"Science is not perfect. It's often misused; it's only a tool, but it's the best tool we have. Self-correcting, ever-changing, applicable to everything; with this tool, we vanquish the impossible."
- Carl Sagan
I'm Mae: an aspiring journalist, photojournalist, science enthusiast, writer, & an artist of many fields. I love helping people discover the wonders of our universe through science.
A topographic view of Mars can be telling of the many distinguishing characteristics that it possesses. Mars is known to have several significant topographic features such as Olympus Mons, the highest peak in the solar system, and Valles Marineris, a canyon that easily dwarfs the Grand Canyon. The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, MOLA, an instrument used to determine the altitude, was in orbit, attached to the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. Since its launch in 1996, the instruments on the Mars Global Surveyor, such as MOLA, have been providing scientists with valuable information.
The altitude is determined by MOLA by transmitting a laser pulse toward the surface of Mars. By recording the flight time of the pulse, the distance between the spacecraft and the surface of Mars can be calculated. These range measurements are then used to create the topographic maps. Areas that are red and brown have higher altitudes while areas that are blue and green have lower altitudes.
Murmurs of Earth - The Voyager Interstellar Record
Written by: Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, Timothy Ferris, Jon Lomberg, Linda Salzman Sagan (Carl’s Ex Wife!)
This is quite a gem I picked up at my local used book shop. I need to post better pictures, but this is just one of the gems I found there. I’ve been looking for this for quite awhile actually. This was straight off the shelves of 1978. It covers the whole process of getting the pictures, music, for the record and the stories from the people who worked on the project. One of whom is of course Carl Sagan. This is actually when Carl met Ann Druyan so it is interesting to see both her and Carl’s ex wife Linda on the same project. I will post more later on.
NASA’s long-lived Opportunity Mars rover has gone into a self-imposed standby mode on the Red Planet, the robot’s handlers say.
Mission controllers for Opportunity, which landed on Mars in January 2004, first learned of the issue on Saturday (April 27). On that day, the rover got back in touch after a nearly three-week communication moratorium caused by an unfavorable planetary alignment called a Mars solar conjunction, in which Mars and Earth are on opposite sides of the sun.
The Opportunity rover apparently put itself into standby on April 22 after sensing a problem during a routine camera check, mission managers said.
“When the Space Shuttle landed for the last time, many Americans thought NASA was closed for good. Nothing could be further from the truth. Right now, men and women from the space program are designing and building next generation space vehicles to go to new destinations in space, farther than we’ve ever gone before.
NASA recently made an inspiring new online video narrated by Mr. Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime (see above), to show the progress being made on these new systems, but the agency is barred by law from buying advertising time for such a spot.
Today we’re running a crowdfunding campaign to edit this video into a 30 second spot, and place it in movie theater screens around the country, starting with the premiere of ‘Star Trek Into Darkness.’
By backing this 30 second trailer in the top movie theater markets around the United States, you can show our students and young people that we’re in an exciting new era of space exploration. Now is the time to reach them - to remind them that an inspiring space program awaits, one that is worthy of their ambition.
The project is now being conducted in partnership with Challenger Center for Space Science Education to further enhance and grow the crowdfund campaign. Challenger Center utilizes dynamic, hands-on exploration and discovery opportunities in communities around the globe, engaging more than 400,000 middle school-age students and 40,000 educators each year through simulated space missions that bring their classroom studies to life and cultivate the skills needed for future success.”
When we reach our funding goal, the “We are the Explorers” video will be reimagined to fit a 30 second advertising slot in major movie markets, including but not limited to, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, DC.
The advertisement will run in over 50 movie theater screens for 8 weeks, starting with the premiere of “Star Trek Into Darkness” on May 17th.
This is a direct ad-buy. If we reach our goal, we’re in.
If we go beyond our fundraising goal, the additional funds will be used to purchase time at more theaters around the country.
After going beyond the initial target, our next goal will be to put this movie ad in at least one theater in every state in America for two weeks. Our grand total will need to be $94,000 to make this a reality.
If we raise more than our stretch goal of $94,000, the proceeds will be used to enhance and grow Challenger Center’s impact.
Note, by donating you acknowledge that donations are not tax deductible.
“By funding this campaign, we can remind students and the general public that our nation’s space agency is working hard on the next era of exploration. Keeping the public informed of NASA’s activities is a key element of sustaining the health of our space program.”
“The Coalition for Space Exploration, in partnership with the NASA Visitor Centers Consortium, is having its first national “Why Space Matters to the Future” video contest that challenges residents of the U.S. to visualize what life will be like in 10, 25 or 50 years if the boundaries of space continue to expand.”
How to Enter the Why Space Matters to the Future video contest:
Step 1: Tell us why you think space matters to the future. - How has space affected, influenced or inspired you? - What are the values and benefits of space exploration? - Why should we continue to explore space?
Step 2: Capture your vision in a short 1-2 minute video and upload it here.
Step 3: Share your video with family and friends and ask them to vote. (Number of public votes will be one criterion used in selecting the winners)
Step 4: Compete for your chance to win a VIP trip for four to one of NASA’s premier visitor centers
Prize Eligibility: Only persons residing in United States who are at least 13 years of age can enter.
Contest Starts: February 25, 2013 @ 11:59 pm (CST)
Learn more information about the contest here, & more about NASA’s space centers here.
In 1772, astronomer Joseph-Louis Lagrange discovered the namesake “Lagrangian” or libration points, which are points where a small body could orbit in a constant pattern with two larger masses (specifically, a satellite in respect to the Earth and Moon). Of these points, the Trojan points, L4 on the eastern horizon, and L5 on the western, are of special significance to future space endeavors. In the Trojan points, the contending gravitational tugs of the Earth and the moon offer exactly the right amount of centripetal force in these locations for an object to essentially “park” there and stay in place within the Earth-moon system. Artificial objects, or even habitats, could be inserted into these locations where they would be locked into place by gravity and become a permanent part of the Earth-moon system. These would offer locations closer than the Moon, and act as possible bases for future space exploration; they are potential stepping stones across the cosmic pond.
As of 2010, Obama has challenged NASA to get astronauts to an asteroid by 2025, and on to Mars by the mid-2030s. Whether or not the space agency can stick to that schedule largely depends on itsfuture budget, experts say, but regardless of the pace, work on the asteroid mission is already under way.
The Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV) is a prototype that began its design life as a wheeled moon rover. When the president shifted NASA’s focus from the moon-oriented Constellation program set up by the Bush administration, the space agency adapted the SEV to meet the needs of an asteroid mission instead.
That meant taking off the wheels and converting the vehicle into two parts: a robotic sled that will be used for propulsion and guidance, and a detachable crew cabin that can be fitted on top.
“When you think of space agencies around the world, what comes to mind? Probably NASA, ESA, ISRO and JAXA are the acronyms you know; then there’s the Russian Federal Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, and the China National Space Agency. But did you know there are dozens of countries with space agencies, with nearly 200 space agencies and centers around the world? Blogger Heather Archuletta has put together a map and list of all the space agencies on the planet”
Only three of these have independently launched people into space, and only a dozen have independently launched their own payloads on rockets they developed. The rest are agencies that develop experiments and contributes researchers to manned space-faring nations, or greatly contribute to international space efforts, such as interplanetary missions or the space stations.