Posts tagged Science
Posts tagged Science
+1 Space Exploration
This photograph is 40 years old.
Let that sink in for a moment.
It’s called “The Blue Marble”, and it was taken by the crew of Apollo 17 as they looked back on their home on their way to the Moon, exactly 40 years and three days ago.
You’ve probably seen this photo a few times. It’s inspired many modern replicates, from this year’s “Blue Marble 2012” to the just-released view of Earth at night, the “Black Marble”. It’s understandably hard to pick a favorite. Look at how wonderful they all are:
For me, it’s not a tough decision. Blue Marble 1972 was the first, and it is the finest in my heart. It may not have the detailed resolution, or the rich color, or the exotic shading that comes from a modern digital composite image drawn from the whole electromagnetic spectrum. But it marks a pivotal moment in mankind’s history.
Apollo 17 wasn’t the first mission to the Moon, of course. It was the last. That’s what makes this photo so special. These pioneers, these explorers, they turned their Hasselblads back toward home and snapped this shot. These interplanetary adventurers (the Moon likely used to be a dwarf planet, so they’ve earned the title) put our existence in perspective with one click.
A human being hasn’t seen this sight with the naked eye since 1972. The International Space Station doesn’t orbit far enough from Earth to see anything but curved edges. Same with the shuttle. Perhaps Curiosity, had its eye been somehow deployed in mid-flight, could have turned back to see where it came from. But alas, no.
I’m happy with the images of Earth that our satellites send back. Not one, but two of them grace my iPhone’s wallpapers (“Aqua” and “Black” marbles, if you’re interested), that phone that has more computing power than the entire spacecraft this photo was taken from. But I want another human being to see our Earth from this vantage point.
When this image came back to Earth, people stopped for a moment, however brief, in the midst of wars Cold and hot, to realize this is our home. Our home. Maybe a military officer somewhere thought twice about dropping bombs that day. Maybe a parent showed it to their kids before bed instead of sitting silently in front of the TV. Maybe someone who was alive when the Wright brothers flew for the first time smiled at how far we’d come.
I don’t want this to be the last time we feel those things. Let’s go take another picture.
I LOOK GOOD A mosaic of photos taken by an imager on NASA’s Curiosity rover shows the underside of the rover and its six wheels, with Martian terrain stretching back to the horizon. The four circular features on the front edge of the rover are the lenses for the left and right sets of Curiosity’s hazard avoidance cameras, or Hazcams. Because of the different perspectives used for different images, some of the borders of the photos don’t line up precisely. (Photo: ASA / JPL via NBC News)
Considering he’s on Mars all by himself, I don’t think we can judge Curiosity for the incomplete camera work.
Headline: ROBOTS LEARN ABOUT GPOY
Carl Sagan — Pale Blue Dot (via ikenbot)
This is why Teilhard de Chardin should be more widely read.
Science, the most excellent way.
Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology
Not sure why he’s using the past tense here.
(A Biologist’s) St. Patrick’s Day Song
An ode to the little guys, without which we wouldn’t have St. Patrick’s Day … by which, of course, I mean Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Anybody have one of these with Mr. Wizard?
some men just want to watch the world learn 画
This is the Coffee Cycle, one of the great driving forces of life on Earth.
Watch the “birth” of lightning—the numerous paths it traverses before touching down and producing the main flash we see.
Lightning in Super Slow Motion (by RPatt3362)
(found on Google+)
Maths everywhere ;)
Famous Villains Turned Into Equations
The Joker, Lex Luthor, Hannibal Lector, Darth Vader
Credit: Adrian Mann
Future starships may be constructed in Earth orbit using a ring-type construction facility, which could have hotel rooms where guests could observe the construction.
Wind Energy Without the Blades?
What if we could harness wind energy without the fields of enormous blade turbines that have come to be associated with modern wind farms. It would certainly help eliminate the “spinning blades of death” that many birds have to deal with, as well. Levant Power of Cambridge, MA turned to nature for an inspired alternative:
The proposed design calls for 1,203 ““stalks,” each 180-feet high with concrete bases that are between about 33- and 66-feet wide. The carbon-fiber stalks, reinforced with resin, are about a foot wide at the base tapering to about 2 inches at the top. Each stalk will contain alternating layers of electrodes and ceramic discs made from piezoelectric material, which generates a current when put under pressure. In the case of the stalks, the discs will compress as they sway in the wind, creating a charge.
Not to mention that I wouldn’t mind having one of these near my house at night … just beautiful. If this doesn’t work, then all we have to turn to is purple turbines.