Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science
Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word ‘understanding.
"Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light." - Carl Sagan
What a humbling view. From this photo, taken by Curiosity just 80 minutes after sunset, the Earth is the brightest star in the lonely Martian night sky. A human observer with normal vision, if standing on Mars, could easily see Earth and the moon as two distinct, bright ‘evening stars.’
(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU)
A simple cylinder in a steady flow creates a beautiful wake pattern known as a von Karman vortex street. The image above shows several examples of this pattern. Flow is from bottom to top, and the Reynolds number is increasing from left to right. In the experiment, this increasing Reynolds number corresponds to increasing the flow velocity because the cylinder size, fluid, and temperature were all fixed. As the Reynolds number first increases, the cylinder begins to shed vortices. The vortices alternate the side of the cylinder from which they are shed as well as alternating in their sense of rotation (clockwise or counterclockwise). Further increasing the Reynolds number increases the complexity of the wake, with more and more vortices being shed. The vortex street is a beautiful example of how fluid behavior is similar across a range of scales from the laboratory to our planet’s atmosphere. (Image credit: Z. Trávníček et. al)
NASA Gov Doc: Southern Lights
This is an animation of the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights), eight days after a record-setting solar flare sent a shower of charged particles towards Earth. From Earth, this glowing ring would appear as a curtain of light shimmering across the night sky.
Ever since NASA retired its space shuttle program in 2011, the only way to get up to the International Space Station is on a Russian Soyuz. That’s why the six humans currently orbiting in space—including two Americans and three Russians—might be paying attention to what’s happening on earth two hundred miles below.
As tensions run high between the U.S. and Russia over the situation in Ukraine, geopolitics may find its way into space again. Over at the blog Looking Up, Duncan Geere has written an excellent piece laying out possible astro-political scenarios in space.
While all-out war remains unlikely, astronauts could become a point of leverage for Vladimir Putin in a larger conflict. “It’s not inconceivable that the International Space Station may play some part in this — either by denying the U.S. the use of Soyuz, or simply by charging exorbitant amounts for it,” Geere writes.
With ISS trips planned years in advance, there are only ten Soyuz launches scheduled from now until 2016. In addition, NASA has to be granted special exemptions to the Iran North Korea Syria Nonproliferation Act, which normally prohibits the U.S. from buying space-related goods and services from Russia while it’s selling nuclear technology to Iran. NASA’s exemption expires in 2016, and, if the relationship between the U.S. and Russia worsens, this could become a tougher sell.
Jackie Parker was Flight controller at NASA at 18. She didn’t stay there, she went on the become the first woman to attend the US Air force Test Pilot School as a pilot. As a matter of fact, she had learned to fly, before she could drive. She resigned the air force in 1996 and has been working in computer Hardware ever since.