The birth of NASA was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958. It has since been busy with space exploration, with the Apollo moon-landing missions and the space shuttle missions, as well as the United States’ first space station, the Skylab. At the present time, some of the exploration NASA supports are based in the International Space Station, along with the Launch Services Program (LPS), which is responsible for launch operations as well as countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. So, what could they tell us about 57 years of research? Here is a list of some of NASA’s most remarkable discoveries.
10. Earth-Like Worlds in Two-Star Systems
A two-star system usually refers to stars, but can also be planets, galaxies, asteroids and brown dwarfs, ones that are so close to each other their gravitational interaction makes them orbit around a common mass. Recently, scientists have discovered evidence that livable, Earth-like worlds can exist in two-star solar systems. Half of the universe’s planets are in fact in binary systems, so this evidence makes us believe that the chances of life on other planets may just have become more viable.
9. The Hand of God
The X-ray image was recorded by NASA’s Chandra observatory, which circles 360 miles above Earth and is designed to take high-energy images all over the universe. For example, images like fragments of exploded stars. Named the Hand of God, it appears to have stretched out fingers, formed by a spinning neutron star more commonly known as a pulsar, which appears to be buried deep inside the fist and releases energy every time it is in rotation.
8. Titan: Evidence that Alien Life Exists on Saturn’s Moon
NASA researchers believe they have discovered important clues that could very well lead us to believe that alien life exists on Saturn. Data was collected from NASA’s Cassini Probe which analyzed the composite chemistry on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, the only moon around the planet believed to have a dense atmosphere. Astronomers alleged that the moon is too cold to support liquid water even on its surface, but they have discovered that life forms have actually been breathing in Saturn’s atmosphere and feeding on its surface fuel.
7. First Glance at a Cosmic Web
Last year, scientists caught one of the first looks into the largest image ever seen in our universe; a thread of the cosmic web which stretched 2 million light-years across the universe. On massive scales, our universe typically resembles a spider web, with long strands of gas stretched between galaxies, which connect them. This cosmic web assumption goes well in theory, but scientists had never actually seen the intergalactic strands until last year.
6. A Colossal Solar System of Seven Planets Orbiting a Sun-Like Star
A solar system of seven planets orbiting a sun-like star has been discovered 127 light years from Earth. This planetary system is believed to be the largest ever detected farther than the sun. Astronomers have confirmed the presence of five planets and have alluring evidence of two more. The distance of the planets from their parent star follow a very regular pattern, similar to the pattern we see in our own solar system.
5. Planets Around Every Star?
2014 was definitely the year for NASA discoveries. A study conducted suggests that every red dwarf in the Milky Way galaxy plays host to at least one planet. Red dwarfs inhabit about 70 percent of the galaxy’s 100 billion or more stars and at least 25 percent of these small, dim stars in the sun’s proximity host habitable-zone worlds.
4. Extraterrestrial Neutrinos Found in Antarctica
Physicists in Antarctica have found evidence of cosmic rays from outside the solar system. The energetic rays themselves are really difficult to notice, therefore, scientists have to rely on the discovery of neutrinos produced as the cosmic rays interact with their surroundings. Out of the billions of neutrinos that pass through a square centimeter of Earth each second, there are only a few that actually are able to interact with matter.
3. First Planet in Habitable Zone
NASA scientists have discovered Earth’s closest exoplanet in terms of size. The planet, has been named Kepler-78b, and is only 20 percent wider and 80 percent more massive than Earth, with a similar density. Kepler-78b orbits its sun once every 8.5 hours at a distance of about 900,000 miles and its surface temperature reaches more than 3,680 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Landing on a Comet
On November 12th 2014, ESA landed a probe on a comet, an essential and historical event. Philae’s mother-ship Rosetta spacecraft traveled approximately 4 billion miles over 10 years to reach Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Philae left Rosetta, traveled the remaining 317 miles to the comet and eventually hit the target landing area.
1. Ancient Mars Could Have Supported Life
For centuries now people have hypothesized about the possibilities of life on Mars because of the red planet’s parallelism and locality to Earth. In January of 2014, NASA announced the studies that were being conducted on Mars by the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers. The Curiosity team reported evidence of a freshwater Martian lake close to the red planet’s equator that quite possibly could have supported life for elongated periods of time.