Aldrin: Aldrin: It’s time to focus on Mars

Buzz Aldrin: The Washington Post:

As matter of orbital mechanics, missions from Earth to Mars for migration are complex. That said, human nature — and potentially the ultimate survival of our species — demands humanity’s continued outward reach into the universe. Call it curiosity or calculation, strategic planning or destiny. Put simply: We explore, or we expire. That is why we must get on with it.

Great essay. Wholeheartedly endorse.

#mars #spaceExploration #moon

Seeing your halo

From Mike Brown (via Boing Boing):

Here’s another experiment to try. Go outside on a bright sunny day and start watching your shadow. Walk along until you find a place where the shadow of your head is falling on grass. Focus on your head shadow while you continue to walk, letting the background grass blur in your vision. You will gradually notice that there is a diffuse glow around the shadow of your head. It won’t be around any other part of your body, and you won’t see the slightest hint around anyone else’s head. Point out your halo to any else and they will see precisely the same thing: a halo around their own heads and nothing around yours.

He’s writing about phenomena that happen when the moon is full and there are no shadows to be seen, but digresses to discuss your “halo” from a bright, sunny sky. You can see much the same from an airplane as you descend to land on a sunny day.

If you’ve ever seen the Earth’s terminator pass your location and noticed the “lights-out” that occurs, this little trick of light will give you a kick.

Science Makes A Comeback

From the Washington Post:

President Obama’s science and technology advisor issued a memo to federal science agencies Friday to guide them in making rules to ensure scientific integrity.
The memo, which applies to executive branch departments and agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation, is “several steps in the right direction,” said Al Teich, the director of science policy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

This, in stark contrast to the science-in-the-service-of-politics of the Bush administration, marks a slow return to integrity for the United States government. It should have come two years ago.