barackobama: Neil’s spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown—including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure—sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step.
“I just wanted to call to say congratulations to the entire Mars Science Laboratory team and really all of JPL on last Monday’s incredible success,” Obama said during the phone call that was patched into a loudspeaker at mission control in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
“I understand that there’s a special ‘Mohawk guy’ working on the mission?” Obama jokingly asked, which was promptly followed by a roar of laughter from JPL.
According to NASA administrator Charles Bolden, “new technologies never invented or attempted before were created for this journey,” and that the odds for success were actually just 40 percent.
Curiosity, the most sophisticated Rover ever built is now on the surface of the red planet, where it will seek to answer age-old questions about whether or not life ever existed there on Mars or if the planet can sustain life in the future.
More photos to come, we can be sure of that. [mashable]
WHERE THERE’S SMOKE THERE’S PARTICULATE POLLUTION: This map, created using data from a NASA satellite, shows particulate matter released by the wildfires throughout the United States. Reddish-brown areas have the highest levels of particulates. (Photo: NASA)
If you’re awake really late Saturday night, you’ll be lucky enough to view the astronomical phenomenon known as “Super Moon.”
At around 11:35 pm EST, the moon will reach its perigee, the closest point to Earth in its orbit. This will be the only “super moon” of the year –as much as 30 percent brighter and 14 percent bigger than ordinary full moons this year, according to NASA.
Here’s something you don’t see every day: a tornado on the surface of the sun. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory posted this stunning video, which shows the sun’s plasma sliding and spinning around in the star’s magnetic fields for 30 hours earlier this month.
Terry Kucera, a solar physicist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told Fox News that the tornado might be as large as the Earth itself and have gusts up to 300,000 miles per hour. By comparison, the strongest tornadoes on earth, F5 storms, clock wind speeds at a relatively paltry (though incredibly destructive) 300 mph.
Huge loops of plasma—superheated, charged gas—rise from an active region on the sun in a newly released picture from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Each loop is as tall as several Earths stacked on top of each other.
[...] “I said when we got — I think the number is 13,000 — when we have 13,000 Americans living on the moon, they can petition to become a state.”
“By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American,” the candidate insisted. “We will have commercial near-Earth activities that included science, tourism and manufacturing.”
“I accept the charge that I am an American and Americans are instinctively grandiose because we believe in a bigger future!” he exclaimed. “I want you to help me both in Florida and across the country so that you can someday say you were here the day it was announce that of course we’d have commercial space and near space. Of course we’d have a man colony on the moon that flew an American flag.”
Newt intends to set up an open marriage type of society for his moon colony, because a bigger future should also mean bigger vows and bigger families — grandiose personal lives!
STORM RECAP: As expected, a CME hit Earth’s magnetic field on Jan. 24th at approximately 1500 UT (10 am EST). The impact produced a G1-class geomagnetic storm and bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. As the storm crested, Göran Strand of Östersund, Sweden, took a panoramic photo and wrapped it 360-degrees to create this composition, which he calls Planet Aurora:
Even veteran aurora watchers were impressed. “This was one of the best Northern Lights displays that I’ve ever seen, and I mean ever in over 5000 hours on the ice,” says Andy Keen of Inari, Finland…
Over the weekend, the Earth’s magnetic field was struck by a coronal mass ejection (CME). The CME — a vast bubble of solar plasma that had erupted from the sun on Jan. 19 — took longer than expected to travel through interplanetary space, but on Sunday it made contact.
This SDO image (AIA 193) shows an M9-class solar flare erupting on the Sun’s northeastern hemisphere at 03:49 UT on Jan. 23, 2012… just 4 days after a previous strong CME that sparked aurora around the world on the 22nd. More geomagnetic activity is expected for the 24th.
CREDIT: NASA/SDO and the AIA Consortium/Edited by J. Major