Friday, June 29, 2012

Curiosity Landing Events

If you are at all interested in space exploration, you know how important early August will be. If you do not know, here is a little recap: on August 6th 5:31 UTC, Mars Science Laboratory—or Curiosity—the most sophisticated piece of technology ever to land on an alien planet, will arrive at Mars and begins its descent.

While landing spacecrafts has always been a risky business, Curiosity’s fiery, four-stage descent, including the much talked about sky crane, is extraordinarily dangerous. Scientists and space enthusiasts all around the world will bite their nails bloody during the rover’s descent, or as they call it, the “seven minutes of terror.” Here is a short video from NASA introducing the unprecedented maneuver:

If you are among the above mentioned “space enthusiasts,” I am happy to announce that there will be plenty of events going on at the time of Curiosity’s arrival, many of which are open to the public. So, if you got some time off on August 5th or 6th—depending on where you live—here are a few opportunities for you; both real life and virtual on the web:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Far-away Ambassador

While the rest of the space community is talking about China’s successful launch of three astronauts—technically the term is taikonauts, but I hate this word—to their space station, I would like to avert your attention to another historic milestone in space exploration:

Two days ago, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory issued a press release, in which they indicated that Voyager 1, the probe NASA launched in 1977, have reached the edge of interstellar space and began to leave our solar system. At nearly eighteen billion kilometers away from Earth, Voyager entered a region of space where the number of charged particles increased significantly, which made JPL scientists believe that the probe reached the heliosheath, the border of the sun’s protective bubble that marks the end of our solar system. With this historic landmark, the 34-year old spacecraft is the farthest man-made object away from Earth, our true  ambassador  on a one-way trip to the center of the galaxy. And the best part is that Voyager 1 has an estimated fifteen years left of its energy supply, promising us many more years of incredible data from a region of space, of which we have no knowledge. Pretty exciting!

Monday, June 11, 2012

We Stopped Dreaming - Episode II

Did you like the video I posted on March 22, called "We Stopped Dreaming?" Well, it received a second "episode," which I am quite eager to share. This new video also makes use of a speech from Neil deGrasse Tyson, and it is just as touching and thought-provoking as the previous one! If you care even a little about space exploration and/or science in general, make sure you share it!