Friday, December 16, 2011

Why Space?

On November 3, 2011, the Planetary Society and the Mars Society hosted a co-sponsored forum, titled “NASA at a Turning Point: Vibrant Future or Close Up Shop?” While the discussion centered around NASA and the implications of its recent budget cut, the underlying message of the speakers was much more universal!

I am sure many of you have asked the question at least once: why do we "waste" money on exploring space when humanity have other, much more vital problems here, on this planet? Well, I hope that the following videos (together roughly one hour long) will provide you with the answer. They contain an insightful and thought-provoking discussion, which I highly recommend watching (even for those not interested in space).

Mars Society: Capital Hill Forum - R. Zubrin Speech (part 1 of 2)

Mars Society: Capital Hill Forum - R. Zubrin Speech (part 2 of 2)

Mars Society: Capital Hill Forum - Q&A Session (part 1 of 4)

Mars Society: Capital Hill Forum - Q&A Session (part 2 of 4)

Mars Society: Capital Hill Forum - Q&A Session (part 3 of 4)

Mars Society: Capital Hill Forum - Q&A Session (part 4 of 4)

Mars Society: Capital Hill Forum - Closing Statements

Friday, December 2, 2011

2011 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar

Continuing a years-long tradition, The Atlantic once again began its annual Advent Calendar, revealing a new and interesting picture every day until the December 25th. “Why is that noteworthy?” one might ask. Well, if the title did not give it a way, they use images from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, giving a unique flavor to the holiday season. I personally love spending a few minutes every day checking out the latest picture and reading the description.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Las Vegas

The short movie below is the next in the series I began about a year ago. It gives tribute to Las Vegas, part of Day 7 of my Route 66 journal.

As always, the film is available in Full HD on YouTube; although this time it does not make that much of a difference as my camera were not too good at handling night shots and, unfortunately, it shows on the quality. Also, due to the song I used in the video (Little Less Conversation by Elvis Presley & JXL), the audio track is muted in Germany, for which I apologize.

Please give it a thumbs up and share it with others if you like it; thanks!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Our Future in Space

I would like to share a video today that is not exactly current—it was shot back in July at the annual TAM Conference in Las Vegas—but the validity of the topics discussed in it more than justify the delay. In fact, I think I am not exaggerating if I state that, for any person with even the slightest interest in space, science, and astronomy, this video is a must-watch!

It is basically a panel discussing, as the title suggests, humanity’s future in space. What makes this video unique, however, are: 1) The participants who are all world-renowned scientists and 2) The typically thought provoking topics they discuss—and their often conflicting viewpoints.

It is a little long—53 minutes—but well worth the time!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Spectacular Draconids

Skywatchers rarely consider the annual Draconid meteor shower a noteworthy phenomenon, often regarding it as lackluster and uninteresting—especially when compared to other meteor showers, such as the Leonids or the Perseids. Not this year though!

On October 8th, Earth will move through the denser regions of the debris left by the Comet Giacobini-Zinner, resulting most likely in a spectacular display of falling stars, estimated to reach 750 meteors per hour. This is many times more than the above mentioned Leonid and Perseid meteor showers’ average. In fact, the Draconids this year are expected to be so abundant that NASA is afraid that they might damage satellites or the International Space Station.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Astro Photography and Slooh

Today, I would like to take a detour from my usual Route 66 topic and venture into the field of amateur astronomy.

In the past year or so, I had spent considerable time clinging onto’s robotic telescopes. During this time, I had snapped hundreds of pictures, on occasion revisiting the same celestial object time after time waiting for the perfect conditions to produce the clearest pictures. At the bottom of this post, you can find a gallery of some of these images. Before getting to them, however, I would like to talk a little about Slooh, more precisely, about the discontinuation of their “Free Tier” service and how I think this might impact users.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Painted Desert

It took a while, but I have finally completed the next piece of my ongoing video series from around Route 66. This time, I would like to introduce the Petrified Forest National Park and the surrounding Painted Desert of Arizona, which you can read about in Day 6.

As always, the film is available in Full HD on YouTube (please give it a thumbs up and share it with others if you like it).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Route 66 Travel Guide

I think anyone would agree that spending a couple of weeks on the Mother Road hardly makes one an expert. It is also true, however, that even a short trip can grant experiences that some—especially those who have never visited Route 66 before—might find helpful. Therefore, in this article I would like to offer a few tips and tricks that I learned while on the road. My guide is by no means a complete one—it might not even be that good—but I hope it will provide a good starting point for at least some of you wanting to explore America’s Highway.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Grand Canyon Movie

Below is a short film I made about my visit to the Grand Canyon. Although it is not readily apparent, the movie is part of my Route 66 series (it covers parts of day Six and Seven). For maximum enjoyment, use the HD option and watch it in full 1080p!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Ninth Planet..., or not

My concept of Tyche
( Since the 2006 reclassification of Pluto by the International Astronomical Union, our solar system has to make do with “only” eight planets. This situation, however, may soon change.

For over a decade, astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmire from the University of Louisiana have suggested the possibility of another planet. The two hypothesized that the odd orbital paths of some comets could be explained by the gravitational field of a ninth planet—approximately four times the size of Jupiter—in the so called Oort Cloud, which marks the boundary of our solar system about one light year from the sun. The two scientists call this, so far fictional, planet Tyche, named after the Greek god of luck.

Very exciting right? Well, not everyone thinks so…

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Route 66 Reflections and Statistics

With my journey on the Mother Road reaching its inevitable end, I would like to provide a few statistics and reflections about the trip. I believe it is a good and interesting way to end the story. But before I get to that, I would like to thank that nearly 3000 people who had visited my blog in the past few months. Your unceasing interest is what made me keep working on my journal. I sincerely hope that most of you found my work entertaining, as well as informative, and that a lot of you will be coming back in the future. Thanks!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Route 66 Journal - The Last Day

6:52 a.m.
Deer at Buckeye Flat Campground
Upon emerging from my tent, I was welcomed by a buck wandering around the campground and grazing on the shrubs as if it were the most natural thing in the world. The animal seemed almost domesticated, which of course made some sense considering the park enjoyed heavy traffic year around. Nevertheless, this did not make the sight of the unusual visitor any less exciting. Since I had never seen a wild deer from so close before, I felt it was a good sign to start the day with. I just hoped my good fortune would last for the rest of the day—perhaps even allowing me to see bears.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Route 66 Journal - Day 8

9:13 a.m.
My goal for the day was to reach the Sequoia National Park in California, a drive likely to take up my entire day. Despite the urgent need to hit the road, however, I had a hard time saying goodbye to the relative comfort of my hotel room. My travel funds were speedily depleting, and I knew I was probably looking at the last real bed and hot shower until I returned home. I tried to enjoy them while I still could.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Space Hulk: Death Angel Review

Today, I would like to venture a little away from my usual topics and take a short journey to the realm of board games. If you like fantasy, science fiction, and/or games in general, this might just be your kind of thing. If you do not, well…, you might still want to give it a try and see if you like it.

For those of you familiar with board or role-playing games I probably do not have to tell what Warhammer 40,000 is. But, for the sake of others not falling under this category, let me briefly introduce it. In short, Warhammer 40k is among the darkest and most unique sci-fi (although technically the definition would be ‘gothic science-fantasy’) universes ever created. If you like something different from mainstream science fiction, I would highly recommend looking up Warhammer 40k and possibly even purchasing a few novels.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Funny Newspaper Clippings

Over the past few months, I accumulated quite a few funny newspaper clippings, which I though I would share here. They are by no means new, but hopefully you have not seen all of them. Enjoy! ;)