Dawn Journal: 7 Years of Interplanetary Travel

Dawn's Journey 27 Sept 2014

The spacecraft, Dawn, was launched from Cape Canaveral 27 September 2007, and is now on it’s way to the dwarf planet, Ceres, after having been in orbit around the asteroid Vesta for 14 months, sending back dozens of photographs and other valuable data.

Dawn is on schedule to arrive and enter an orbit around the dwarf planet, Ceres, in August, 2015.

For additional information and photos, please visit NASA scientist Marc Rayman’s blog.

Enjoy!

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Four Score, and Counting . . .

Me 1 inch png

A few days ago I celebrated my 80th birthday.

I must have done something right in order to have achieved 80 years of age.  Breathing probably helped; simply enjoying one breath after another can take one far on our brief  journey from null to void.

What else have I been doing all that time?  (You might ask.)

To make a short story even shorter ( by leaving out a few details) I have been traveling through space and time aboard this damp dirt ball we call home, and have gone about 3.6 quadrillion miles – – that’s 3,6o2, 112,000,000, give or take a few billion miles.

Really ??  Yes, really, and that doesn’t even include the miles traveled in a spiral by simply going around in circles each day the Earth spins on it’s axis.  Check it out, and do the math yourself to find out how far YOU have traveled.  Hint: try wikipedia and/or NASA to find such things as the circumference of earth’s orbit around the sun (about 585 million miles), how far the sun travels in it’s orbit around the center of the Milky Way galaxy during one year (the sun is traveling at about 514 thousand miles per hour in it’s orbit), etc.

Be that as it may . . .

. . .  fortunately for me, I have been privileged to live during the best of times in the best of places, and this has allowed me to bask in the enjoyment of being human and contemplating the wonders of the cosmos.

Andromeda png

All too soon I will be returning to the lifeless mineral existence from which we all come.

Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy life as much as possible, for as long as possible.

What more can one ask ??

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The Pale Blue Dot

Earth from Saturn small

This is for anyone who does not know about Carolyn Porco’s work in general and The Pale Blue Dot in particular.

Simply follow the link below for the complete story, and more images . . .

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/12/inquiring-minds-carolyn-porco-saturn-cassini-enceladus

Enjoy!

 

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Hand Art

Hand Art Browsing around the www a while back, I came across something that I want to share with You . . . check out some of the extraordinary Hand Art by Guido Daniele, shown above. Not being as clever and creative as Guido, I have simply painted my left hand . . .

My Left Hand png   FYI: I plan to display more of my own paintings on this blog as soon as I gather suitable photos.

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360 degree view of the Milky Way

Spitzer 360

NASA”s Spitzer Telescope captures a geocentric 360 degree view of the Milky Way

For images and details of this amazing feat, follow the links, below . . .

Overview:

More Images and Details:

Enjoy !

 

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EXOPLANETS !

Kepler Exoplanets

[[ Image, above, is from Google images.  ]]

In the first two months of 2014 NASA’s Kepler telescope has discovered and verified more exoplanets than previously known.  Many of these newly found planets might be capable of supporting life as we know it.

For numerous links to more exoplanet data than you ever wanted to know, please visit NASA’s “All About Kepler” web page . . .

http://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/digital-press-kit-kepler-planet-bonanza/#.UxR2SiiIbRs

Browse, learn, and enjoy !

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Terminology and Definitions

Dictionary png

EVOLUTION

For reasons not altogether clear to me, some folks seem to think “evolution” is a dirty  word that is so evil that they forbid their children to utter it.

The first definition of evolution I find listed in my dog-eared Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, tenth edition, is: “one of a set of prescribed movements”. This, it seems to me, is not worth getting excited about.

Next comes: “a process of change in a certain direction”. Again, nothing very controversial here.

Then, I find: “the action or an instance of forming and giving something off: EMISSION”. This doesn’t seem to be worth fussing about.

Forging ahead I see: “a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state: GROWTH”

Most people, fundamentalists included, are probably pro growth, as in the evolution of mathematics, or the evolution of computer programming techniques, so that is probably not the root of the problem.

So far, so good. The definitions seem to be getting more interesting as we go along, or, dare I say, the definitions are EVOLVING into something more interesting as we go along.

Let us continue, even though I realize reading the dictionary is not everybody’s cup of tea.

Next on the list is: “a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance”. Sounds like an positive development to me.

I find next: “the process of working out or developing”.

Once again, nothing to get excited about.

So far, it appears that evolution has two primary characteristics, neither of which should be cause for alarm: CHANGE and/or DEVELOPMENT.

Now, comes the alarming (to some) definitions – – -

“the historical development of a biological group (as a race or species): PHYLOGENY”.

This may be discomforting to some.

It seems to me that those who get upset about this sort of thing should be getting upset about “phylogeny”, not “evolution” because a definition of phylogeny is: “the evolutionary history of a kind of organism”, which, as I understand it, is what all the fuss is about.

If one chooses to demonize a word for reasons, real or imagined, one should, at least, CHOOSE THE CORRECT WORD.

Another definition of “evolution” that has to do with biology is: “a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origins in other preexisting types and that the distinguishing differences are due to modifications in successive generations”.

Ah Ha ! This must be the root of the problem ??????????

BUT, why should this upset anyone? It is obvious to the most casual observer that we have developed, using artificial (as opposed to natural) selection to create
the beef cattle from which hamburgers and steaks are derived.

So, it’s OK to artificially induce evolution, but not OK for Mom (mother nature, that is) to do it ??!!

Piphelpoop, I say!

Religious Fundamentalists – – Get over it and go pick on phylogeny and leave evolution alone.

OK?

OK!

And, while you’re at it, stay away from piphelpoop – it’s my favorite pet word.

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