Kayla gets this week off, so your humble editor will once again tackle the exciting world of science. This week we start our post-Thanksgiving hangover by digesting some turkey facts and news. We find out that the second man on the moon is no fan of Orion, check out Cassini’s latest vacation photos from Saturn, check in on the now back online LHC, and finish off with a ringing video of the week and chrome gadget of the week.
Yesterday on Thanksgiving, astronauts aboard the Space shuttle Atlantis checked their pantry for the usual astronaut food, but instead found turkey dinners awaiting them. The surprise meals were made up of smoked and irradiated turkey, along with pouches of candied yams and freeze-dried cornbread stuffing and green beans — just add water! A NASA spokesman told AP that the meals were snuck on board by the crew of the International Space Station before Atlantis departed Wednesday. More info at AP.
Speaking of turkeys, the Discovery Channel has some facts about turkeys for you to ponder with your leftovers…
Buzz doesn’t like Orion
The second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, doesn’t pull punches (catch this video of him punching a "moon hoaxer"). Buzz has taken a look at the Orion project, which will be replacing the Shuttle fleet with a return to old school capsules, and he doesn’t like what he sees. In a new editorial titled "In Search of a Real Spaceship", Buzz notes:
Space capsules? That’s right, instead of following the Shuttles with something as capable – something that can guarantee American space leadership – we’re going to race China, India, and Russia in a competition to build a limited and ungainly spacecraft that America retired a generation ago. And guess what? It will take another seven years before the NASA Orion capsule is ready to ferry astronauts. And that’s on top of the five years we’ve already spent designing the thing. Seven more years, when we went from Mercury through Gemini to Apollo in less than five (the first unmanned Apollo test flights began even before Gemini carried astronauts, for Pete’s sake). And it will cost the taxpayers, oh more than $50 billion for these Orion capsules and their booster rockets! Washington, we don’t have liftoff..
Navy divers practice recovery on new Orion capsules – Buzz thinks this is no way for a 21st century astronaut to land
Saturn’s Aurora movie + Enceladus Geysers
The Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn has had a busy week. On November 21st it buzzed Saturn’s moon Enceladus again (from just 2000km above the surface), and got some spectacular images of the moon. The icy moon revealed what appears to be some ideal locations for skiing, and caught some of those geysers in action as well. All the images are available at ciclops.org. And on the 24th Ciclops released a movie showing the aurora effect from Saturn’s north poll. Again, check it out at ciclops.org.
Cassini continues to be one of the coolest cameramen spots in the solar system
LHC Colliding Protons Again
Last Friday, for the first time since September 2008, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) went back online and circulated a beam of protons around the 17 mile-long ring of supercooled electromagnets. On Monday it was reported that the first proton collisions had occurred, which Discovery notes "weren’t expected for another two weeks." Once again, the LHC is functioning as the world’s most advanced particle collider. Now the work of hunting for the elusive Higgs boson (aka ‘the god particle’) can begin in earnest. More at Discovery.com.
LHC one step closer to answers…or Armageddon…whichever you prefer
Video of the week: The Earth with Rings
3D artist Roy Prol decided to take a look at what the Earth would appear like if it had Saturn-like rings (from Space and from various spots on the surface).
Gadget of the Week: Google Chrome
The following video shows off how Google’s new ‘Chrome’ operating system, combined with their ‘Chrome’ browser can revolutionize computers, especially those ‘netbook’ type devices.