Science Friday: Venutian Volcanoes + Trekkie Astronaut + Alien Polling + NASA Future + Blended iPad + more

If it is Friday it is time for science! This week we learn something new about Venus, watch the latest spacewalk (with a Trekkie), contemplate if aliens live amongst us, squint for some 3-D space images, ponder the future of NASA, and answer the most important question about the new iPad: will it blend?



Venus lives
Venus, our hot planetary neighbor, does not have a lot of craters, but it wasn’t exactly clear why. The European Space Agency’s Venus Express has returned evidence that the planet Venus is still geologically active. Young lava flows have been detected and the finding suggests that Venus is still capable of Volcanic eruptions, helping keep Venus smooth. More in Venus’ lava at the ESA site.

Click image to see animation

1 in 5 Earthlings believe we are not alone
A new Reuters poll finds that one in five (20%) of (presumably) human adults surveyed in 22 countries say they believe that alien beings have come down to earth and walk amongst us in our communities disguised as “us”. The biggest believers are from India (45%) and China (42%), whereas the Dutch, Belgians and Swedes are most skeptical at 8% belief. Americans came in at 25%. Believers are more likely to be men (22%) compared to women (17%), under the age of 35 (25%) compared to those aged 35-54 (16%) and those over the age of 55 (11%) and those more likely to be higher educated (22%) compared to those who are lower or middle educated (19%).

1 in 5 believe

Cool 3D space pictures
If you are willing to go cross-eyed, you don’t need any 3-D glasses to see in 3-D. The UK Telegraph has a gallery of stereo 3-D space images, just like those Magic Eye posters. Instructions: "Stare into the screen and allow your eyes to defocus. You will get double vision as each eye sees the L & R images separately. Move your head towards and away from the screen until the two middle images overlap. The single overlapping image should be in 3D". CLICK to see more images.

Can you see it in 3-D?

Trekkie makes spacewalk
Earlier today astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Clay Anderson, working with the  conducted a spacewalk to attach a 1,700 pound ammonia tank to the International Space Station. You can watch the walk below. This is the 141st spacewalk in support of ISS.

ISS gets tanked

Mastracchio and Anderson launched into space last week aboard the Shuttle Discovery. And during his pre-boarding prep, Clay showed off some Trek love by flashing a Vulcan salute.

Anderson salutes

Video of the Week: Neil deGrasse Tyson on NASA

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, speaking at the University at Buffalo, gave an inspirational and insightful answer to a student’s question about federal cutbacks to NASA funding.

Tyson was also a guest on last night’s Colbert Report, again talking about NASA’s future.

Gadget of the Week: Blendtec Blender – It can blend an iPad
Are you already bored with your iPad? Are you mad you can’t get that Captain’s Log app. Well, then one solution is to blend it. And the Blendtec blender is the blender to do it, as this video demonstrates.

Don’t try this at home

Science Quickies
Not enough science for you? Here’s a warp-speed look at some more science tid-bits that are worth a look.


TrekMovie’s Science Friday is an homage the the great NPR radio show Science Friday. Science Friday® is a registered service mark of ScienceFriday Inc.

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Those 3D images are addictive! :)

I can think of a few movies that need to go into the Blendtec Blender.

As for federal cuts in space… only one thought: PRIVATE SECTOR! Yes, we can… and we CAN without big mama gub’ment.

Oh and… Thanks, Kayla!

That Neil dude makes a great point with…..We don’t name schools after robots…NASA must continue to be funded for exploration…Private sector?
lets see..privite sector rocket vs NASA TECH ROCKET…I’ll take Nasa

I say “yes” to the private sector. When asked about why he did it, Zefram Cochrane said he did it for the money…

I’m not going to lie, the Will It Blend made me physically wince…

3D Space pictures are cool!

(And it works with Jerry Ryan pics, too)

Why not have a space stock market in which individual missions and projects could be invested by regular folks and corporations? The stock ticker could look something like this…

MARS +43.67… TNG +47.00… ENT +35.42… SHAT +79.03…

Hey, it could happen.

Love the Moon. So kool. Hey. I think the Tv Show V is not just a show. But a Documentry of all the Real V Aliens that are amongest us. Hmmm.

That picture of the moon is sweet! I want more

Keep the voice of reason going.
God knows, we now need one when it comes to space exploration.

#4, you have to remember that this argument over private sector vs. NASA is a trick question. The private sector has been building all of the United States space vehicles since at least the 1960’s, not NASA. NASA puts out bids and the private companies submit proposals.

The big change is private companies will bid on providing vehicles for NASA’s astronauts to use to travel to LEO or the space station. The big plus is that if there is another Challenger or Columbia type accident NASA will not lose access to space and will have multiple vehicles transporting crews to space and back so all of NASA’s “eggs” are not in one launcher “basket”. It’s like commercial airlines using different aircraft built by Boeing, McDonald Douglas, or Airbus.

The private vs. public debate needs to shift to fully private at this point, I think that’s what most people are getting at. If Virgin can almost do orbital flight for millionaire tourists, some other company must be able to be capable of doing the same for other reasons. The big question mark is what is up in space that is worth the big upfront investment that makes it worth a private company’s time?



I was surprised at how many people believe in aliens… know, scientifically, there is nothing really making thier existance impossible….if were here why can’t they be?

But then again I don’t think, IF other lifeforms are in space, I don’t think they disguise themselves as humans and then walk around observing us

haha. Boy, do I ever sound like a classic Trekkie :)


Super-happiness! Now that guy’s my favourite Nebraskan. x3