Showing posts with label space. Show all posts
Showing posts with label space. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Theres now a car in space !!


Nowadays there is a crazy amount of non-sensical news out there, that sometimes the really awesome stuff gets skipped over.  Somebody might have dared Elon Musk way back in high school, and I think he did this just to get back. SpaceX, his private aerospace company, this week launched their heaviest rocket yet, in what is any company’s coolest PR stunt , ever. They actually launched a Tesla Roadster car in space ! Complete with a dummy driver, named Starman. How cool is that ?

But the real accomplishment of this event was how the two boosters of the rocket returned, and landed back on earth. Two of the boosters were recycled and programmed to return for a simultaneous touchdown at Cape Canaveral, while the third, brand new, set its sights on an ocean platform almost 500 kilometres offshore. This is the technology they are trying to advertise, the cost savings when re-usable engines are used. Its sticker price is $US90 million, less than one-tenth the estimated cost of NASA's Space Launch System megarocket in development for Moon and Mars expeditions.


The car could be traveling between Earth and Mars' neighbourhoods for a billion years, because it did miss its target of going to Mars.

Thank you, Mr Musk. This video of starman in space is ultimate food for Nerds !

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The universe moves on , like clockwork


The much hyped celestial event, the super blue blood moon, occurred precisely at the time astronomers predicted. The moon was cutoff a little, then glowed an eerie orangish-red. It was weird watching it personally, this is only the first time in my life I have seen this kind of a lunar eclipse. And perhaps the last time too.

It was nice reading about the enthusiasm with which people looked forward to viewing this spectacle, inspite of superstitions around the world.Of course there are superstitious idiots in even the most advanced of places. And last year there was a similar hype for the solar eclipse. Today we understand the movement of the stars with precision, imagine what the earliest humans would have thought when they saw the moon turn red. In ancient Amazon , they would have sacrificed a few dudes to the event. Or some 'homam's and 'puja's would be conducted with large amounts of ghee burn for nothing. We need a scientific approach to universal phenomenon. Questions need to be asked, and answered. Even after all the data, nobody could predict who would win the  2016 election accurately. But eclipses can. We seem to understand more about our universe than about our own minds.

And it is events like these which remind me that despite all the chaos on earth, the universe moves on without unchallenged. Its as if nobody up there cares about the stupid things we do down here. And rightly so. Events like these re-reinforce my belief in science, nature; and the truth that ultimately ,we humans are powerless against the forces of nature.

Reminds of that great quote by Carl Sagan.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Pluto Is Still A Planet….


…in New Mexico !

As far as most of the world is concerned, poor Pluto got downgraded from planet to dwarf planet (or planetoid) back in 2006 when the International Astronomical Union revised their definition of what constitutes a planet. For the curious, Pluto was downgraded because it lacks enough gravitational pull to distinguish itself from other dwarf planets in similar nearby orbits.

Whatever the reason was for the change in Pluto’s classification, New Mexico’s House of Representatives was having none of it. For you see, the man who discovered Pluto back in the 1930s, Clyde Tombaugh, was a long-time resident and a former professor of astronomy at New Mexico State University. Regardless of what the international astronomy community had to say about the matter, the people of New Mexico had a very strong opinion about the matter. Kandilley, karimeen puttaakee ?

In 2007, the House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring that March 13, 2007 would be observed as Pluto Planet Day and that whenever Pluto is in such a position that it can be observed in New Mexico’s night skies it is, in fact, still a full-fledged planet.

Bonus Trivia: Because Clyde Tombaugh was born in Illinois, the Illinois State Senate passed a resolution in 2009 that asserted Pluto was “unfairly downgraded to a dwarf planet” by the IAU.