Tag Archives: space

Life on Enceladus?

It appears that beneath the ice of Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, is an ocean with sand resting on its bottom and heat vents reaching 190 degrees. Life around the vents? Possibly. Cassini will get within thirty miles of Enceladus … Continue reading

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Yellow Moon

That would be Io orbiting Jupiter (NASA image taken in 1999 by the Galileo spacecraft):

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13.7 Billion Years Divided By 365: 40 Million Years Is A Day; A Day, 40 Million Years

In the debut episode of the new Cosmos series, hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Hand Stuever of The Washington Post describes the football field sized cosmological calendar that Tyson uses to put our 13.7 billion-year-old big bang universe into time … Continue reading

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Sandra Bullock As Odysseus: The Film “Gravity” Is Insanely Good

I saw Gravity, and plan to see it again before it leaves theatres. But it’s not a perfect movie. With its inane exchange of banter between the ground crew and astronauts at the beginning of the film, it gets off … Continue reading

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Earth-like Planets Abundant in the Cosmos

Geoff Marcy, a professor of astronomy at Berkeley, talks to The PBS News Hour about earth-like planets. __________ “Earth-like,” as used by Marcy, means a rocky planet orbiting in the Goldilocks zone (neither too close nor too far from its … Continue reading

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Fresh Water! Mars Rover Curiosity Finds 3.5 Billion-Year Old Lake Sediment in Gale Crater That Could Have Supported Life

There was some big news yesterday that you might have missed. It appeared in the science section of the The New York Times (December 9, 2013): [L]ife [on Mars], at least in the ancient past, is at least plausible. John P. … Continue reading

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We Live Without a Net on the Outskirts of Nowheresville

The below image of the Earth and our moon (the starburst is our planet and the tiny dot under it, the moon), recently taken by the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn 900 million miles away, is more than a little unnerving. … Continue reading

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A Tribute to Architecture, Old and New, in Europe

__________ Looking at the above video, it makes one wonder about what the human species really is, and where it’s headed. And, of course, we already live in a grand and bejeweled cathedral. __________ The Hubble Deep Field image itself … Continue reading

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Life Perspective from Three Vantages

First vantage. Astronaut Suni Williams on what it’s like to look down on Earth from space: When you’re flying in space some of the things down on Earth seem trivial. Things like politics leave your mind. […] For me, [most] news … Continue reading

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Curiosity at Rocknest

A pretty stunning Mars photo from Rocknest was released by NASA a couple of weeks back. Here it is in the event you missed it. __________ Of course, there’s also something distinctly gloomy about the photo, for it shows a … Continue reading

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Astronomer Phil Plait on How to Stop Asteroids

After Russia’s nervy meteor encounter last week, the following TED talk by Phil Plait is obviously important:

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Sunita Williams’s Guided Tour of the International Space Station

This is life in space with departing International Space Station Commander, Sunita Williams. A few hours after making this video, she returned to Earth, landing in Kazakhstan with two of her colleagues, one from Russia and one from Japan. __________ If … Continue reading

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Time and Space, or Poetry and Art

In Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s (1729-1781) Laocoon, or On the Limits of Painting and Poetry (1766), there is a key insight: with regard to time and space, poetry and art function differently. A poem must necessarily be read in time and … Continue reading

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Is the Privately Financed Mars Mission for 2022 a Colonizing Mission or a Suicide Mission?

Not to be impolite, but this video strikes me as flim-flam. Perhaps it is being used at fund-raisers to coax seed money from gullible wealthy donors. Watch the video and see if you agree with me. __________ Why do I … Continue reading

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The Farthest You’ll Ever See

NASA recently released the below Hubble image. It’s a high quality (2 million second) exposure of deep space galaxies, the most distant of which are 13.2 billion light years away. What you’re seeing is not our time, but the universe … Continue reading

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Mars, the Book

A miracle. This is not the American Southwest, but part of Mount Sharp inside Gale Crater on Mars. The (apparently sedimentary) rocks exposed here are more than three billion years old. Curiosity is about six miles from them. Behold the Book of Mars. We’ll … Continue reading

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What NASA Won’t Tell You About The Mars Rover Curiosity

It’s looking for life on Mars. What’s my evidence? The following sentence from science writer Marc Kaufman’s excellent book, First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth (Simon & Schuster, 2011, 42-43): The next NASA mission to … Continue reading

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Curiosity is John Wesley Powell on Mars

Last night, my wife Rachel and I took our two daughters, Lia and Aria, to the Will Geer Theatricum in Los Angeles to see a hippie rendition of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. But though the Will Geer production was colorful and I … Continue reading

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Life Found on Mars? Neuropharmacologist and Biologist Joseph Miller is “99 Percent Sure There’s Life” on Mars

The Discovery News website this week is reporting some pretty mind-blowing stuff on whether there is bacterial life on Mars, accompanied by an exciting quote from neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller (who is at the University of Southern California’s Keck School … Continue reading

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Neil deGrassi Tyson Makes the Economic Case for Reviving the U.S. Space Program

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