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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Really Interesting Space, Science and Sci Fi News and The Imaginarium. A Great Way to End Your Boring Thursday

Hello Troops,
     It was a quiet day at the space centers.  The CMSEC is closed for floor waxing.  The DSC had a couple private missions.  I took my bike in for new back brakes.  I discovered the problem on one of the Murdock Canal hills yesterday......
     The DSC has a Super Overnight Camp tomorrow night.  They may have an opening or two if you're interested.  Give them a call.  I usually chaperon all the DSC camps, but I'm having second thoughts for the Super Overnight Camps.  The campers don't go to bed until 2:00 A.M. on those camps - well past my bed time.  We shall see....

Mr. W. 

Space, Science and Sci-Fi News

Happy Birthday, Maria Mitchell! 

Maria Mitchell (pronounced Ma-RYE-ah) was an astronomer, librarian, naturalist, and above all, educator. She discovered a comet through a telescope, for which she was awarded a gold medal by the King of Denmark. She was then thrust into the international spotlight and became America’s first professional female astronomer.

Born to Quaker parents William and Lydia Mitchell on Nantucket on August 1, 1818, Mitchell was an avid learner. The Quaker tradition taught that both boys and girls should be educated and Maria received an education at local schools and from her father’s tutoring. Her father was a great influence on her life; Maria developed her love of astronomy from his instruction on surveying and navigation. At age 12, Maria helped her father calculate the position of their home by observing a solar eclipse. By 14, sailors trusted her to do vital navigational computations for their long whaling journeys. Maria pursued her love of learning as a young woman, becoming the Nantucket Atheneum’s first librarian. She and her father continued to acquire astronomical equipment and conduct observations.

On October 1st, 1847, Maria was sweeping the sky from the roof of the Pacific National Bank on Main Street, where her father was a cashier. She spotted a small blurry object that did not appear on her charts. She had discovered a comet! After achieving her fame, Maria was widely sought after and went on to achieve many great things. She resigned her post at the Atheneum in 1856 to travel throughout the US and Europe. In 1865, she became Professor of Astronomy at the newly-founded Vassar College.

Maria was an inspiration to her students. It was Vassar College that Maria felt was truly her home. She believed in learning by doing, and in the capacity of women to achieve what their male counterparts could. “Miss Mitchell” was beloved by her students whom she taught until her retirement in 1888, due to failing health. She died in 1889, and was buried next to her parents in Nantucket’s Prospect Hill Cemetery.

What is the Most Astonishing Fact in the Universe

A Planet Outside our Solar System Captured in a Photograph

A gas planet about four times the size of Jupiter may be giant, but it's one of the smallest alien planets ever captured on camera, according to a new study.

The Subaru Telescope captured this image of exoplanet GJ 504 b, which is several times larger than Jupiter.

Boeing designs an Apollo-like Smart Spacecraft

By now, we all know that NASA is floundering a bit under budget constraints. Moving forward, it seems that private industry is going to be leading us to the stars. This fact is a little disheartening, as exploration will be determined by what is most profitable economically as opposed to what is most profitable intellectually or scientifically. 

However, NASA and Boeing have teamed together to help the US get back into the swing of launching people into space again with this Apollo like Capsule. The CST-100 sits seven astronauts and has all of the latest innovations when it comes to technology. Some of its new features include touchscreen interfaces (as opposed to a bajillion buttons and levers), new thermal protection technology for re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere, and more comfortable seating and spacing.

Although Boeing and NASA only have a mock up for testing so far, they’re planning on sticking the CST-100 on an Atlas V rocket in 2016 for testing. There are also plans of docking with the International Space Station in 2017…as long as NASA has the funding from the US government.

~Jason G.
From Quarks to Quasars

Sources and further reading:

-Science Daily-|NSNS|2012-GLOBAL|online-news#.UfmwKo03tlo

-Image credit-

The SeaLander

Designed and built by a German-based industrial designer Daniel Straub, Sealander is a clever two-in-one vehicle that combines features of an electric power boat and a camping trailer. And it's not just a blue-sky concept - a prototype has been built and successfully tested on the road and on the water and Sealander is now reportedly being prepared for production.

 Anakin Skywalker’s Childhood Home in Tunisia About to Succumb to Desert

New research describes a fast-moving sand dune in Tunisia that is spilling onto the streets of the Star Wars set used to portray Anakin Skywalker’s childhood home.
BYU professor Jani Radebaugh visited Mos Espa in 2009 and observed a nearby dune measuring 20 feet tall and 300 feet wide. Mos Espa is notable in the film for its annual pod races, and Radebaugh and other scientists utilized Google Earth to calculate how fast the dune raced toward the town. With images dating back to 2002, they clocked the dune at speeds of 50 feet per year.
“In terms of geologic time scales, it’s one of the fastest things we see happen, aside from lava flows and landslides.” said Radebaugh. “You can compare it to some glaciers, but even most glaciers tend to move slower.”
Coincidentally, Radebaugh credits the Star Wars films for sparking her interest in planetary science. Ordinarily she teams up with NASA to study moons of Saturn and Jupiter. But a visit to Tunisia with other planetary scientists prompted the dune research that the journalGeomorphology recently published.
“It’s so fun to see geology in action,” Radebaugh said. “We live on a dynamic planet.”
The set of Mos Espa began attracting tourists in 1999 following the release of “Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.” Prior to that, people had visited some of the 1970’s-era Episode 4, 5 and 6 sets, which have since been overrun by dunes. Bulldozing the dune to save the set isn’t an option, as a larger dune follows on the heels of the first dune. The most feasible plan to rescue the site would require moving everything about 200 meters to the south.

The Imaginarium
What did you do today to make something ordinary, extraordinary?

I'd give him $10 and accept defeat

A little girl's book on her mean mom.
Part One?  Wow, what did mom do?

A few rules for neighborhood soccer (football)

Walmart does this all the time.

A French library entrance

And for a moment, you thought you were the coolest thing on the road

One day, you could be doing this.  It will happen IN YOUR LIFETIME.
Space will open to ordinary citizens.
A minivan converted to the Simpson's bus

This is one of those life lessons.

The Titanic and one of today's cruise ships

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