Holy kwap it's quiet in 'space'. O_O
Thanks ZoRPA for sharing!
Jupiter -- June 1999
That is one big ass storm!The Great Red Spot is a vast storm system on Jupiter. It spins like a cyclone, with speeds reaching 270 miles per hour (430 km/h). The storm, which is twice the size of the Earth, was first seen when 17th century astronomers turned their telescopes on the planet. More than 300 years later, it's still going strong.
I don't see this happening, I think the only country with the will to go back to the moon is China, they have a drive to prove to the world that they can do anything the super powers can. And until the Chinese really look like they're going there, the US won't have a sufficient reason and drive to go. An ISS approach to a moon colony might be more viable though.Republican contenders spar over US space programme during Thursday's debate, with Newt Gingrich promising "moon colony".
Forget Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine – Newt Gingrich wants to colonise the moon.
"By the end of my second term , we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American," the Republican US presidential hopeful told a cheering crowd in Cocoa, Florida, a town with links to the space industry.
A whopping budget deficit and cuts to the military do not seem to have dampened Gingrich’s astronomically expensive plans for a lunar colony with 13,000 residents.
"I want you to help me in Florida and across the country so you can someday say you were there the day it was announced that we’d have commercial space, moon colony and moving toward Mars," he said on Wednesday, comparing himself to John F Kennedy and the Wright Brothers [who invented airplanes].
“We clearly have a capacity that the Russians and the Chinese will never come anywhere close to matching."
Out of this world
Candidates clashed over the space programme, and Gingrich’s plans, during Thursday’s Republican debate.
"I spent 25 years in business. If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I’d say, ‘You’re fired,’" Mitt Romney, Republican front runner, told the audience in response to Gingrich’s plan.
Rick Santorum, another Republican challenger, called Gingrich’s space plans "crass politics" which pandered to voters in Florida without addressing the US’s fiscal problems.
NASA, the organisation which would manage such a scheme, declined to comment on the plans. A spokesman told Al Jazeera the agency could not speak about anything related to the campaign.
Alan Boyle, an award winning science journalist who follows the US space programme, said that just to put humans on the moon would cost more than $100bn.
"Building a base would require significantly more expense," he told Al Jazeera. "Gingrich thinks private-sector innovation would produce some savings", but plans of this nature would "require a dramatic upswing in NASA spending".
Republicans generally claim to detest "big government" spending initiatives – and a moon base, like the military, certainly fits into this category.
In an attempt to deflect criticism of a promise which would almost invariably require massive outlays of federal cash, Gingrich said he will entice the private sector to increase its involvement by offering "prizes", although specific details have not been forthcoming.
"How big would the prizes need to be to stimulate commercial plans for a base?" wondered Jeff Faust, editor of spacepolitics.com. "The space programme has gone through an extended period of uncertainty," he told Al Jazeera.
'Cold War mentality'
During the Cold War and the space race against the former USSR, the US committed about five per cent of its GDP to the Apollo space mission, said Ian O’Neil, a space science producer with Discovery News.
"NASA gets less than half a per cent of today’s GDP; they simply can’t afford this," O’Neil told Al Jazeera. "He is trying to invigorate a Cold War mentality, which is very different from the world we live in today."
Romney, for his part, promised to create a commission of experts to study the space programme. Barack Obama, the US president, established a similar body – the Augustine commission – where experts could make recommendations for NASA’s future.
In 2010, Obama announced plans for a new spacecraft, designed for long journeys, to be operational by 2025. He wants humans to be able to orbit Mars by the mid-2030s.
"Bush, in 2004, wanted to get back to the moon by 2020," Faust said. "NASA was behind schedule, according to Obama’s committee [established in 2009], and [Obama] decided not to develop Constellation – the next generation of space ships – but focused on commercial travel instead."
"Debates about space often blur party lines," he said, adding that no one, including Gingrich, has provided a convincing reason for building a moon base, other than "national prestige".
Major oil companies are some of the only commercial entities with the resources to finance moon projects. Prospects of commercial mining on the moon, specifically related to the energy resource Helium-3, have been cited as a reason for establishing a long-term human presence.
"There is a lot of research going into fusion power plants," O’Neil said of an energy technology that experts hope will work in a similar fashion to the sun, generating plentiful, pollution free power here on earth. "Helium-3 covers the moon’s surface and it would be a viable fuel source to generate power", however, the technology with which to establish fusion reactors with the moon’s plentiful energy source is at least "decades away" he said.
"Until oil runs out on earth," Faust told Al Jazeera, "I don’t think the idea of mining the moon will be mentioned in the board rooms of big companies."
Pretty Earth Pics: This Is Our Marble
Just a pretty picture of the earth. In the link there is one you can expand, which is even more beautiful.
Advice for Beginner Skywatchers
If you haven't yet opened the box that contains your telescope, good! From 45 years of both personal observing and teaching many others, it’s my belief that you should not hastily rush outside with a telescope before even knowing what's in the sky or what to look at. It's not unlike buying a catamaran if you've never sailed before.
A tremendous tornado whirling across the surface of the sun was captured by a NASA satellite recently an amazing wonder of the solar system that may be as big as the Earth itself.
'Monolith' Object on Mars? You Could Call It That
Prothean?Amateur stargazers have discovered an intriguing object jutting out from the surface of Mars. The seemingly perfectly rectangular, upright structure, found in NASA images of the Red Planet, bears a striking resemblance to the monoliths planted on Earth and the moon by aliens in the classic sci-fi film "2001: A Space Odyssey."
The object in question was first spotted several years ago after being photographed by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a NASA space probe; every so often, it garners renewed interest on the Internet. But is it unnatural — a beacon erected by aliens for mysterious reasons, and even more mysteriously paralleled in the imaginations of Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, creators of "2001"? Or is this rock the work of nature?
According to Jonathon Hill, a research technician and mission planner at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, who processes many of the images taken during NASA's Mars missions, the object in question is no more than a roughly rectangular boulder.
The HiRISE camera that photographed it has a resolution of approximately 1 foot (30 centimeters) per pixel — impressive considering the 180-mile (300-kilometer) altitude from which it photographs the Martian surface, but not quite sharp enough to capture the cragginess of a mid-size boulder. "When your resolution is too low to fully resolve an object, it tends to look rectangular because the pixels in the image are squares. Any curve will look like a series of straight lines if you reduce your resolution enough," Hill told Life's Little Mysteries.
The location of the boulder at the bottom of a cliff near many other boulders suggests it broke off the cliff and tumbled to its current spot sometime in the distant past, Hill said. Such a perilous location is itself an argument against deliberate placement by aliens: "If I was going to build a monolith somewhere, that's the last place I would put it!" he said. "The debris falling from the cliff would cover it up pretty quickly, on geologic timescales."
Hill added that the height of the boulder is being exaggerated in the photo by a low sun angle. Photographed when the sun was near the horizon, the boulder casts an especially long shadow.
The ufologists aren't necessarily wrong in calling it a monolith — the word simply translates from Latin as "one stone." But this monolith isn't the masonry of Martians.
At first I thought it has some connection to the monolith on Mars' moon, but if that's the Prothean data cache, then they should go straight to Pluto and find the Charon relay hiding behind it.
Yes, but even if we find the charon relay behind Pluto, we'd never reach it within 30 years with our current space tech. When the world should have been busy investing in continuing the space race we were too busy trying to dupe people into buying penis enlargement pills online.
42 Mind-Blowing Photos Of Space From The Hubble Telescope
Some of them are just mind blowing. That deepest-ever view of the universe photo scares the **** out of me. It's just too big to fathom.
Just a quickie, the Moon is a lot brighter and nearer to the Earth this weekend. Kinda hurts me eyes even.
The moon during the weekend :D
Last edited by Morrigan; 09-05-2012 at 06:11 PM.
The always have such odd names for everything. Like the Elephant's Trunk nebula;
You have to stretch your imagination quite a bit to see an elephant's trunk. I would rather have called that the Fleeing Woman nebula, because that's actually what it looks like. :p
If anyone wants to see the Curiosity landing on Mars, here is a Livestream from NASA.