Moon of Saturn is Pac-Man in Disguise?

Posted By Ben Goulding, 30 March, 2010 | permalink

Mimas, one of the moons of Saturn, has been caught looking remarkably like that of the video game icon Pac-Man.

The image, taken by the Cassini spaceship which is orbiting the planet, measured temperature differences across the object’s surface and produced a map mimicking the popular character.

Mimas is about 400km (250 miles) across. It has a distinctive scar called Herschel Crater which has led many to draw comparisons with the “Death Star” from the Star Wars movies.

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Amateur Photographer’s Space Photos Intrigue NASA

Posted By Ben Goulding, 30 March, 2010 | permalink


(Youtube Link)

A father of three from Huddersfield has been telephoned by NASA after he took photos of space, using a cheap camera and a balloon.

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Will An Asteroid Hit Earth? (WFOTD)

Posted By Ben Goulding, 15 March, 2010 | permalink

The Torino Scale, which was created by Professor Richard P. Binzel, measures how likely it is that ‘near-Earth objects’ such as asteroids and comets will hit the Earth, and how serious the impact will be.

The scale runs from 0 to 10. A ‘0′ means the likelihood of a collision is zero, whilst a ‘10′ means a collision is certain, capable of causing global climatic catastrophe that may threaten the future of civilization as we know it, whether impacting land or oceans.

The highest level ever reached on the Torino Scale was ‘4′. This occurred in December 2004, when 99942 Apophis, an asteroid 270m away from Earth caused a brief concern, however it was later downgraded to 0. Phew!

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Gorilla Spotted On Mars

Posted By Ben Goulding, 4 March, 2010 | permalink

Does this picture show that there’s a giant silverback gorilla on Mars? *Gasp* Well, it’s certainly got alien hunters excited about the prospect of life in Space.

The image was taken by the Mars Spirit Rover in the Gusev crater, a crater over 100 miles in diameter that is thought to have once been a lake filled with liquid water.

It’s one of several images taken by Spirit that appear to show a gorilla knuckle-walking across the surface of the Red Planet.

Life or rock? I’ll let you make you’re own minds up on that one.

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No One Can Hear You Cry In Space (WFOTD)

Posted By Ben Goulding, 1 March, 2010 | permalink

In space, no one can hear you cry. That’s not because of poor hearing in space however, it’s because you can’t. That’s right, astronauts in space can’t cry properly because there is no gravity, so tears don’t flow down their faces as they would on Earth. Instead, they would just leave their eyes and float around. They can of course still cry, but not in the same way as we’re used to.

I’d like to go to space just to experience that. I’m not too sure how other bodily functions work up there though…

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Traces of ‘Dark Matter’ Discovered 2,000ft Below the Ground

Posted By Ben Goulding, 17 February, 2010 | permalink

Scientists may have caught their first glimpse of dark matter, 2,000ft below the Earth’s surface.

The invisible substance, which has been mysterious to scientists throughout time, was picked up using highly sensitive detectors buried 2,000 ft below the ground at the bottom of an old iron mine.

Dark matter makes up three quarters of the matter of the universe, and the scientists believe that there is a 75 percent chance that these particles are the genuine substance, rather than just background noise.

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Weird Fact of the Day (02/17/10)

Posted By Ben Goulding, 17 February, 2010 | permalink

NASA scientists working on several missions to send robotic probes to Mars have had to live and work for months on Mars time. A day on Mars is 39.5 minutes longer than Earth’s, which consequently meant that all their Earth-made watches were completely useless, so NASA commissioned custom-made watches which had seconds 2.7% slower than normal so they could keep track of the Martian time. Genius!

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Water is Found on the Moon

Posted By Ben Goulding, 24 September, 2009 | permalink

Water on the MoonIt’s the discovery that scientists had waited and hoped for, and it’s finally official – there IS water on the moon.

The Deep Impact observations of the Moon not only unequivocally confirm the presence of [water/hydroxyl] on the lunar surface, but also reveal that the entire lunar surface is hydrated during at least some portion of the lunar day.

Despite this however, the moon remains drier than any desert on Earth, with water only existing in very small quantities. One ton of the top layer of the lunar surface would hold about 32 ounces of water.

Now we’ve just got to find some gravity and an atmosphere, and we can start packing.

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Los Angeles Fires as Seen From Space

Posted By Ben Goulding, 2 September, 2009 | permalink

LA Fires from Space

Here is a NASA picture taken from space, showing the Los Angeles fires.

It was taken mid-morning on Aug. 30 by the backward (northward)-viewing camera of the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite, and just so you can get this into perspective, the image above covers an area of 245 kilometers (152 miles) wide. Nature really is a beast.

Click the link for more NASA fire and smoke images.

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Visualizing The Big Bang

Posted By Ben Goulding, 24 August, 2009 | permalink


(Youtube Link)

We made this video about the Big Bang because the theory is important and amazing, but often misunderstood.

This video was produced without any funding from any outside sources. It was put together with donated creative time from a group with a desire to further public cognition of science.

Science has many amazing stories to tell, this is the first. The Big Bang Briefly.

Now I’m no physics or astronomy expert, but did she just say that something came from nothing? That’s totally illogical isn’t it? Are these the same people who don’t believe that God exists, because it’s impossible for something to be created from nothing? Discuss.

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The Hubble Ultra Deep Field In 3D

Posted By Ben Goulding, 12 August, 2009 | permalink

A fascinating video about the Hubble Deep Field, with exploration in 3D. It makes you realize just how small we are.


(Youtube Link)

tdarnell:
“I’ve recently discovered an animation that was rendered using the measured redshift of all 10,000 galaxies in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image.

I’ve written a short script that leads you through a quick history of both deep field images and this video ends with a fly-through of the Ultra Deep Field.

Every galaxy in the image is in its proper distance as viewed from the telescope line of sight.

As if this image wasn’t amazing enough.”

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James May’s Journey To The Edge Of Space

Posted By Ben Goulding, 7 August, 2009 | permalink

James May, the U.K Top Gear presenter, takes a very emotional journey to the edge of space in a U2 spy plane.


(Youtube Link)

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Large Hadron Collider Off To A Slow Start

Posted By Ben Goulding, 5 August, 2009 | permalink

Europe’s Large Hadron Collider was built to re-create the energies present in the universe just after the big bang, but now it looks as if the bangs at the $10 billion machine won’t get as big as quickly as physicists had hoped.

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Unexplainable Bright Spot Found On Venus

Posted By Ben Goulding, 30 July, 2009 | permalink

Mysterious bright spot found on VenusAn intense bright spot has appeared on Venus and astronomers are not sure what it is or what has caused it.

Amateur astronomer Frank Melillo of Holtsville, New York, first spotted the new feature, which is brighter than its surroundings at ultraviolet wavelengths, on the planet’s southern hemisphere on 19 July. That same day, an amateur observer in Australia found a dark spot on Jupiter that had been caused by a meteoroid impact.

Is this another clue towards the much speculated 2012 doomsday? With unusual things occurring on Venus and Jupiter could Earth be next?

Link

Previously:

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Huge Price Tag For Moon Rock Book

Posted By Ben Goulding, 27 July, 2009 | permalink

MoonFireA book released on the 40th anniversary of the Moon landing is to go on sale for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Only 12 copies of the special edition of MoonFire will come with a piece of Moon rock because of it’s scarcity.

The book is based on the accounts of Norman Mailer, the author and space enthusiast who died in 2007, with glossy photos of the landing, archives on Nasa and LIFE magazine and each copy signed by Buzz Aldrin.

1969 copies of the book are being produced in total – to represent the year of landing – with most available to buy online for around $1,000, but only 12 of them will come with pieces of Moon rock that crashed to Earth as meteorites.

Check out the Taschen website for more details.

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Giant ‘Soap Bubble’ Found In Space

Posted By Ben Goulding, 24 July, 2009 | permalink

Planetary NebulaA giant soap bubble has been spotted floating around in space, which astronomers say is a newly discovered planetary nebula.

A planetary nebula is the product that is left when an aging star, which can weight up to eight times the mass of the sun, ejects its outer layers as clouds of luminous gas.

The bubble, which was officially named PN G75.5+1.7 last week, was found by Dave Jurasevich of the Mount Wilson Observatory in California and later by other amateur astronomers.

“It’s a beautiful example,” says Adam Frank of the University of Rochester, New York. “Spherical ones are very rare.”

Personally, I wouldn’t have called it PN G75.5+1.7. That just doesn’t roll off the tongue.

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If The Moon Landing Happened Today

Posted By Ben Goulding, 21 July, 2009 | permalink

On the 40th Anniversary of the moon landing, Slate V analyses how the media would cover the story if it happened today. From beaming astronauts into studios to following Twitter updates.


(Youtube Link)

How times have changed!

Link

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Go To The Moon With Google Earth

Posted By Ben Goulding, 21 July, 2009 | permalink

Google Earth is great for exploring the Earth at a click of a button, but now Google offers you the chance to land on the Moon and explore it with tours from Apollo astronauts. With rare TV footage of the Apollo missions, 3D models of landed spacecraft and 360-degree photos you should check it out.


(Youtube Video)

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Apollo 11

Posted By Ben Goulding, 18 July, 2009 | permalink

Apollo 11 - Buzz Aldrin. Image: NASA

Apollo 11 - Buzz Aldrin. Image: NASA

This month commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing – the first steps mankind took on the moon. An historic moment, but how much do you actually know about the moon landing? Here are ten facts you probably didn’t know about Apollo 11.

1. The Apollo’s Saturn rockets were packed with enough fuel to throw 100-pound shrapnel three miles, and NASA couldn’t rule out the possibility that they might explode on takeoff. NASA seated its VIP spectators three and a half miles from the launchpad.

2. The Apollo computers had less processing power than a cellphone.

3. Drinking water was a fuel-cell by-product, but Apollo 11’s hydrogen-gas filters didn’t work, making every drink bubbly. Urinating and defecating in zero gravity, meanwhile, had not been figured out; the latter was so troublesome that at least one astronaut spent his entire mission on an anti-diarrhea drug to avoid it.

4. When Apollo 11’s lunar lander, the Eagle, separated from the orbiter, the cabin wasn’t fully depressurized, resulting in a burst of gas equivalent to popping a champagne cork. It threw the module’s landing four miles off-target.

5. Pilot Neil Armstrong nearly ran out of fuel landing the Eagle, and many at mission control worried he might crash. Apollo engineer Milton Silveira, however, was relieved: His tests had shown that there was a small chance the exhaust could shoot back into the rocket as it landed and ignite the remaining propellant.

6. The “one small step for man” wasn’t actually that small. Armstrong set the ship down so gently that its shock absorbers didn’t compress. He had to hop 3.5 feet from the Eagle’s ladder to the surface.

7. When Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface, he had to make sure not to lock the Eagle’s door because there was no outer handle.

8. The toughest moonwalk task? Planting the flag. NASA’s studies suggested that the lunar soil was soft, but Armstrong and Aldrin found the surface to be a thin wisp of dust over hard rock. They managed to drive the flagpole a few inches into the ground and film it for broadcast, and then took care not to accidentally knock it over.

9. The flag was made by Sears, but NASA refused to acknowledge this because they didn’t want “another Tang.”

10. The inner bladder of the space suits—the airtight liner that keeps the astronaut’s body under Earth-like pressure—and the ship’s computer’s ROM chips were handmade by teams of “little old ladies.”

So now you know!

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Men From Mars

Posted By Ben Goulding, 15 July, 2009 | permalink

Three months ago, six European volunteered entered a space capsule in Moscow that simulated a journey to Mars.

The “isolation experiment” was meant to test how the human body and mind would cope with the limited communication from Earth. The volunteers, four Russians, a German and a Frenchman emerged yesterday with smiles on their faces and looked in good health after the 105 day exercise finished.

Mars Simulator. Image: Mikhail Metzel/AP

The capsule never left the ground, however with no windows and cramped conditions, it was designed to make the team feel as isolated as they would be on a real trip to Mars.

Next year anther group of volunteers will enter the same capsule, but this time it will be for 520 days! Rather them than me!

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