Middle Earth from Space! These brilliant people have created a series of images of Middle Earth if it was seen from space…or from Valinor, I suppose. Check them out: http://www.me-dem.me.uk/
Timelords, Hobbits and Me!
The International Space Station (ISS) as seen from the Space Shuttle Endeavour on June 15, 2002. (NASA)
Globules in the Running Chicken Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Fred Vanderhaven
Explanation: The eggs from this chicken may form into stars. The above pictured emission nebula, cataloged as IC 2944, is called the Running Chicken Nebula for the shape of its greater appearance. The image was taken recently from Siding Spring Observatory in Australia and presented in scientifically assigned colors. Seen near the center of the image are small, dark molecular clouds rich in obscuring cosmic dust. Called Thackeray’s Globules for their discoverer, these “eggs” are potential sites for the gravitational condensation of new stars, although their fates are uncertain as they are also being rapidly eroded away by the intense radiation from nearby young stars. Together with patchy glowing gas and complex regions of reflecting dust, these massive and energetic stars form the open cluster Collinder 249. This gorgeous skyscape spans about 70 light-years at the nebula’s estimated 6,000 light-year distance. (via Astronomy Picture of the Day)
"60,000 miles up: Space elevator could be built by 2035
Imagine a ribbon roughly one hundred million times as long as it is wide. If it were a meter long, it would be 10 nanometers wide, or just a few times thicker than a DNA double helix. Scaled up to the length of a football field, it would still be less than a micrometer across — smaller than a red blood cell. Would you trust your life to that thread? What about a tether 100,000 kilometers long, one stretching from the surface of the Earth to well past geostationary orbit (GEO, 22,236 miles up), but which was still somehow narrower than your own wingspan?
The idea of climbing such a ribbon with just your body weight sounds precarious enough, but the ribbon predicted by a new report from the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) will be able to carry up to seven 20-ton payloads at once. It will serve as a tether stretching far beyond geostationary (aka geosynchronous) orbit and held taught by an anchor of roughly two million kilograms. Sending payloads up this backbone could fundamentally change the human relationship with space — every climber sent up the tether could match the space shuttle in capacity, allowing up to a “launch” every couple of days.
The report spends 350 pages laying out a detailed case for this device, called a space elevator. The central argument — that we should build a space elevator as soon as possible — is supported by a detailed accounting of the challenges associated with doing so. The possible pay-off is as simple as could be — a space elevator could bring the cost-per-kilogram of launch to geostationary orbit from $20,000 to as little as $500.
One of the most gorgeous pics of Mars.
BIG NEWS: A state of matter called ‘disordered hyperuniformity’ has been found in the cells of chicken eyes – and it’s the first time such a system has been found in a biological system. Chicken eyes have five types of light-sensitive cells in the retina and its distribution allows these cells to behave both like a crystal and a liquid. This finding will help researchers developed advanced materials that transmit light as efficiently as a crystal, but with the flexibility of a liquid.
Read more: http://bit.ly/NLJC3Z via Discovery News