“The Voyager spacecraft were built and continue to be operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. The Voyager missions are a part of NASA’s Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.” Image and caption credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
When the first humans venture beyond the Solar System, our present-day experiences with the Voyager and Pioneer craft will be remembered as watershed moments. Our space craft presently experience a space environment that would harm human tissue and would dampen the spirits of the hardiest souls. The specific case is how Coronal Mass Ejections of the Sun are experienced by the these craft. In spite of the fact that the Voyager craft are entering Interstellar Space–the craft are experiencing the effects of the CMEs.
So raise a champagne glass, a beer mug, or your cup-of-joe to these space craft–for Auld Lang Syne.
Panspermia is a topic that falls into and out of favor often. It is not that there is no substance to the paradigm, revolutionary and normal science will find other ‘grails’ worthy for investigation. However, the present research problems surrounding panspermia deal in areas of survivability–can life survive long periods of radiation and an extreme cold–or can life survive the multi-megaton impact upon reaching Earth?
Perhaps one measure of how life’s molecularity can survive cometary impacts is the near-extinction event of early Earth history. Dinosaurs became extinct when a large NEO impacted the Yucatan peninsula. Generations afterward, the first mammals took over the Earth–life didn’t quite resemble the previous generations. Genetic analysis seemingly points towards an abrupt but distinct lineage. Thus–it may be posited that life’s molecular nature, once established, is not readily displaced from its ‘beachhead.’
With this prefatory comment in place, I now discuss the issue of comets…
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with Dr. Steven Benner— Director, Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution
& The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology, Gainesville, FL
When: Thursday, May 22nd, 7:00pm (doors open at 6:30pm) Where: 120 Kane Hall, University of Washington
How do we define “life”? This fundamental question has remained largely philosophical, because it has been asked for so long, by so many, and with so few concrete conclusions. In this talk, Dr. Benner will take a different tack. He will show how laboratory studies to create a second example of life help us develop a firmer scientific understanding of what life is. The challenge of “synthetic biology” is on! Dr. Benner will discuss how we are hitchhiking on rockets, rovers, and telescopes to find life elsewhere in the Solar System, and…
I owe a large debt of gratitude to the BALDSCIENTIST, professor Oné R. Pagán. He kindly acknowledged me in his new book, The First Brain The Neuroscience of Planarians. It is published by Oxford University Press, 2014.
All too often, it is hard to understand the meaning of gratitude.
Yesterday (4/10/14), NASA officially launched their Tech Tansfer program, making the computer codes for over 1000 different NASA programs available to the public.
NASA published the codes in an open-access software catalog, in the hopes that independent coders or software designers will provide innovations to the NSA.
Front cover of the Tech Transfer catalog (Image: NASA)
Here’s Jim Adams, deputy chief technologist at NASA:
“NASA is committed to the principles of open government … By making NASA resources more accessible and usable by the public, we are encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship. Our technology transfer program is an important part of bringing the benefit of space exploration back to Earth for the benefit of all people.”
According to NASA, the new catalog will include codes for:
project management systems
life support functions
structural analysis robotic and autonomous systems
When one enters the technical field (also known as STEM), there are certain guiding principles that are significant for one’s success. The biggest factor is having appropriate and good role models or mentors. Truth being, it is very hard to lift oneself with one’s bootstraps. The worst is the ‘dumbing down’ that mainstream media portrays as real science or who scientists really are.
For a lot of us, our teachers throughout the formal education process are and were good role models. It isn’t too hard to find a good role model—the main trick is to overlook what you or I might perceive as flaws. In my years of observing human behavior, everyone has ‘clay feet.’ No matter how perfect on the outside, we all battle demons or will fall prey to fads or fallacies from time to time.
To borrow an ‘oft-turned phrase,’ we should keep our eyes on the prize. All too often, that prize resembles an ideal that is ‘borrowed’ from dreams, goals, aspirations and noblest part of ourselves. Once one loses sight of the prize, you or I will find the flaws and discouragements inherent to any undertaking.
The reasons for my seeking and attaining my BA—are fairly mundane in hindsight: I wanted to make a difference. However, as young man or any young person, it is too easy to lose sight. Life is full of distractions and our current media-driven society makes it very difficult to keep a long chain of thought on anything but tomorrow—let alone how one can make a difference in life.
Perhaps, it is best put—what would you want your best friends to say about you after all is said and done—