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Awesomeness Round-Up – 10/11/2011

This YouTube vid features recordings made by the U.S. Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Texas during the Perseid meteor shower. How does this work? Head over to Phil Plait’s blog for an explanation.

Here is a great video comparing the various sizes of stars. I feel really small now!

Witness the beauty within the physics of pendulums!


We just had the STS-135 crew visit NASA Goddard to talk about the historic last shuttle mission. They showed a movie about the history of the shuttle program and about their experiences on the mission. Afterwards they answered questions. I have to say, they were very inspirational and entertaining as well. The things that stick out in my mind from their presentation were the giant grin on Astronaut Rex Walheim’s face during the launch. Though apparently they had a rather serious cabin pressure drop alarm go off not long after launch; ultimately it was decided that the drop was due to the cabin stretching and all was ok. But it certainly jarred them all and made them think for a few seconds that they might have to abort to the launch site! Also throwing them a bit off was the hold at T-31 seconds. Apparently that just doesn’t happen. This hold was due to the launch arm with the beanie cap not registering that it was pulled back enough. But all was well and their mission was a success, returning them home safely. Astronaut Sandra Magnus spend a great deal of time on the space station prior to this mission, so hearing her reminisce about feeling like she’d come home when they docked was great.

We also got a special goody bag which, among other things, contained a tiny flag which had actually been flown on this mission. What a cool souvenir!


Lastly, if you live in the Maryland area, come to the Maryland Science Center in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, and you’ll get a chance to see the full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope. Northrop Grumman (who is Webb’s prime contractor and the company who had the model built) doesn’t show it very often, so it’s definitely something to see! It will be at the Science Center starting October 14th til at least the 18th. More info from Northrop’s site.


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