is -200 Celsius.
Fun Facts About the Moon, from Kendall
Trace is on vacation this week so we’ve got a very special guest host who’s got a few things to tell you about the moon.
FUN FACT: She recited all of this from memory without a teleprompter, script or help from the “adults” in the room!
via DNews Channel.
The Moon Battered by Impacts
Where did the moon come from? What is it made of? And what events created the distinctive pattern of light and dark on its surface? To find out, we have sent satellites out to crash onto its surface, astronauts to comb its craters and hillsides and collect rocks, and high-tech spacecraft to map its nooks and crannies.
A half-century of study has brought us closer to the answers. Many scientists now believe that the moon was born in a monumental collision between Earth and a Mars-sized body early in the history of the solar system, some 4.5 billion years ago.
From the remains of the impact, a giant ball of magma coalesced in Earth orbit. Gravity sculpted this hot mass into a sphere. In time, its surface cooled, forming a hard crust with magma just underneath.
Around 4.3 billion years ago, a giant impact battered the moon’s south pole, sending debris as far as the opposite side of the moon. The impact formed the Aitken basin. At roughly 2,500 kilometers in diameter and 13 kilometers deep, it is one of the largest known impact craters in the Solar System.
Its formation marked the beginning of a period of large-scale changes to the moon’s surface. Over several hundred million years, the lunar terrain was rocked by a succession of heavy impacts. Some formed large basins that would eventually fill in to become the dark colored patches of the moon known as maria.
These impacts punched enormous holes in the relatively thin lunar crust. Because the moon had not yet fully cooled on the inside, lava began to seep out through cracks opened up by the impacts.
Lava spread throughout the craters, gradually filling them in and cooling. Because of the high iron content of this lava, the mare regions reflect less light and therefore appear darker than the surrounding highlands. Around one billion years ago, volcanic activity ended on the near side of the moon as the last of the large impacts made their mark on the surface. The impacts did not cease, although they were much smaller than the ones that formed the largest basins.
Some of the largest and best-known impacts from this period formed the Tycho, Copernicus, and Aristarchus craters. They feature distinctive “rays” that stretch out from the crater sites, formed by material blasted out at the moment of impact.
Finally, after billions of years of relative quiet, we arrive at the moon we see today. Though its surface continues to be affected by impacts, the bombardment has slowed dramatically.
The features we now see on the Moon’s surface are a permanent record of its early history. Within them, too, we are finding clues to the evolution of Earth itself.
via Space Rip.