Welcome back to Science Saturday! This week, journey into interstellar space with Voyager 1, join Liu Yang, China’s first woman astronaut in space, explore Earth’s oceans in a Jules Verne-esque research vessel, and more! Plus, see our gadget of the week: the ArduSat open-source, crowdfunded satellite.
Voyager 1 Now Humanity’s First Object to Reach Interstellar Space
NASA’s Voyager 1 satellite (yes, V’ger) has sent back signals indicating that it’s now leaving the heliosphere and entering interstellar space. At 11,100,000,000 miles away, Voyager 1 has set the record for the farthest a human made object has ever travelled and marks mankind’s first steps outside of our own solar system. Voyager’s latest radio signals, which take about 16 hours to reach Earth, have shown an increase energetic particles around the spacecraft, which indicates to scientists that it is at the edge of the heliosheath, or the bubble that surrounds and protects our solar system from cosmic winds.
More at the Daily Mail.
V’ger: The first manmade object to reach interstellar space
China Launches Shenzhou 9 With First Woman Taikonaut Into Space
Chine’s Shenzhou 9 spacecraft carrying the country’s first woman astronaut successfully launched today at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu Province. Liu Yang and her two crewmates are part of China’s next big step in space exploration. This mission launched the first manned vessel to dock with the Tiangong-1 space lab, China’s orbiting space station, which is scheduled to be fully operational in 2020.
Jules Verne-like Ship to Explore Oceans
A new kind of research vessel that looks like something out of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea could be exploring Earth’s oceans as soon as late next year. Called the SeaOrbiter, the live-aboard vessel is part submarine, part research ship. For almost 12 years, the SeaOrbiter has been floating about as a concept ship, but it recently completed the industrial design phase, which should lead into production this October. About 50% of the vessel will be below the water line, allowing for constant underwater study. The SeaOrbiter is designed for intrepid scientists and is expected to cost around $43 million.
Read more at CNN.
Explore Earth’s oceans in a super cool research vessel
Pic of the Week: Scale of Phobos
Here’s an awesome rendering of Phobos, one of the two moons of Mars, shown to scale against the city of Grenoble in eastern France. It really gives you a feel for its size! Even though Phobos is a relatively small object, it looks huge compared to an entire city.
Gadget of the Week: ArduSat the Crowdfunded Satellite
Have you ever wanted to send an experiment into space? Well, now you can! Aboard the ArduSat satellite powered by Arduino open-source microprocessors and funded by Kickstarter. ArduSat, which very well could be the cheapest satellite ever designed, is built on the CubeSat platform, a standardized cube satellite design that’s 4 inches by 4 inches and weighs less than 3 pounds. Head over to the ArduSat Kickstarter page to learn more and see what you can contribute.
Not enough science for you? Here’s a warp-speed look at some more science tid-bits that are worth a peek.
- Tropical lakes on Saturn moon could expand options for life
- Neutrons escaping into a parallel world?