I love aurorae. Possibly one of the most beautiful and spectacular natural phenomena to grace this planet.
Astronaut Ron Garan recently posted a fantastic photo of an aurora from Earth’s orbit on his Twitter feed:
Makes me feel like a 9 year old kid again, wishing he could be an astronaut when he grows up.
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Some cool stuff happening in and around space these last couple days.
This video from the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a comet streaking across the face of the Sun!!
And of course, the final shuttle launch EVER happened earlier today.
Some anti-fog solution he had rubbed onto his visor started to flake off during the spacewalk. Since the anti-fog solution is really just dish soap, it caused a problem because it flaked off into his eye.
If you have ever gotten soap in your eye, you know its terrible, terrible sting.
Aside: I used to put dish soap on my glasses when I played hockey so they wouldn’t fog up. I didn’t realize this was a “space-age” solution.
So poor Drew’s eyes started to water. But because of the lack of gravity, the tears would not fall down, they just sort of hung around on his eyeball.
“Tears in space don’t run down your face,” he said, according to lead spacewalk officer Allison Bollinger
“They actually kind of conglomerate around your eyeball,” Bollinger recounted.
Eventually, he was able to rub his eye on a device inside his helmet to release the fluid from the surface of his eye.
So disaster averted. This indeed sounds like one of the ultimate #firstworldproblems
I’ve been out of the loop for a few days, and look at the cool stuff I miss!
Stefanie Gordon was on a plane heading from New York to Florida on Monday, May 16. She was fortunate enough to look out her window and see an amazing sight: the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour.
You can also see a short video of the launch by Stefanie on TwitVid.
She has written about the experience and the ensuing media barrage of attention on her blog, ‘Not a Typical Girl’, which you should definitely check out. In short, the experience sounds quite overwhelming,
This whole viral situation has completely caught me off guard. I never thought anything of the magnitude my photo would have when I sent an innocent tweet moments after I landed in West Palm Beach. I am still in shock about it all.
Well congratulations to Stefanie for her internet notoriety. Hopefully it will lead to good things for her!
Keep those cell phone cameras handy, cause you never know…
The big news today is that it is the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight into space. Gagarin was the first human to ever be shot into orbit. Also, as a side note, he landed back on Earth safely.
It was April 12th, 1961 aboard the Russian flight Vostok 1 that Gagarin made his epic journey. The trip lasted 108 minutes; in order to land Gagarin had to eject from his capsule while still 23,000 feet above the Earth’s surface.
Upon reaching orbit, Gagarin had this to say:
“I feel splendid, very well, very well, very well. Give me some results on the flight!”
Shortly after saying this, Gagarin went out of radio range from mission control, and was on his own for a short while.
How freakin’ scary is that!?
The site on which Gagarin eventually landed is now a monument park. The Vostok 1 capsule is on display in the museum, and a new documentary showing exactly what Gagarin would have seen from his window, shot from the International Space Station, has been released.
And now, Gagarin has received the most magnificent of all accolades: his very own Google Doodle!
So hurray for manned spaceflight, and for the incredible courage of those who were the first to go into space inside a metal tube full of flammable material!
I thought this was pretty cool.
The Mars Exploration Rover ‘Opportunity’ was captured in this image from the Mars Reconnasaince Orbiter while it was studying a crater.
Opportunity has been working on Mars since 2004, even though its initial mission length was only supposed to be 3 months.
Pretty damn impressive if you ask me.
If you’ve been following the drama around the Richard Hoover article in the Journal of Cosmology about fossilized alien bacteria in a meteorite, you may have been wondering what NASA thinks about all this.
I mean, Hoover works for NASA. They should have said something, right? Wouldn’t they want to get in on this publicity if they could?
But NASA did release a statement today about the paper. Via Spaceref:
“NASA is a scientific and technical agency committed to a culture of openness with the media and public. While we value the free exchange of ideas, data, and information as part of scientific and technical inquiry, NASA cannot stand behind or support a scientific claim unless it has been peer-reviewed or thoroughly examined by other qualified experts. This paper was submitted in 2007 to the International Journal of Astrobiology. However, the peer review process was not completed for that submission. NASA also was unaware of the recent submission of the paper to the Journal of Cosmology or of the paper’s subsequent publication. Additional questions should be directed to the author of the paper.” – Dr. Paul Hertz, chief scientist of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington
So they are basically saying that Hoover tried to publish this work a few years ago, and it didn’t make the cut. So NASA is distancing themselves from this claim as much as possible.
No one would be happier than me if evidence of alien life was discovered. But it hasn’t.