- Fusion Fridays at Pacific Asia Museum
The still-spreading Gult Coast oil spill is threatening to become a full-fledged environmental disaster that may eclipse Exxon Valdez in cost and impact. [WaPo]
- Today, the Obama administration put pressure on BP America to do more to stop the leak and clean up its aftermath. [NYT]
- Experts and volunteers are scrambling to aid the wildlife affected by the spill. [Discovery News]
- NASA’s Earth Observatory team is tracking the oil spill’s progress by satellite. [Discovery News]
Image: This satellite photo provided by NASA shows the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico as it closes in on the Pass a Loutre area of Plaquemines Parish, La. (NASA photo)
The Hubble Space Telescope is celebrating its 20th anniversary. In the spirit of the occasion, the famous telescope has captured this phantasmagorical image deep within the Carina Nebula. Not too shabby for a telescope with two decades under its belt. NASA and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team describe it best: “This craggy fantasy mountaintop enshrouded by wispy clouds looks like a bizarre landscape from Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ or a Dr. Seuss book, depending on your imagination. The NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, which is even more dramatic than fiction, captures the chaotic activity atop a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being assaulted from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks.” [NASA and Discovery News]
- A bone to pick: Was the Donner Party’s legendary cannibalism just a myth? A new study of the bones found at the Donner’s campsite in California’s Sierra Nevadas suggests the snowbound pioneers may not have eaten each other after all. [DISCOVERY NEWS]
- Design your Mii-like scientist/engineer
- Equip your laboratory with data-capturing devices
- Choose an orbiter or rover as your spacecraft
- Outfit it with more information-gathering instruments
- Select a destination like Mars, Saturn, its moon Titan or Earth
- Launch your rocket — with a countdown and everything
- Study your destination and collect data and samples to send back to Earth
A fun tip from the Twitter feed run by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory: The International Space Station will make a visible pass from 5:23 p.m. to 5:28 p.m. tonight, heading from southwest to northeast.
It’s just a stellar “added bonus for those attending tonite’s BCS game.”
If you can stand to look away from the early action on the field, definitely glance toward the sky during those five minutes for some extra excitement.
How will you know what to look for? Here are some guidelines from the Hayden Planetarium in New York:
“Because of its size and configuration of highly reflective solar
panels, the space station is now, by far, the brightest man-made object
currently in orbit around the Earth. On favorable passes, it can appear
as bright as the planet Venus …”
“While the ISS looks like a moving star to the unaided eye, those who
have been able to train a telescope on it have actually been able to
detect its T-shape as it has whizzed across their field of view. Some
have actually been able to track the ISS with their scope by moving it
along the projected path. Those who have gotten a good glimpse describe
the body of the Space Station as a brilliant white, while the solar
panels appear a coppery red.
For evening passes, the ISS will usually start out rather dim and then
tend to grow in brightness as it moves across the sky.”
Want to know when other spacecraft will be flying overhead? There’s an app(let) for that.
Scott Burleigh of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is one among a consortium of scientists and computer programmers working to turn interplanetary Internet from science fiction to reality.
The deep-space Internet, which had to be specially designed to withstand the tumult of extraterrestrial existence, has already been tested by NASA and may be up and running for practical use on real missions in the blink of a Space Eye.
The new networking protocols that make up this Internet are delay-tolerant, so as to protect and pass on data even amid the regular transmission glitches that happen, for example, when a spacecraft moves behind a celestial body or a solar storm flares up.
The interplanetary Internet even has potential terrestrial applications that could benefit life here on Earth. Read more about them — and Burleigh — in Rose Magazine, below.