Observers around the world are reporting a sharp increase in the brightness of sun diving Comet ISON. Formerly dim, it is now on the threshold of naked-eye visibility. Comet ISON is plunging toward the sun for a perilous pass through the solar atmosphere on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28th). This could be the first of many brightening events as intensifying solar heat erodes material away from the comet’s nucleus.
Apparently, Comet ISON has surged in brightness by approximately 2 magnitudes in little more than 24 hours. If the trend continues, it could be a faint but easy naked-eye object by the end of the week.
The sudden uptick in brightness could be caused by a fresh vein of ice opening up in the comet’s nucleus. Rapid vaporization of ice by solar heat is a sure-fire way to boost a comet’s visibility. But, as NASA’s Comet ISON Observing Campaign states, “we [really] have no idea.” The comet’s nucleus is hidden from view by a hazy green atmosphere, so events in the interior remain a mystery.
In 2012, NASA’s budget will be less than half a percent of the total Federal Budget. This also represents 35% of the total spending on academic scientific research in the United States.
Over the past 50 years, with little more than the pocket change left over, NASA has turned science-fiction into science-fact. Space stations, human spaceflight, interplanetary exploration - this is all reality now.
Imagine what we could accomplish if we started prioritizing science.
At approximately 10:31 p.m. PT on August 5, the Mars Science Laboratory, or MSL, aka Curiosity successfully landed on Mars. Wow…just wow… I can’t explain to you guys the joy that overtook me as we got word of the successful landing. A decade of work from over 500 people came to fruition at…
THIS IS WHY I LOVE NASA AND SCIENCE. ALL OF THIS POST, RIGHT HERE.
I hope that EMTs will be provided to Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists during the seven minutes it will take for the Curiosity rover to decelerate from 17,000 to 0 mph on its descent to the Martian surface. The scariest part looks to be right at the very end: if the rover’s “umbilical cord” fails to be cut, the landing module could drag the rover with it on its last, doomed flight. We’ll find out if the landing was successful at 1:30 AM EST this morning.
This piece of aluminum, recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Centers on 9/11, is on a Mars rover exploring the red planet.
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Fact-checked this since I hadn’t heard it before, and it’s true! Scientists posit that these “tributes” could last for millions of years on Mars’s surface. I’m glad they’re being put to good use in the meantime.