Fantastic Images of Deep Sea Life

24 11 2009

A flashlight fish, one of the many denizens of the deep.

Top DTC reporter Sam alerted me this morning to a press release by the Census of Marine Life with some new photos of deep sea critters. Go to their site and have a look! The organization has lots of photos of amazing creatures, and video too!

There’s some seriously cool stuff down there.

-Neil





NASA Confirms Solar Tsunamis

24 11 2009

The sun. It's big, hot, and apparently, occasionally subject to some serious turbulence.

Scientists at NASA have confirmed earlier observations of wavelike events on the solar surface as being truly stellar tsunamis. NASA is good at putting out really great press releases, and they know a heck of a lot more about this than I do, so I’m just going to point you to their site. Make sure you check out the videos!

The sun is awesome. “Some matter in a ball,” indeed.

-Neil





Water on the Moon Confirmed

13 11 2009
Full_Moon_Luc_Viatour

You can spot the water, can't you?

And another layer of the cosmic onion is peeled back! Scientists from NASA’s LCROSS project have confirmed their previously hesitant assertion that water exists on our moon in the permanent shade of its impact craters. I’m going to defer to the public relations folks at NASA on this one and just send you to their press release, which contains nice charts and pictures to help bring the issue into focus.

So go ahead, and click this link!

I’m hardly qualified to speak on the full implications of the discovery of water on the moon, but I suppose I could outline at least one provocative point. The existence of water on the moon makes human settlement there far more simple. With accessible frozen water (and ample sunlight for hydrolysis), we have a source of oxygen (for breathing) and hydrogen (for fuel). We also of course have the water itself that can be melted and used for drinking or for any of the other myriad purposes water can fulfill. The moon is of course still relatively inhospitable, and I would not expect resorts to start springing up there any time soon, but the presence of frozen water does make the prospect of limited colonization or the establishment of permanent bases a bit more likely.

Until next time, Earthlings!

-Neil
P.S. The lovely photo of the moon was taken by Luc Viatour.





Chemical Structure of Molecule Imaged for First Time

1 09 2009
This is a diagram of the pentacene molecule which researchers in Zurich imaged. Each corner of each hexagon represents a carbon atom, and the lines represent bonds. The double lines represent double bonds. Not present on this diagram are the hydrogen atoms bond to the periphery.

This is a diagram of the pentacene molecule which researchers in Zurich imaged. Each corner of each hexagon represents a carbon atom, and the lines represent bonds. The double lines represent double bonds. Not present on this diagram are the hydrogen atoms bond to the periphery.

IBM researchers in Zurich, Switzerland have for the first time imaged a molecule, bonds and all. We live in a time when the gates of wonder are being wrenched open by human ingenuity! Check out the BBC News article here for the stunning image. Thanks go out to the inimitable Sam Tung for bringing this to my attention!