The Mars Science Laboratory rover going to Mars this year is allowing members of the public to have their names sent along on a microchip and thus “immortalized” on Mars. Today is the last day for submissions.
The form is here. The site also provides the opportunity to print out a participation certificate. There are also maps which give you a peek at US and worldwide participation totals.
Posted in Space June 13th, 2011 by Chip Comments Off
SETI recently aannounced that it would be shutting down one of its main scanning tools due to lack of funding. It’s dismaying to see the slow decay of space-related research, and if you want to help stave it off you can make a tax-deductible donation to SETI here.
Posted in Space May 2nd, 2011 by Chip Comments Off
I was in high school, and they announced the disaster over the PA system. The teacher stopped class and we watched a replay on the news.
I specifically recall a voiceover by somebody in the control room who didn’t see the explosion but noticed that his equipment was registering some kind of mechanical failure saying, “Obviously, a major malfunction,” and thinking that he had just won the Understatement of the Decade Award.
Where were you when it happened?
Posted in Space January 28th, 2011 by Chip Comments Off
via Technology ReviewThe value of the cosmological constant suggests that the laws of nature could not have been fine-tuned for life by an omnipotent being, says a cosmologist
One of the more curious debates in science focuses on the laws of physics and why they seem fine-tuned for life.
The problem is that the laws of physics contain various constants that have very specific, mysterious values that nobody can explain. These constants are balanced in such a way that life has evolved at least once, in one small part of the Universe.
But why do the constants have these values? Various scientists have calculated that even the tiniest of changes to these constants would make life impossible. That raises the question of why they are so finely balanced
One explanation is that this is pure accident and that there is no deeper reason for the coincidence. Another idea is that there is some deeper law of nature, which we have yet to discover, that sets the constants as they are. Yet another is that the constants can take more or less any value in an infinite multitude of universes. In ours, they are just right, which is why we have been able to evolve to observe them.
via Technology Review
Our cosmos was “bruised” in collisions with other universes. Now astronomers have found the first evidence of these impacts in the cosmic microwave background
There’s something exciting afoot in the world of cosmology. Last month, Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford and Vahe Gurzadyan at Yerevan State University in Armenia announced that they had found patterns of concentric circles in the cosmic microwave background, the echo of the Big Bang.
This, they say, is exactly what you’d expect if the universe were eternally cyclical. By that, they mean that each cycle ends with a big bang that starts the next cycle. In this model, the universe is a kind of cosmic Russian Doll, with all previous universes contained within the current one.
That’s an extraordinary discovery: evidence of something that occurred before the (conventional) Big Bang. READ MORE
Posted in Science, Space January 4th, 2011 by ceejaydp Comments Off
They may have their differences, but it seems that dwarf planets Eris and Pluto have a lot more in common than just their planetary status.
The larger Eris orbits the sun at a distance three-times that of Pluto, so it may not seem possible that we’ll ever get a glimpse of what its surface is made of. But scientists from Northern Arizona University (NAU) have shown that even this lonely object can be probed from afar.
At the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences conference held in Pasadena this week, NAU professor Stephen Tegler presented the results of a two-year study that combined laboratory ice work and observations from two U.S. telescopes. FULL STORY
Outer space is becoming a garbage heap. Some 15,000 pieces of debris, ranging from fingernail-sized paint flecks to 10-ton rocket stages, are hurtling through Earth’s orbit at 5 miles per second — about 10 times as fast as a speeding bullet. And the junk is multiplying, Asteroids-like, as large objects break apart into smaller ones. (China’s recent anti-satellite test has hastened the process.) Scientists warn of an approaching Kessler syndrome: the point at which flotsam from collisions makes future space ventures dangerous. How can we clean up the mess? The trick is to either grab shrapnel or coax it toward the planet, where it will burn up in the atmosphere. Several methods of trash collection have been floated. Some are cleverly low tech; others seem like fodder for the Sci Fi Channel.