Private space pioneer and all around entrepreneur Elon Musk has been building a collection of fantastic bloopers from his efforts at SpaceX, and announced on August 31 that he would release them for our viewing (and gasping) pleasure. Well, the man has made good on his word, and the video has been released.
The piece has the grandest mishaps from the SpaceX effort, and what better way to present it than to be set to the theme music of Monty Python. Of course, these are not explosions that we are witnessing here, but rather “rapid unscheduled disassembly”. And it goes to show that even the most successful endeavor will have its missteps. The important thing is to keep going, and SpaceX continues to rack up impressive achievements with new technology and techniques for extending rockets and effort. But for now, relax and enjoy some expensive lessons learned along the way.
On a spot in Tibet situated over 5,250 meters (17,200 feet) above sea level, China is building a telescope designed to research gravitational waves. The area is ideal, given that it has a clear view of the sky and human activity is very minimal. The telescope, code named Ngari No. 1, is already under construction with an operational date of 2021.
Ngari No. 1, as hinted by the name, is only the first of several such telescopes China is building, The second project, Ngari No. 2, will be built at an altitude of about 6,000 meters and consists of a series of telescopes.
Clearer View of the Universe
Gravitational waves offer a unique way to study the universe, since they are unaffected by typical cosmic noise. They do interact very weakly with matter as they travel through space at the speed of light, allowing their study to be informative about the universe.
Gravitational waves are completely different from standard electromagnetic radiation that otherwise populates the universe. They can be considered a “ripple” in the fabric of space time itself, created by violent events taking place in the universe. Colliding black holes, supernovas, coalescing neutron stars, and even the creation of the universe itself are theorized to generate gravitational waves.
Einstein proposed the existence of the waves in his Theory of General Relativity, but it wasn’t until February 2016 that scientists could prove their existence. The experiment by Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected the gravitational waves produced by two black holes colliding over 1.3 billion years ago.
The researchers were able to isolate the the source of the waves to a location near the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small galaxy found in the southern Earth sky. The discovery opens the door for new ways to view the universe. As Kip Thorne, a theoretical physicist from Caltech, said,
With this discovery, we humans are embarking on a marvelous new quest: the quest to explore the warped side of the universe — objects and phenomena that are made from warped space-time. Colliding black holes and gravitational waves are our first beautiful examples.
With the construction of China’s Gravitational Telescopes we are seeing the application of the theory. As to where it will lead, this is unknown at the moment. But there is a whole universe out there to explore, so anything could happen.
As we explore more out into this big wonderful universe we dwell within, there appears to be a little familiarity in what we discover. Galaxies favor brain cells, depictions of the formation of the universe are similar to neurons, and the death of a star looks like the birth of a cell. In many ways, perhaps we are each a private universe.
Stuffed animals in space! Well, one, anyway, as a group of primary school kids send their furry pal off on an adventure. Sam the stuffed astronaut went soaring (or at least floating) into the stratosphere course of a large helium balloon and no doubt a ton of hopeful wishes from the students.
Sam went over 15 miles into the atmosphere, equipped with his handy GoPro camera, giving us a beautiful view. The ballon landed about 30 miles from the launch site, but alas Sam was nowhere to be found. Ground Control Calling Major Sam…