October 23, 2014 - Back in the 17th century our Sun went through a period in which there was an absence of sunspot activity. Known as the Maunder Minimum it lasted for 70 years.
October 2, 2014 - The scene of the rotating space station from 2001: A Space Odyssey reminds me of just how much further we need to go in 2014 to achieve that science fiction dream. What's holding us back from building a spinning station that creates artificial gravity, like the one envisioned by
The date today reinforces that we are well into autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere of our planet and it shouldn't be a surprise then that the words "glacier" and "ice" are starting to appear in some headlines. The latest, however, are not of this world but our neighbor Mars.
Last week the Library of Congress hosted a two-day symposium entitled "Preparing for Discovery: A Rational Approach to the Impact of Finding Microbial, Complex, or Intelligent Life Beyond Earth." The timing seemed right with the discovery of thousands of exoplanets, some lying within Earth-like Goldilocks Zones around their parent stars, and with further evidence from Martian meteorites and discoveries made by Curiosity, the Martian rover, showing a past habitable environment on the Red Planet.
India has done something no other space-faring nation could achieve. Their Mars Orbiter Mission entered orbit around Mars on September 23rd after a successful orbital insertion burn. The milestone achieved - successful on the first try. Russia, the United States, the European Space Agency and Japan cannot make the same claim.
This is just too cool to not share. One of my readers sent me the link to Solar System Scope. Click on the thumbnail of Mars and start the autocam feed. Enjoy!
Quietly lost in the background of this week's NASA announcements is the news that Jeff Bezos' company, Blue Origin, is to provide United Launch Alliance, owners of the Atlas V rocket, with a next generation engine technology for a next generation rocket. Although Boeing and SpaceX got the major headlines as the companies selected to provide crew-manned capsules for the International Space Station (ISS), Blue Origin may have the last laugh.
One of my readers shared the following infographic, titled NASA Spinning Off Since 1962. It highlights the inventions, discoveries and economic return on investment resulting from NASA. For every dollar invested by the government the American economy and other countries economies have seen $7 to $14 in new revenue, all from spinoffs and licensing arrangements. That amounts to in $17.6 billion current NASA dollars spent to an economic boost worth as much as $246.4 billion annually.
In case you missed it, the rover in Gale Crater on Mars has achieved another milestone, having traversed across rough terrain with minimal damage to its delicate wheels and now sits at the base of Mount Sharp, where it will begin its ascent. What's on its agenda?
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