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NASA

Nothing like it has ever been seen before. The unusual space rock ‘Oumuamua is so intriguing mainly because it is the first asteroid ever detected from outside our Solar System — although likely many more are to follow given modern computer-driven sky monitoring. Therefore humanity’s telescopes — of nearly every variety — have put ‘Oumuamua into their observing schedule to help better understand this unusual interstellar visitor. Pictured is an artist’s illustration of what ‘Oumuamua might look like up close. ‘Oumuamua is also intriguing, however, because it has unexpected parallels to Rama, a famous fictional interstellar spaceship created by the late science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. Like Rama, ‘Oumuamua is unusually elongated, should be made of strong material to avoid breaking apart, is only passing through our Solar System, and passed unusually close to the Sun for something gravitationally unbound. Unlike a visiting spaceship, though, ‘Oumuamua’s trajectory, speed, color, and even probability of detection are consistent with it forming naturally around a normal star many millions of years ago, being expelled after gravitationally encountering a normal planet, and subsequently orbiting in our Galaxy alone. Even given ‘Oumuamua’s likely conventional origin, perhaps humanity can hold hope that one day we will have the technology to engineer ‘Oumuamua — or another Solar System interloper — into an interstellar Rama of our own. via NASA http://ift.tt/2jLMtjj


Expanding in-orbit storage. @BigelowSpace’s BEAM expandable habitat is currently being converted into a cargo platform on @Space_Station after an ~18 month test period. Details: https://t.co/gkOlXT2G7j https://t.co/1VSs9MSFpG



Before taking its final dive, @CassiniSaturn took one last glance at Saturn’s icy moon Rhea: https://t.co/nhu4lVNHNl https://t.co/AWvCOnBlYG



In a world fraught with obstacles, who will prevail in a race against time: human or machine? See what happens when we race a drone controlled by artificial intelligence against another guided by a professional human pilot: https://t.co/MuuILeH7Pj



A quirky comet, with an unexpected chemical fingerprint, zipped past Earth earlier this year and is changing our thinking on how comets form and evolve. Details: https://t.co/egQ3n7pzFA https://t.co/5G7U5ACwj2



If you plant it, will it grow…in space? See how astronauts are producing fresh, palatable & nutritious food like this hearty red lettuce aboard the @Space_Station: https://t.co/BCPXUfe04E https://t.co/uhF1X1fqre



RT @NASAMoon: Look for a beautiful crescent Moon this evening, setting not long after sunset, with Saturn and Mercury nearby. https://t.co/3vTeWksmzR



Water from melted ice on land doesn’t spread evenly across the world’s oceans. This new tool links changes in sea level in 293 port cities to specific regions of melting land ice. Take a closer look: https://t.co/Csnh2HIBMx https://t.co/yTG0XZrX8m




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