Stunning New Mars Images Bring The Planet’s Surface Into Focus

Mars Images

New Mars images, like the one above, reveal the planet’s surface in detail like never before. Image Source: Yu Tao and Jan-Peter Muller, UCL

Scientists have just gotten the best-ever look at Mars — though they still haven’t spotted any aliens.

Nevertheless, the incredible new Mars images (see more below) reveal some of the planet’s most exciting features like never before.

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Climate Change Denier Sarah Palin Continues Her Crusade With Dig At Bill Nye

Sarah Palin Bill Nye

Bill Nye (left) and Sarah Palin. Image Source: ATI Composite; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Add this to history’s long list of misguided attention-grabbing moves: On Thursday, one-time vice presidential hopeful and long-time climate change denier Sarah Palin insulted beloved children’s television icon and climate change agitator Bill Nye the Science Guy.

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Infographic Of The Day: What You Need To Know About Planet 9 — Plus, When We Might See It

Planet 9 Diagram

Image Source:

A new report says we’re closer to finally tracking down the elusive Planet 9.

The new study, published by Christoph Mordasini and Esther Linder in Astronomy & Astrophysics, suggests that Planet 9 is an ice giant, smaller than Uranus and Neptune. Mordasini and Linder also predicted that if the planet is the size they believe it is, several more objects should be forced into orbit around it. So far, they have located five objects that fit these conditions.

That’s not to say we’ll be able to see it, though. The planet’s hypothetical orbit is so far from the sun that most of its energy would be produced by its own core. This distance from the sun makes it difficult for traditional telescopes to pick up any light that it might reflect. Thus, Linder and Mordasini don’t believe existing telescopes are powerful enough to detect the planet.

But catching a glimpse of this mysterious planet is not out of the question. The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, currently under construction in Chile, is “designed to take a ten year survey of the Universe” using a 3200-megapixel camera which will most likely be able to spot Planet 9 — if it exists.

Mordasini and Linder’s work builds on the research of astronomers at Caltech, who essentially showed that Planet 9 isn’t just a myth. While modeling orbits of several objects in the Kuiper Belt, they realized that these orbits would not take their shapes without the effects of gravity from an unknown planet — which they believe is probably ten times more massive than Earth, and located out past Neptune in the Kuiper Belt. In other words, it was Planet 9 that shaped these orbits.

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These 25 Vintage NASA Photos Place You At The Scene Of Space Exploration’s Most Important Moments

On April 13, 1970, an oxygen tank exploded aboard Apollo 13, forcing American astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise to act quickly in order to save the spacecraft — as well as their own lives. The explosion forced the crew to abandon their mission — to reach the moon — but the crew’s heroics saved the craft, and saved NASA from another tragedy just three years after the Apollo 1 disaster.

Forty-six years later, we look beyond those two accidents and survey, via photographs from the missions, some of the most important achievements in the history of the Apollo program:

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Apollo Photos

A view from onboard Apollo 7 during the Earth orbit. The Apollo 7 crew —Commander Walter M. Schirra, Command Module Pilot Donn F. Eisele, and Lunar Module Pilot R. Walter Cunningham — was able to fulfill the mission initially intended for the doomed Apollo 1.

Donn Eisele

Command Module Pilot Donn F. Eisele aboard Apollo 7 during its 11-day Earth-orbital test flight.

Walter Cunningham

Apollo 7 Lunar Module Pilot Walter Cunningham. Apollo 7's was the first crew sent into orbit around the Earth.

Space Pen

Cunningham writes with a space pen aboard Apollo 7. The Apollo 7 crew also transmitted the first live television broadcast from a U.S. spacecraft.

Apollo 9

An astronaut peeks out of the Apollo 9 Module with the curvature of the Earth shown clearly in the background.

Lunar Module

Apollo 9 was the first mission to include the Lunar Module.

Space Walk

The Apollo 9 crew of Commander James McDivitt, Command Module Pilot David Scott, and Lunar Module Pilot Rusty Schweickart spent 10 days in orbit performing many tests that would be critical to eventually landing on the moon.

Dave Scott

David Scott (above) would later be the Commander on Apollo 15.

LM Undocking

The Apollo 10 Lunar Module was able to navigate within 8.4 nautical miles of the lunar surface, the point at which powered decent to the moon’s surface would commence.

Orbit Return

The success of this mission enabled the first lunar landing attempt with Apollo 11.

Flag Moon

The Apollo 11 Lunar Module, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on board, landed on the surface of the moon on July 20th, 1969.

Neil Armstrong

Shortly after it landed, Armstrong (above) became the first man to walk on the moon.

Buzz Aldrin

Aldrin (above) would soon follow Armstrong, becoming the second man to ever step on the lunar surface.

Neil Descent

Neil Armstrong climbing out of the Lunar Module and onto the surface of the moon.

Lunar Landing

Above is the first EVA (Extravehicular Activity) photo ever taken — the first frame taken by Neil Armstrong from west of the ladder.

Moon Walk

Aldrin preparing to deploy two components of the Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package (EASEP) on the surface of the moon.

Apollo 11

Aldrin stands saluting the American Flag upon the lunar surface. The astronaut's footprints are clearly visible in the frame.

Apollo EVA

Some conspiracy theorists suggest that the lunar landings were faked by NASA and that the lunar walks never happened.

The theories were put to the test in and all were debunked.

Apollo 12

Apollo 12 was the sixth American manned space flight and the second to land on the lunar surface.

Apollo12 EVA

The Apollo 12 mission was the first to take a color television camera onto the moon's surface, but the camera was accidentally destroyed when Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean pointed it towards the sun.

Lunar Dish

The Apollo 12 landing occurred near the Surveyor 3 unmanned space probe which landed in 1967. The crew retrieved some parts from the Surveyor craft to be returned to Earth to study the effects of long term exposure of the lunar environment.

Apollo 13

Apollo 13 launched on April 11, 1970 and was intended to be the third manned mission to land on the moon's surface. However, two days into the mission, an oxygen tank exploded onboard, crippling the Service Module, which was vital to the Command Module.

Crew Onboard

The crew had to improvise and repair an onboard air purifier in order to decrease the carbon dioxide levels and save the astronauts' lives.

Duct Tape

The purifier did not fit properly, so duct tape was used to solve the issue — it essentially allowed them to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Apollo nasa missions Safe Return

Despite low power and low oxygen, Apollo 13 made its successful return to Earth on April 17, 1970.

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