Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Links: Space Edition

If someone tells you to get your head of out of the clouds, you have two options: plant your feet on the ground, or fly into space.

This last Thursday, Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, posted a summary of the Planck mission data. Planck is a space telescope operated by the European Space Agency. Its purpose is to scan the Microwave Background Radiation, the highly red-shifted afterglow fo the Big Bang. So far, its readings are the most precise on record, and have several implications for our understanding of the universe. Among them is the fact that the universe is slightly older than expected, and that it is somewhat lopsided. Read Phil's article for the full story.

The Economist surprised me by using the term "Space Archaeology," which is apparently now an actual field. At least, it is for the wealthy founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. He has put his millions to good use, and now trawls the oceans for spent boosters from the Apollo mission's lower stages. Mr. Bezos intends to put them on public display. Let's hope so: perhaps it will convince people that exploring space is a nobler pursuit than war.

I really should just post a feed to Phil Plait's blog on my site, now that I think of it, since it's a constant stream of interesting stuff. I checked back there today, and he has a new article up on citizen science: the practice of using laypeople to aid in real scientific research. This usually works via a form of crowdsourcing, where a website will present bits of data for public analysis. I used to participate on one such site, called Galaxy Zoo, which allows you to help catalogue galaxies.

Go ahead: get your head out of the clouds and into someplace useful. Like space.

1 comment:

  1. I love outer space, i've seen it in allot of different ways, movies,.. the planetarium, & even in video games, i think thats the best place to explore a planet, or the moon, like on Halo or Destiny!