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NASA Explains Tonight’s ‘Blood Moon’ Lunar Eclipse: VIDEO

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To help prepare you for tonight’s ‘total lunar eclipse, the folks over at NASA have prepared a handy video to fill you in on the science behind the ‘blood moon.’

I think the eclipse probably something to do with vampires, but Texas pastor and televangelist John Hagee is claiming it’s a sign of the End Times. No word yet if he’s blaming it on the gays like he did with Hurricane Katrina though...

Check out the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

FYI: The eclipse begins around 12:53 am ET and will reach totality around 3am ET

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NASA Throws Cold Water on Photo That Inspired Batty Theory About Underground Martians


Like the Tusken Raider-shaped rock, the 'alien skull', the 'metallic object', the 'jelly doughnut', the famous 'face', and of course, the martian canals that came before it, a photograph this week which appeared to show a column of light shooting up from the red planet gave hope to conspiracy theorists everywhere that a secret Martian civilization was living just beneath the planet's surface:

Scott C. Waring, who maintains the website UFO Sightings Daily, posted the photo April 6.

Waring noted that the light shines upward, as if from the ground, and is very flat across the bottom.

"This could indicate there there is intelligent life below the ground and uses light as we do," Waring wrote on his website. "This is not a glare from the sun, nor is it an artifact of the photo process."

Alas, the photo shows a very common artifact, NASA says:

The rover took the image just after arriving at a waypoint called "the Kimberley." The bright spot appears on a horizon, in the same west-northwest direction from the rover as the afternoon sun.

"In the thousands of images we've received from Curiosity, we see ones with bright spots nearly every week," said Justin Maki of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., leader of the team that built and operates the Navigation Camera. "These can be caused by cosmic-ray hits or sunlight glinting from rock surfaces, as the most likely explanations."

If the bright spots in the April 2 and April 3 images are from a glinting rock, the directions of the spots from the rover suggest the rock could be on a ridge about 175 yards (160 meters) from the rover's April 3 location.

SXSW 2014: Neil deGrasse Tyson Proves Science is 'Cool' Again - VIDEO

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Sxsw_2014_bugSXSW - Austin's annual tech, film, and music festival - is currently underway and has brought in thousands of film buffs, tech geeks, actors, and musicians from across the globe to meet, mingle, and enjoy the coolest city in Texas. And with the Interactive portion of the festival drawing to a close, what better time to look back on the things we've learned at SXSW 2014 so far.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Proves Science is "Cool" Again

If SXSW is any indicator of the current times, then we are at the dawn of a new renaissance in scientific interest and inquiry.

Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who was at SXSW as a keynote speaker and also to premiere his new show COSMOS (which aired globally Sunday night) has been championing all week the idea that science is slowly but surely becoming “mainstream.”

Said Tyson:

“I see the pendulum swinging back. We’ve spent a couple decades where it was fashionable to deny science in a big way, in an audacious way …The tone has shifted. I think the geek culture is rising up within the broader culture…It is a culture that will one day run the country and perhaps the world. And they do not fear science, they embrace science.”

Continue reading, "SXSW 2014: Neil deGrasse Tyson Proves Science is 'Cool' Again" AFTER THE JUMP...

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Asteroid Break-Up Captured On Film For The First Time: VIDEO


NASA’s Hubble Telescope captured pictures of the P/2013 R3 asteroid breaking up into 10 pieces between October last year and mid-January, The Guardian reports. Though “fragile comet nuclei have been seen falling apart as they near the sun, nothing resembling this type of breakup has been observed before in the asteroid belt.”

The largest four pieces among the group are approximately 200 yards in radius.

“[The astronomers] said it was unlikely that the asteroid is breaking up because of a collision with another, because that would have caused an "instantaneous and violent" break up.

They said that the break up is also unlikely to have been caused by interior ices warming and vapourising because it is too cold – being nearly 300 million miles from the sun.

Professor Jewitt, who led the astronomical forensics investigation into the asteroid, said that it could have disintegrated due to a "subtle effect of sunlight".

He said that this can cause the rate of rotation to increase slightly, which causes the asteroid's component pieces to gently pull apart due to "centrifugal force".

This type of disruption has been discussed by experts for several years but has never been reliably observed.

The disparate parts of the once unified asteroid have since released a joint statement saying they are never, ever getting back together.

Watch the asteroid break-up for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP...

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NASA's Morpheus Lander and Valkyrie Superhero Robot Step Out in Flashy Sci-Fi Style: VIDEO


NASA's Morpheus lander, which crashed and burned back in August of 2012 and has been outshone by the similar vertical Grasshopper from Elon Musk's space corporation SpaceX, completed its first successful test flight this week at Kennedy Space Center.

According to NASA:

The 54-second test began with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over a flame trench and ascending approximately 50 feet, then hovering for about 15 seconds. The lander then flew forward and landed on its pad about 23 feet from the launch point.

Project Morpheus integrates NASA's automated landing and hazard avoidance technology (ALHAT) with an engine that runs on liquid oxygen and methane, or "green" propellants, into a fully operational lander that could deliver cargo to asteroids and other planetary surfaces. Morpheus and ALHAT are examples of the partnerships that exist within the agency since seven of the 10 NASA centers have contributed time, energy and resources to both.

Also, NASA's Johnson Space Center unveiled a  6-foot tall, 275-pound humanoid robot.

Writes Gizmodo:

Valkyrie's two cannon-like arms are interchangeable, and its legs are designed to walk over rough, uneven terrain. It's equipped with cameras on its head, body, forearms, knees, and feet, not to mention with additional LIDAR and sonar units. While it operates via remote right now, the ultimate goal is to make Valkyrie as autonomous as possible. It's hard not to see that glowing circle in the center of its chest and not think about Iron Man.

Watch the lander and the robot in action, AFTER THE JUMP...


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Frog Becomes Inadvertant Star of NASA Moon Rocket Launch: PHOTO


Over the weekend I posted about NASA's rocket launch carrying the LADEE, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer robotic probe. An unfortunate frog was captured in close proximity to the launch and its photo is now going viral. Hopefully, the frog made it out alive.


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