As I Live and Learn

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Space: Atmosphere, Moon, and Star

Here's a bunch of space science stuff that's been backlogging, waiting for me to post it. Figure It'd do it all in one!

The Smell of Space:
"Then I noticed that this smell was on their suit, helmet, gloves, and tools. It was more pronounced on fabrics than on metal or plastic surfaces. It is hard to describe this smell; ... The best description I can come up with is metallic; a rather pleasant sweet metallic sensation. It reminded me of my college summers where I labored for many hours with an arc welding torch repairing heavy equipment for a small logging outfit. It reminded me of pleasant sweet smelling welding fumes. That is the smell of space."

So it seems Space, in its infinite emptiness, has a smell. But as I had to remind people, Space is not actually empty. There's background radiation and other forms of energy moving around all over the place, even when there's no matter. So like electricity only has an after-smell when it affects something, I'm thinking the same is true of all that stuff flying through space. My Dad (I think it was) said it was probably just that some of the Sun's radiation had affected just enough of the metallic protective coatings to leave the smell. Makes sense to me, the author did say it was a metallic smell like when he had been welding. Either that, or I figure the Earth's atmosphere extends further than people realize, and it's an after smell of something like ozone.

Mysterious Haze Discovered on Venus:
There's a new weather pattern in Venus's Southern hemisphere! And it's BIG, as in covering 1/3 of the planet it sounds like. Why is this a surprise? Haven't we been studying Venus for decades? Don't we know about the same amount about Venus as we do Mars? I don't get why this is a mystery. If it really is a new thing, then... what's significantly changed? It's either exciting, or scary.

Private Race to the Moon Takes Off
Cool! It's awesome to see corporations supporting (read: sponsoring) things like this. And of course it's Google! They get to do such fun and cool stuff.

Is This the Real Death Star?:
Wow, just wow. It would suck, but what a way to go! It'd actually be surprised if Earth was in the exact direct line of fire. Space is very large, and despite the size of the beam that star will give off when it blows, it's still going to be just a beam and not a globe. And given the size of space and the distance between that star and Earth, the beam will relatively be a pencil thin line. Plus, taking into account the motion of the heavens we may not even be aligned with it at that time!



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