Space

Category archives for Space

Shortly after my buddy Jeff Medkeff died in 2008, a joint book review of ours was published in Skeptic Magazine. Here we criticised a book by Alan Bond and Mark Hempsell, two aeronautics engineers, where they claimed that a 7th century BC cuneiform tablet from Mesopotamia described an asteroid striking the Austrian Alps in 3123…

Mitchell & Webb Fake the Moon Landing

Via Global Atheist and Lousy Canuck.

Monday Miscellany

Web gems have been sent my way. ASPEX, makers of scanning electron microscopes, offer to scan your sample for free and post the image on their site. Finally you can learn about the micro-structure of your tear-duct sleep gunk! Pablo Zalama Torres makes lovely replicas of archaeological pottery. An amateur volunteering for the Stardust @…

Distributed Sun-Staring

Human eyes and brains are still way, way better at image recognition than computers. There are many visual tasks that we do swiftly ourselves but that we can’t yet get machines to do reliably at all. In January of ’06 I blogged about the Stardust @ Home project where you can help identify particles of…

Jungle-Covered Impact Crater

The Vichada river in Colombia is a tributary of the Orinoco. In 2004 part-time geologist Max Rocca discovered that it skirts South America’s largest impact crater. It measures 50 km in diameter, nearly a third of the Chicxulub crater caused by the space rock that killed off the non-avian dinos. This image visualises two important…

Dear Reader, remember the remote-controlled Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity? How long is it since the last time you thought of them? Spirit landed on Mars six Earth calendar years ago today, Opportunity on 25 January — and both still work fine! Sadly, though, Spirit has been stuck on the edge of a small dust-filled…

Don’t Miss the Geminids

Tonight the Geminid meteor shower peaks. My wife and I were out last night and saw loads, about one big fat shooting star a minute. Don’t miss the year’s best meteor shower! It’s because the Earth passes through the sandy exhaust trail of a comet. Tomorrow night will be good as well.

Phobos-bound Tardigrades Portrayed

Stacy L. Mason is an Aard regular and a talented artist. Check out his awesome interpretation of the Swedish tardigrades that are going to Phobos! In other news, I have issues with the lyrics of the Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas podcast‘s theme song, a fine ska tune by 7 Seconds of Love. I’m gonna flip out…

Phobos-Grunt (“soil”) is a planned Russian sample return mission to the Martian moon Phobos. It may launch in less than two months. On board will among other things be the L.I.F.E. experiment, a small canister full of hardy micro organisms, designed by the US Planetary Society. If all goes well, those microdaddies will go to…

Don’t Miss the Perseids

Did you notice something funny about the Google logo yesterday? It was full of falling stars. This marked the maximum of this year’s Perseid meteor shower. Every year about this time, Earth moves through the exhaust cloud left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. When gravel and sand from the comet enters our atmosphere the grains…