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NASA Spacecraft in Close Encounter with Nearby Tempel 1 Comet – Film at 11

Filed under: History,Natural Wonders,Science News — Tags: , , , — Positronic Dave @ 5:02 am February 15, 2011

Right now, out in deepest space (well pretty deep), NASA is eagerly awaiting a space probe flyby of the Tempel 1 Comet, which had been previously observed by other spacecraft on an earlier mission. This will give scientists an excellent opportunity to see something never before seen my humans, the changes a comet goes through both before and after it passes the sun.

It was 2005 when the comet was first observed as it passed closely by the sun in its slingshot flyby.

The probe, called Stardust NExT, is closing in on the quickly moving comet, catching up at a rate of almost seven miles a second. A bit before 5am GMT on Wednesday, they’ll be just over a hundred miles apart.

Then the cosmic paparazzi will be shooting like mad, so hopefully we’ll get some good pics of the comet with its interplanetary pants down.

What this dirty ball of ice less than four miles across might tell us, we’ll have to wait to find out, but the excitement is palpable over at mission headquarters.

Last time we came across it we smashed a probe INTO the comet, and had another spacecraft take pictures of what happened next. The powdery plumes that resulted were a total surprise to observing cosmologists, cause they had expected just dirt and ice and other boring stuff.

So this is a big week in the annals of Comet Science. The Tempel 1 Comet Flyby. Stay tuned!

Solar Tsunami

Filed under: Breaking News,Science News,Weather — Tags: , , — Positronic Dave @ 2:19 pm August 3, 2010

Photography by Fraser Gunn

Oops, another world-ending rumor: a Solar Tsunami will hit the Earth sometime today. So, if you spot a bunch of spelling errors in this post, it’s because I wanted to finish it before the solar tsunami microwaves us all… hmmm, do you smell something good cooking? A kind of pork smell?

The surface of the sun suffered an eruption this Sunday, that sent Lord knows how many tons of fiery plasma into space. That it will take it until tonight to reach Earth just shows you that space is really, really… big. Even a solar flare has to take a 2 day shuttle, so to speak.

This flood of Ionized particles should hit us later this evening, and while the resulting “geomagnetic storm” should do nothing more give people outside of Alaska and Canada a chance to see the Aurora Borealis, it might also screw with satellites. That means, at best, we will suffer some periods where communication devices may not work that well. At worst, satellites will be falling from the skies like lawyer friends at a Dick Cheney hunting party. In fact, even now, FOX News is trying to link this event to President Obama’s New World Order/Commie/Nazi agenda. That, or Gov. Jan Brewer will label the solar particles streaming into Earth’s atmosphere as “illegal immigrants” and have them shipped off to Mexico.

The eruption, or coronal mass ejection as it’s called by the NASA Space Telescope set, is something that happens about every 10-11 years. And since we didn’t all fry last time, it’s a very good chance we won’t fry now, either. But imagine the true horror here: some people will see awesome lines of red and green in the night sky… but they won’t be able to Twitter their friends about it! AAAAHHHHH!!!!!

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