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Space is Awesome

Posted by on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 in College Life, Engineering, Nature.

If you care about space at all, the past week or so has been a magical time (and if you don’t care about space at all, stop reading my blog right now. Seriously). Now, reader, I can hear you objecting to this whole article: “Nathan, your blog is supposed to make me love Vanderbilt!”


Well, well, well.

Vanderbilt and Space

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) recently released its newest edition of the 3D Universe Map (a digital representation of the “geographic” locations of 2 million galaxies in our universe). The SDSS consists of two dozen research institutions, one of which is your own Vanderbilt – six faculty members in the department of Physics and Astronomy were involved in this huge undertaking, which provides not only an unparalleled tool for displaying the scale and shape of the known universe, but also a stellar (HA) way to blow your mind out your ear when you realize how big the universe is.

Read more about the SDSS’s universe map here, or check out some of their other super-cool projects (some of which you can participate in) here!

Perseid and Space

This weekend, the Perseid meteor shower lit up the skies for several mornings in a row with fragments from the Swift-Tuttle comet. Sure, it’s a yearly occurrence (with the peak in visible Zenithal meteors coming around the 12th of August), but it happened to fall during a particularly space-y time this year. Here’s what NASA has to say on the subject:

NASA and Space

Speaking of NASA, the biggest space news of the past week was the successful landing of the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. Nothing I write here can do justice to the incredible engineering involved in flying a 2000 pound robot packed with delicate instruments 3.5 million miles and setting it gently down on an alien planet using rockets (Actually, I think that made it pretty clear), so you’ll need to read about it yourself. This whole business is making me feel like I’m in that Discovery Channel commercial where they sing.

Finally, here’s another video of space. You are WELCOME.

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