Astrophotography is a time-consuming but rewarding hobby. The long and arduous process of capturing amazing stellar images isn’t as simple as just pointing a telescope at the sky and clicking a button. It involves hours of exposures and compositing multiple images together to get a single impressive picture. Imagine one hobbyist’s surprise when he realized he had managed to capture the split-second flash of what is probably a meteor impact on Jupiter completely by chance.
When the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spied vast clay deposits on the surface of Mars, it was a major discovery supporting the possibility that the red planet was once a wet and warm planet. Just about all of the research being done on Mars these days revolves around the wet mars theory and the possibility that it could have supported life in the deep past, but now some doubt has been cast on where those clay deposits came from that could spell the end of science’s hopes for a second genesis.
Just last year, the wet mars theory took its first hit when researchers suggested that the clay deposits didn’t result from large standing bodies of water but from periodic subsurface outflows that carried the clay and minerals to the surface. This already didn’t bode well for the blue Mars that scientists had been hoping for, but now a new theory on the deposits argues that you don’t even need that much water to have clay in the first place. According to Universe Today, a research team led by Alain Meunier of the Université de Poitiers, has found geologic evidence on Earth that suggests the clay was actually formed by solidifying magma instead, meaning that planetary scientists have been looking at the leavings of volcanic activity rather than ancient lakes.
I imagine being an astronaut is a high-stress occupation. Despite being quite literally a dream job for many at NASA, there’s no question that every launch requires a thousand things to go right, and anything that goes wrong can mean serious trouble. With that kind of pressure, you almost have to have a sense of humor to lighten the atmosphere now and then. Apparently, one way the NASA folks blow off some steam is by creating silly posters for the individual missions that reference everything from Star Trek to The Matrix to Harry Potter.
The thing everyone has been waiting for has finally happened; someone finally put a Walt Whitman poem to dubstep. Only the internet could give us such an odd but awesome combination. That’s not to say that the dubstep part really adds anything to the inspiring poem or the video, but (surprisingly enough) it doesn’t subtract from it either. The poem is Whitman’s “Pioneers! O pioneers!” and the video turns it into a call for space exploration.
Walt Whitman was a poet living in Civil War era America, so the original intent of his poem had nothing to do with space exploration but was instead an ode to westward expansion in the United States. That’s not to say that he probably wouldn’t have felt the same way about mankind’s exploration of space. After all, in the 1800’s the American west and the gold rush were that century’s space race. Either way, it is a gripping call for mankind to get out, explore the boundaries of our civilization and expand our knowledge of the universe.