Space Roundup: The Moon Takes a Hit, the Earth Avoids One and Saturn Gains a New Ring

It’s weeks like these that all the aliens need to get together and finally start an intergalactic news organization to report on all the universal happenings. Here at HowStuffWorks.com we’ve been so busy covering the Ig Nobels this week, that outer space took a back seat.
Which new story excited you the most? Was it NASA taking a bite out of the moon Friday morning? Or maybe you didn’t bat an eye at that since, as Robert reminded me, this idea of bombing the moon has been around since as early as the 1950s in the form of Project A 119. Or maybe you’re more of a pacifist and applaud Huffington Post blogger Amy Ephron’s efforts to help save the moon (rather than bomb it). Furthermore, even if you were gung-ho on the explosion idea, the impact didn’t exactly give you a big show in the form of a plume of debris. If you haven’t gotten around to watching it yet, I’ve included a link to NASA’s coverage of the event.
Space.com is running a cool top 10 featuring the greatest lunar crashes ever, No. 10 being the recent LCROSS impact. The moon’s cataclysmic origins figure in prominently, too. (I tried to link to it, but for some reason, it wouldn’t work. Sorry about that guys.)
But if the moon wasn’t your bag, there was plenty of news emanating from the gas giant a few planets over. Earlier in the week, we learned that yet another enormous ring encircles Saturn. This one, according to the folks at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, could fit about 1 billion Earths inside it. The Spitzer Space Telescope discovered Saturn’s latest admirer. If anyone’s lost count, up until this latest finding, the planet had seven rings and few more faint unnamed ones in reserve (maybe those are backups in case A through E don’t work out?).
We also learned that the Earth isn’t quite as likely to get beaned by Apophis, the near-Earth object that measures two-and-a-half football fields across. Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory report that the probability of Earth receiving a decidedly unwelcome visit from the asteroid on April 13, 2036, has dropped from one-in-45,000 to about four-in-a million.
And those are just a sliver of the stories that rocked space this week.
Get spacey at HowStuffWorks.com:When Worlds and Comets Collide Moon Quiz Why do some people believe the moon landings were a hoax?
Topics in this Post: Stuff to Blow Your Mind

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