Archives for March, 2017

“The Universe is expanding the way your mind is expanding. It’s not expanding into anything; you’re just getting less dense.” -Katie Mack It’s a thing of scientific beauty that we’ve not only been able to determine that the Universe is expanding, but that we’ve been able to measure the rate of expansion so incredibly well.…

“He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.” -Leonardo Da Vinci For centuries, Newton’s theoretical predictions were as unassailable as physics got. His ideas about mechanics, gravitation and optics passed test after test after test. Yet around the…

“Laws of nature mixed with evolutionary/historical contingencies allow for a range of diversity… [t]hat diversity, within the laws of nature, when I step back a bit from the desk or the computer, still surprises me to no end.” -Adrian Lenardic When it comes to the habitability of a planet, there are a lot of assumptions…

“One should not need a teleportation device to decide whether a newly discovered object is a planet.” -Jean-Luc Margot It was a harsh lesson in astronomy for all of us in 2006, when the International Astronomical Union released their official definition of a planet. While the innermost eight planets made the cut, Pluto did not.…

“If you haven’t found something strange during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.” -John Archibald Wheeler Today, we take the existence of gravitational waves for granted. They were predicted by Einstein almost immediately following the first publication of general relativity, they were indirectly detected decades ago and they’ve been directly detected multiple…

“A bird cannot fly with one wing only. Human space flight cannot develop any further without the active participation of women.” -Valentina Tereshkova Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, launched aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1983 amidst controversy. At 32, she was the youngest astronaut in history, surrounded by questions such…

“A theory is a supposition which we hope to be true, a hypothesis is a supposition which we expect to be useful; fictions belong to the realm of art; if made to intrude elsewhere, they become either make-believes or mistakes.” -G. Johnstone Stoney It’s been another exciting week here at Starts With A Bang! This coming Thursday,…

“For the first time we can learn about individual stars from near the beginning of time. There are surely many more out there.” -Neil Gehrels We know what NASA’s James Webb and WFIRST are designed for, and we know what we expect to find. James Webb will be the largest space telescope ever, focused mostly…

“Mars’ atmosphere is so thin, you do not need a lot of streamlining. By the time the ship is going fast enough for air resistance to matter, it’ll be high enough that there will be practically no air.” -Andy Weir, The Martian, as spoken by Bruce Ng If you had taken a trip to our…

“If we get rid of the moon, women, those menstrual cycles are governed by the moon, will not get PMS. They will stop bitching and whining.” -Joe Scarborough, misattributing a quote to Arnold Schwarzenegger that was actually spoken by an impersonator Our Moon is pretty unusual as far as the Solar System goes: of all…