The recent space activities I’m writing and posting about provide solace during this government shutdown that has furloughed most NASA and related departments employees and contractors.
And Ultima and Thule, according to New Horizons’ principal investigator Alan Stern at today’s NASA press briefing, the informal names the team have given the two lobes of the red object out in the Kuiper Belt New Horizons spent New Year’s encountering. The contact binary connected by a neck of material indicates two objects that came together and stuck sometime in the distant past when these kinds of interactions were leading elsewhere in the solar system to accretions that would eventually form the planets and their moons.
During a morning press briefing aired on NASA TV on New Year’s Day 2019, New Horizons mission team leaders revealed the latest best image of Ultima Thule. Still a blur, the Kuiper Belt body’s shape is more apparent in this latest image. Still unclear: are the two lobes connected or are they in fact two separate objects orbiting each other? The pole of the object was pointed toward the spacecraft, meaning Ultima Thule rotates from that perspective like a propellor. Artist and planetary scientist James Tuttle Keane has helped visualize this geometry in his illustration included next to the image.
6.5 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) away from where some Earthlings are celebrating New Year’s Eve, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is beginning its close flyby of a tiny world in the Kuiper Belt known as Ultima Thule (2014 MU69.)
Boston Dynamics occasionally uploads these short videos demonstrating their latest robotics technology and capabilities. I’m always amazed by the leap forward in movement smoothness and efficiency. 🤖
The Economic Singularity: Artificial intelligence and the death of capitalism by Calum Chace My rating: 3 of 5 stars Much of The Economic Singularity by Calum Chace is devoted to supporting the argument that machines will take over many and eventually most jobs from humans. In fact, the first 60% of the book steps through […]
It’s good to be skeptical, but it’s also nice to see rumors confirmed by real and exciting announcements: the European Southern Observatory (ESO) announced today the detection of an exoplanet orbiting the nearby star Proxima Centauri. At a minimum mass 1.3 times that of the Earth’s, Proxima b might be a rocky world. With an orbit of 11.2 […]
I started posting online news and commentary about science and technology on January 18, 2000, and I eventually named that effort Frontier Channel. After a few weeks of short posts, I didn’t get back to posting again until January 2002. Two years after that, I finally started posting in earnest, and Frontier Channel enjoyed a nice run with frequent articles through […]
We’ve been here before: the media gets wind of a possible discovery made by a long-running science project and before there is a peer-reviewed scientific paper published and a press conference, speculation runs wild. In the age of social media, gossip spreads at the speed of the share, and in this digital game of telephone, the […]
Three years ago this October, Kim Suozzi spoke at the Alcor 2012 Conference about her impending death due to brain cancer and her hopes in cryonics and technology for a second future. I remember it was a remarkable, difficult, and emotional talk and I also remember the applause when she finished speaking. She passed away a […]
Consider what those of us can see in the night sky with healthy eyes, without any tools, far from city lights. Away from the dazzle of Sun’s day the Moon at night is, of course, the brightest above all. The visible stars make an obvious and fixed, so it seems, pattern that fills the celestial hemisphere. […]
[Post edited on Monday, June 22, 2015 to correct my misunderstanding about the provenance of the remarkable color image below.] Tonight I was browsing the latest raw images of Pluto and Charon taken by New Horizons today from only 27.7 million kilometers away and I realized that when you zoom in, Charon is just beginning […]
This is it! Pluto is the last of the classical nine planets to be visited by a spacecraft from Earth. The New Horizons spacecraft will take close-up images and capture other useful data as it speeds by Pluto and its moons on July 14, 2015. This will complete the imaging grand tour of our solar system […]
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 is this week, so there are all sorts of television technologies being shown off by consumer electronics companies. Here is a brief breakdown, as I understand it: Ultra HD (4K) The next jump up in television screen resolution is Ultra HD, offering 4 times the number of pixels in […]
While Sarah Lacy’s “Follow the photos: The real reason Facebook just paid almost 10% of its market cap for WhatsApp” analysis is well done and likely part of the rationale behind Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp for a staggering $19 billion, I think SimonDSG and samueljesse in the comment section are closest to articulating what is […]
Last year I turned 40 years old. Within thirty years I will be 70. I’m participating in The Quantified Diet study because I want to be active, healthy, and involved over the next few decades. These thirty years cover various mind-boggling predictions about technology and humanity that I want to be around to witness, to […]
Susan Fonseca gave a talk last January at a TEDx event in San Jose, California about waiting for promising emerging technologies to arrive. Her father passed away for need of an organ despite promising advances in 3-D printing. Fonseca’s experience is a poignant illustration of what I refer to as “The Bittersweet Years”. Technological progress […]
Internet In the second quarter of 2013, Akamai found that 24% of those people with internet connectivity in the United States had speeds higher than 10 Mbps, allowing them to stream audio and high definition video with relative ease. Globally, the percentage stood at 14%. Numbers are hard to come by, but of those, only […]
Craig Mod Visits ROBOT RESTAURANT Craig Mod describes eloquently and with great humor a strange new place. And, yes, ROBOT RESTAURANT is now my number one most desired place to visit in all the world.
While tens of thousands of people might sign up for a single massive open online course (MOOC), very few of them complete the course, and very few of those demonstrate competence with and retain what they have learned. So Udacity – founded by MOOC proponent Sebastian Thrun – has pivoted, slightly, according to this article from […]