Insight Launch Delayed

The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission, originally set to launch in March of 2016, has been delayed.  It’s not yet clear when it will launch, but it certainly won’t be on schedule for March. The reason for the scrub is that a major science instrument on the lander has been having issues. The French-made Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) requires a vacuum seal around three main sensors to protect them from the Martian environment.  This vacuum seal allows them to detect seismic activity on Mars, and notice any ground movements as small as...

Motivation Monday: Smile – You’ve got it Good!

I woke up at 5:30am this morning.  It sucked. It was pitch dark but I had to get out and beat traffic.  I fed the cats, got dressed, had breakfast, then drove to the gym for a 6am workout.  Still dark.  Finished my workout, had a shower, got back in the car, still dark out, and drove to work, sitting in traffic.  People were cutting each other off, tailgating, and doing everything from eating to putting on makeup in the car.  This is a normal day driving in Toronto, and I was thinking about how people curse and complain and...

1000 Things You Didn’t Know About the Universe #3: It’s Mostly Made of Nothing

Welcome to a new series of posts that will characterize 1000 amazing facts about the Universe.  There is so much out there that we have yet to learn, and every day, astronomers across the globe are using their research to reveal the deepest secrets of the cosmos.  This series will look at the strangest, coolest, most exciting facts that we have discovered in hundreds of years of modern science. Fact #3: The Universe is made of a ridiculous amount of nothing. What is everything made of? The answer will change depending on how much education you have.  For most of...

Rosetta Sheds New Light on Origin of Earth’s Oceans

One of the most important science goals of the Rosetta mission is to determine the conditions in the early solar system, as well as the element abundance and climate that led to the development of life on Earth. By studying a comet that has been isolated in Space for 4.5 Billion years, we can learn about the formation of the Solar System and the origin of the raw materials for life on Earth.  The Earth was thought to be so warm when it formed that any water would have evaporated away into space.  If so, where did our vast oceans come...