I’m sitting on my balcony right now getting ready to watch some fireworks (Happy Canada Day!) and I’m in awe of the beautiful moon. It’s shining more brightly than any of the street lights down below.
If you just think about this for a minute. 150 million kilometres away there’s a giant ball of gas that is burning so hot and radiating so much light that during the day today it burned my skin, and now it’s illuminating our night because it’s being reflected off of an orbiting ball of rock.
As I stare at the moon I can’t help but think that believing a god blinked it into existence diminishes its magnificence. I think it’s way cooler and it makes me feel way luckier to be here when I consider that, as the evidence shows, our existence here is simply the result of random chance.
What do you think?
Here’s something cool…
On July 20th, 1969, humans first set foot on the moon. Now you can follow what happened leading up to the mission via Twitter as if it were happening today.
Go to: https://twitter.com/ApolloPlus40
[Follow me on Twitter @EnlightningLinZ]
The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute wants to know!
If SETI detects a signal from an extraterrestrial civilization, what would you want to say to them? Or should we even reply?
Click here to let SETI know what you think we should say to the aliens!
For the last 4 months, until May 27th, an armless, legless torso has been aboard the International Space Station, so that scientists could learn more about the space radiation that presents a challenge to having a human presence in space.
The torso provided a real-world confirmation that the computer models previously used to look at space radiation were accurate, so now they can be confident in using the models to plan future space missions.
What does it all mean?:
“Short lunar missions are fine,” [Francis] Cucinotta [of NASA's Johnson Space Centre] says, “but living in a lunar habitat for 6 months starts to be problematic. We’re going to have to do a really good job with radiation shielding and perhaps medical countermeasures to have 6-month missions.”
Mars will be even tougher, these models suggest. Some scenarios call for missions that would last 18 months or more. “Right now there’s no design solution to stay within safety limits for such a Mars mission,” Cucinotta says. “Putting enough radiation shielding around a spacecraft would make it far too heavy to launch, so we need to find better lightweight shielding materials, and we probably need to develop medical techniques to counteract damage to cells caused by cosmic rays.” He notes that one of the biggest obstacles to progress in this area is “uncertainty in the types of cell damage deep cosmic ray exposure can cause. We still have a lot to learn.”
Published May 29, 2009
Tags: Astronomy, Telescopes
To mark the International Year of Astronomy a team of leading astronomers, optical engineers, and science educators have developed a low cost way that allows anyone to take part in backyard astronomy.
Order your Galileoscope now for only $15:
If you don’t need a telescope you can donate them to a local school or give them to your friends and family. Or you can get the best of both worlds and buy your own and donate some in one shot…the website makes it very easy.
The only reason I don’t have a telescope is the expense, so I’m so excited about this. I’m looking forward to seeing Saturn and its rings with my own eyes! I’ve never looked at the stars through a telescope! I can hardly contain my excitement!
The International Space Station will be welcoming three new astronauts this week:
“Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Bob Thirsk are expected to arrive at the space station Friday morning. The trio will begin an era of six-person crews aboard the station.
They will join station commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineers Mike Barratt of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and they will remain aboard the space station for six months. The entire Expedition 20 crew represents five agencies — the first time a space station crew has represented all five international space agency partners at once.”
Cheers to international cooperation for science!
I’ll keep the updates coming.
This is some cool news…
NASA announced on Thursday that they were “on target for a June mission to scour the Moon’s surface for landing sites and water that would allow humans to work and even live on Earth’s nearest neighbor.” -Yahoo!
Lonely moon, waiting for visitors
I’m not sure if this is new news, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it so I’m blogging about it anyways. I think this is really cool, for one thing because – I think it’s pretty obvious – I’m a huge nerd for anything that has to do with astronomy. This is a step towards a continuous human presence in space. Water on the moon would make it so much easier to have a base there, and having a permanent base on the moon opens up some interesting possibilities.
One of these possibilities is giant telescopes on the moon, allowing us to see further out and more clearly than telescopes on Earth, and the space telescopes. It might even be possible to build a telescope with a mirror nearly 5 times as large as any on Earth, and about 20 times as large as Hubble. The special conditions on the moon that would allow for such a telescope include no atmosphere, weak gravity so such a large mirror can be spun, and moon dust that has many of the ingredients necessary to build a mirror.
Artist's concept of astronauts with a telescope on the moon
The moon’s a cool thing, we’re lucky to have it, it’s so close and it’s within our reach to have a presence there…hopefully this upcoming mission will provide some helpful information.
Published May 23, 2009
Tags: Astronomy, Hubble, NASA
Just some quick news on the Atlantis mission: http://news.cnet.com/8301-19514_3-10248557-239.html
Still waiting for them to land, making sure the weather’s good and they’ll be able to make it safely back!