Archive for the ‘Space’ Category

A Candle in the Dark

November 23, 2013 Leave a comment

“Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.”

-Carl Sagan

“The Pioneer plaques are a pair of goldanodized aluminium plaques which were placed on board the 1972 Pioneer 10 and 1973 Pioneer 11 spacecraft, featuring a pictorial message, in case either Pioneer 10 or 11 is intercepted by extraterrestrial life. The plaques show the nude figures of a human male and female along with several symbols that are designed to provide information about the origin of the spacecraft.[1]

The Pioneer spacecraft were the first human-built objects to leave the Solar System. The plaques were attached to the spacecraft’s antenna support struts in a position that would shield them from erosion by stellar dust. – #Wikipedia

The plaque attached to Pioneer 10.

Decipher of the Pioneer Plaque.

The Demon-Haunted World: #Science as a Candle in the Dark

“A glorious book . . . A spirited defense of science . . . From the first page to the last, this book is a manifesto for clear thought.”
*Los Angeles Times


Follow the Water

September 27, 2012 Leave a comment

NASA Rover Finds Old Streambed on Martian Surface

This set of images compares the Link outcrop of rocks on Mars (left) with similar rocks seen on Earth (right). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS and PSI

Read between the lines. Scientifically, Water means Life as we know it. That’s why evidence of such, is on the top of the list, of what we look for on other planets.

September 27, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence — images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels — is the first of its kind.

Scientists are studying the images of stones cemented into a layer of conglomerate rock. The sizes and shapes of stones offer clues to the speed and distance of a long-ago stream’s flow.

“From the size of gravels it carried, we can interpret the water was moving about 3 feet per second, with a depth somewhere between ankle and hip deep,” said Curiosity science co-investigator William Dietrich of the University of California, Berkeley. “Plenty of papers have been written about channels on Mars with many different hypotheses about the flows in them. This is the first time we’re actually seeing water-transported gravel on Mars. This is a transition from speculation about the size of streambed material to direct observation of it.”  –

“The importance of liquid water as an organizing principle in the exploration for extraterrestrial life often is articulated in the simple expression ‘follow the water.'” – Astrobiology: Water and the Potential for Extraterrestrial Life,


Categories: Mars, Space Tags:

“Is Eris true?”

August 20, 2012 Leave a comment

“Is Eris true?
Malaclypse the Younger: Everything is true.
Even false things?
Even false things are true.
How can that be?
I don’t know man, I didn’t do it.”

The diagram illustrates the orbit of Eris (blue) compared to those of Pluto and the three outermost planets (white/grey). The segments of orbits below the ecliptic are plotted in darker colours, and the red dot is the Sun. The diagram on the left is a polar view while the diagrams on the right are different views from the ecliptic.

“Erisformal designation 136199 Eris, is the most massive known dwarf planet[i] in the Solar System and the ninth most massive body known to orbit the Sun directly. It is estimated to be 2326 (±12) km in diameter,[7] and 27% more massive than Pluto, or about 0.27% of the Earth‘s mass.[8][13]

Eris was discovered in January 2005 by a Palomar Observatory-based team led by Mike Brown, and its identity was verified later that year. It is a trans-Neptunian object (TNO) and a member of a high-eccentricity population known as the scattered disc. It has one known moonDysnomia. As of 2011, its distance from the Sun is 96.6 AU,[11] roughly three times that of Pluto. With the exception of some comets, Eris and Dysnomia are currently the most distant known natural objects in the Solar System.[2][h] Wikipedia encyclopedia

Categories: Astronomy, Awareness, Space

Perseid Below

August 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Remember the upcoming Perseid Meteor Shower this weekend!

Perseid Below
Credit: Ron Garan, ISS Expedition 28 CrewNASA

Denizens of planet Earth watched last year’s Perseid meteor shower by looking up into the bright moonlit night sky. But this remarkable view captured on August 13, 2011 by astronaut Ron Garan looks down on a Perseid meteor. From Garan’s perspective onboard the International Space Station orbiting at an altitude of about 380 kilometers, the Perseid meteors streak below, swept up dust left from comet Swift-Tuttle heated to incandescence.

The glowing comet dust grains are traveling at about 60 kilometers per second through the denser atmosphere around 100 kilometers above Earth’s surface. In this case, the foreshortened meteor flash is right of frame center, below the curving limb of the Earth and a layer of greenish airglow, just below bright star Arcturus.

Want to look up at this year’s Perseid meteor shower? You’re in luck. This weekend the shower should be near its peak, with less interference from a waning crescent Moon rising a few hours before the Sun.

Mars in the Loop

August 9, 2012 Leave a comment

“This composite of images spaced some 5 to 7 days apart from late October 2011 (top right) through early July 2012 (bottom left), traces the retrograde motion of ruddy-colored Mars through planet Earth’s night sky. To connect the dots in Mars’ retrograde loop, just slide your cursor over the picture (and check out this animation).

But Mars didn’t actually reverse the direction of its orbit. Instead, the apparent backwards motion with respect to the background stars is a reflection of the motion of the Earth itself. Retrograde motion can be seen each time Earth overtakes and laps planets orbiting farther from the Sun, the Earth moving more rapidly through its own relatively close-in orbit. On March 4th, 2012 Mars was opposite the Sun in Earth’s sky, near its closest and brightest at the center of this picture. Just arrived on the surface of the Red Planet, the Curiosity rover was launched on November 26, when Mars was near the crossover point of its retrograde loop.

Of course, Mars can now be spotted close to Saturn and bright star Spica, near the western horizon after sunset.”

Image Credit & CopyrightCenk E. Tezel, Tunç Tezel (TWAN)

Categories: Astronomy, Mars, Space Tags: , ,

Night of the Perseids (Aug. 11 – 13, 2012)

August 8, 2012 2 comments

Get ready for a PROMISING METEOR SHOW this Sunday Night!

Night of the Perseids.

On the night of August 12, 2010; from moonset until dawn was a good time to see meteors. Enthusiasts watched as comet dust rained on planet Earth, streaking through dark skies during the annual Perseid Meteor Shower.

Anticipating the shower approaching its peak, astronomer Marco Verstraaten recorded a series of exposures capturing meteors over a period of 6 hours using a wide angle lens from a not-so-dark site in the Netherlands. Combining them still produced this dramatic night sky view with many colorful meteor streaks.

The starry backdrop includes the Milky Way and even the faint Andromeda Galaxy, right of center. Although the comet dust particles are traveling parallel to each other, the shower meteors clearly seem to radiate from a spot on the sky in the eponymous constellation Perseus.

The radiant effect is due to perspective, as the parallel tracks appear to converge at a distance. Bright stars in Perseus extend into the gap between the foreground trees.

Night of the Perseids
Credit & CopyrightMarco Verstraaten

Categories: Astronomy, Space

“A bunny rabbit holding the American flag.”

August 8, 2012 Leave a comment

“Thanks to Romain Desort for this exclusive picture.” via Ubisoft

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