The Essence of Science and the Fringes of Reality

Data is fascinating.  And what’s even more fascinating is that the laws of nature produce predictable patterns in data.  For example, if you toss a coin 100 times and measure how many times heads comes up, you’ll get a number between zero and 100.  If you repeat that experiment again and again and again, you’ll get different values each time, but usually the number will be around 50, and 50 will come up more than any other value if you repeat the experiment enough times.  If you plot this data, with the # of heads in 100 coin tosses on...

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: If you Want to Be, Do.

The old saying goes ‘If you want something done right, do it yourself.’  Many a person filled with hubris about their own abilities takes this too far and often ends up never trusting others to help or take on any challenge, no matter how small or insignificant.  The real meaning behind this idea is that if you ‘have an idea in your mind about the way something should be done, do it yourself.’  This can lead to the founding of a successful business, if you take it along the lines of ‘if you found a better way to do something,...

The Launch was a Success! Orion is Up!

After yesterday’s scrubbed launch due to valve issues, the Orion spacecraft has launched on its first full test flight aboard a Delta IV rocket.  This is the first step for humanity to reach beyond the Moon, and the Orion craft will eventually carry astronauts Watching it live and seeing everyone in the space flight community on twitter talking about it and posting pictures really makes you feel like a part of the mission itself.  I feel like I’m there in mission control along with the NASA staff, and having followed the progress of the mission for so long it feels...

Orion Launch is Happening Friday! Make sure you watch it!

It’s finally time for humanity to take the next great leap into the great beyond.  We are natural explorers, and the time to explore a new frontier is now.  Humans will soon go beyond the Moon, and we will venture there on the Orion Capsule, powered by the sails of the Delta IV rocket. You may have seen some of my other posts about it, or an old infographic of the flight procedure. The launch window is opening at 7:05 am EST today!  It will have a 2 hour – 39 minute launch window. But if the weather is clear it...

Testing Eyesight and Being Mistaken for the Little Dipper for Thousands of Years

If you guessed that I was referring to the Pleiades, you are correct.  The small open star cluster, Messier 45, is about 440 Light Years from Earth, relatively close for a star cluster.  We are able to see it with the naked eye in Autumn and Winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. The stars in the Pleiades are young and bright blue, meaning they are very massive and hot.  By young, I mean somewhere around a hundred Million Years, about 40 times younger than the Sun.  The smears of blue in the above photo show that the cluster is still...

Orion Spacecraft Test Flight – Taking Humanity further into Space!

The Orion Spacecraft will eventually be the next vehicle to take humans further into space than ever before.  But before it can do that, it requires extensive testing to ensure its ready to go! The short infographic below from the crew working on Orion gives us an idea of how the major December flight test will go, and the altitudes being tested. If you can’t see it, the axes are y (miles) vs. x (hours). Last short post of the week as my teaching conference STAO ends today!

Rubik’s Cube – My First Time Challenge

I have never, not once, in my life, solved or seriously attempted to solve a Rubik’s cube. I had all kinds of puzzles and games growing up, so I wasn’t deprived at all, it just never happened.  I feel I was just past the generation that was introduced to the cube, and maybe a quick look as a kid convinced me it wasn’t worth the time.  I also think that never seeing one in a store as a child was a factor, or maybe I was just into video games. While training for my new part time job this week...