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Red Giant - Earth and the rest of the inner Planets.
Scientists from the University of Arizona have developed a handy calculator that you can use to determine your fate in the event of an asteroid impact. This tool takes into account not only the size of the asteroid and its composition, but what it slams into. It calculates the blast, depth of ejecta, and the force of the air blast at a distance from ground zero. Now you can see if you'll be safe from the devastation of an asteroid strike, or if you'll need to hop in your car and drive... far.
It's been a little over a week since NASA's X-43A hypersonic research aircraft made its successful flight, and the flight data is really impressing the agency. The X-43A was accelerated on board a Pegasus rocket, and then it fired its airbreathing scramjet engine to briefly raise its speed to Mach 7 (8,575 kph). While the data proves that the engine definitely worked, reality differed from the engineers simulations in several respects; more flight tests are scheduled to better understand the dynamics of hypersonic flight.
The book, "Practical Astronomy", by Storm Dunlop, is a wonderful beginner's guide that brings order to the multitude of light sources in the night sky. In easy to understand descriptions and photographs you can learn to identify zodiacal lights, emission nebulae and of course the major constellations. This is an easy to use, easy to carry reference to help plan for and get the most out of your evening's sky watching.
NASA's Aura satellite - the latest in a series of Earth observing spacecraft - arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base this week to be prepared for its June launch. Aura has four instruments which will study the Chemistry and dynamics of the Earth's atmosphere to provide scientists with data about ozone levels, air quality and climate change. Aura will undergo final tests and then be mated to the top of its Boeing Delta II rocket.
The Sun is heating up, and in 4 billion years from now it will swell up to become a red giant - Earth and the rest of the inner planets will be destroyed. But the deadly conditions that destroy the Earth will mean warmer temperatures in the outer Solar System, possibly supporting life. The region from Saturn to Pluto will warm up to the point that frozen water will melt on moons and planets. scientists think the best chances for life will be found on Pluto and its Moon Charon as well as Neptune's Moon Triton because they're rich in organic chemicals.
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