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Entries in category Space and science

Pale blue dot

Many people have followed the adventure of the crew aboard space shuttle Discovery which includes Christer Fuglesang, first Scandinavian in space. The opinions about the mission range from “heroic adventure” to “stupid waste of tax money”.

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Attack of the Leonids

It’s time for the annual meteor shower from the Leonids. Unfortunately this year’s Leonids are likely to be a big disappointment since they are scheduled to peak tomorrow when the moon is just past full, thus flooding the sky with bright light. Their display will be weak and affected by the intensive moonlight.

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The secrets of Archimedes

Archimedes was one of the greatest mathematicians of his time. In the 3rd century B.C. he discovered such fundamental things as pi and calculus. Today, the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore holds a lot of manuscripts and rare books for study and conservation. One of them is the so called Archimedes Palimpsest, the only remains of unknown works by Archimedes himself. Or should I say previously unknown?

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Twinkle twinkle little planet

Over 130 stars have been shown to have orbiting planets during the last years. Their presences are basically detected in two ways: either by a slight wobble in the star positions due to gravity or a variation in intensity as the planet pass in front of the star. However, there has been no actual light detection of any extra-solar planet, a visual confirmation of sorts. Until now.

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A lament for Titan

The success of Huygens landing on Titan, as mentioned in The secrets of Titan, is like a Christmas gift for scientists all over the world. However, not everyone is leaping with joy. David Atkinson is a scientist at the University of Idaho. He has spent 18 years of his life designing an experiment for measuring the winds of Titan.

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The secrets of Titan

Today the world’s minds focused on ESA’s tiny probe Huygens, about to start it’s lonely descent into the dense atmosphere of Titan in just a few hours, the most distant landing ever attempted. The data will relayed to NASA’s orbiting spacecraft Cassini and then it takes about one hour for the information to reach Earth. Even though it’s main mission is to analyze the atmosphere composition, Titan being the only moon in the solar system with an atmosphere, the most tickling thought is what will happen when it tries to land on the surface.

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