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Image:The Earth seen from Apollo 17

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth

 

Apollo 17 > Dec. 7, 1972 - Dec. 19, 1972

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/missions/apollo17.html#.VOmw5S4x1hY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Davies

Editorial cartoon

GoComics

October 25, 2016

http://www.gocomics.com/mattdavies/2016/10/25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Stahler

Editorial cartoon

GoComics

August 27, 2016

http://www.gocomics.com/jeffstahler/2016/08/27

 

Related

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/25/science/earth-planet-proxima-centauri.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth        UK / USA

 

https://www.nytimes.com/topic/subject/earth

 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/06/
science/fossils-rangeomorphs-networks.html

 

 

 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/12/
opinion/earth-will-survive-we-may-not.html

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/21/
612980506/nasa-launching-new-satellites-to-measure-earths-lumpy-gravity

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/15/
602168985/get-ready-for-the-next-big-thing-in-nasas-search-for-earths-twin

 

 

 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/20/
science/winter-solstice-december-21.html

 

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/03/
541352728/do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-be-nasa-s-next-planetary-protection-officer

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/23/
511216488/like-high-definition-from-the-heavens-noaa-releases-new-images-of-earth

 

 

 

 

http://www.gocomics.com/mattdavies/2016/10/25

 

http://www.gocomics.com/jeffstahler/2016/08/27

 

 

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/21/
earth-from-a-million-miles-away-dscovr-satellite-returns-groundbreaking-picture

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2015/jul/16/
pluto-and-other-historic-first-pictures-of-planets

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/03/
books/review/beyond-our-future-in-space-by-chris-impey.html

 

 

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jun/13/earth-
may-have-underground-ocean-three-times-that-on-surface

 

 

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2013/dec/10/earth-
international-space-station-timelapse-video

 

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2013/sep/11/
satellite-eye-on-earth-in-pictures

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/jul/23/earth-
captured-photograph-saturn-cassini

 

 

 

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/may/26/
future-planet-earth

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/
opinion/19wed3.html

 

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2007-04-20-
earth-day-views_N.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth seen from International Space Station – timelapse video        UK        10 December 2013

 

A series of timelapse images

show the view of Earth taken

from the International Space Station.

 

Called The World Outside My Window,

the video is made up of stills

taken from the space station

during three expeditions

between September 2011

and July 2012.

 

The ISS orbits Earth

at a speed of five miles per second,

240 miles above our planet's surface.

 

The final frames show astronaut Don Pettit,

suspended upside down at work on the ISS

http://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2013/dec/10/
earth-international-space-station-timelapse-video

 

 

 

 

'Black Marble' satellite images of Earth unveiled - in pictures        6 December 2012

 

Scientists have unveiled

a new image of Earth at night.

 

A global composite image,

dubbed Black Marble,

was constructed using cloud-free night images

from a new Nasa and National Oceanic

and Atmospheric Administration satellite.

 

It shows the glow of natural

and human-built phenomena across the planet

in greater detail than ever before

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/gallery/2012/dec/06/
black-marble-images-earth-in-pictures

 

 

 

 

Satellite eye on Earth: September 2011 - in pictures        UK        2011

 

Ice islands in the Atlantic,

blocked river valleys in Pakistan

and salt lakes in the outback

were among the images

captured by the European Space Agency

and Nasa satellites last month

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2011/oct/10/
satellite-eye-in-pictures

 

 

 

 

origins of life on Earth        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/
science/16orig.html

 

 

 

 

NASA's visible Earth

 

NASA's Visible Earth catalog

of NASA images and animations

of our home planet

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/

 

 

 

 

NASA Earth Observatory

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/

 

 

 

 

NASA > Looking at Earth

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/index.html

 

 

 

 

NASA > Destination Earth

http://www.earth.nasa.gov/flash_top.html

 

 

 

 

NASA > Astronaut photography of Earth

http://earth.jsc.nasa.gov/

 

 

 

 

NASA > Earth observing system

http://eospso.gsfc.nasa.gov/

 

 

 

 

NASA > Near Earth Object Program > Potentially Hazardous Asteroids

http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/orbits/

 

 

 

 

Google > Earth

http://earth.google.com/

 

 

 

 

the Earth's curvature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth's Rotation & Revolution: Crash Course Kids 8.1        29 April 2015

 

 

 

 

Earth's Rotation & Revolution: Crash Course Kids 8.1        Video        Crash Course Kids        29 April 2015

 

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l64YwNl1wr0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth's Tilt 1: The Reason for the Seasons        14 November 2012

 

 

 

 

Earth's Tilt 1: The Reason for the Seasons        Video        MITK12Videos        14 November 2012

 

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgq0LThW7QA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Earth's axis > The seasons

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/20/
science/winter-solstice-december-21.html

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/03/
20/471185302/happy-spring-a-roundup-of-stories-for-the-vernal-equinox

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l64YwNl1wr0 - 29 April 2015

 

 

 

 

solstices and equinoxes explained

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To-oFiyd6Dc

 

 

 

 

tilt

 

 

 

 

tilt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgq0LThW7QA - 14 November 2012

 

 

 

 

tilted

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDgUmTq4a2Q - 17 January 2010

 

 

 

 

on a tilted axis        USA

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/20/
science/winter-solstice-december-21.html

 

 

 

 

The orbit of the Earth > the Ecliptic

http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/conWebDoc.2835/viewPage/4

http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/conWebDoc.5462/viewPage/4

http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/conWebDoc.2835/viewPage/4

 

 

 

 

The Seasons and the Earth's Orbit - Milankovitch Cycles

http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/seasons_orbit.html

 

 

 

 

The motion of the Earth around the Sun

http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/conWebDoc.5458/viewPage/2

 

 

 

 

rotation and revolution

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l64YwNl1wr0 - 29 April 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDed5eXmngE - 28 April 2015

 

 

 

 

Speed of the Earth's rotation

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/970401c.html

 

 

 

 

Ocean Tides and the Earth's Rotation

http://bowie.gsfc.nasa.gov/ggfc/tides/intro.html

 

 

 

 

spin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0-GxoJ_Pcg - 16 June 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

movement of the sunset or sunrise along the horizon,

as Earth moves betweens seasons

 

Watch the sun’s shift on your horizon / journey of the Sun across the horizon

 

https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/
how-far-does-sun-move-on-your-horizon-each-day

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-siS_94Ot2s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth's gravity

http://ksnn.larc.nasa.gov/k2/s_whatGravity.html

 

 

 

 

weightlessness

 

 

 

 

zero-gravity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth's temperature        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2006/sep/26/
conservationandendangeredspecies.climatechange 

 

 

 

 

Earth's equator

http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/conWebDoc.5458/viewPage/3

 

 

 

 

Our view of the sky > Local reference lines

http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/nav.00500300l005001003

 

 

 

 

zenith

http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/nav.00500300l005001003

 

 

 

 

The four compass points and zenith

http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/nav.00500300l005001003

 

 

 

 

Altitude and azimuth

http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/nav.00500300l005001003

 

 

 

 

Astronomical Unit (AU) > 1 AU is approximately 150 million km

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

earthlings

 

 

 

 

Earth's Twin        USA

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/15/
602168985/get-ready-for-the-next-big-thing-in-nasas-search-for-earths-twin

 

 

 

 

Earth-like planet        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/oct/17/
earth-planet-found-alpha-centauri

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/17/science/space/
new-planet-found-in-alpha-centauri.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/oct/16/
earth-like-planet-alpha-centauri

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/oct/28/
galaxy-planets-mass-earth-life

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/aug/31/
starsgalaxiesandplanets.spaceexploration 

 

 

 

 

Earth-like / Earthlike planet > Gliese 581g

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/science/space/
30planet.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/29/
earth-like-planet-gliese-581g

 

 

 

 

Earth-like planet in Epsilon Eridani        USA

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2008-10-26-
epsilon-eridani-star-trek-earth_N.htm

 

 

 

 

'Second Earth' > Earth-like Gliese 581C        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/apr/25/
starsgalaxiesandplanets.spaceexploration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James A. Van Allen,

Discoverer of Earth-Circling Radiation Belts, Is Dead at 91        NYT        10.8.2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/10/science/space/10vanallen.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

radiation

 

 

 

 

James A. Van Allen > earth-circling radiation belts

 

 

 

 

two belts of charged particles

trapped by Earth’s magnetic field

 

 

 

 

physicist

 

 

 

 

magnetospheric physics

 

 

 

 

Earth-like planet / OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editorial

The Moon View

 

November 19, 2008

The New York Times

 

Last week, NASA released a newly restored image of a younger Earth. It was taken from Lunar Orbiter 1 in 1966, the first of several orbiters that helped gather data for the first moon landing in 1969. The photograph shows Earth just cresting the Moon’s curving horizon, the first picture of our planet framed by the surface of the Moon.

When the photograph was published, in 1966, it looked like a newsprint version of a high-contrast snapshot from space, a stark scattering of whites and blacks. The data from the lunar orbiter was stored on old analog tape drives. Now, imaging experts at NASA have digitized those drives — mining data that could not be recovered when they were first made — and produced a high-resolution version of that historic photograph.

The rough surface of the moon no longer looks starkly black and white. It has been rendered instead in a broad palette of grays, which give the moonscape a dimensional presence it never had in the photograph that first appeared. The cloud patterns that hide the surface of Earth, a crescent earth, are much more subtle.

What is most evocative is the awareness that this is our planet in 1966, which feels like a very long time ago. A train of thought immediately presents itself. If scientists can recover extensive new information from old electronic data, shouldn’t there be some way to peer beneath those clouds, back in time, and see how this planet looked when it had only half its current population?

It is probably not possible to say that one Earth is ever more innocent than another. And yet there is a feeling of innocence hanging over that beclouded planet, which was just about to get the first glimpse of itself from the Moon.

The Moon View,
NYT,
19.11.2008,
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19wed3.html

 

 

 

 

 

Kissing the Earth Goodbye

in About 7.59 Billion Years

 

March 11, 2008

The New York Times

By DENNIS OVERBYE

 

In the end, there won’t even be fragments.

If nature is left to its own devices, about 7.59 billion years from now Earth will be dragged from its orbit by an engorged red Sun and spiral to a rapid vaporous death. That is the forecast according to new calculations by a pair of astronomers, Klaus-Peter Schroeder of the University of Guanajuato in Mexico and Robert Connon Smith of the University of Sussex in England.

Their report, to be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, is the latest and gloomiest installment yet in a long-running debate about the ultimate fate of our planet. Only last year, the discovery of a giant planet orbiting the faint burned-out cinder of a star in Pegasus had suggested that Earth could survive the Sun’s death.

Dr. Smith called the new result “a touch depressing” in a series of e-mail messages. But “looked at another way,” he added, “it is an incentive to do something about finding ways to leave our planet and colonize other areas in the galaxy.”

As for sentimental attachment to any of the geographic features we might have come to know and love, Dr. Smith said, “I should add that the Himalayas are a passing thought anyway. They didn’t even exist until India smashed into Asia less than 60 million years ago — the blink of an eye compared with the billions of years we are discussing.”

While he does not expect the argument to end, Dr. Smith said in an e-mail message that, if anything, in the new calculations he and Dr. Schroeder had underestimated the forces that would be dragging the Earth down toward the Sun.

“So,” he said, “I would be surprised if anyone were able to rescue the Earth again in a future paper.”

Roberto Silviotti of the Capodimonte Observatory in Naples, Italy, who found the planet around that dead star in Pegasus, said it was not surprising that people were interested in the fate of the earth, adding, “I think that the point is not only that this is our planet but also that the we know the solar system and the Sun much better than any other planetary system and therefore we should be able, potentially, to make much better forecasts.”

Earth’s basic problem is that the Sun will gradually get larger and more luminous as it goes through life, according to widely held theories of stellar evolution. In its first 4.5 billion years, according to the models, the Sun has already grown about 40 percent brighter.

Over the coming eons, life on Earth will become muggier and more uncomfortable and finally impossible.

“Even if the Earth were to marginally escape being engulfed,” said Mario Livio, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, “it would still be scorched, and life on Earth would be destroyed.”

About a billion years from now, the Sun will be 10 percent brighter. Oceans on Earth will boil away. The Sun will run out of hydrogen fuel in its core about 5.5 billion years from now and start burning hydrogen in the surrounding layers. As a result, the core will shrink and the outer layers will rapidly expand as the Sun transforms itself into a red giant.

The heat from this death rattle will transform the solar system; it will briefly be springtime in the Kuiper Belt out beyond Neptune. Mercury and Venus will surely be swallowed, but the Earth’s fate has always been more uncertain.

The reason is that in the course of ballooning outward, the Sun will blow off a substantial share of its mass. Thus, the Sun’s gravitational grip on its planets will be weakened, and they will retreat to more distant orbits. The Earth will wind up about where Mars is now, “on the border line between being engulfed or escaping engulfment,” as Dr. Livio put it.

Whether or not the Earth is engulfed depends on which of two effects wins out. At the same time that the Earth is retreating to a safer position, tidal forces between it and the expanding Sun will try to drag the planet inward and downward. In 2001, an analysis of these opposing forces by Kacper Rybicki of the Polish Institute of Geophysics and Carlos Denis of the University of Liege concluded that it looked bad but that the Earth might have a chance of surviving.

According to Dr. Smith and Dr. Schroeder, that chance is nil. One key to their work is a new way of calculating how much mass the Sun loses during its cataclysmic expansion, and, thus, how big it gets and how far the Earth eventually moves outward. The more mass lost, paradoxically, the bigger the Sun swells, like a balloon whose elastic weakens when it is stretched. Using a new technique, developed by Dr. Schroeder and Manfred Cuntz of the University of Texas in Arlington, the authors calculated that the lost mass would amount to a third of the Sun’s original mass, compared with previous estimates of a quarter.

As a result, the red giant version of the Sun — at its maximum — will be 256 times as big across as the star is today and 2,730 times as luminous.

Skimming over the flame tops of this giant, the bare, burned Earth would produce a bulge in the Sun. But friction would cause the bulge to lag as it tried to follow the Earth. The gravitational tug from the bulge would slow the Earth and would cause it to spiral inward, where friction from gases in the Sun’s expanded atmosphere would slow it even more.

Then it would go down.

After a period of burning helium and shrinking and expanding and then finally shrinking again, the Sun will wind up as tiny cinder known as a white dwarf, fading away for the rest of time.

Is there any way out of this fiery end for the robots or cockroaches or whoever will be running the Earth in a billion years?

One option is to leave for another planet or another star system.

Another option, Dr. Smith said, is to engage in some large-scale high-stakes engineering.

In the same way that space probes can get a trajectory boost by playing gravitational billiards with Venus or Jupiter to gain speed and get farther out in space, so the Earth could engineer regular encounters with a comet or asteroid, thus raising its orbit and getting farther from the Sun, according to a paper in 2001 by Don Korycansky and Gregory Laughlin of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Fred Adams of the University of Michigan.

Dr. Laughlin said that when their paper first came out, they were praised by the radio host Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives for forward thinking.

But Dr. Laughlin said they were actually not advocating the orbit-shifting project, noting that a miscalculation could lead to the comet’s hitting the Earth.

“There are profound ethical issues involved,” he wrote in an e-mail message, “and the cost of failure (an Earth-sterilizing impact) is unacceptably high.”

Anyway, such a maneuver would prolong the viability of the Earth for only a few billion years. After that, the planet would be stranded in the cold and dim.

Kissing the Earth Goodbye in About 7.59 Billion Years,
NYT, 11.3.2008,
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/11/science/space/11earth.html

 

 

 

 

 

Hawking:

Weightlessness Will Be 'Bliss'

 

April 25, 2007

Filed at 2:31 a.m. ET

The New York Times

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who has been confined to a wheelchair for most of his adult life, expects weightlessness to feel like ''bliss'' when he goes on a ''zero-gravity'' flight Thursday aboard a refitted jet.

''For someone like me whose muscles don't work very well, it will be bliss to be weightless,'' Hawking told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday.

Hawking, 65, who has Lou Gehrig's disease, will be the first person with a disability to fly on the one of the flights offered by Zero Gravity Corp., a space tourism company.

Flying from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., the jet creates the experience of microgravity in 25-second bursts of steep plunges over the Atlantic Ocean. Normally, the plane conducts 10 to 15 plunges for its passengers who pay $3,750 for the ride, although that fee has been waived for Hawking.

On Hawking's trip, the jet will make a single plunge. Other plunges will be made only after doctors and nurses who are accompanying the astrophysicist on the ride have made sure that he is enjoying it.

''We consider ... having him weightless for 25 seconds is a successful mission,'' said Peter Diamandis, the chairman and CEO of Zero Gravity. ''If we do more than one, fantastic.''

Unable to use his hands, legs or voice, Hawking can only use his facial expressions using the muscles around his eyes, eye brows and mouth to communicate. Otherwise, he relies on a computer to talk for him in a synthesized voice. The computer is attached to his wheelchair and allows him to choose words on a computer screen via a sensor that detects motion in his cheek.

He won't have his wheelchair and talking computer on the jet with him, although his assistant will bring a lap top in case he wants to communicate beyond facial expressions.

''I hope it goes OK,'' Hawking said. ''But there's always a chance things can go wrong.''

Hawking: Weightlessness Will Be 'Bliss', NYT, 25.4.2007,
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Hawking-Flight.html

 

 

 

 

 

Potentially Habitable Planet Found

 

April 25, 2007

Filed at 6:24 a.m. ET

The New York Times

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for ''life in the universe.''

The planet is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles away. But the star it closely orbits, known as a ''red dwarf,'' is much smaller, dimmer and cooler than our sun.

There's still a lot that is unknown about the new planet, which could be deemed inhospitable to life once more is known about it. And it's worth noting that scientists' requirements for habitability count Mars in that category: a size relatively similar to Earth's with temperatures that would permit liquid water. However, this is the first outside our solar system that meets those standards.

''It's a significant step on the way to finding possible life in the universe,'' said University of Geneva astronomer Michel Mayor, one of 11 European scientists on the team that found the planet. ''It's a nice discovery. We still have a lot of questions.''

The results of the discovery have not been published but have been submitted to the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Alan Boss, who works at the Carnegie Institution of Washington where a U.S. team of astronomers competed in the hunt for an Earth-like planet, called it ''a major milestone in this business.''

The planet was discovered by the European Southern Observatory's telescope in La Silla, Chile, which has a special instrument that splits light to find wobbles in different wave lengths. Those wobbles can reveal the existence of other worlds.

What they revealed is a planet circling the red dwarf star, Gliese 581. Red dwarfs are low-energy, tiny stars that give off dim red light and last longer than stars like our sun. Until a few years ago, astronomers didn't consider these stars as possible hosts of planets that might sustain life.

The discovery of the new planet, named 581 c, is sure to fuel studies of planets circling similar dim stars. About 80 percent of the stars near Earth are red dwarfs.

The new planet is about five times heavier than Earth. Its discoverers aren't certain if it is rocky like Earth or if its a frozen ice ball with liquid water on the surface. If it is rocky like Earth, which is what the prevailing theory proposes, it has a diameter about 1 1/2 times bigger than our planet. If it is an iceball, as Mayor suggests, it would be even bigger.

Based on theory, 581 c should have an atmosphere, but what's in that atmosphere is still a mystery and if it's too thick that could make the planet's surface temperature too hot, Mayor said.

However, the research team believes the average temperature to be somewhere between 32 and 104 degrees and that set off celebrations among astronomers.

Until now, all 220 planets astronomers have found outside our solar system have had the ''Goldilocks problem.'' They've been too hot, too cold or just plain too big and gaseous, like uninhabitable Jupiter.

The new planet seems just right -- or at least that's what scientists think.

''This could be very important,'' said NASA astrobiology expert Chris McKay, who was not part of the discovery team. ''It doesn't mean there is life, but it means it's an Earth-like planet in terms of potential habitability.''

Eventually astronomers will rack up discoveries of dozens, maybe even hundreds of planets considered habitable, the astronomers said. But this one -- simply called ''c'' by its discoverers when they talk among themselves -- will go down in cosmic history as No. 1.

Besides having the right temperature, the new planet is probably full of liquid water, hypothesizes Stephane Udry, the discovery team's lead author and another Geneva astronomer. But that is based on theory about how planets form, not on any evidence, he said.

''Liquid water is critical to life as we know it,'' co-author Xavier Delfosse of Grenoble University in France, said in a statement. ''Because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life. On the treasure map of the Universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X.''

Other astronomers cautioned it's too early to tell whether there is water.

''You need more work to say it's got water or it doesn't have water,'' said retired NASA astronomer Steve Maran, press officer for the American Astronomical Society. ''You wouldn't send a crew there assuming that when you get there, they'll have enough water to get back.''

The new planet's star system is a mere 20.5 light years away, making Gliese 581 one of the 100 closest stars to Earth. It's so dim, you can't see it without a telescope, but it's somewhere in the constellation Libra, which is low in the southeastern sky during the midevening in the Northern Hemisphere.

''I expect there will be planets like Earth, but whether they have life is another question,'' said renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking in an interview with The Associated Press in Orlando. ''We haven't been visited by little green men yet.''

Before you book your extrastellar flight to 581 c, a few caveats about how alien that world probably is: Anyone sitting on the planet would get heavier quickly, and birthdays would add up fast since it orbits its star every 13 days.

Gravity is 1.6 times as strong as Earth's so a 150-pound person would feel like 240 pounds.

But oh, the view. The planet is 14 times closer to the star it orbits. Udry figures the red dwarf star would hang in the sky at a size 20 times larger than our moon. And it's likely, but still not known, that the planet doesn't rotate, so one side would always be sunlit and the other dark.

Distance is another problem. ''We don't know how to get to those places in a human lifetime,'' Maran said.

Two teams of astronomers, one in Europe and one in the United States, have been racing to be the first to find a planet like 581 c outside the solar system.

The European team looked at 100 different stars using a tool called HARPS (High Accuracy Radial Velocity for Planetary Searcher) to find this one planet, said Xavier Bonfils of the Lisbon Observatory, one of the co-discoverers.

Much of the effort to find Earth-like planets has focused on stars like our sun with the challenge being to find a planet the right distance from the star it orbits. About 90 percent of the time, the European telescope focused its search more on sun-like stars, Udry said.

A few weeks before the European discovery earlier this month, a scientific paper in the journal Astrobiology theorized a few days that red dwarf stars were good candidates.

''Now we have the possibility to find many more,'' Bonfils said.

------

On the Net:

The European Southern Observatory:

http://www.eso.org

Potentially Habitable Planet Found, NYT, 25.4.2007,
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Habitable-Planet.html

 

 

 

 

 

Astronauts Recall View

Before Earth Day

 

April 21, 2007

Filed at 3:42 a.m. ET

The New York Times

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

When astronauts return from space, what they talk about isn't the brute force of the rocket launch or the exhilaration of zero gravity -- it's the view. And it's mankind's rarest view of all, Earth from afar.

Only two dozen men -- those who journeyed to the moon -- have seen the full Earth view. Most space travelers, in low orbit, see only a piece of the planet -- a lesser but still impressive glimpse. They have seen the curvature of Earth, its magnificent beauty, its fragility, and its lack of borders.

The first full view of Earth came from the moon-bound Apollo 8 during the waning days of a chaotic 1968. Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders put it in perspective in a documentary: ''We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.''

Some of the photos Anders took were used on posters and pins on the first Earth Day in 1970. They've been ''an environmental staple of Earth Days ever since,'' said Denis Hayes, the first Earth Day coordinator.

For Earth Day this year -- at a time when perhaps some perspective is needed -- The Associated Press asked space travelers to recall what it's like to see Earth from above:

''It was the only color we could see in the universe. ... ''We're living on a tiny little dust mote in left field on a rather insignificant galaxy. And basically this is it for humans. It strikes me that it's a shame that we're squabbling over oil and borders.''

--Bill Anders, Apollo 8, whose photos of Earth became famous.

''It's hard to appreciate the Earth when you're down right upon it because it's so huge.

''It gives you in an instant, just at a position 240,000 miles away from it, (an idea of) how insignificant we are, how fragile we are, and how fortunate we are to have a body that will allow us to enjoy the sky and the trees and the water ... It's something that many people take for granted when they're born and they grow up within the environment. But they don't realize what they have. And I didn't till I left it.''

--Jim Lovell, Apollo 8 and 13.

''The sheer beauty of it just brought tears to my eyes.

''If people can see Earth from up here, see it without those borders, see it without any differences in race or religion, they would have a completely different perspective. Because when you see it from that angle, you cannot think of your home or your country. All you can see is one Earth....''

--Anousheh Ansari, Iranian-American space tourist who flew last year to the international space station.

''Up in space when you see a sunset or sunrise, the light is coming to you from the sun through that little shell of the Earth's atmosphere and back out to the spacecraft you're in. The atmosphere acts like a prism. So for a short period of time you see not only the reds, oranges and yellows, the luminous quality like you see on Earth, but you see the whole spectrum red-orange-yellow-blue-green-indigo-violet.

''You come back impressed, once you've been up there, with how thin our little atmosphere is that supports all life here on Earth. So if we foul it up, there's no coming back from something like that.''

--John Glenn, first American to orbit the Earth (1962) and former U.S. senator.

''I think you can't go to space and not be changed, in many ways ....

''All of the teachings of the Bible that talk about the creator and his creation take on new meaning when you can view the details of the Earth from that perspective. So it didn't change my faith per se, the content of it, but it just enhanced it, it made it even more real.''

--Jeff Williams, spent 6 months on the space station and set a record for most Earth photos taken.

''Earth has gone through great transitions and volcanic impacts and all sorts of traumatic things. But it has survived ... I'm not referring to human conflicts. I'm referring to the physical appearance of the Earth at a great distance. That it generally is mostly very peaceful (when) looked at from a distance.''

--Buzz Aldrin, second man to walk on the moon.

''I see the deep black of space and this just brilliantly gorgeous blue and white arc of the earth and totally unconsciously, not at all able to help myself, I said, 'Wow, look at that.'''

--Kathy Sullivan, first American woman to spacewalk, recalling what she said when she saw Earth in 1984.

''...From up there, it looks finite and it looks fragile and it really looks like just a tiny little place on which we live in a vast expanse of space. It gave me the feeling of really wanting us all to take care of the Earth. I got more of a sense of Earth as home, a place where we live. And of course you want to take care of your home. You want it clean. You want it safe.''

--Winston Scott, two-time shuttle astronaut who wrote a book, ''Reflections From Earth Orbit.''

''You change because you see your life differently than when you live on the surface everyday. ... We are so involved in our own little lives and our own little concerns and problems. I don't think the average person realizes the global environment that we really live in. I certainly am more aware of how fragile our Earth is, and, frankly, I think that I care more about our Earth because of the experiences I've had traveling in space.''

--Eileen Collins, first female space shuttle commander.

''You can see what a small little atmosphere is protecting us.

''You realize there's not much protecting this planet particularly when you see the view from the side. That's something I'd like to share with everybody so people would realize we need to protect it.''

--Sunita Williams, who has been living on the international space station since Dec. 11, 2006.

''I left Earth three times. I found no place else to go. Please take care of Spaceship Earth.''

--Wally Schirra, who flew around Earth on Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions in the 1960s.

------

EDITOR'S NOTE: AP writers Rasha Madkour in Houston,

Mike Schneider in Cape Canaveral, Fla.,

and Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

------

On the Net:

NASA's database of astronaut photos of Earth:

http://earth.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/clickmap/

NASA biographies of astronauts quoted:

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/aldrin-b.html

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/anders-wa.html

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/collins.html

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/glenn-j.html

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/lovell-ja.html

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/schirra-wm.html

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/scott.html

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/sullivan-kd.html

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/williamsj.html

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/williams-s.html

Anousheh Ansari's biography:
http://www.anoushehansari.com/about.php

Astronauts Recall View Before Earth Day,
NYT,
21.4.2007,
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Earth-Day-View.html - broken URL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Times (1857-Current file); Oct 4, 1962;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2003)        pg. 1

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/science/schirra.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related > Anglonautes > Vocapedia

 

Moon > Apollo 8

First human journey to another world

21-27 December 1968

 

 

space, astronomy

 

 

time > season

 

 

time > season > winter

 

 

Earth, population growth, resources,

environment, disasters, pollution, waste

 

 

weather

 

 

wildlife

 

 

agriculture / farming, gardening

 

 

climate change, global warming