This week’s Science Friday is full of goodies from a new Cassini exhibit, how the full moon just got stranger, a rough ride on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, regenerative medicine, and a very interesting gadget of the week: Keyboard infused pants. Yes, you read that correctly. More after the break.
Cassini Watch: Views of Saturn at Natural History Museum
Visitors to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City will soon behold the wonders of Saturn in a new exhibition of images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Entitled “Saturn: Images from the Cassini-Huygens Mission,” the exhibit features more than 50 outstanding vista witnessed by Cassini in its first four years touring Saturn. The exhibition opens Saturday, April 26, 2008 and will be on display in the museum through March 29, 2009. Carolyn Porco, leader of the imaging team (and a science advisor for JJ Abrams Star Trek), is slated to speak about the exhibit images and the scientific and historic significance of Cassini’s exploration of Saturn on September 15, 2008. See CICLOPS.org.
Just one of the stunning views taken by the Cassini spacecraft
Strange Things Happen During a Fool Moon
Full moons are said to be behind many strange things, but here’s one you may not have heard: During a full moon, our favorite natural satellite is whipped by Earth’s magnetotail, causing lunar dust storms and discharges of static electricity. According to an agency statement, astronauts on the lunar surface may find themselves, “crackling with electricity like a sock pulled out of a hot dryer.” At full moon, the moon passes through a huge “plasma sheet” — hot charged particles trapped in the tail, and electrons charge the surface. On the moon’s dayside this effect is counteracted somewhat by sunlight, but the effect is prevalent on the dark side. For more see SPACE.com.
The Earth’s magnetotail whippin’ the full moon
Rough Return from Space For Russian Soyuz
Saturday’s safe return of the latest international space station crew occurred during an anxiety-filled half-hour of official silence that was later attributed to carelessness at Moscow Mission Control. After the US Space Shuttle’s retirement, the Russian Soyuz will be the only craft to carry astronauts to the ISS before the inauguration of the Crew Exploration Vehicle, and it’s safety issues are becoming a cause for concern.
Regenerative Medicine Could Repair Wounded Soldiers
The Defense Department has launched a five-year, Army-led cooperative effort to develop new ways to assist servicemembers who’ve suffered severe, disfiguring wounds during their wartime service. A key component of the initiative is to harness stem cell research and technology in finding innovative ways to use a patient’s natural cellular structure to reconstruct new skin, muscles and tendons, and even ears, noses and fingers. U.S. Army Surgeon General Schoomaker cited animals like salamanders that can regrow lost tails or limbs. "Why can’t a mammal do the same thing?" he asked.
A new reconstructive surgery technique
Gadget of the Week: Keyboard infused pants: TM asks, “Why?”
Integrating technology into our day to day is a popular trend with new gadgets these days, but this one seems to take it just one step too far. Dreamed up and designed by Erik De Nijs, these über-geeky pants boast a built-in keyboard that’s apparently Bluetooth-enabled. Beyond that, you’ll also find sewn in speakers, a pocket made especially for travel mice, and a “joystick controller” strategically located just behind the front zipper (saywha?).
It takes the right kind of geek to rock these jeans
Here’s a warp-speed look at science tid-bits that didn’t quite make the cut, but nonetheless merit mention.
- Hawking Quotes TOS in Washington DC (Thanks to David aka Commodore Redshirt for the tip!)
- Robot Aliens? BSG Gets it Right!
- Hubble’s 18th Birdthay Party Favors!
- Shoulder Motor Balks On Opportunity Rover’s Robotic Arm