David Lane's absolutely stunning image of the Milky Way over Devils Tower. If everything's ready here on the Dark Side of the Moon... play the five tones. Read the rest
Celestial Buddies sells huggable plush planets that are pretty danged adorable -- they come with little information booklets to nurture kids' curiosity about space. Read the rest
Essa writes, "Andrew Huang has taken fragments of the audio from the Rosetta mission and arranged them into haunting rendition of The Beatles' 'Across the Universe'. Apart from his singing, no other sounds were used in the song." Read the rest
Above, the extrasolar planet 16 Cygni Bb as rendered by artist Ron Miller, illustrator of science, astronomy, and science fiction, and author of "The Art of Space: The History of Space Art, from the Earliest Visions to the Graphics of the Modern Era." Read the rest
Simon writes, "I recently got a chance to interview and profile the people behind a collaboration between Smithsonian and the Harvard College Observatory who are crowdsourcing the transcription of logbooks for thousands of photographic plates. It's a massive undertaking that will give scientists access to a hundred years of astronomical data." Read the rest
"In a vast disc of dust and gas, dark rings are clearly visible," reports the BBC's Jonathan Webb. "Gaps in the cloud, swept clear by brand new planets in orbit. Read the rest
Can we "bootstrap" a solar system civilization by making what we need in space from stuff we find in space? BB pal Tom Kalil in the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, interviewed former NASA research physicist Dr Phillip Metzger about this very idea. From the White House blog:
In a recent article, you and your co-authors called for “affordable, rapid bootstrapping of a solar system civilization.” What do you mean by “bootstrapping” in this context?
If we want to want to create a robust civilization in our solar system, more of the energy, raw materials, and equipment that we use in space has to come from space. Launching everything we need from Earth is too expensive. It would also be too expensive to send all of the factories required to manufacture everything necessary to support a solar system civilization.
Ultimately what we need to do is to evolve a complete supply chain in space, utilizing the energy and resources of space along the way. We are calling this approach “bootstrapping” because of the old saying that you have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Industry in space can start small then pull itself up to more advanced levels through its own productivity, minimizing the cost of launching things from Earth in the meantime. Obviously, this isn’t going to happen overnight, but I think that it is the right long-term goal.
A new study of satellite data by scientists at NASA and University of Michigan One shows that one small “hot spot” in the American Southwest produces the greatest concentration of the greenhouse gas methane in the United States.