Space

Category archives for Space

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 five Earth years ago today, Opportunity on 25 January — and both are still going strong! These machines were originally meant to work for three months, yet they continue…

Astronomy Nerds In Love

Two of my favourite song writers have revealed themselves as astronomy nerds in love songs. Frank Black in “Sir Rockaby” (1994): How many stars girl Can you both count And then classify? I’m standing here in this big swirl Singing this lullaby Robert Schneider of the Apples in Stereo in “7 Stars” (2007): Seven stars…

Jeff Had Some Good Last Days

Jeff Medkeff’s friend, co-blogging under the pen-name Iatros Polygenos (“mongrel doctor” if my Greek serves me), offers a detailed account of our friend’s last days. Turns out that Jeff died during a trip to England where he was having a blast, visiting Darwin’s home, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and other great sites! I’m very…

Shermer and the Drake Equation

To how many technological civilisations is our galaxy home at this moment? It would be nice to know, so we could estimate our chances of ever coming into contact with somebody out there. In 1961, astronomer Francis Drake suggested a number of parameters relevant to this issue, and summarised them in an equation that bears…

Here’s an ace animated film clip showing how the Phoenix Lander manoeuvered its camera/digger arm to take a picture of the surface under its own belly a few days ago. Gives you a good sense of how the thing looks way out there… More recent clips here.

Junior Meets the Astronaut

Me and Junior just got home from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. First we were shown the portrait collection and the main meeting room where a lot of Nobel prizes have been decided. Then, under the joint auspices of the Academy and the Swedish Skeptics Society, we heard an hour’s lecture by one of…

W00t! Phoenix Survived!

The Phoenix Lander survived touch-down on Mars, has deployed its solar panels successfully and is transmitting pictures! Yay! Here’s the news feed where this baby’s discoveries will be announced over the coming months.

I wrote my 1990 high-school graduation paper about the search for a trans-plutonian planet. (That’s where I got hoodwinked by Zecharia Sitchin.) In its conclusion, I suggested that the search for such close-yet-dim objects could be automated with computer-controlled telescopes and automated image processing. This is actually what happened. Here’s an informative new video clip…

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 four Earth years ago today, Opportunity on 25 January — and both are still going strong! These machines were originally meant to work for three months, yet they continue…