Welcome back to Science Saturday! This week: watch the launch of Mars Science Laboratory today, live on NASA TV, witness the underwater “icicle of death” caught on film for the first time, and duck and cover from falling botched Russian Mars mission. All this and more, plus our gadget of the week: NeverWet superhydrophobic spray.
Mars Science Laboratory Launch Today
The highly anticipated next mission to mars — Mars Science Laboratory aka Mars Curiosity Rover — will launch today in an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air force Station in Florida. The launch window is open from 10:02am – 11:45am EST. NASA reports a 70% chance for favorable weather conditions during the launch window. NASA TV has already started pre-launch programming.
Don’t forget to watch the launch live on NASA TV.
Underwater “icicle of death” Caught on Film for First Time
A BBC crew used time-lapse cameras to capture what some call the “icicle of death” for the first time ever on film. Extremely cold saltwater ice (well below freezing) flows into fresh water. The freshwater immediately freezes creating an icy shell around the flowing saltwater. This underwater icicle eventually reaches the sea floor, where it kills everything it touches. Check out the amazing video below.
Failed Russian Mars Mission Phobos-Grunt Now Threat to Earth
The Russians launched an ambitious mission to Phobos, one of the moons of the Red Planet, to collect a soil sample and return to Earth. Their plans were derailed when Phobos-Grunt stalled in Earth orbit after its launch on November 8th. Scientists only just received telemetry from the spacecraft earlier this week, but now it’s too late for the mission to be completed — the travel window has passed. Phobos-Grunt will eventually burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, but, as it was set to go to Mars, it’s full of hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide fuels and rather explosive. Reports say that Phobos-Grunt may be the dirtiest thing to ever re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, but won’t make it to the surface before burning up according to analysts. Just hope their right and the thing won’t crash into your house.
Phobos-Grunt was supposed to travel to Mars’ moon and back
Gadget of the Week: NeverWet Superhydrophobic Spray
Now you can have perfectly clean clothes without the need to wash ever again! The NeverWet superhydrophobic spray repels water, oils, basically anything liquid. According to our sources, NeverWet products will be available for consumers in early 2012. Check out the video below to see it in action.
Not enough science for you? Here’s a warp-speed look at some more science tid-bits that are worth a peek.
- Physicists set strongest limit on mass of dark matter
- NASA flies robotic lander prototype to new heights