President Obama on Neil Armstrong’s passing: “the enormous power of one small step”

barackobamaNeil’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.

President Obama on the passing of Neil Armstrong

POTUS and NASA’s Mohawk Guy

You just wait, next mission half of mission control will have crazy hair.

Obama to MSL Team: Martian Microbes and Mohawks

“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.


barackobama: In which Mohawk Guy loves POTUS back

While we slept: Curiosity lands on Mars

danhacker“touchdown confirmed”


In Case You Missed It of the Day: The Curiosity Rover made it to Mars late Sunday night, and so far all we’ve got is this single high-res photo.

But it was more than enough to send NASA engineers into ecstasy, since the Curiosity’s landing sequence — coined The Seven Minutes of Terror – requires six vehicle configurations, 76 pyrotechnic devices, the largest supersonic parachute ever built, and more than 500,000 lines of code.

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]

via: thedancingtoast

fulloffuryfullofgrace: First photo from Curiosity. (courtesy George Takei)

image: spytap

Air pollution from wildfires mapped by NASA

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)

Air pollution from wildfires mapped by NASA
The instrument on the satellite measures aerosols by analyzing the amount of light scattered and reflected by the atmosphere.

Researchers who’ve analyzed the data used to make the map said that the western wildfires have affected air quality as far away as the East Coast.

Venus transiting the Sun: one image, two versions

via: andthendavidsaid

n-a-s-aVenus at the Edge — Image Credit: JAXA, NASA, Lockheed Martin

Beautiful. I wonder if someone shopped in the orange tones in the first image. Because I’d think NASA’s image would be the authentic one.

Anyone see a supermoon yet?

ikenbot: Supermoon From Eiffel Tower, by VegaStar Carpentier

Super Moon 2012: Biggest Of The Year

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.

Read more about the super moon at CBS Detroit.

Video: Meanwhile on the International Space Station

Timelapse videos depicting the stars from low earth orbit, as viewed from the International Space Station. The video plays best if you let it load a bit first.


Timelapses and images courtesy: The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. The Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center. One of NASA’s best outreach programs, in my opinion.

A very big thanks to NASA astronaut Don Pettit (@astro_Pettit) for taking most of these images.

White Ridges on Mars

Credit: HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona), NASA


NASA Images Depict Rapid Loss of Thick Arctic Sea Ice: 1980 – 2012

‘NASA Images Depict Rapid Loss of Thick Arctic Sea Ice’, 1980 – 2012

From Yale e360: A new comparison of satellite images from 1980 and 2012 vividly depicts the rapid disappearance of thick, multi-year Arctic Ocean ice in winter. Over the past three decades, the extent of the Arctic’s thickest ice has declined by 15 to 17 percent per decade, according to NASA climate scientist Joey Comiso. Details over at Yale e360 and NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Source: plantedcity

Video: A 300,000 mph tornado on the sun (NASA)

VIDEO: A Tornado On The Sun : The Two-Way : NPR

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.

Morning: Solar Loops

Solar Loops — Image courtesy: SDO/NASA

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.

via: ikenbot

Watch video:

Newt Skywalker and his moon base

If this isn’t panderbearing, I don’t know what is:

Gingrich promises moon base that could become 51st state

Speaking to Republicans on Florida’s Space Coast…

[...] “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!

image: businessinsider

That geomagnetic storm? It’s over.

And most of us won’t even know it ever began! From

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…


Meanwhile, while we sleep

Spectacular Aurorae Erupt Over Norway

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.

keep reading


Huge Solar Eruption Sparks Strongest Radiation Storm in 7 Years

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 


7°F outside