3 July 2013

All Good Things…

All Good Things...

… must come to an end. And unfortunately this blog is one of them. As you no doubt have noticed, the frequency of my posts has dwindled down to almost nothing and I think the time has come to stop pretending that this blog is still active and face the fact that it has run its course. And what a course it has been! This blog started back in 2008 …

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30 April 2013

Rocketplanes, Science comics, and Curiosity

Rocketplanes, Science comics, and Curiosity

First of all, in case you missed it, we live in the future. Proof? This actual photograph from Virgin Galactic’s successful supersonic rocketplane flight:

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5 April 2013

A last hurrah of flowing water on Mars

A last hurrah of flowing water on Mars

This is not so much a review of a recent paper as a review of a significant paper. “An intense terminal epoch of widespread fluvial activity on early Mars:1. Valley network incision and associated deposits” by Alan Howard, Jeff Moore, and Ross Irwin is the first of a pair of papers published in 2005 that make the case that instead of a gradual transition from warm and wet to cold …

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15 February 2013

Huge Fireball in Russia Blows Out Windows and Doors, Injures Hundreds

Huge Fireball in Russia Blows Out Windows and Doors, Injures Hundreds

Reports are coming in from all over the place that the sonic boom(s) from the meteor have shattered windows, blown out doors, and injured hundreds of people (mostly from falling glass). Here are some videos that show the fireball and some of the damage:

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7 February 2013

The Mysterious Moving Rocks of Mars

The Mysterious Moving Rocks of Mars

How did the boulders in the picture above end up in clumps and arcs instead of randomly distributed across the surface? That’s the focus of the paper “Possible Mechanism of Boulder Clustering on Mars” by Travis Orloff, Mikhail Kreslavsky, and Eric Asphaug that is currently In Press in the journal Icarus.

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24 January 2013

Where does Earth get its heat?

Where does Earth get its heat?

The other day I got a message asking about where the earth gets its heat. It brings up a number of misconceptions that I thought would be worth spending a post discussing, so here goes: Many people assume the earth to be millions if not billions of years old. Lava is molten, but the earth being only 8,000 miles in diameter has no internal heat source. It is almost like …

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18 January 2013

Using a very strong light to study rock number four

To jump on the bandwagon, here is my research, described using only the 1000 most common English words. It would have been nice if “Mars” and “Laser” and “Robot” were available:

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17 January 2013

The two-faced crust of Mars

The two-faced crust of Mars

I am always a sucker for research that uses very simple observations to come to profound conclusions, and that is definitely the case with “The dual nature of the martian crust: Young lavas and old clastic materials” by Josh Bandfield, Chris Edwards, David Montgomery, and Brittany Brand. This paper suggests that the martian crust has a dual nature, where the oldest rocks are actually softer and easier to erode, while more recently lava flows have led to much more durable terrain.

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21 December 2012

Fire or Ice? Options for the Apocalypse

Fire or Ice? Options for the Apocalypse

Well folks, this is it. As of tomorrow, December 21, 2012, we will reach the end of the current b’aktun of the Mayan Long Count calendar. And then, well, you know what will happen.

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5 December 2012

AGU 2012: Days 1 and 2 Highlights

AGU 2012: Days 1 and 2 Highlights

Greetings! It’s been a busy first two days of AGU, and it’s impossible to convey it all, but here are a few highlights: Monday morning was my poster presentation, so that prevented me from seeing very many talks. I did stop by the Mars talks long enough to hear ChemCam team member Darby Dyar give a talk summarizing the many challenges involved in getting quantitative numbers out of LIBS data, …

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