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Category Archive: NASA

Apr 18 2014

Hypothetical illustration of the surface of Kepler 186f: Lycoris

CropKepler186f

  We won’t know details of the surface of 186f for years, probably decades, at best. It could be a cool Venus, a warm Mars, or a water world with a thick, steamy atmosphere and no clear surface transition between vapor and liquid phases. It could have a highly reflective atmosphere or surface, locking it …

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Apr 17 2014

Kepler hits the exo-planetary jackpot

kepler186f_comparisongraphic_0

Ustream NASA press conference here (highly recommended). An artist friend may try to squeeze in a hypo illustration. But if someone wants to submit an image of what they think surface might look like, have at it. I’ll consider anything received by tomorrow at 5 PM Central for the science round up at Daily Kos linked …

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Feb 01 2014

Obscure NASA requirement in play as Trojan Horse for rightwing power grab

Terminator

Some things are harder to kill than others. A simplistic myth abounds among the usual suspects, that the simple act of killing a government program ends it, cuts spending and thus the deficit. Like so many beliefs, this one is far from accurate. The government can terminate a contract for two reasons: the exceedingly rare …

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Jan 22 2014

Water found on dwarf planet Ceres

600px-Ceres_optimized

The headline to the link article below is a bit over the top. It reads “Is there life on Ceres?” The answer is, we have absolutely no way to know that because that pic above represents the best we’ve got. Ceres is tiny, distant, and dim. But our knowledge of this enigmatic world is about to change …

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Jan 03 2014

NASA waiting on Da House to act

Suppose every time a civilian or pure research plane lifted off there was an obscure law, originally passed with good intentions, that had to be regularly re-authed by Congress or no more flights. And let’s just say that Congress became hyper-polarized, a do nothing body, where even the simplest, once uncontroversial acts morphed into a …

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Dec 14 2013

Winged artiodactyls & Fireballs in the sky

Guys and gals I’m only $200 bucks short of salvation this month thanks to a number of generous readers. If you can kick in a few more shekels I will say a special prayer for you be able to continue working on issues near and dear to our hearts for at least another few weeks! My Paypal email …

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Dec 05 2013

Tricksy politicians vs NASA

Thanks for the holiday contribs guys (I’m sorry, Christmas contribs, since holidays is a bad word now). I had a little PC malfunction yesterday but it seems to be barely working, now, after messing with it endlessly. Man I’m so sick of being poor, but at least I go to the doc today for what …

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Nov 29 2013

ISON: something may have survived!

ison_soho_nov28_2036UTC.jpg.CROP.original-original

  By this time yesterday I was absolutely certain ISON was cooked, literally. It was tiny to start with, even by comet nucleus standards, and within a million miles of the sun for hours where insolation would heat any normal material to several thousand degrees by any scale, plenty hot enough to boil most metals. …

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Nov 27 2013

Comet ISON still alive & moving at about 200 miles/sec

ISON entering the sun’s outer plasma atmosphere on 27 Nov 2013 as seen by NASA’s SoHo spacecraft.Reports of Comet ISON’s suicide by sun have been premature. The plucky little nucleus, now thought to be less than a mile across, is streaking closer to its perihelion tomorrow at about 1:37 EDT. The next two days are …

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Nov 26 2013

Latest on Comet ISON: death by Sun?

The latest on ISON: it may be in the process of coming apart. But if it doesn’t, later this week, the Bad Astronomer and his buddies will be busy hosting a video party of ISON’s imminent pass by the fire, or its early death:

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