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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Prayer vs. Medicine: The Battle for Supremacy.

Food for Thought... Do you think Christians living in Rome or elsewhere in the world would riot or cause widespread bloodshed if they saw either of these two illustrations online? Probably not. I'm not a fanatical God-boy, but it's safe to say that Catholics and other Christian denominations have modernized enough that they know that these kinds of satirical images will occasionally be posted on the Internet—and not b*tch and whine about them. Unlike other religions that came about in the Middle East... I'll leave it at that.

Creationism vs. Evolution: The Battle for Supremacy.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Photo of the Day... Now that Carmageddon is set to return to downtown Los Angeles later tonight, just thought I'd repost this image that made its rounds in the media last July. Do you think these folks will be crazy enough to conduct this stunt again? Err, maybe. Will they be successful in pulling it off now that the California Highway Patrol is onto them? Hm, maybe not.

Matt Corrigan, his wife Amanda and their college friend Barry Neely pretend to dine out on the 405 freeway during the Carmageddon of July 2011.
Jesse Glucksman

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A composite image of the eXtreme Deep Field...taken by the Hubble Space Telescope over a span of 10 years.
NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (Leiden University) and the HUDF09 Team

Space Telescopes: The Present & Future... Within a one-week span, NASA released an amazing composite photo using images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope as well as announcing that the first two of 18 mirror segments that will fly on Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), were recently delivered to NASA. In the pic above, the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) is shown. Comprising 2,000 images shot by several cameras that flew aboard Hubble over the past decade and assembled into a 23-day time exposure, the XDF brings into view about 5,500 galaxies...including some that were formed only 450 million years after the Big Bang.

Technicians inspect one of the Jame Webb Space Telescope's (JWST) first two mirror segments in a clean room at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
NASA / Chris Gunn

In the photos directly above and below, engineers at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Maryland inspect one of the two mirror segments that were delivered from Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado last week. The remaining 16 segments will be sent to GSFC over the next 12 months, prior to beginning integration into the JWST itself in 2015. After the JWST launches into space in 2018, the 18 segments—each weighing 88 pounds (40 kilograms) and having a width of 4.2 feet (1.3 meters)—will form into a primary mirror that is 21.4 feet (6.5 meters) in diameter. Overlooking the fact the JWST has forced NASA to take funding from other projects to pay for the telescope's $8.7 billion price tag, it has been interesting to see such an ambitious project begin to take shape. Keep in mind that the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory mission was delayed from 2009 to last November due to escalating costs and testing of the Curiosity rover falling behind schedule. These are pretty much moot points now that NASA is basking in the success of Curiosity since she safely landed on Mars last month. I won't be surprised if the JWST achieves redemption by sending home some of the most jaw-dropping pics ever taken of the universe that rival or exceed those of Hubble once the Webb telescope becomes operational 6 to 7 years from now. Patience is a virtue.

At the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, one of the JWST's first two mirror segments to arrive is inspected while the other awaits opening in its shipping container.
NASA / Chris Gunn

Monday, September 24, 2012

Endeavour and NASA 905 fly over the retired battleship USS Iowa in San Pedro on September 21, 2012.
NASA / Jim Ross

Photos of the Day... Space shuttle Endeavour and the USS Iowa—two of Los Angeles' newest museum exhibits of 2012—are featured in these snapshots. Awesome.

Endeavour and NASA 905 fly over the retired battleship USS Iowa in San Pedro on September 21, 2012.
Courtesy of Facebook

Friday, September 21, 2012

A photo I took of Endeavour and NASA 905 performing a flyover of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on September 21, 2012.

Welcome home, Endeavour! Words can't describe the amazing and historic experience that I—as well as millions of other people across the California coastline (except in San Diego)—enjoyed as a majestic piece of American ingenuity elegantly soared in the skies above the Golden State earlier today. Needless to say, I'm totally looking forward to seeing Endeavour travel through the streets of downtown Los Angeles exactly three weeks from now...as the space shuttle embarks on the final leg of her journey to the California Science Center for permanent museum display. Woohoo.

A photo I took of Endeavour and NASA 905, plus two NASA F/A-18 chase planes, performing a flyover of LAX on September 21, 2012.

A photo I took of NASA 905 taxiing to the United Airlines hangar, where Endeavour will be temporarily stored after landing at LAX, on September 21, 2012.

A photo I took of NASA 905 coming to a stop outside of the United Airlines hangar at LAX on September 21, 2012.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The orbiter Endeavour, mated atop NASA 905, departs from Kennedy Space Center for the final time on September 19, 2012.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

Endeavour is finally headed to Los Angeles... At 4:22 AM, Pacific Daylight Time today, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) carrying the retired orbiter Endeavour departed from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the final time. As of this entry, Endeavour and the SCA are currently parked on the tarmac at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. The craft will remain there for a day before taking to the skies once more and heading on the last leg of their journey to Southern California. The SCA will make a refueling stop at El Paso, Texas before flying through New Mexico on its way to Edwards Air Force Base in California tomorrow. It will be on Friday morning that Endeavour will soar into the sky one last time...departing from Edwards Air Force Base and giving spectators up north in Sacramento and San Francisco an aerial thrill before heading back to L.A. to wow Angelenos on the ground, prior to her touching down at Los Angeles International Airport.

Below is one of the most iconic photos of space shuttle Endeavour—taken during her final flight to the International Space Station on STS-134 last year.

The International Space Station with the orbiter Endeavour docked to it, as seen from a Russian Soyuz vehicle after it undocked from the ISS on May 23, 2011.
Roscosmos / ESA / NASA

Sunday, September 16, 2012

For car lovers everywhere.

Photos of the Day... I agree with the sentiment above—especially if you own any of the cars below. Good grief.

A McLaren MP4-12C.

A Bugatti Veyron Grand Super Sport.

A Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4.

Friday, September 14, 2012

At Kennedy Space Center's (KSC) Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF), the orbiter Endeavour is mated to NASA 905 on September 14, 2012.
NASA / Dimitri Gerondidakis

Six days from now... Endeavour is now placed atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft that will ferry her across the country to Southern California on Monday. Final securing (tightening of bolts at the attachment joints) of Endeavour to the modified jumbo jet will take place tomorrow. Still doing research about where to go at LAX to see the orbiter land next Thursday...

The orbiter Endeavour is towed towards the Mate-Demate Device (not shown) at KSC's SLF, on September 14, 2012.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

With NASA 905 parked behind her, the orbiter Endeavour is ready to be hoisted up into the Mate-Demate Device on September 14, 2012.
NASA / Kim Shiflett
At KSC's SLF, the orbiter Endeavour is mated to NASA 905 on September 14, 2012.
NASA / Dimitri Gerondidakis

At KSC's SLF, the orbiter Endeavour is mated to NASA 905 on September 14, 2012.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

At KSC's SLF, the orbiter Endeavour is mated to NASA 905 on September 14, 2012.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) that will transport Endeavour to Los Angeles International Airport touches down at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on September 11, 2012.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

A week from today, space shuttle Endeavour will be arriving in Los Angeles courtesy of the modified Boeing 747 shown in these pics. I'm planning to drive down to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on September 20 to get a glimpse of the retired orbiter as she touches down at LAX...though I'm still doing research online in terms of knowing exactly where to go so I can get decent snapshots of Endeavour as she comes in for a landing. Stay tuned.

The SCA approaches the Mate-Demate Device that will connect Endeavour to its hull on September 14...in preparation for their September 17 flight to Los Angeles International Airport.
NASA / Jim Grossmann

The SCA parks at the ramp area of the Shuttle Landing Facility after arriving at KSC on September 11, 2012.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

Mission insignia that are painted on the fuselage of the SCA that will transport Endeavour to Los Angeles on September 17, 2012.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo of the Curiosity rover's Mastcam, taken on September 7, 2012. The clear dust cover for the camera's lens was closed for this pic.
NASA / JPL - Caltech / MSSS

Photos of the Day... Just when I thought I could take a break from posting space-related news on my Blog, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Pasadena, California, had to release these awesome images recently taken by the Curiosity Mars rover...courtesy of a camera (the Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI) on its robotic arm. The coolest pics are the ones taken of Curiosity's Mastcam (above) and all six of the rover's wheels plus four of its hazard avoidance cameras (directly below). The snapshot of the wheels is like having your car parked in your driveway and getting down on your knees to have a look underneath the vehicle. Of course, chances are your car probably isn't nuclear-powered and equipped with a laser gun that could cut your arm right off.


A MAHLI image of the Curiosity rover's six wheels and four hazard avoidance cameras, taken on September 9, 2012.
NASA / JPL - Caltech / MSSS

A MAHLI image of three of the Curiosity rover's six wheels, taken on September 9, 2012.
NASA / JPL - Caltech / MSSS

A MAHLI image of the Curiosity rover's underbelly and two hazard avoidance cameras, taken on September 9, 2012.
NASA / JPL - Caltech / MSSS

A MAHLI image of its calibration target on the Curiosity rover, taken on September 9, 2012.
NASA / JPL - Caltech / MSSS

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Might as well give George W. Bush a third term in the Oval Office.

Election 2012... In all fairness to the GOP (yea, right), I probably would've posted the same images about Obama if there were any that were just as amusing back in 2008. I voted for John McCain that year. However, I will be voting democratic this year (just like I did with Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004). That is all.

I don't have a pre-existing health condition, but this is pretty unacceptable.

Clint Eastwood and his new best friend watch the Democratic National Convention.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Mastcam on the Curiosity Mars rover took this image of the robotic arm, on September 5, 2012.
NASA / JPL - Caltech / MSSS

Curiosity Update... I read somewhere online that the robotic arm on the Curiosity rover weighs about half as much as a Mars Exploration Rover (MER) itself. A MER (which would be Spirit and Opportunity) weighs around 400 pounds (and this doesn't include spacecraft components such as the aeroshell, heat shield, airbags, etc.), so looking at the three pics I posted with this entry, it's somewhat easy to tell that Curiosity's arm would have a pretty hefty weight. Can't wait to finally see this bad boy in action at Gale Crater.

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NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Begins Arm-Work Phase (Press Release)

PASADENA, Calif. -- After driving more than a football field's length since landing, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is spending several days preparing for full use of the tools on its arm.

Curiosity extended its robotic arm Wednesday in the first of six to 10 consecutive days of planned activities to test the 7-foot (2.1-meter) arm and the tools it manipulates.

"We will be putting the arm through a range of motions and placing it at important 'teach points' that were established during Earth testing, such as the positions for putting sample material into the inlet ports for analytical instruments," said Daniel Limonadi of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., lead systems engineer for Curiosity's surface sampling and science system. "These activities are important to get a better understanding for how the arm functions after the long cruise to Mars and in the different temperature and gravity of Mars, compared to earlier testing on Earth."

Since the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft placed Curiosity inside Mars' Gale Crater on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT), the rover has driven a total of 358 feet (109 meters). The drives have brought it about one-fourth of the way from the landing site, named Bradbury Landing, to a location selected as the mission's first major science destination, Glenelg.

"We knew at some point we were going to need to stop and take a week or so for these characterization activities," said JPL's Michael Watkins, Curiosity mission manager. "For these checkouts, we need to turn to a particular angle in relation to the sun and on flat ground. We could see before the latest drive that this looked like a perfect spot to start these activities."

The work at the current location will prepare Curiosity and the team for using the arm to place two of the science instruments onto rock and soil targets. In addition, the activities represent the first steps in preparing to scoop soil, drill into rocks, process collected samples and deliver samples into analytical instruments.

Checkouts in the next several days will include using the turret's Mars Hand Lens Imager to observe its calibration target and the Canadian-built Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer to read what chemical elements are present in the instrument's calibration target.

"We're still learning how to use the rover. It's such a complex machine -- the learning curve is steep," said JPL's Joy Crisp, deputy project scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory Project, which built and operates Curiosity.

After the arm characterization activities at the current site, Curiosity will proceed for a few weeks eastward toward Glenelg. The science team selected that area as likely to offer a good target for Curiosity's first analysis of powder collected by drilling into a rock.

"We're getting through a big set of characterization activities that will allow us to give more decision-making authority to the science team," said Richard Cook, Mars Science Laboratory project manager at JPL.

Curiosity is one month into a two-year prime mission on Mars. It will use 10 science instruments to assess whether the selected study area ever has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. JPL manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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The Navcam on the Curiosity Mars rover took this image of the robotic arm last month.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

The Navcam on the Curiosity Mars rover took this image of the robotic arm last month.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Ryu fires a Hadouken fireball at Ken in STREET FIGHTER II.
Capcom

Happy Belated Birthday, Street Fighter! August 30 marked the 25th anniversary since Ryu and Ken made their Hadouken-firing debut in Capcom's iconic video game. Even though Street Fighter started off as a coin-op game at the arcade back in 1987, I didn't start playing it—or should I say Street Fighter II, to be exact—till 5 years later...on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. I don't have SNES anymore (one of my brothers was the one who bought it, and I'm pretty sure he got rid of it a long time ago), but if I did, I'd install the Street Fighter II cartridge right now and start whuppin' ass as Guile. Sonic Boom! Guile was da man... It's all about knocking out opponents with his vaunted Flash Kick.

Visit my Games section to play Street Fighter II online! It's Ryu vs. Sagat. Now fight!

Guile Flash Kicks Chun-Li in STREET FIGHTER II.
Capcom