moments of existence

mindblowingscience:

Plutonium: The Scary Element That Saved The Crew Of Apollo 13

Plutonium may be the most feared and fearsome substance in the entire periodic table.
It’s best known as the main ingredient of atomic bombs like the infamous Fat Man, dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, which killed some 70,000 people. Japan surrendered six days later, but the threat of nuclear annihilation locked the world into Cold War for decades.
Yet the story of plutonium is not all about Armageddon or the threat of it. It is also the story of an incredible voyage of discovery into an unknown world.
You’ve probably heard the quote “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” It was what Commander Jim Lovell told the NASA command centre back on Earth in the moments after the Apollo 13 spacecraft had been rocked by an explosion.
It was April 1970, and Apollo 13 was 56 hours and 200,000 miles into its mission, mankind’s third attempt to land people on the moon.
One of the oxygen tanks had exploded, severing the spacecraft’s main power supply, and causing the temperature on board to plummet dangerously and carbon dioxide levels to rise.
Lovell and his crew had to retreat to the lunar module, which carried a suite of scientific instruments powered by a warm battery containing 8.5lb of pure plutonium.
That battery helped save the astronauts’ lives.

Continue reading… View Larger

mindblowingscience:

Plutonium: The Scary Element That Saved The Crew Of Apollo 13

Plutonium may be the most feared and fearsome substance in the entire periodic table.

It’s best known as the main ingredient of atomic bombs like the infamous Fat Man, dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, which killed some 70,000 people. Japan surrendered six days later, but the threat of nuclear annihilation locked the world into Cold War for decades.

Yet the story of plutonium is not all about Armageddon or the threat of it. It is also the story of an incredible voyage of discovery into an unknown world.

You’ve probably heard the quote “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” It was what Commander Jim Lovell told the NASA command centre back on Earth in the moments after the Apollo 13 spacecraft had been rocked by an explosion.

It was April 1970, and Apollo 13 was 56 hours and 200,000 miles into its mission, mankind’s third attempt to land people on the moon.

One of the oxygen tanks had exploded, severing the spacecraft’s main power supply, and causing the temperature on board to plummet dangerously and carbon dioxide levels to rise.

Lovell and his crew had to retreat to the lunar module, which carried a suite of scientific instruments powered by a warm battery containing 8.5lb of pure plutonium.

That battery helped save the astronauts’ lives.

Continue reading…


worth a look if you like things like the universe 

sagansense:

thatscienceguy:

YTMND’s presentation of our future in all its horrifying glory.

“A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.”
― Lawrence M. Krauss
worth a look if you like things like the universe 

sagansense:

thatscienceguy:

YTMND’s presentation of our future in all its horrifying glory.

“A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.”
― Lawrence M. Krauss
worth a look if you like things like the universe 

sagansense:

thatscienceguy:

YTMND’s presentation of our future in all its horrifying glory.

“A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.”
― Lawrence M. Krauss
worth a look if you like things like the universe 

sagansense:

thatscienceguy:

YTMND’s presentation of our future in all its horrifying glory.

“A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.”
― Lawrence M. Krauss
worth a look if you like things like the universe 

sagansense:

thatscienceguy:

YTMND’s presentation of our future in all its horrifying glory.

“A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.”
― Lawrence M. Krauss
worth a look if you like things like the universe 

sagansense:

thatscienceguy:

YTMND’s presentation of our future in all its horrifying glory.

“A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.”
― Lawrence M. Krauss
worth a look if you like things like the universe 

sagansense:

thatscienceguy:

YTMND’s presentation of our future in all its horrifying glory.

“A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.”
― Lawrence M. Krauss
worth a look if you like things like the universe 

sagansense:

thatscienceguy:

YTMND’s presentation of our future in all its horrifying glory.

“A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.”
― Lawrence M. Krauss
worth a look if you like things like the universe 

sagansense:

thatscienceguy:

YTMND’s presentation of our future in all its horrifying glory.

“A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.”
― Lawrence M. Krauss

worth a look if you like things like the universe 

sagansense:

thatscienceguy:

YTMND’s presentation of our future in all its horrifying glory.

A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.

― Lawrence M. Krauss

(Source: thefutureofourworld.ytmnd.com)


You and I, in fact everyone all over the world, we’re literally African under the skin; brothers and sisters separated by a mere two thousand generations. Old-fashioned concepts of race are not only socially divisive, but scientifically wrong.

Dr. Spencer Wells, Genographic Project lead scientist (via we-are-star-stuff)

(Source: thedragoninmygarage)


instagram:


Flipping Perspectives with @slowjam98 and #roofline_envelope
For more from Geof’s creative series, browse the #roofline_envelope hashtag and follow @slowjam98 on Instagram.
Phoenix, Arizona, Instagrammer Geof Newsum (@slowjam98) first downloaded Instagram to follow his wife, Ayanah (@ayanah), but after the two attended a local InstaMeet, Geof was inspired by the community to tap more deeply into his creative interests.
While on a lunch break one day, Geof snapped a photo of the roof of a nearby building. “After flipping the photo, it struck me that it looked like an envelope,” he explains. With that, the #roofline_envelope hashtag was born. “I came up with the tag and got stuck on the idea, posting two more that week. I’m now at 41 and counting.”
Since starting the series, Geof has watched it spread throughout the community and continue to pick up steam. As for where he wants to take it next, he says, “I’ve been wanting to create a special series based on endangered historic homes in Phoenix. I love the stories found in local architecture.”
Want to try out taking a #roofline_envelope of your own? Geof has some tips to share:
"Start with a gable wall—a flat wall under a pitched roof. Make sure there aren’t any wires or branches breaking the line of the roof. Take a second to position yourself dead center. When composing the shot, get linear elements from the roofline to perfectly meet the corners of the image." From there, rotate the image 180º and you’re ready to go!
instagram:


Flipping Perspectives with @slowjam98 and #roofline_envelope
For more from Geof’s creative series, browse the #roofline_envelope hashtag and follow @slowjam98 on Instagram.
Phoenix, Arizona, Instagrammer Geof Newsum (@slowjam98) first downloaded Instagram to follow his wife, Ayanah (@ayanah), but after the two attended a local InstaMeet, Geof was inspired by the community to tap more deeply into his creative interests.
While on a lunch break one day, Geof snapped a photo of the roof of a nearby building. “After flipping the photo, it struck me that it looked like an envelope,” he explains. With that, the #roofline_envelope hashtag was born. “I came up with the tag and got stuck on the idea, posting two more that week. I’m now at 41 and counting.”
Since starting the series, Geof has watched it spread throughout the community and continue to pick up steam. As for where he wants to take it next, he says, “I’ve been wanting to create a special series based on endangered historic homes in Phoenix. I love the stories found in local architecture.”
Want to try out taking a #roofline_envelope of your own? Geof has some tips to share:
"Start with a gable wall—a flat wall under a pitched roof. Make sure there aren’t any wires or branches breaking the line of the roof. Take a second to position yourself dead center. When composing the shot, get linear elements from the roofline to perfectly meet the corners of the image." From there, rotate the image 180º and you’re ready to go!
instagram:


Flipping Perspectives with @slowjam98 and #roofline_envelope
For more from Geof’s creative series, browse the #roofline_envelope hashtag and follow @slowjam98 on Instagram.
Phoenix, Arizona, Instagrammer Geof Newsum (@slowjam98) first downloaded Instagram to follow his wife, Ayanah (@ayanah), but after the two attended a local InstaMeet, Geof was inspired by the community to tap more deeply into his creative interests.
While on a lunch break one day, Geof snapped a photo of the roof of a nearby building. “After flipping the photo, it struck me that it looked like an envelope,” he explains. With that, the #roofline_envelope hashtag was born. “I came up with the tag and got stuck on the idea, posting two more that week. I’m now at 41 and counting.”
Since starting the series, Geof has watched it spread throughout the community and continue to pick up steam. As for where he wants to take it next, he says, “I’ve been wanting to create a special series based on endangered historic homes in Phoenix. I love the stories found in local architecture.”
Want to try out taking a #roofline_envelope of your own? Geof has some tips to share:
"Start with a gable wall—a flat wall under a pitched roof. Make sure there aren’t any wires or branches breaking the line of the roof. Take a second to position yourself dead center. When composing the shot, get linear elements from the roofline to perfectly meet the corners of the image." From there, rotate the image 180º and you’re ready to go!
instagram:


Flipping Perspectives with @slowjam98 and #roofline_envelope
For more from Geof’s creative series, browse the #roofline_envelope hashtag and follow @slowjam98 on Instagram.
Phoenix, Arizona, Instagrammer Geof Newsum (@slowjam98) first downloaded Instagram to follow his wife, Ayanah (@ayanah), but after the two attended a local InstaMeet, Geof was inspired by the community to tap more deeply into his creative interests.
While on a lunch break one day, Geof snapped a photo of the roof of a nearby building. “After flipping the photo, it struck me that it looked like an envelope,” he explains. With that, the #roofline_envelope hashtag was born. “I came up with the tag and got stuck on the idea, posting two more that week. I’m now at 41 and counting.”
Since starting the series, Geof has watched it spread throughout the community and continue to pick up steam. As for where he wants to take it next, he says, “I’ve been wanting to create a special series based on endangered historic homes in Phoenix. I love the stories found in local architecture.”
Want to try out taking a #roofline_envelope of your own? Geof has some tips to share:
"Start with a gable wall—a flat wall under a pitched roof. Make sure there aren’t any wires or branches breaking the line of the roof. Take a second to position yourself dead center. When composing the shot, get linear elements from the roofline to perfectly meet the corners of the image." From there, rotate the image 180º and you’re ready to go!
instagram:


Flipping Perspectives with @slowjam98 and #roofline_envelope
For more from Geof’s creative series, browse the #roofline_envelope hashtag and follow @slowjam98 on Instagram.
Phoenix, Arizona, Instagrammer Geof Newsum (@slowjam98) first downloaded Instagram to follow his wife, Ayanah (@ayanah), but after the two attended a local InstaMeet, Geof was inspired by the community to tap more deeply into his creative interests.
While on a lunch break one day, Geof snapped a photo of the roof of a nearby building. “After flipping the photo, it struck me that it looked like an envelope,” he explains. With that, the #roofline_envelope hashtag was born. “I came up with the tag and got stuck on the idea, posting two more that week. I’m now at 41 and counting.”
Since starting the series, Geof has watched it spread throughout the community and continue to pick up steam. As for where he wants to take it next, he says, “I’ve been wanting to create a special series based on endangered historic homes in Phoenix. I love the stories found in local architecture.”
Want to try out taking a #roofline_envelope of your own? Geof has some tips to share:
"Start with a gable wall—a flat wall under a pitched roof. Make sure there aren’t any wires or branches breaking the line of the roof. Take a second to position yourself dead center. When composing the shot, get linear elements from the roofline to perfectly meet the corners of the image." From there, rotate the image 180º and you’re ready to go!
instagram:


Flipping Perspectives with @slowjam98 and #roofline_envelope
For more from Geof’s creative series, browse the #roofline_envelope hashtag and follow @slowjam98 on Instagram.
Phoenix, Arizona, Instagrammer Geof Newsum (@slowjam98) first downloaded Instagram to follow his wife, Ayanah (@ayanah), but after the two attended a local InstaMeet, Geof was inspired by the community to tap more deeply into his creative interests.
While on a lunch break one day, Geof snapped a photo of the roof of a nearby building. “After flipping the photo, it struck me that it looked like an envelope,” he explains. With that, the #roofline_envelope hashtag was born. “I came up with the tag and got stuck on the idea, posting two more that week. I’m now at 41 and counting.”
Since starting the series, Geof has watched it spread throughout the community and continue to pick up steam. As for where he wants to take it next, he says, “I’ve been wanting to create a special series based on endangered historic homes in Phoenix. I love the stories found in local architecture.”
Want to try out taking a #roofline_envelope of your own? Geof has some tips to share:
"Start with a gable wall—a flat wall under a pitched roof. Make sure there aren’t any wires or branches breaking the line of the roof. Take a second to position yourself dead center. When composing the shot, get linear elements from the roofline to perfectly meet the corners of the image." From there, rotate the image 180º and you’re ready to go!
instagram:


Flipping Perspectives with @slowjam98 and #roofline_envelope
For more from Geof’s creative series, browse the #roofline_envelope hashtag and follow @slowjam98 on Instagram.
Phoenix, Arizona, Instagrammer Geof Newsum (@slowjam98) first downloaded Instagram to follow his wife, Ayanah (@ayanah), but after the two attended a local InstaMeet, Geof was inspired by the community to tap more deeply into his creative interests.
While on a lunch break one day, Geof snapped a photo of the roof of a nearby building. “After flipping the photo, it struck me that it looked like an envelope,” he explains. With that, the #roofline_envelope hashtag was born. “I came up with the tag and got stuck on the idea, posting two more that week. I’m now at 41 and counting.”
Since starting the series, Geof has watched it spread throughout the community and continue to pick up steam. As for where he wants to take it next, he says, “I’ve been wanting to create a special series based on endangered historic homes in Phoenix. I love the stories found in local architecture.”
Want to try out taking a #roofline_envelope of your own? Geof has some tips to share:
"Start with a gable wall—a flat wall under a pitched roof. Make sure there aren’t any wires or branches breaking the line of the roof. Take a second to position yourself dead center. When composing the shot, get linear elements from the roofline to perfectly meet the corners of the image." From there, rotate the image 180º and you’re ready to go!

instagram:

Flipping Perspectives with @slowjam98 and #roofline_envelope

For more from Geof’s creative series, browse the #roofline_envelope hashtag and follow @slowjam98 on Instagram.

Phoenix, Arizona, Instagrammer Geof Newsum (@slowjam98) first downloaded Instagram to follow his wife, Ayanah (@ayanah), but after the two attended a local InstaMeet, Geof was inspired by the community to tap more deeply into his creative interests.

While on a lunch break one day, Geof snapped a photo of the roof of a nearby building. “After flipping the photo, it struck me that it looked like an envelope,” he explains. With that, the #roofline_envelope hashtag was born. “I came up with the tag and got stuck on the idea, posting two more that week. I’m now at 41 and counting.”

Since starting the series, Geof has watched it spread throughout the community and continue to pick up steam. As for where he wants to take it next, he says, “I’ve been wanting to create a special series based on endangered historic homes in Phoenix. I love the stories found in local architecture.”

Want to try out taking a #roofline_envelope of your own? Geof has some tips to share:

"Start with a gable wall—a flat wall under a pitched roof. Make sure there aren’t any wires or branches breaking the line of the roof. Take a second to position yourself dead center. When composing the shot, get linear elements from the roofline to perfectly meet the corners of the image." From there, rotate the image 180º and you’re ready to go!


New Website!

Hi there! Welcome to my new site! I’m happy to say I’m writing to you in a small cabin onboard the JOIDES Resolution scientific drilling vessel.

New Website!

Hi there! Welcome to my new site! I’m happy to say I’m writing to you in a small cabin onboard the JOIDES Resolution scientific drilling vessel.


Female Science writer gets called a Whore for saying NO to working for free →

womenrockscience:

image

This is Biologist Dr Danielle N. Lee also known as the Urban Scientist at Scientific American, she “draws from hip hop culture to share science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups.” Biology-Online liked her work so much they wanted her to write for them……for free….

Not cool. Really not cool. 


sagansense:

First Ever Evidence Of A Comet Striking Earth
The first ever evidence of a comet entering Earth’s atmosphere and exploding, raining down a shock wave of fire which obliterated every life form in its path, has been discovered by a team of South African scientists and international collaborators, and will be presented at a public lecture on Thursday.
The discovery has not only provided the first definitive proof of a comet striking Earth, millions of years ago, but it could also help us to unlock, in the future, the secrets of the formation of our solar system.
“Comets always visit our skies – they’re these dirty snowballs of ice mixed with dust – but never before in history has material from a comet ever been found on Earth,” says Professor David Block of Wits University.
The comet entered Earth’s atmosphere above Egypt about 28 million years ago. As it entered the atmosphere, it exploded, heating up the sand beneath it to a temperature of about 2 000 degrees Celsius, and resulting in the formation of a huge amount of yellow silica glass which lies scattered over a 6 000 square kilometer area in the Sahara. A magnificent specimen of the glass, polished by ancient jewellers, is found in Tutankhamun’s brooch with its striking yellow-brown scarab.
Tutankhamun’s Brooch
The research, which will be published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, was conducted by a collaboration of geoscientists, physicists and astronomers including Block, lead author Professor Jan Kramers of the University of Johannesburg, Dr Marco Andreoli of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, and Chris Harris of the University of Cape Town.
At the centre of the attention of this team was a mysterious black pebble found years earlier by an Egyptian geologist in the area of the silica glass. After conducting highly sophisticated chemical analyses on this pebble, the authors came to the inescapable conclusion that it represented the very first known hand specimen of a comet nucleus, rather than simply an unusual type of meteorite.
Kramers describes this as a moment of career defining elation. “It’s a typical scientific euphoria when you eliminate all other options and come to the realization of what it must be,” he said.
The impact of the explosion also produced microscopic diamonds. “Diamonds are produced from carbon bearing material. Normally they form deep in the earth, where the pressure is high, but you can also generate very high pressure with shock. Part of the comet impacted and the shock of the impact produced the diamonds,” says Kramers.
The team have named the diamond-bearing pebble “Hypatia” in honour of the first well known female mathematician, astronomer and philosopher, Hypatia of Alexandria.
Watch: The Frailty of Knowledge: Sagan on the Library of Alexandria, Hypatia
Comet material is very elusive. Comet fragments have not been found on Earth before except as microscopic sized dust particles in the upper atmosphere and some carbon-rich dust in the Antarctic ice. Space agencies have spent billions to secure the smallest amounts of pristine comet matter.
“NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) spend billions of dollars collecting a few micrograms of comet material and bringing it back to Earth, and now we’ve got a radical new approach of studying this material, without spending billions of dollars collecting it,” says Kramers.
The study of Hypatia has grown into an international collaborative research programme, coordinated by Andreoli, which involves a growing number of scientists drawn from a variety of disciplines. Dr Mario di Martino of Turin’s Astrophysical Observatory has led several expeditions to the desert glass area.
“Comets contain the very secrets to unlocking the formation of our solar system and this discovery gives us an unprecedented opportunity to study comet material first hand,” says Block.
Source: University Of The Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; Image: An artist’s rendition of the comet exploding in Earth’s atmosphere above Egypt (credit: Terry Bakker)
View Larger

sagansense:

First Ever Evidence Of A Comet Striking Earth

The first ever evidence of a comet entering Earth’s atmosphere and exploding, raining down a shock wave of fire which obliterated every life form in its path, has been discovered by a team of South African scientists and international collaborators, and will be presented at a public lecture on Thursday.

The discovery has not only provided the first definitive proof of a comet striking Earth, millions of years ago, but it could also help us to unlock, in the future, the secrets of the formation of our solar system.

“Comets always visit our skies – they’re these dirty snowballs of ice mixed with dust – but never before in history has material from a comet ever been found on Earth,” says Professor David Block of Wits University.

The comet entered Earth’s atmosphere above Egypt about 28 million years ago. As it entered the atmosphere, it exploded, heating up the sand beneath it to a temperature of about 2 000 degrees Celsius, and resulting in the formation of a huge amount of yellow silica glass which lies scattered over a 6 000 square kilometer area in the Sahara. A magnificent specimen of the glass, polished by ancient jewellers, is found in Tutankhamun’s brooch with its striking yellow-brown scarab.

imageTutankhamun’s Brooch

The research, which will be published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, was conducted by a collaboration of geoscientists, physicists and astronomers including Block, lead author Professor Jan Kramers of the University of Johannesburg, Dr Marco Andreoli of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, and Chris Harris of the University of Cape Town.

At the centre of the attention of this team was a mysterious black pebble found years earlier by an Egyptian geologist in the area of the silica glass. After conducting highly sophisticated chemical analyses on this pebble, the authors came to the inescapable conclusion that it represented the very first known hand specimen of a comet nucleus, rather than simply an unusual type of meteorite.

Kramers describes this as a moment of career defining elation. “It’s a typical scientific euphoria when you eliminate all other options and come to the realization of what it must be,” he said.

The impact of the explosion also produced microscopic diamonds. “Diamonds are produced from carbon bearing material. Normally they form deep in the earth, where the pressure is high, but you can also generate very high pressure with shock. Part of the comet impacted and the shock of the impact produced the diamonds,” says Kramers.

The team have named the diamond-bearing pebble “Hypatia” in honour of the first well known female mathematician, astronomer and philosopher, Hypatia of Alexandria.

imageWatch: The Frailty of Knowledge: Sagan on the Library of Alexandria, Hypatia

Comet material is very elusive. Comet fragments have not been found on Earth before except as microscopic sized dust particles in the upper atmosphere and some carbon-rich dust in the Antarctic ice. Space agencies have spent billions to secure the smallest amounts of pristine comet matter.

“NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) spend billions of dollars collecting a few micrograms of comet material and bringing it back to Earth, and now we’ve got a radical new approach of studying this material, without spending billions of dollars collecting it,” says Kramers.

The study of Hypatia has grown into an international collaborative research programme, coordinated by Andreoli, which involves a growing number of scientists drawn from a variety of disciplines. Dr Mario di Martino of Turin’s Astrophysical Observatory has led several expeditions to the desert glass area.

“Comets contain the very secrets to unlocking the formation of our solar system and this discovery gives us an unprecedented opportunity to study comet material first hand,” says Block.

Source: University Of The Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; Image: An artist’s rendition of the comet exploding in Earth’s atmosphere above Egypt (credit: Terry Bakker)