Warm water is eating away at the bases of West Antarctic glaciers in an irreversible runaway process: West Antarctic Glacier Loss Appears Unstoppable [the damn paper (paywalled)
] [more inside]
You may already be familiar with PhDComics (Previously)
and the PhDMovie (Previously)
, but PhDComics.tv
has now become a pretty fantastic resource for both researchers and laymen. [more inside]
Now that's rocket science:
An interview with Steve Collins of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Dawn spacecraft now orbits asteroid Vesta
- After almost 4 years of space travel, the Dawn spacecraft successfully entered orbit around Vesta, an Arizona sized rock. Dawn tweets
, takes pictures
, and there is a Vesta Fiesta party
to celebrate. After hanging out at Vesta for a year, Dawn will head off to visit the Ceres asteroid next, a three year trip. Amazing achievement of engineering, innovation and accuracy.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has announced
: NASA has ended operational planning activities for the Mars rover Spirit and transitioned the Mars Exploration Rover Project to a single-rover operation focused on Spirit's still-active twin, Opportunity.
New Scientist has a quality obituary
for the little Mars Rover that could.
Scheduled for November 25th, the Mars Science Laboratory - Curiosity Rover
will launch on an 8.5 month journey to Mars
. Upon arrival, it will plummet through the atmosphere in a flying-saucer-like aeroshell
and execute a most unusual landing via skycrane
. Curiosity carries a dizzying array of cameras and sensors
, but more importantly a high powered laser
to teach Mars who is boss, and oh, maybe your name
if you let it.
This Summer’s Sexiest Images From Saturn.
From a billion miles away, the Cassini spacecraft
continues to send spectacular images of Saturn and its moons. Cassini
has been flying since 1997 and arrived at Saturn in 2004 after flybys of Earth, Venus and Jupiter. Its mission was originally slated to end in 2008, but it got its first 27 month extension to witness Saturn’s equinox. This year, it was given another life extension until 2017
to keep exploring until Saturn’s northern hemisphere summer solstice. [previously
] [more inside]
On July 17th, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
(WISE) satellite completed its first survey of the entire sky viewable from Earth
. After just seven months in orbit, WISE -- a precursor to the planned James Webb Space Telescope
-- has returned more than a million images that provide a close look at celestial objects
ranging from distant galaxies
. The first release of WISE data, covering about 80 percent of the sky, will be delivered to the astronomical community in May of next year
, but in the meantime we can see some of the images and animations that NASA has released to date: Galleries (containing just a small selection of images)
. Videos and Animations: 1
, 2 [more inside]
One of the great things about Google Earth
is how extensible it is using KML
. You can use it to show off placemarks, build 3D structures, track wildfires or hurricanes, and much more. Google Earth can be used as a scientific visualization platform. OpenEarth
is an open source initiative that archives, hosts and disseminates Data
for marine and coastal scientists and engineers. Their KML data visualizations using Google Earth
display some of the possibilities. [via
] [more inside]
Cassini Reveals New Ring Quirks, Shadows During Saturn Equinox.
"It's like putting on 3-D glasses and seeing the third dimension for the first time," said Bob Pappalardo, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "This is among the most important events Cassini has shown us." Latest press images.
Memoirs of an [Australian] Space Engineer
is a too-short collection of several old-school engineering stories. [more inside]
Seven minutes of terror.
A short video on describing how the Phoenix probe
at the North Pole of Mars
on May 25th. Follow updates to the mission via Twitter
and the blog
The Golden Record
: Hear what the aliens will hear.
30 years ago today, a collection of images
and sound recordings
engraved on a record
was launched toward the stars.
covers an amazing collection of music, and has been called the Mix Tape of the Gods
Cassini Flies by Tethys and Hyperion,
and the photos so far have been awesome
. I especially want to point out this fascinating view
, which, if you look at it closely
, reveals what appears to be a string of small impact craters, in a straight line over older terrain. What kind of meteor impact could have produced such an excellent formation of craters? Hyperion photos are coming. (Kokogiak's got backup
in case the JRUNS strike.)
Two Moons Passing in the Night.
Mars rover Spirit took these sequential photos of Martian moons Phobos and Deimos passing overhead in the night sky. Those rovers are still going strong!
Rocks Among the Rings.
The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla has compiled some of the loveliest imagery of Saturn's ring-and-moon system from Cassini
. More on Saturn from the Planetary Society here.
Also see the Cassini at Saturn photoset
, from our very own kokogiak, and watch for updates on the latest Enceladus flyby
"Standard orbit, aye, sir."
Following a nail-biting ring-plane crossing and 96-minute engine burn, Cassini has arrived
, and is now in orbit around Saturn, 84 light-minutes away, sending in the first closeup pictures of the planet's rings
. Also see the Planetary Society's details on the Orbit Insertion
, Spaceflight Now's mission updates in weblog-like format
, and raw images from the spacecraft
as they come. Kudos, JPL! (Aside: the press has yet to tire of Lord of the Rings
Far, far away.
Today, Voyager 1 will reach 90 AU
from the sun, around which distance it is expected to cross the "termination shock," finally crossing into the fuzzy boundary between the heliosphere
and true interstellar
space. (Yes, it's taken that long
to get there.) Some even think that the termination shock has already been reached
, but then re-expanded past the spacecraft. Tears need not be shed yet for these distant explorers: both Voyagers have juice
till about 2020, and the mission remains very much alive.
(No word, however, on a possible return to the Creator
Asteroid orbits Enter the designation or name of any asteroid or comet, and a 3D orbit visualization tool will appear for that object
If Chicken Little had this link he might have calmed down a little. Or not...Find out if your favorite asteroid is about to rock your world.
Armageddon in 30 years?
Okay, so maybe hyped up a bit, but there's a 1:500 chance that whatever's out there might hit us. For now scientists don't know if it's really an asteroid, or just some leftover shuttle parts. [via SlashDot]