"Knowing how the Moon was made is central to understanding Earth and the formation of other planets. Since the 1980s, work on lunar origins has focused on the 'giant-impact' theory. This proposes that the collision of another planet-sized body with the forming Earth generated a disk of debris that coalesced into the Moon. Such giant collisions were common in the Solar System during the final stages of Earth's formation 4.5 billion years ago. But we still do not understand in detail how an impact could have produced our Earth and Moon," says some [...]
Here, via "astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope," is a picture of the coldest place in the universe, and the only thing I can say that surprises me is that there is considerably less scarring and plaque than I would expect from a picture of my heart. [Photo of my heart credit: Bill Saxton; NRAO/AUI/NSF; NASA/Hubble; Raghvendra Saha]
"Improved age data for the Moon suggests that it is much younger than previously believed according to scientists presenting at a Royal Society discussion meeting entitled Origins of the Moon this week. Professor Richard Carlson of the Carnegie Institution of Washington will say that Earth's Moon is more likely between 4.4 and 4.45 billion years old rather than 4.56 billion years old, as previously thought." [Via]
Is this "the ultimate moon shot"? As it doesn't show the moon being exploded into millions of little stupid moon pieces that will then float off into space unmourned, never to reassemble themselves, I'm going to say "no," but your mileage may vary.
The first mobile call was made 40 years ago today, on a device based on the communicators used in the original "Star Trek," and the iPad was apparently introduced in 2001: A Space Odyssey, released 45 years ago this week. It's a good thing that show business invented the future for us so long ago, because god knows we can't come up with anything on our own.
"Mars may have a really bad day next year on October 19th. That’s when there is a very slight chance a newly discovered comet may impact our neighboring planet, says NASA…. Based on observations to date the comet nucleus could be a real monster – as big as 9 miles (15 km) to 31 miles (50 km) wide. With it’s velocity clocked at 35 miles (56 km) per second, the energy force of the collision could be measured in the billions of megatons, resulting in a crater hundreds of miles wide. This could be an impact that rivals the one that [...]
We live on a small-ish planet orbiting a standard G-type main-sequence star floating through the inner rim of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way, which is itself a standard barred-spiral galaxy among so many others in the Virgo Supercluster. But it's a nice planet, even if there are probably 17 billion just like it, just within our own minor galaxy. And NASA has just announced that another galaxy has been confirmed as the biggest measured so far, at five times' the size of our own puny galaxy.
"China successfully launched a lunar probe into space Monday morning, on a two-week journey to deliver a robotic rover to the surface of the moon. The mission marks China's first attempt at soft-landing a spacecraft on an extra-terrestrial body, and could benefit future plans to land Chinese astronauts on the moon." —Dear China,
Please cut yourself some slack on this one and just go for the hard landing. Do not worry about hurting the moon, just RAM THAT ROBOTIC ROVER INTO ITS STUPID SATELLITE CRUST UNTIL WE CAN HEAR THE SCREAMS OF MOON PAIN FROM SPACE. I mean, whatever, do what you feel like, but, you know, if [...]
It turns out space looks exactly like what that hippie artist was spraypainting on black velvet outside the Dead show at the Silver Bowl in 1991. [Photo: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona, via]
Haven't we already figured out what happens to animals if we blast them into space? Isn't sending them up there now just asking for trouble? Like, taking the chance that they will pass through some cosmic gamma rays and come back as super-rodents bent on revenge? I mean, that is my understanding of how space travel works. I could be wrong. Anyway, if nothing else it seems kind of cruel, although I guess it is probably better than living in Russia.
"Screw this planet crap, I'm just gonna go crazy and load myself up with moons." —Pluto
If you're married and old enough to have endured whatever horrors requiring "work on the marriage," space tourist/rich person Dennis Tito has a great plan: He wants to send an adult married couple on a 501-day round-trip flight to Mars. This could be you, and also your spouse!
A tycoon announced plans Wednesday to send a middle-aged couple on a privately built spaceship to slingshot around the red planet and come back home, hopefully with their bodies and marriage in one piece after 501 days of no-escape togetherness in a cramped capsule half the size of an RV.
Young, inexperienced people have no idea what it's like to spend [...]
Guess what people on the Internet have discovered? Life on Mars! But it is not, according to current theories, Martian. It's a … ground squirrel, or perhaps a regular Martian rock that looks a little like a ground squirrel from a certain angle and a certain light. The very large NASA image from the rover Curiosity is here, so you can spend the next hour or so looking for Waldo the Martian Ground Squirrel, or you can just accept the conclusion of this UFO blog:
A lot of people are emailing me saying that this squirrel was part of a NASA experiment to test how long it [...]
"Billions of years ago when the Red Planet was young, it appears to have had a thick atmosphere that was warm enough to support oceans of liquid water – a critical ingredient for life. The animation shows how the surface of Mars might have appeared during this ancient clement period, beginning with a flyover of a Martian lake. The artist's concept is based on evidence that Mars was once very different. Rapidly moving clouds suggest the passage of time, and the shift from a warm and wet to a cold and dry climate is shown as the animation progresses. The lakes dry up, while the atmosphere gradually transitions from [...]
Now that NASA is using lasers to communicate with the moon, can we use those very same lasers to blow it the fuck up? The moon, I mean. I ask so little of you people, would it kill you to support me in my dream of seeing us destroy the moon? I mean, Christmas is coming. Come on. Just think about it is all I'm asking.
"Eight years ago, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft made a pass of the Earth on its way to Mercury. As it swept past our planet, it recorded a series of rearview images, giving us a stunning glimpse at what it looks like to depart our world forever." —Except for the quiet fade to black symbolizing the cessation of my consciousness and, therefore, existence, this is pretty much exactly what my most fervent fantasies look like.
"An explosion caused by a meteoroid impact on the moon a couple of months ago was visible from Earth with the naked eye, according to Science@NASA. But don’t worry if you didn’t catch it — it was only noticeable for a moment." —Ugh, they are totally right about the way desensitization happens. It used to be that a simple video of the moon getting walloped by space would have kept me sated for days, but after years of poring over each and every frame of hot rock-on-moon action it barely registers; I need something considerably more graphic and extended to excite me now.
The heroic Iranian monkey who supposedly rode a rocket into space last week returned to Earth with strange new powers. For instance, the monkey's distinctive face mole was completely gone when the creature was photographed by government officials upon landing. The creature's white-blonde hair had changed to brunette, too, much like the hair of Moses changed from black to white after he spotted the Hebrew God cowering under a bush. What other mutant powers could the Persian primate have developed while exposed to dangerous gamma rays or whatever, in orbit?
The Times of London doubts the superhero animal's mysterious changes occurred in space. Could the sneaky Iranians have [...]