Fred Kavli understands how important basic science is and that it has a value in its own. He left Norway when he was a young man and I believe must have lived the American Dream. For genetically Norwegian Santa Barbarians, please note that he has donated substantially to your community...
India, China, Japan, Russia have all very impressive space programs. I try to digg some intel out of the internet about them and other less known space agencies, but it is a lot easier to follow the activities of NASA and ESA. :-) In general it is more usual than not that the space missions are international. The great success of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander mission would not be possible without substantial support from friends from around the world.
The Valles Marineris hemisphere of Mars (left) and a mosaic of the Schiaparelli hemisphere of Mars (right).
If you are interested in getting a quick overview of our Mars explorer history, this article from ESA will do the trick. Most of the knowledge that we have of Mars' interior (read more at Geojim56's) comes from planetary geodesy and geodesy A combination of gravity and rotation data tells us a lot about the interior of a celestial body. And I wouldn't be me if I didn't add that the better geodetic systems and knowledge of the Earth we have, the more we will be able to learn about the planets! :-)
Topography of the "Tharsis side" of Mars as inferred from MOLA data (Mars Orbital Laser Altimeter) aboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The color indicates the altitude (in km) above/below the MOLA surface reference. The Phoenix landing site (~ 68.3°N, 127°W) is marked by a plus sign.
This is one of the first images taken by the Phoenix Mars Lander. It shows the vast plains of the northern polar region of Mars just after landing on May 25, 2008. The flat landscape is strewn with tiny pebbles and shows polygonal cracking, a pattern seen widely in Martian high latitudes and also observed in permafrost terrains on Earth.
For some reason...It'll be possible to find a few images from Mars on Stellare in the near future...I can't help myself. Even if the images come with pink in them...
This map of the world shows seismic stations that detected more than twice the normal number of small, nearby earthquakes after the passage of what are known as "surface waves" from major quakes that were centered hundreds to thousands of miles away and occurred from 1992 through 2006. A new study co-authored by University of Utah seismologist Kris Pankow found that at least 12 of the 15 major earthquakes (greater than magnitude-7) during 1992-2006 triggered small quakes in distant parts of the world. Scientists once believed big quakes could not trigger distant tremors.
You should be really careful what you wish for. Look at me! This is what you might end up looking like if you become a mad scientist. Who'd want crazy eyes like these? They completely give you away.
Here is a naked raving mad scientist version of me. As much as I understand that some fine SU ladies of exquisite taste in nudes think they expose themselves, this photo here reveals real nudity - and a couple of teeth! I beat you all! :-)
I've received complaints from various people for not posting more pictures of me. As you can see there are good reasons for not doing that. I know Sam will hate it and Franny love it; the fact that this most likely will be a temporary post and removed shortly. If you should be tempted to protest or in any other way annoy me with unpleasant comments, I shall have to kill you. I have access to the services of Abra-Cadabra BE WARNED!
The Corona is the extended atmosphere of the Sun. It consist of hot, hot plasma. We still do not understand why the plasma is so hot. Normally, it should get cooler the more distant you are from the core of the Sun where the energy is produced. Not so on the Sun, suddenly it becomes in explicable super hot...
Extra terrestrial messages for Inciteful has been received, oh I don't know, from aliens perhaps. It has enabled the expert to make a Stellaric horoscope for Inciteful on her birthday 21. May 2008.
This is no bullshit horoscope, let that be crystal clear. To prove it here is the movie showing how the extra terrestrial information for the horoscope was transcended.
Now, the Pleiades star cluster (also known as the Seven Sisters and Messier 45) and Venus are gliding behind the Sun and moving towards each other in a conjunction or visual meeting. We cannot see this from Earth since these objects are too close to the Sun's brightness. Stellare has powers to see beyond and even further and are therefor able to present the following Stellaric Horoscope, with explanations.
NASA is putting together a team to decide what sensors and detectors should fly on Space Probe, and the agency is expected to put out a call for payload ideas later this year. The Space Probe will be launched 2015, in other words somewhat after the next sun spot maximum. Regardless of what they decide for the payloads, solar cycle 24 just started this year and will build up during 2008. Inciteful can expect the same development for her life. No matter what she brings with her, the future will be brighter.
Dark matters will no longer matter. Thanks to Hubble we can see right through the dark matter all the way via the Quasars to the very beginning - Big Bang. Inciteful will exactly the same way, see beyond the darker side of life and find the strength where she began her life, to enjoy Sunshine.
Quasars: Missing baryonic matter was found by using the light from distant quasars (the bright cores of galaxies with active black holes) to probe spider-web-like structure that permeates the seemingly invisible space between galaxies, like shining a flashlight through fog.
Just like quasars light up the cosmic fog and at the same time provide us with a terrific terrestrial reference (coordinate system)!, the quasars will ensure Inciteful the insight and guidance she needs to make the right decisions for herself.
Should everything go down the drain, like in a black hole, there are no worries because now we know there are ways to escape even black holes!
Like the ancient cartographers of old, scientists working with images from Cassini-Huygens of Saturn's icy airless moons have carefully crafted detailed maps that one day may guide future explorers across the surfaces of these remote bodies.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 spacecraft in space.
Finally, Jason-2 is ready to go. We have been worried sick about this mission. What is there to worry about, just another satellite you say? Well, these altimeter satellites (Jason, Topex-Poseidon, Jason-2) are the ones that tells us how the sea level change on the open ocean. Since 1992 we have continuous time series of sea surface height data with high accuracy. A lot of work have been done to extend those high accuracy time series back in time so that we can have even better information about the development of sea level. It would just be too sad if you should stop this lovely time series of sea level data....As mentioned earlier, it has great economic implications to miscalculate sea level...
NASA and in fact NOAA in the US as well as CNES in France continue their operation of satellite altimeters. Good for them, even better for all the rest of us. :-)
Eumetsat, who also contribute to Jason-2, has made great informative videos.
Europa is a complex and dynamic moon, but now, global mapping of unusual large circular features on the ice-covered ocean world of Europa has revealed that Jupiter's curious icy moon is even more unstable than previously thought.
Because of the strong pull of Jupiter's gravity, Europa's icy shell bulges slightly at the equator and is flattened at the poles. The shell is also thought to be separated from Europa's core by an ocean, which would permit the shell to move en masse -- a phenomenon called true polar wander.
Europa is not the only planet or moon to have undergone polar wander. Mars has probably tilted over at least once, due to the formation of the Tharsis volcanos. Earth's outer layers have done so, as apparently have Enceladus, and possibly Miranda. Polar wander may be a common occurrence across the solar system, suggesting that planets in general are less stable than we have thought.
I think we might have to install a GPS network on Europa as well, to sort this out! :-)
While Frannyy suggest we fill the canals in this picture with concrete, civil engineers, geodesist and others have alternative ideas to solve the rising sea level/sinking city problem of Venice, Italy.
Here are a couple of suggestions to solve the resulting flooding of Venice:
MOSE: In the MOSE project the rising tides that flood Venice will be blocked by new floodgates, which will be placed at the inlets where the Adriatic Sea enters the lagoon. The gates are designed to prevent the Adriatic Sea from flooding the lagoon at high tides in even the worst storms. Problem is that the sea level rise probably are too high to be stopped by the gates, the dimensions are not right.
Rialto: Local officials and engineers are planning to lift buildings under operation "Rialto" by up to one metre (3.3 feet) using piston-supported-poles to be placed at the bottom of each structure. This will take around a month per building if each structure is raised by eight centimetres (3.14 inches) a day.
Credit: European Space Agency
Credit: Landsat, European Space Agency
Venice and its lagoon were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The entire city is an architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building contains works by some of the world's greatest artists. Refugees from the Po Estuary fleeing foreign invaders founded the city in the 5th Century AD. In later centuries Venice became part of the Byzantine Empire, then an independent city-state and a major maritime power in its own right.
Venice extends across 118 small islands in a marshy saltwater lagoon at the northwest corner of the Adriatic Sea. A series of barrier islands protect this low-lying city from storm surges, but its 270 633-strong population still must contend with a metre-high tidal range, a problem made worse by regional land subsidence and a slight increase in sea level.
Geodesy: It is particularly the degree of land subsidence and increase in sea level that are the keys to finding the right urban plan for Venice. Unless of course you think like some: Let it fucking sink! or simply like Franny here suggests: fill it up with concrete and have an art ball while you're at it.
Urban planning of Venice is a nice example of how precise geodetic information is pivotal for the economy of modern society. If we calculate the sea level rise to be smaller than it actually is going to be, then the investments in a project like MOSE for instance could be just like throwing money in the ocean...
An Astrophysicist's Drooling at Griffith Observatory
I couldn't believe my own eyes when I visited the Griffith observatory last February! They have like a million meter long wall completely covered with celestial jewelry. It is just freakin' awesome! I believe they had to completely renovate the hallway after I spent hours there drooling...
Go, have a look! It is disinfected now so it's safe. :-)
Hydroxyl, an important but difficult-to-detect molecule, is made up of a hydrogen and oxygen atom each. It has been found in the upper reaches of the Venusian atmosphere by Venus Express's Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer, VIRTIS.
Who cares? :-)
Well, it means that we will learn a lot more about Venus' atmosphere. And perhaps more important to most earthlings, it means that Venus is more like the Earth and ultimately this new discovery will lead to a better understanding of the Earth, our home, as well.
It is particularly it's role relative to ozone, atmospheric molecules regulating and protecting us from stellar radiation, that makes hydroxyl interesting.
Ferdinand Magellan's historic circumnavigation of the globe 1519 was likely influenced by unusually benign weather conditions, likely associated with an El Niño event. This is also thought to be the earliest historical record of an El Niño event
NOAA animation of two El Niño events; 1982 and 1995. Chose your preferred format.
Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/NCSU/S.Reynolds et al.); Radio (NSF/NRAO/VLA/Cambridge/D.Green et al.)
A composite image of G1.9+0.3 with data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory taken in 2007, orange, and the Very Large Array in 1985, blue.
Finally, we got the defining proof that earlier observations were correct. In the center of our galaxy The Milky Way a super nova explosion took place merely 140 years ago. This is the youngest super nova ever observed.
It can be hard to picture what a super nova looks like. Here are a few animations that might help. :-)
An extremely violent explosion of a star many times more massive than our Sun. During this explosion, the star may become as bright as all the other stars in a galaxy combined, and in which a great deal of matter is thrown off into space at high velocity and high energy. The remnant of these massive stars collapse into either a neutron star or a black hole.
PlanetBye is a blog run by Bente Lilja Bye aka Stellare. PlanetBye covers mainly scientific topics but also completely random topics like art, social media, personal ramblings etc. The posts on this blog are generally short with links to further reading and sources of information. Clicking on images is encouraged.