NASA spacecraft captures first images of the asteroid it will soon land on

NASA spacecraft captures first images of the asteroid it will soon land onA NASA probe speeding through the solar system has captured its first image of the asteroid Bennu, which the space agency will try to land on in 2020. Once that happens, the spacecraft OSIRIS-REx is designed to collect up to 4.4 pounds of ancient space rock, seal the minerals in a capsule, and blast the capsule back to Earth. If all goes as planned, the canister will drop down into the Utah desert in 2023.  SEE ALSO: A 12-mile, underground lake may have been found on Mars. What could live there? The space probe captured its first image of Bennu from 1.4 million miles away, which is pretty close as far as space distances go (this is about six times the distance between the Earth and moon). But as shown below, the asteroid is still too distant to make out any features or details. It looks like a fuzzy, spinning white dot. Asteroid Bennu speeds through space.Image: nasaIn early December, the probe will begin to orbit quite close to the small asteroid, 4.5 miles (7 kilometers) from the surface. As the craft slowly circles Bennu at just 0.1 mph, NASA scientists will map its rocky surface, scouring the terrain for a suitable landing spot Why is NASA visiting this small asteroid? Compared to many of the 780,000 known asteroids in our solar system, Bennu is pretty small. But it’s quite interesting.  For one, Bennu might contain valuable resources that can be used for future deep space exploration, Dante Lauretta, the OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson, said in a press call.  A conception of the probe collecting samples from BennuImage: nasaLauretta is interested in whether Bennu holds clay deposits, because embedded in clay is water. And water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen, two necessary components for rocket fuel.  One day, perhaps, Bennu may serve as a “fuel depot” in space, said Lauretta. Bennu is also believed to be a well-preserved, ancient asteroid, containing cosmic fragments older than our solar system. Understanding how Bennu formed, and the mish-mash of space materials it’s made of, will likely improve astronomers’ understanding of how the solar system came to be some four billion years ago. Bennu, at center, compared in size to other solar system asteroidsImage: nasaFinally, Bennu has the slight potential to travel dangerously close to Earth in 2175 and 2195.  “Bennu is one of the ones we are watching,” said Lauretta, noting that it has a 1 in 2,700 chance of coming too close for comfort.  Knowing what Bennu is composed of gives NASA better information about how to potentially deflect the large space rock, should it ever veer toward our humble blue planet.  WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?


Source: Yahoo! News

Sea-through: Amazing underwater gallery captures transparent 'aliens' of the deep

Sea-through: Amazing underwater gallery captures transparent 'aliens' of the deepImpressive images of these alien-like creatures were captured underwater — photographer Cai Songda is a keen diver and did not miss the chance to snap pictures of the unique “aliens.” Cai, who is from Manila, Philippines, went on several diving trips this year and ended up with this beautiful collection of sea creatures, most of them in the area of Anilao.Cai loves blackwater diving and photography; he uses special lighting to illuminate his photos, as they are all taken in deep, dark waters. …


Source: Yahoo! News

New water simulation captures small details even in large scenes

When designers select a method for simulating water and waves, they have to choose either fast computation or realistic effects; state-of-the-art methods are only able to optimize one or the other. Now, a new method bridges this gap. Their simulation method can reproduce complex interactions with the environment and tiny details over huge areas–all in real time.
Source: Science Daily

Photographer captures crystal-clear images of lions drinking at night

Photographer captures crystal-clear images of lions drinking at nightA daredevil photographer staked out a pride of lions for 15 hours to capture stunning, crystal-clear images of big cats drinking water together just 13 feet away. Freelance photographer Peter Haygarth, 55,  captured the rare moment — snapping the intensity of the lionesses’ stares and the contrast of night and light — in the Zimanga Private Game Reserve in South Africa.


Source: Yahoo! News

Photographer captures crystal-clear images of lions drinking at night

Photographer captures crystal-clear images of lions drinking at nightA daredevil photographer staked out a pride of lions for 15 hours to capture stunning, crystal-clear images of big cats drinking water together just 13 feet away. Freelance photographer Peter Haygarth, 55,  captured the rare moment — snapping the intensity of the lionesses’ stares and the contrast of night and light — in the Zimanga Private Game Reserve in South Africa.


Source: Yahoo! News