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Our WMAP beach ball winners!

When we decided to run a week-long series of contests to give away WMAP beach balls autographed by Nobel Laureate John Mather, we didn’t know what to expect. Would we get any entries? Would we get any good entries? Well, you guys blew us away. We got hilarious jokes (a few too racy to publish), great ideas for future Blueshift coverage, and even some ideas for NASA outreach products that we’re going to seriously look into. This made it really, really hard to choose our winners.

Mystery Photo #4

But we did. It took quite a few brains to come to these decisions. Without further ado…

Day 1: Tell us your favorite joke about the Big Bang!

And the winner is… Jamie Kang, with:

That Point In Time When the Volume of the Universe Decreases to Approximately Zero, and Density Approaches Infinity, and the Combination of the Strong Nuclear Force and Electromagnetic Attraction Between Red and Blue Colored Quar– hey Steve, can’t we think up a nickname for this?!?

Day 2: Tell us what television show besides The Big Bang Theory should have a WMAP beach ball – and why!

And the winner is… rindsay, with:

Definitely CSI: Miami. Think of the one-liners they could write for David Caruso.

Stolen WMAP beach ball: “Sounds like someone wanted… [puts on sunglasses] some personal space.”

Bloody crime scene in an astrophysics lab: “Now that’s what I call… [puts on sunglasses] red shift.”

Endless possibilities…

The one-liners were perfect. We could absolutely picture Horatio Caine putting on his sunglasses and saying them! Cue The Who!

Day 3: What other NASA stuff could we put on a beach ball?

And the winner is… Jason Talley, with:

The Interstellar Boundary Explorer’s (IBEX) map of the heliosphere would be interesting. It would be nice to see the narrow ribbon of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) stretched across a beach ball. Also, this medium would provide a better visual for students to understand the heliosphere.

This sounds like a really cool project – and one that we’ll suggest to the education and outreach folks who work with IBEX! They’ve put out some really amazing boundary maps that would make nice beach balls.

Day 4: If you won one, what would you do with your very own WMAP beach ball?

And the winner is… Eric Sklavos, with:

I’d use it in the awesome geek mobile that I’m making for my baby boy that will also include planets, stars, a comet, the Enterprise, the Millennium Falcon, Serenity, and a DeLorean.

Eric, you had us at… all of it, really. Can you make an extra one for the office?

Day 5: Tell us what you’d like to see Blueshift cover.

And the winner is… Sheryl, with:

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.

That was our favorite, but it was tough – and we added most of the suggestions to our brainstorming list for upcoming content. The audience has spoken!

Congratulations to our winners – and thank you to everyone for some really thought-provoking and humorous entries! It was fun to read through all of the comments and debate which of our favorites should take the prizes. We’ll be emailing all of the winners, assuming they provided valid email addresses… if you were named as a winner and don’t get anything from us in the next 24 hours, use the feedback form to drop us a line. We’ll have prizes out as soon as we have mailing addresses for our winners.

And for everyone who had great education and outreach ideas for how they could use a WMAP beach ball – you can visit the Teacher’s Corner at Imagine the Universe! and request an unsigned one through their form. It’s listed as the “WMAP Inflatable Universe Teaching Ball.”

Again – congrats! And thanks!

Categories: Contests


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