Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Latest and Greatest in Space!

Wow, July has been a crazy busy month, both for me and for news in space and astronomy!  S and I have both been very occupied with a lot of travel.  My big trip and the reason I haven't posted in over a month is I went to France for 10 days with my college friend K!!! (Pictures to come soon!) On top of that, S and I have a total of 3 weddings to go to in the next month, some with associated bachelor parties, etc.  It's all been fun and we're looking forward to our upcoming trips as well, we just have a lot on our plates!

So to tide you over until I can find the time to pick the best of the best out of my 300-something photographs from France, I've rounded up all of the incredible news in space and astronomy that has been flooding the news and internet lately.  I have to say, I am SO THRILLED to see how many people are avidly following and enjoying the recent news about the New Horizons mission to Pluto!  It fills my heart to see that everyone is so genuinely excited about these scientific discoveries. 
  • NASA's New Horizons satellite has made it to Pluto and is sending back amazing, high resolution, natural color imagery of our dearly demoted little dwarf planet!  Imagery includes the discovery of a now famous heart on Pluto, 2 mountain ranges, and all 5 of Pluto's moons.  This Pluto encounter will continue to last until January 2016, during which the New Horizons craft will analyze the spacial geometry of Pluto and its moons, perform experiments, and spend a lot of time sending hundreds of gigabytes of data back to Earth.  After Pluto, the New Horizons team hopes to send the craft on to explore other Kuiper Belt objects up close.
  • On Monday, famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian billionare Yuri Milner announced that they are going to be funding and heading a new project called Breakthrough Listen.  The $100 million venture (!!!) is going towards SETI  - the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence!  This new initiative will only be searching for signs of intelligent life (non-naturally occurring communications in both radio frequencies and laser transmissions) not broadcasting and is scheduled to operate for 10 years.  Such a huge and wonderful boon for supporters of the SETI community!
  • Today 3 new crew members will be launched by Russian Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station!  One astronaut, one cosmonaut, and one Japanese crew member will take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to join the 3 crew members already on-orbit.  If you want to watch live, tune in to NASA TV as early as 3:00 pm CDT to watch prep work leading up to the 4:02 pm CDT launch time.
  • And finally, an amazing video from my favorite astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, on A Brief History of Everything from Big Bang Theory, to the creation of matter, to the creation of Earth.  This video is totally worth watching!

That is all for now, hope you enjoyed!

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