One Cool Thing: Mercury Transiting the Sun in 4K

ICYMI, on Monday the planet Mercury made one of its rare appearances transiting the Sun.  It won’t do that again until 2032, and that one won’t be visible in the U.S.  It was super hard to see, but NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) had several special cameras filming it and on Wednesday they released a new video showing the transit in gorgeous 4K.  The video shows Mercury (the smallest planet — the one closest to the sun) passing in front the Sun using a variety of different imaging tools, in a variety of wavelengths, and through the SDO’s various filters.  And there is also the still photo below that The Washington Post ran of Mercury passing in front of the sun as seen in DC with the Washington Monument in relief.  Mercury is the tiny dot just above the peak of the monument.

Photo: Bill Ingalls, NASA via AP

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One Fragrant Thing:  Eau De Space

One Fragrant Thing: Eau De Space

Have you ever wondered what space smells like?  Now we know.  According to astronauts, it is “a mix of gunpowder, seared steak, raspberries and rum.”  Hmmm.  CNN reports that the fragrance was invented to help astronauts train for space — so that nothing about it would be surprising to them (seems like that would take […]

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Monitoring Animals From the Space Station To Improve Their Conservation

Monitoring Animals From the Space Station To Improve Their Conservation

Using inexpensive tracking technology and a large antenna installed on the International Space Station, a consortium of researchers is hoping to gather a wider range of data than they had using previous tracking technologies, including long migration patterns, allowing them to better understand how climate change and habitat loss impact wildlife. 

Why This Matters:  In addition to better understanding of wildlife migration and threats, the technology could be used for a range of other goals.

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Elon Musk’s Big Bets on Space X Launch and EV Batteries

Elon Musk’s Big Bets on Space X Launch and EV Batteries

Elon Musk’s company Space X is behind the latest NASA chapter, in which the Dragon Capsule launched by the Falcon 9 rocket will deliver astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley in style (wearing Tesla emblazoned custom-made Space X pressure suits) to the international space station – liftoff is set for today 4:33 pm ET. 

Why This Matters:  When it comes to the future, for better or worse, we are in Elon Musk’s hands, even as he argues to rapidly re-open the economy.

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