Climate Change Evidence

Quoting from their web site:

“Global land temperatures have increased by 1.5 degrees C over the past 250 years

Berkeley Earth has just released analysis of land-surface temperature records going back 250 years, about 100 years further than previous studies. The analysis shows that the rise in average world land temperature globe is approximately 1.5 degrees C in the past 250 years, and about 0.9 degrees in the past 50 years.”

In addition all data is available for examination by region, like city or state for example.

Click here to visit the web site.

Mars- The Grand Entrance

William Shatner Narrates the Grand Entrance

NASA has just released a short video (4 minutes) about the Mars Science Laboratory mission that begins with the landing on the 6th.

The video is narrated by William Shatner and basically describes the EDL phase of the mission.

Click here to watch the video.

Planets and Spacecraft

We are less than a week away from the MSL landing on Mars, and toward the end of August the Dawn mission leaves its orbit around asteroid Vesta and heads to the other side of the main asteroid belt to dwarf planet Ceres.

August 6 – 5:30 am CDT

This week Asteroid Vesta will be passing through the stars of the open cluster the Hyades – the face of Taurus the Bull. On the 6th it will be less than half a degree, actually around 14 minutes,  from the reddish star Aldebaran. Vesta is at a magnitude of around 7-8 so it is technically beyond naked eye visibility but from experience I know that it will be as a star-like point of light in binoculars. And given the star field it will be passing through makes it all the more easy to observe.
While out this week keep an eye out for the International Space Station. From my home there is what I would guess is a rare opportunity to see the ISS 4 times in one day – two in the morning and two that night on Monday the 6th. Throughout this week there are several opportunities so be sure to check the ‘sightings’ web (http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/cities/skywatch.cgi?country=United+Statessite for visibility in your area.
This Sunday evening go outside and look above the western horizon for a trio of relatively bright stars forming a triangle. The vertical base of the triangle is formed by Saturn and the star Spica while the west pointing tip of the triangle is the planet Mars. Within a few hours of your evening observation the Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity, will be landing near the 96 mile diameter Gale Crater.  At 12:31 am CDT on August 6th we should receive radio verification from the vehicle that is has landed – which including radio travel time from Mars means that the rover has actually been on the surface for nearly the past 14 minutes.
Click here to visit the Mars Science Laboratory web site.

I Like Ike!

I was a ‘kid’ when Eisenhower was president and really don’t remember this bill being signed on July 29 1958 however on that day the  National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 was signed, thus creating NASA.

Click here to visit the American Presidency web site to read more about the bill and the former president’s comments.

Size of ISS Crew to Increase

Aquatic Habitat for ISS

Something fishy is going on with the recent arrival of the Japanese HTV-3 supply ship at the International Space Station. Carried on board with the supplies is an AQH, or Aquatic Habitat, or what we know as an aquarium. However an aquarium designed for placement in the low-gravity field of low-Earth orbit.
The project is self-contained and is designed for approximately 90 days allowing for 2-3 generation of the small fishes, zebrafish and medaka, to develop.
Click here to read more about this project at the JAXA web site.

Leaving Low-Earth Orbit – Finally?

Expanded View of New System

In what I think is the first step toward realizing the goal of taking crews beyond low-Earth orbit NASA has now approved plans that detail the design specifications and other features of a heavy lift vehicle capable of taking large payloads including crew beyond Earth orbit. This could mean crewed missions to the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and beyond(?).

Click here to read more about the Space Launch System (SLS)

Duck! Not Really

Tomorrow, the 22nd, a Near Earth asteroid, 2002 AM31, will pass by the Earth coming within about 3 million miles of us. This asteroid estimated to be approximately 0.6 x 1.2 km in size will be observed live and broadcast over the Internet from the Slooh Telescope web site starting at 7:30 pm EDT.

Lightning on Saturn

Lightning in Saturn’s Atmospgere

Lightning in Saturn’s Atmosphere
Cameras aboard the Cassini spacecraft have returned pictures recently that show lightning in the atmosphere of the ‘Ringed-Planet’. This picture in true color shows the lightning appearing as blue flashes of light.

Click here to read the Press Release from NASA.