Solar System Asteroid Belt Location asteroids meteoroids meteors meteorites what are Solar Asteroid Location System Belt

Solar System Asteroid Belt Location asteroids meteoroids meteors meteorites what are Solar Asteroid Location System Belt
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Solar System Asteroid Belt Location

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The very productive Cassini mission might attain some indirect information by analyzing the ring arc material--however, it is unlikely to come close to the little moon again before the mission ends in 2017.



The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative endeavor by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, manages the mission for NASA.



A moon is a natural body that is in orbit around a planet, and it is kept in place by both the host planet's gravity and the gravity of the moon itself. Some planets possess orbiting moons; some do not. There are several theories explaining how Earth's Moon came to be. At this point, the favored model is termed the giant impact theory, often playfully called the Big Whack or Big Splash theory by astronomers when they are in a humorous frame of mind. These funny nicknames were derived from the central tenet of the theory, which is that a Mars-sized body, named Theia, smacked into the primordial Earth billions of years ago. The collision caused part of our planet's crust to be hurled violently into space. Some of this shattered, somersaulting debris was snared into Earth-orbit, where it formed a host of moonlets that were ultimately pulled together by gravity to evolve into our Moon.

Most of the Big Whack theory was suggested in 1975 by Dr. William K. Hartmann and Dr. Donald R. Davis of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. Their theory was derived from geological evidence that had been collected by the Apollo astronauts when they made their historic trip to the Moon in 1969. Oxygen isotopes within the lunar rocks were found to be almost identical to those on Earth. Furthermore, other pieces of evidence revealed that the Moon is partly composed of the same material as Earth's mantle.



The most widely accepted scenario, explaining our Moon's mysterious and ancient birth, is termed the Giant Impact Theory. According to this theory, Earth's Moon was born as the result of a gigantic collision between our still-forming planet and a primordial Mars-sized protoplanet that has been named Theia. The tragedy that was the doomed Theia probably had an orbit that crossed Earth's--making such a catastrophic collision difficult to avoid. It is thought that the impacting Theia hit our planet hard, but swiped it with a glancing blow at precisely the right angle. In fact, Theia came very close to bouncing off Earth, but was swallowed instead. The blast dispatched shock waves across our ancient planet, hurling debris and gas screaming into space. For a short time, Earth had a ring around it that was composed of this ejected material.



The HST findings, published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, report on recent observations of Europa, dating from 2016, in which a probable plume of material was observed shooting out from the moon's cracked icy surface. This rising plume occurred at the same location that HST had previously observed signs of a plume in 2014. The HST images provide strong evidence that the plumes observed shooting out from the surface of Europa, could be real eruptions. The observed plumes could be seen flaring up intermittently in the same region on the moon's surface.

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