Resupply at the Speed of Light

A little while ago, NASA emailed a wrench to the ISS. In other words, we are beaming stuff into space from the comfort of a desk, no rockets necessary.

What a brilliant use of technology.

Imagine sending a colony on Mars supplies not by physical transport, but by radio waves, and in a few minutes rather than half a year (provided the colonists have the materials.)

Hubble Ultra Deep Field (2014 Version)

An “empty” part of space, yet if you were to run a noise filter on this picture you would erase hundreds of billions of suns:

Galaxies like colorful pieces of candy fill the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014. The dimmest galaxies are more than 10 billion times fainter than stars visible to the unaided eye and represent the Universe in the extreme past, a few 100 million years after the Big Bang. The image itself was made with the significant addition of ultraviolet data to the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, an update of Hubble’s famous most distant gaze toward the southern constellation of Fornax. It now covers the entire range of wavelengths available to Hubble’s cameras, from ultraviolet through visible to near-infrared. Ultraviolet data adds the crucial capability of studying star formation in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field galaxies between 5 and 10 billion light-years distant.


To the Moon

Very nice TV spot from Google that aired during Cosmos on teacher appreciation day:

The Joy of Discovery

Another great video by melodysheep:

There’s a question that troubles us all from the time we are first able to think, and that is, “where did we come from?” And this question is so compelling that we’ve invented the science of astronomy. We’ve discovered these natural laws so that we can learn more about our origin and where we came from. This is what drives us; this is what we want to know—let’s keep looking; let’s keep searching!

We have come to be because of the universe’s existence, and we are driven to pursue that; to find out where we came from. The joy of discovery, that’s what drives us. And these questions are deep within us—“where did we come from? What was before the Big Bang?” To us, this is wonderful and charming and compelling; this is what makes us get up and go to work every day! We are—you and I—at least one of the ways that the universe knows itself.

It fills me with joy to make discoveries every day of things I had never seen before—to know that we can pursue these answers.

Where did we come from?

It's Five Sigma at Point Two

BICEP2 has detected evidence of gravitational waves, validating the theory of inflation.

Here’s Professor Andrei Linde and his wife, also a physics professor, being delivered the news:

The Guardian writes:

What next? Do cosmologists just pack up and go home?

No way. Now the work really begins. Einstein knew that general relativity did not mesh with another theory of physics called quantum mechanics. Whereas general relativity talks about gravity and the universe as a whole, quantum mechanics talks about the small scale of particles and the other forces of nature, the strong and weak nuclear forces, and electromagnetism. Despite almost a century of effort, the world’s physicists have not been able to show how these theories work together. The primordial gravitational waves were generated when gravity and the universe were working on the same scale as particles and the other forces of nature. This detection and the subsequent analysis will hopefully tell us how. If it does, this could lead to what physics wistfully call “the theory of everything”.

There’s probably a very long way yet to the theory of everything, but this is very exciting nonetheless.