Monday, March 13, 2006

Cool "Mad" Science

This is one of the cooler things I've seen in a while. The crazy scientists at Sandia National Laboratories have created the hottest plasma ever seen by man, and hotter than the cores of stars, even if only for a moment. The picture in the above link shows the ridiculous levels of electricity used to create the plasma.

In other "mad" science, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recently arrived at Mars and successfully completed its first burn to place itself in orbit. This orbiter will be aerobraking, which means that it will dip into Mars' outer atmosphere on each orbit to slow itself into a circular orbit. This orbiter will be mapping the surface of Mars a various spectrums and great detail, and has 10x the bandwidth back to Earth than any previous mission to Mars. It's not only a cool mission, but a Mars communications platform for the next decade (at least) of exploration there.

Also, NASA's popular probe Cassini has discovered what appears to be liquid water geysers on Enceladus, a small moon of Saturn. Unlike what some people in the media reported, this is not really evidence for life there, but only for a possibility of life as we know it. NASA's not asserting anything about life, so far as I can tell.


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