Sending Back First Close-Up Views Of The Large Asteroid
NASA's Dawn spacecraft, the first ever to orbit an object in the
main asteroid belt, is spiraling towards its first of four
intensive science orbits. That initial orbit of the rocky world
Vesta begins Aug. 11, at an altitude of nearly 1,700 miles and will
provide in-depth analysis of the asteroid. Vesta is the brightest
object in the asteroid belt as seen from Earth and is thought to be
the source of a large number of meteorites that fall to Earth.
First Time Molecular Oxygen Has Been Detected Beyond Our
The Herschel Space Observatory's large telescope and
state-of-the-art infrared detectors have provided the first
confirmed finding of oxygen molecules in space. The molecules were
discovered in the Orion star-forming complex. Individual atoms of
oxygen are common in space, particularly around massive stars. But,
molecular oxygen, which makes up about 20 percent of the air we
breathe, has eluded astronomers ... until now.