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History of Earth

The history of Earth covers approximately 4 billion years (4,567,000,000 years), from Earth’s formation out of the solar nebula to the present.

Earth formed as part of the birth of the solar system: what eventually became the solar system initially existed as a large, rotating cloud of dust and gas.

It was composed of hydrogen and helium produced in the Big Bang, as well as heavier elements produced by stars long gone.

Note: This article excerpts material from the Wikipedia article "History of Earth", which is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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last updated on 2015-04-17 at 11:36 pm EDT

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Inflatable Heat Shield Survives Hypersonic Stress Test

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Reuters (July 24, 2012) An experimental heat shield developed by NASA has survived a trip through Earth's atmosphere while traveling at hypersonic speeds up to 7600 mph (12,231 kph). In a test flight, the Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment successfully demonstrated that an inflatable outer shell can protect a space capsule as it enters an atmosphere at hypersonic speed during planetary entry and descent, or as it returns to Earth with cargo from the International Space Station.
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What's Up for October 2013

What's Up for October 2013

NASA (Sep. 30, 2013) Jane Houston Jones: What's Up for October. Juno's Earth flyby, International Observe the Moon Night and how to view the moon's far side. Hello and welcome. I'm Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Jones: On October 9 at 3:21 p.m. Eastern time, or 19:21 Universal Coordinated Time, NASA's Juno spacecraft performs a close flyby of Earth. At closest approach, Juno will come to within 347 miles or 559 kilometers of our planet's surface.
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End of the Road for Kepler

End of the Road for Kepler

Deutsche Welle (Sep. 29, 2013) Is the earth unique? Or is there life somewhere else out there in space? The NASA built space telescope Kepler was designed to give us some initial answers to these questions. The flying telescope was launched in 2009 and until summer of 2013, when it became clear that a defect in two of Kepler's reaction wheels was irreparable, rendering it unsuitable for the task of searching for planets. The sudden end to the mission was a shock for planetary researchers given its tremendous success until that point. Kepler found 135 earth-like planets. Only a fraction of the data has been analyzed so far. We talk to scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research who are looking at the data and searching for habitable planets outside our solar system.
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