This is a radar image of asteroid 4179 Toutatis. It's a space rock the size of a mountain, nearly three miles across at its widest point, with an estimated mass of well over five million tons. And it's headed straight for Earth. Well, nearly.
While we'll never really be happy about the retirement of the space shuttle, NASA is completely over it and looking towards the future of space transportation, which is going to be commercial. The agency announced today its selection of three companies which it hopes to certify to take its astronauts up to the ISS and back within the next five years.
Space buffs can be hard to buy for. I mean, it's not like you can just run out to space and pick something up: getting stuff into space, and then back again, is very difficult and frequently very expensive. We're not talking about "space gifts" like telescopes and model rockets and that sort of thing, but rather, actual gifts that have spent time out in the cosmos. And some of them, remarkably, are even affordable.
NASA's gone and done it again. Here's a beautiful new image of the United States at night, courtesy of the the Suomi NPP satellite.
A new study indicates that 3D printers could be the key to manufacturing tools and equipment on the Moon and beyond.
Take a look at the 100,000 nearest stars with this stellar interactive display (har har).
Right now, there's a bit of Martian soil sitting in the Curiosity rover's sample analysis tool that some Earthlings are getting pretty excited about. If the folks at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory find what they think they've found, it'll be "one for the history books," according to the team.
We currently think that the universe is some 13.7 billion years old. With that in mind, the zoomed-in cutaway above is pointing to a very, very distant galaxy, which we've observed 420 million years after the big bang. That means the light we're seeing from it spent 13.3 billion years traveling through the cosmos. Whoa.
Update: The eclipse is over, but of course the Internet sees and remembers all. We've got a video for you of the eclipse, and our original post follows this update.
Carl Sagan would have turned 78 today. Let's celebrate with this video tribute of Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking. Happy Carl Sagan Day!