National Geographic Asteroid Belt weird asteroid really a crusty old comet Asteroid Belt Geographic National

National Geographic Asteroid Belt weird asteroid really a crusty old comet Asteroid Belt Geographic National

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A little interesting about space life.

Earth's Moon is our planet's closest neighbor in space, but it is remarkable how even neighbors can keep secrets from each other. For years, astronomers thought that Earth's Moon was barren of water and other volatile compounds, but this notion began to change in 2008, when a team of planetary scientists announced that they had discovered small quantities of water imprisoned within volcanic glass beads, that astronauts had carried back to Earth from the Apollo 13 and 17 missions to our Moon. In 2011, additional research revealed extremely tiny crystalline formations within those beads--indicating that they contained quantities of water similar to some basalts on Earth.



and here is another

Now, by pinpointing the precise birthday of the Moon, Dr. Jacobson and his team can help to explain why the Moon and our planet are so mysteriously similar in their compositions.



and finally

The scientists then went on to determine that the lunar birthday must have occurred approximately 95 million years after the formation of our Solar System--give or take about 32 million years.

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Most of Saturn's natural satellites are very small and icy dancing moonlets. However, the larger, icy midsized moons twirl around their enormous ringed planet in a lovely and mysterious dance. The largest of the icy moons is Rhea, Saturn's second-largest moon after the weird world that is Titan. Iapetus, the third largest of Saturn's moons, is two-faced, with one side composed of gleaming, very bright, highly reflective ice, and the other, dark and non-reflective, a blackened splotch staining the pristine white ice. Iapetus is larger than Mimas and Enceladus. There is an enormous impact crater on the moon Mimas, that stands out as a prominent feature on what is apparently a badly bombarded, heavily cratered world. The large impact crater Herschel on this 400-kilometer moon was excavated by a tumbling chunk of space-stuff made of rock, ice, or both, that came very close to powdering the entire little moon. Another icy moon, Enceladus, is a bewitching world, 500-kilometers in diameter, that is thought to harbor a global subsurface ocean beneath its frozen crust. Where there is liquid water there is always the possibility--though, by no means, the promise--of life. Enceladus also has the highest albedo of any other moon in our Solar System. This means that it has the most dazzlingly bright reflective surface. It also possesses a very active geology, rendering it almost free of craters because it is constantly being resurfaced by the emissions of gushing icy geysers that are responsible for fresh snow that keeps the surface of the little moon sparkling and smooth.



He added that "In our model for the Saturn system, we propose that Titan grew in a couple of giant impacts, each one combining the masses of the colliding bodies, while shedding a small family of middle-sized moons."



The moon-mergers may have happened very long ago--or maybe quite recently. The mergers could have been tripped off by gravitational disruption caused by a migrating giant planet such as Uranus or Neptune, the researchers told the press in October 2012.