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Your World This Week, Volume VI

Kepler 452b Earth Comparison

An artist’s concept drawing of Earth (left) and Kepler-452b (right). Source: NASA

Newly Discovered Earth-Like Planet Could Very Well Support Life

NASA recently declared that its Kepler spacecraft found “Earth’s bigger, older cousin.” Kepler-452b, located about 1,400 light years away, marks the first discovery of a planet whose size and distance from its star are comparable to Earth. While there are still many questions left unanswered, researchers know that Kepler-452b has a 385-day year and receives about the same amount of energy from its star that Earth does, and suspect that it has an atmosphere and a rocky surface.

What all this means, of course, is that Kepler-452b may very well support life. In 2017–when NASA launches the TESS satellite–and in 2018–when the James Webb Space Telescope becomes operational–we may get some answers. NASA states that these new projects could illuminate details about other planets’ colors, seasons, weather, and even vegetation. Find more at CNN.

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Saturn’s Mighty (And Angry-Looking) Maelstrom

Saturn North Pole Storm

What might initially appear to be an abstract painting or perhaps a crimson thumbprint is actually a vortex of spiraling clouds that churn endlessly above Saturn’s north pole.

The photos comes courtesy of NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which acquired the near-infrared images used to make this composite all the way back in 2012, according to Discovery News. Of course, the colors we’re seeing in this image are not what actually appears on Saturn (our eyes aren’t sensitive to those particular light wavelengths), but that doesn’t make the photo any less remarkable.

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Eighteen Apollo 11 Facts You’ve Never Heard Before

Astronaut Moon American Flag

Source: NASA

The world’s first pictures of Pluto and its icy mountains arrived just days before the 46th anniversary of what is surely history’s most momentous outer space occasion. On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin made history as the first humans to land on the moon. The mission’s third astronaut, Michael Collins, continued in lunar orbit while his comrades made history.

Even though the moon landing was a profound technological and scientific achievement as well as an unparalleled symbol of national pride, there are still plenty of details that most people don’t know…

Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins traveled 240,000 miles in just a little over three days (76 hours to be exact) to reach the moon’s lunar orbit. As the lunar module separated from the command module and began its descent to the moon, people from all over the world stopped what they were doing to tune into live coverage of the landing. To see the original broadcast, watch below (skip to minute 20 for the live coverage from the moon):

For more info sure to make you the smartest person in the room, check out these interesting facts about the world!

Go Inside Saturn’s Rings In This Surreal Animation

Created from over 30,000 real photographs captured by the Cassini spacecraft, Stephen van Vuuren invites viewers to explore Saturn’s rings in this stunning photographic animation. Van Vuuren refrained from using 3D models, CGI or texture maps when producing the video, which means that what you’re seeing is exactly what was captured by Cassini, but blended together sequentially. Enjoy!

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Want more on space? Check out these space facts that prove life on Earth is boring.

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