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Contest: Win a WMAP beach ball – day 5!

Okay, this is it! We’ve been running contests all week to give you a chance to win an awesome prize pack of NASA goodies that includes an exclusive WMAP beach ball signed by Nobel Laureate John Mather! All of the contests, including this one, close tonight at 5PM ET. So enter this one below… and if you haven’t entered all of the others, go back and do it!


Here’s your chance to enter the last contest. We’re going to make this one quick and easy:

Tell us what you’d like to see Blueshift cover.

We’ve had a great time talking about the WMAP beach ball and The Big Bang Theory, and it sounds like you’ve enjoyed it, too. What should we cover next? What behind-the-scenes stuff in astrophysics at Goddard do you want to hear about? Who should we interview? Post your suggestions as a comment on this entry.

Comments are moderated and we ask that you be respectful. No profanity please! Any comments with non-NASA links may be edited or removed. Please keep the political and religious humor to a minimum – as a NASA blog we’re steering clear of that.  We’re also unable to publish comments that contain mature content.

Entries must be received by 5PM ET on Friday, October 1 (that’s tonight!). We’ll announce the winner next week and mail out the prizes!

Good luck, and enter all five contests this week for your best chance to win NASA goodies. These contests are open to everyone.

Disclaimer: All opinions in this blog entry are that of specific individuals and do not represent those of NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, or Blueshift.

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  • Laurence Cuffe says:

    Crowd sourcing astro science, I know theres a galaxy zoo project on lunar imagery, what else is NASA involved in?

  • Brigitte says:

    Time to confess I’m an avid fan of Science-Fiction (movies, TV series, books) and when it’s pertaining to your field of interest, I’d love to read your enlighted opinion on a specific scene/chapter/description… Did *they* get it right? What did *they* miss? What else could *they* have added/played upon?

    Thank you for this week’s questions, it definitely was a lot of fun, and nice week-end to you all!


  • Tony Rice says:

    I’d like to see some coverage of how the mainstream media (as opposed to technical, scientific or NASA news sources) cover the discoveries that have been made in our solar system and beyond recently. Examples, the discover of previously unknown asteroids that passed relatively close to Earth, and this weeks news about the discovery of an exoplanet in a potentially habitatable zone.

    The mainstream media has a tendency to blow stories like these out of proportion, even conjuring up images of armageddon. Sometimes because they interpret the science wrong, sometimes because they oversimplify complex information for easy presentation, sometimes to simply sensationalize news into something its not.

    I’d love to see Blueshift look at some recent examples of this with references to the real science at work here.

  • Matthew Bergin says:

    Valentina Tereshkova would be my choice probably has a unique view on the historic events she participated in

  • J. Christensen says:

    I would love to see more coverage of NASA’s robots and the design teams that made them!

  • Christy Martin says:

    As a relatively new “fan” of NASA and all things space, there is absolutely nothing that you could cover that wouldn’t be interesting!

    Whether you discuss planetary conditions on Neptune or the incredible moons of Saturn, I will (willingly) be held captive by the chance to learn more about space!

    Here are a couple of my burning questions:

    1. How did the planets, or the surrounding moons, get their names?
    2. I recently read an article about “Dark Flow” and was mesmerized! Any more information about that would be welcomed!!

  • cap10curt says:

    I think many of us would appreciate a more in depth look at the engineering required to get missions like the James Webb Space Telescope up and running.

  • Phil Oliver says:

    I’m very excited about the success of the “planet finders”. I enjoy reading about the method of measuring Radial Velocities (RV) using differential photometry. The thing that nobody seems to be talking about is: the extent to which a distant star’s plane of ecliptic includes us (the observer).
    In other words, if the radial line along which the velocities are measured isn’t within the system’s ecliptic, then the velocities measured will be reduced proportional to the difference in the angle between the radial line and the system’s plane of ecliptic. Right?

    If we don’t know the distant system’s orientation, how do we account for the unknown angle, described above? It seems as though this angle would be critical, reducing the measurable RV to zero as the radial becomes perpendicular.

    This is the only part of this innovative measurement concept which seems to remain undiscussed.

    Phil Oliver
    viewing through the clear skies of Maine

  • Eric Sklavos says:

    I just recently read Erik Verlinde’s paper, “On The Origin of Gravity and The Laws of Newton,” which is his theory that gravity is an emergent force through thermodynamics. I would love to hear what others think about this subject. If gravity truly is emergent and not a basic force it would truly change the way we see everything in all sciences.

  • ScottE says:

    A historical comparison of probe/rover hardware.
    Things like designed lifetime versus achieved, communication bandwidth, distance traveled. Perhaps a virtual panel discussion of some of the design considerations. Contrasting one big/pricey probe versus multiple “economy” probes.

  • Lucas Taylor says:

    Carl Sagan’s talks got me excited about astronomy!

    I would love to watch a series of stylized interviews on youtube with eminent NASA scientists and subject matter experts. Maybe Dr. Mather?

    My particular field of interest is IR spectroscopy. What bolometers does NASA currently use and are there some high resolution IR images you could display in a collection?

  • Andrew Randall says:


  • Alena Herranen says:

    I’d like to see an update on the latest attempt toward a unification theory or perhaps any updates on quantum theory and relativity. I haven’t read Stephen Hawking’s new book yet, but an interview with him would be great.

    I would also love to see more information about other stars like our sun having habitable planets.

  • Ashish Mishra says:

    I want to see you people interview Stephen Hawking , on the creation of the universe, the beauty in the randomness of the universe.
    Other things which i want to see are; about the dark matter which is not measurable but still binds all the matter in the world. The discovery of sub atomic particles and the objective of Large Hadron Collider. About Hubbles importance in the discoveries about the universe. About Galileo’s ahead of his time vision.
    About the starting of theoritical physics era when Einstein started proving functional real things on the basis of theory.
    Any thing which feeds a hungry mind with the vast and interesting knowledge of the universe and creation of life.

  • K Ehnle says:

    It’d be neat to profile different NASA employees. Brief bios, short interviews detailing their work days.

  • Do-Ming Lum says:

    My wish list for Blueshift articles (in no particular order):

    1 – science in video games.
    2 – NASA missions to monitor the effects of global warming
    3 – an update on the progress on the next generation of probes to Jupiter and Saturn

  • Peter says:

    I agree with the science fiction realities. However stick with space science fiction – and not just alien contact (that is pretty well done already).

    More realistically, as a college engineering student I would love to see some of the engineering design work that is done at Goddard, especially focusing on projects that might not get a lot spotlight otherwise.

  • Bella reinke says:

    I like all the games on the web sites but they are all over the place. Can you make it easier to find them from all the sites.

  • RICKAMY says:

    THANK YOU, SARAH & MAGGIE (faith) for all you do for us. I would love to read about the different kinds of telescopes out there in space and how the regular human can view what they have seen. I am sure there is more than Hubble out there taking pics for us. I would really love to know how to view them from my pc. :) *ps: how many NASA “toys/items” was Faith able to snag over the summer 2010 tour. xo Amy

  • johnny anderson says:

    i would like to see a new interactive telescope, with all the new space based telescopes accessible to the public through a software collaboration with microsoft and nasa, like they did with the wwt(downloadable world wide telescope) mars project, i use this all the time to observe and open my mind to possibilities in the future, and become more informed of the solar system and the universe in general.

    thank you,
    johnny anderson

  • Victoria Burg says:

    I would love to see Blueshift articles on the gravitational debate (there has been talk that gravity is not what we thought it was, so possibly two opposing views on this). I’m sure that if something as important as gravity is changing (at least the idea of it), many people would like to read about it.

  • GrrlieGeek says:

    I always like cool stuff I can share with my kids including activities at home, interesting jobs and “Hey, I didn’t know that,” trivia.

  • shailendra thakur says:

    hello everyone over there,
    according to me NASA should give more practical knowledge than theoretical, such contest should be frequently published so that more and more people come in contact…

    i would love to know more about cosmology.. it’s different aspects. i would also love to know more about the models and experiments which are useful for my age group(16). it will deepen my knowledge as well as interest in cosmology.

    so hoping a positive approach from you.

  • Ralph Bonilla says:

    How can we all help young people get excited and interested in science? My 3 year old niece can already name many of the planets and when I ask her where she wants to travel she yells out “Jupiter! Jupiter!” The problem I see sometimes is schools sucking the fun out of science. How can we change this?

  • Peter Boul says:

    Since the AMS-02 is to be sent up to ISS soon, it would be great to see an interview of Sam Ting and/or someone at Goddard about the search for dark matter in the universe.

  • Theo Wellington says:

    I’d like to keep up with any progress you are making toward a practical Warp Drive. My students are very disappointed when they find out how long we take to travel anywhere in space. They want to explore!

  • rindsay says:

    I’d love to get some of the strange or wacky behind-the-scenes stories about goings-on in the NASA community. Maybe spotlights on particular groups or employees who have unexpected or otherwise interesting tasks or jobs. :)

  • Benjamin Hunt says:

    I very much want to see more coverage of ways we plebs can get involved in research. I’ve been a big fan of Moon Zoo/Galaxy Zoo and the NASA Clickworkers projects before that, and would like to find ways to become more involved.

  • Sheryl says:

    Implications of the discovery of Gliese 581, such as why we won’t be able to determine for sure if life can/does exist there. And how the discovery helps propell further discovery of planets we will be able to make determinations about.

    Also, updates/summaries on Voyager 1 & 2 missions, which have gone well beyond intended distances.

    One thing I can never get enough of is well done presentations on how vast the universe is beyond our little planet, solar system, and galaxy.

  • Jamie Kang says:

    I would like to see more news on how the public can participate. The galaxy zoo and similar projects are very fun. Maybe you can post more ways we can get involved.

  • craig radican says:

    so i missed a great talk about WMAP beach ball and the big bang theory witch i deeply regret, but the topic Id like to see covered next is the “James Webb Space Telescope”. as we all know the “Hubble Space Telescope” might stop working as early as 2014. so my question is what is being done to prepare the Webb telescope for launch? its going to be going 930,000 miles into space to the Lagrange point, so we cant exactly send a team of astronauts to fix it if it breaks or something, as we can for the Hubble witch is only 353 miles into space. so i want to know if they have everything they need to get them to where they need to be, because if they are saying that scientists will be able to study the dawn of time, and the Webb telescope doesn’t work then at that point we wont even have the Hubble to fall back on.

  • Brad O. says:

    Well, here’s a topic that I was wondering if someone could tell more about, at least.

    Slightly quick background – I liked the nbc show, HEROES, and the opening title imagery of the Sun behind the Earth was stunning, imo. I thought it was kinda funny, though, because, story-wise, solar eclipses have something to do with the characters’ special abilities, and yet, the imagery in the title sequence does not depict such an eclipse. What you see is actually an eclipse of the Sun by the Earth from the pov of a viewer somewhere in space on the side of the Earth opposite the Sun. Had the Earth been directly between the Sun and moon and the viewer of the HEROES title sequence was on the moon, then what one actually is seeing is a lunar eclipse while on the moon. Or, a person on the Earth would be seeing a lunar eclipse and not a solar one.

    Anyways, as a result of the title sequence, I started searching around to see if there were actual photos where the Sun was eclipsed by the Earth, and I found 2 instances in various places and a couple of orientations:

    You can find out that there are a few similar shots that were taken during the Apollo XII mission, and yet, it seems only those two images are available publicly.

    Then, what’s sort of frustrating is that there actually also is some video taken of that eclipse, yet it’s only able to be purchased from a site called finleyholidaystock, and it’s pretty pricey (at least to me…)!

    So, the first question that I’d like researched and shared is this: Why are there only two images publicly-available of the rare instance (I think it’s only been photographed by the crew of Apollo XII) of an eclipse of the Sun by the Earth, when it looks to be part of a larger set of pictures? Second, if the rest of the set exists, can those additional pics be shared with the public? And third, why is it that it seems like only some (I think, non-NASA) stock footage site has video of the solar eclipse filmed by the Apollo XII crew which you can only see if you decide to buy it bundled with a collection of other videos? Shouldn’t that imagery be public domain, like other Apollo mission videos (1st moon landing, etc.)? It’s in the FH212 collection of Small Bodies and Sun videos – seems like those videos shouldn’t be just that site’s property to sell (although, I admit, I have no idea about ownership rights of footage the astronauts take).

    Probably not the kind of subject that you’d normally cover, but it’s probably something you all could find out more about better than me.

    Anyway, thanks for providing this opportunity for us, and, if there are any typos/errors, feel free to edit this comment.


  • Brigitte says:

    Warp drive (cf Theo Wellington’s comment), that’s a good one, I definitely want to know more about this! :)

  • Develop a few experiments for small children, middle school, and high school to describe Mather’s ideas. Make them cheap and widespread in order for children to think of Physics as exciting. I’d love to help! The beach ball is great. Science is fun.

  • C says:

    I wanna know how any measurements are made *better*.

  • Aryan Dhiraj says:

    Hey, I think Stephen Hawking should b the 1 2 b interviewed, wht u think, huh ?

  • Julio Vannini says:

    I would like to hear more about the James Webb space telescope. :)

  • jimmy says:

    Stephen hawking is great and i would also like to hear more about the james webb space telescope!!

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