Friday, February 3, 2012

Reason #125: Meanwhile, in Space...

First off - the GRAIL mission that I first discussed in #100 has begun its laborious mapping of the moon, which included the first-ever video footage of its dark side, i.e. the side that never faces the Earth. Why exactly it took us this long to get back there, I can't imagine, but here you go. For the record, I think the light side is way more interesting, not least because it's got that big dark area that looks like a dude on a bicycle.

Secondly - nicely calling back to my discussion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) jobs programs last week, NASA has announced that the last few months have seen the second-largest influx ever of applications for its astronaut program. Out of more than 6,300 prospectives, nine to fifteen people will ultimately be selected as future moon men. Considering that said selection process doesn't even finish until over a year from now, it's not out of the question that among these individuals is the eventual first human being to set foot on Mars a couple decades from now - Neil Armstrong, after all, was almost 40 in 1969.

Lastly, following up on nothing I've mentioned previously in any way, here is a cool-ass high-definition photo of Earth taken by the satellite Suomi NPP. This particular image was taken with two goals in mind - to echo the famous "Blue Marble" shot taken by Apollo 17 in 1972, and to address grumblings that Suomi's first high-def image, released last week, was unfairly America-focused.

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