As readers know, I totally geek out with NASA missions and this week is no exception. This is the long awaited image of Ultima Thule (“beyond the known world”) and it is provided by the most distant ever exploration of a Solar System object. The previous record was the New Horizons image of Pluto in 2015. Ultima Thule is 1.5 billion km further out. Thought to be the shape of a bowling pin, it turns out to be a 4.5 billion-year old, brick-colored cosmic snowman in the cold of deep space. Closer to home: this week saw China land the first probe on the dark side of the Moon.
Jupiter’s clouds have always fascinated many of us like nature’s massive lava lamp. This image from NASA is one of the most captivating yet of the incredible sight on the largest planet. The photos seems to confirm that indeed paisleys are back and part of a galactic trend.
As many on this blog know, I am something of a geek and particularly love the NASA website. Having watched the moon landing on a tiny black and white television (at another family’s house because we did not have a television), I still marvel at seeing images from space. I found the latest posting by NASA thrilling: the actual sound of winds on Mars.
Japan’s space agency (Jaxa) has released incredible images from its robot rovers of the asteroid Ryugu. I know that I go all squealy over NASA and space pictures, but this is amazing. It is difficult to get one’s mind around the fact that we are looking at the surface of an asteroid that has been moving through space since before the advent of mankind.
A survey by Research Intelligencer by Brand Keys found that BBC, Fox News and PBS are the most-trusted TV news brands in the U.S. The survey covered over 4,000 news viewers. It is most interesting that BBC can in first in the United States — a well-deserved distinction for the venerable news organization but a bit of an embarrassment for U.S. media.
In one of the most exciting discoveries of our generation, a reservoir of briny water has been discovered by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express under the surface of Mars. This shallow subglacial lake is 2.4 miles wide and may include still flowing water.
NASA has released an extraordinary tape of the sound picked up by the Cassini spacecraft as it plunged into Saturn on its final mission in 2017. The craft captured plasma waves from Saturn to its rings and into one of its moons, Enceladus. It is mesmerizing. It has been describing as Saturn singing and it is strangely beautiful.
If you are planning to join the first Moon colony, you might want to read the latest report from NASA which found that moon dust is actually quite harmful to humans. A recent study published in the April issue of the journal GeoHealth found that moon dust produces what some described as “lunar hay fever.” Indeed, it might give you Moon Lung if you live there long enough.
A federal judge issued a surprising decision that allowed part of an emoluments challenge to proceed toward trial. The opinion has been widely misreported, but still represents a rare win for those arguing that President Donald Trump is accepting prohibited payments from foreign governments at the various Trump properties. However, the decision is only on the threshold standing question and did not address the merits of the constitutional claim. Moreover, United States District Judge Peter Messitte dramatically narrowed the action to only claims related to the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. These is considerable debate over the meaning of the Constitution’s “emoluments” clause. There are clearly good-faith arguments that such payments fall within the meaning of the language, but I remain highly skeptical. Even with the much reduced action, I think Messitte is wrong and that the action should have been dismissed in its entirety. Previous actions have been dismissed.