February 12, 2009
So this it a little wrong… Two satellites got a little too close for comfort today and hit each other.
Well, it must have been really uncomfortable because they pulverized each other, and it probably hurt. An Iridium satellite (wicked phones) and a Russian satellite collided creating oodles and oodles of more space debris. But I’m thinking this should kind of be a message concerning the garbage piling up, not just on Earth, but in orbit too.
Yes, I know the Russian satellite was apparently messed up and out of control, which most likely caused the crash in the first place, but regardless, for two satellites to collide in space, there’s got to be a lot of s*%$ up there. These satellites aren’t very big… they probably average the width of a two-lane street?… incuding the sidewalk? Although the solar panels are pretty long, so probably a little wider. But how many of those do you have to have in space before two eventually hit each other?! I’m betting, a lot… Have we not learned anything from Wall.E? Not yet, I guess…
February 10, 2009
The 'Orion' spacecraft, due to start shipping people off to the Moon and Mars in the next few years.
I just read in Discover Magazine (huge fan) of the new space program that’s taking over the very outdated NASA shuttles. Now, I’m all for it, but after looking at what it’s being replaced with, having a little bit of a idea after an article I read years ago, I’m a little disappointed. The ‘Orion’ space vehicle, is reverting back to the days of Apollo and using booster rockets (from what I can tell) to send a capsule to space for future Moon and Mars missions, although they’re going to be more advanced than the capsules in the 60’s and 70’s.
Anyways, what I thought was going to be unveiled was this new pie-shaped shuttle that I read about in an article years and years ago, and thought it was pretty cool. What I liked about it was the fact that it didn’t use dispensable booster rockets to get into space. How the shuttle works now, is that the actual shuttle lifts off with two giant rockets and a ginormous red gas tank strapped to the bottom… and where does it all go? Back into the atmosphere to get burned up when they’re all nice and ‘useless’. I liked this project I heard of (which I found out was called the X-33 shuttle) because it eliminated that, and re-used all the materials it brought up with it. Materials that, these days, are becoming short in supply and cannot be wasted after a single launch. Even if the materials cannot be re-used in the space program, they could be recycled for other uses, but that’s a whole other issue.
Concept of the X-33 shuttle project, which was given the boot in 2001.
Alas, the X-33 program is no more… what started in the mid-90’s, was thrown out in 2001. It’s kind of annoying when progress seems like it’s chugging right along, then they basically start a ‘new chapter’ in space exploration with old ideas, and it turns out the only reason that the X-33 was canned….??…….. money….. and problems of course, problems that money couldn’t fix apparently. Anyways, boo to NASA.
February 6, 2009
I’m not big on chemistry, unless it’s related to geology… hence, geochemistry… but I thought this was a pretty cool idea. A couple of scientists from the University of Nottingham put together short 3-5 minute videos for each element on the periodic table! It’s a cool way to learn, and they have a ton of experiments, facts, and history about each. Plus one of the guys has crazy hair, and you just know he has crazy theories about being crazy.
Check it out here.
So if you feel like wow-ing your friends at parties with fun facts about chemistry, you probably shouldn’t… assuming you have friends.
*sidenote* I was in Victoria, BC this past week and walking downtown, my friend and I saw a man on a corner with two protest boards, I can’t remember what the first one was, but the bigger one said ‘Repent you evil scientists!’. It was slightly offensive, but I couldn’t help but laugh, and I wish I had my camera.
February 6, 2009
If you haven’t heard of TED, then now is the time. TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) is basically a conference of top minds getting together and spreading their ideas. The wicked thing about TED.com, is that they post all of the talks online throughout the year, and some of them are pretty fantastic and eye-opening.
My friend Jane, who has a fantastic blog on WordPress by the way, first introduced me to TED almost a year ago, and I haven’t been able to stop watching it since. However, this week is the week when the actual conference takes place in Long Beach, and all the new talks for 2009 are going on. One such talk by Bill Gates probably caught most people’s attention when he spoke of the containment of malaria around the world, and in an effort to drive the message home, releases a small swarm of mosquitoes into the audience.
Although I like his talk, he does go out on a tangent talking about the education system (which is fine, and I get the connection), but it just caught me by surprise and I actually wanted to know more about his plans for malaria, which is kind of ironic because he speaks of the lack of education for malaria, yet isn’t educating me through his talk! But that’s just me, and it was still a good listen!