Orbiting Earth 101: What You’d See / What You’d Do “I saw for the first time the earth’s shape. I could easily see the shores of continents, islands, great rivers, folds of the terrain, large bodies of water. The horizon is dark blue, smoothly turning to black. . . the feelings which filled me I can express with one word–joy.” -Yuri Gagarin It takes a tremendous amount of energy to do any type of heavy lifting, and the most extreme example of this is lifting something all the way up off of the Earth, out of the atmosphere, and into space! And once you’re up there, at least 300 km above the Earth’s surface, the sights you’ve got are bound to be absolutely amazing! But gravity is a funny thing. But while the Moon is 384,000 km away from the center of the Earth and takes about four weeks to orbit the Earth, these man-made satellites and space vehicles, at an altitude of around 300 km, are only 6,700 km away from the center of the Earth. Image credit: Boeing. But let’s take a look at the Earth itself.
The Luminarium - International Artgroup 5 things about Friday's space events By Elizabeth Landau, CNN About 1,000 people have been injured in Russia as the result of a meteor exploding in the air. The energy of the detonation appears to be equivalent to about 300 kilotons of TNT, said Margaret Campbell-Brown of the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Western Ontario. Meanwhile, an asteroid approached Earth but did not hit it Friday, coming closest at about 2:25 p.m. You probably have some questions about both of those events, so here's a brief overview: 1. The meteor in Russia and the asteroid that passed by on Friday afternoon are "completely unrelated," according to NASA. Estimates on the meteor's size are preliminary, but it appeared to be about one-third the size of 2012 DA14. The term "asteroid" can also be used to describe the rock that exploded over Russia, according to the European Space Agency and NASA, although it was a relatively small one. 2. According to NASA, here’s how you tell what kind of object is falling from the sky: 3. 4. 5.
Home The Asteroid That Is Coming Really Close To Earth In February, Asteroid 2012 DA 14 will come so close to earth that it will be nearer to our planet than many satellites are. This asteroid, which really should get a new name, is about half the size of a football field. Its orbit is similar to that of the Earth itself, in size and shape, but at an angle to the Earth’s plane, so it’s like the asteroid and the earth are driving in circles on two oval tracks that intersect at two points but there is no red light. Asteroid 2012 DA 14 was discovered with gear provided to an observatory with a grant from the Planetary Society. This asteroid is not going to hit the earth now or during any of the next few decades, but eventually it may well do so. The closest approach will be on Feb 15th, when it will be a mere 27,330 kilometers from the surface of the earth.
Large Binocular Telescope Observatory Around the Solar System - In Focus Robotic probes launched by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and others are gathering information all across the solar system. We currently have spacecraft in orbit around the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Saturn -- and one new rover recently landed on Mars. Several others are on their way to smaller bodies, and a few are heading out of the solar system entirely. Although the Space Shuttle no longer flies, astronauts are still at work aboard the International Space Station, performing experiments and sending back amazing photos. With all these eyes in the sky, I'd like to take another opportunity to put together a recent photo album of our solar system -- a set of family portraits, of sorts -- as seen by our astronauts and mechanical emissaries. This time, we have some great shots from the new Mars rover Curiosity, a parting shot of the asteroid Vesta, some glimpses of Saturn and its moons, and lovely images of our home, planet Earth. [33 photos]
NASA Earth Observatory : Home