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Author Archives: battismm
Over the past two semesters I have been working on an engineering senior design project. My team and I have been working for the Marshall Space Flight Center on one of NASA’s ongoing missions to develop in space manufacturing capabilities. The International Space Station currently houses approximately 29,000 pounds of spares in storage. Historically, 95% … Continue reading Blog 8: In Space Manufacturing Continue reading → Continue reading
I will soon be embarking on a family trip to Yellowstone, my first visit to this National Park. Yellowstone is geological hotspot and is home to a plethora of thermal features, including hot springs, geysers, and the massive volcano itself. The hot waters may seem incapable of housing life, but they are home to an … Continue reading Blog 7: Extremophiles of Yellowstone Continue reading → Continue reading
Jupiter has a very thick atmosphere with lots of temperature difference causing strong convective currents. These convective currents and Jupiter’s fast rotation give the planet it’s colorful bands and demonstrate different fluid behaviors. The image above, captured by the Juno Spacecraft, shows a storm in Jupiter’s atmosphere. The eddies are similar to that caused by vortex … Continue reading Blog 6: Jupiter Fluid Dynamics Continue reading → Continue reading
Saturn’s most distinct feature is its stunning rings, visible even through basic telescopes! Thanks to flyby and orbiter missions around the planet, we have wonderful photos of Saturn and its rings. The image above shows the rings on the night side of Saturn, part of which fall into the planet’s shadows and the other part … Continue reading Blog 5: Saturn’s Rings Continue reading → Continue reading
One of my favorite novels is The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. As the title suggests a portion of the novel takes place on Saturn’s moon Titan, though this fiction is more concerned with the philosophical and not the realistic astronomical. I highly recommend it to fans of science fiction. Discovered in 1655, Titan is Saturn’s … Continue reading Blog 4: The Sirens of Titan Continue reading → Continue reading
The Voyager Golden Record is a phonograph record that was launched on Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. It contains a variety of sounds and images that are meant to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. The 116 images were carefully selected by a team led by astronomer Carl Sagan. The cover of … Continue reading Blog 3: The Golden Record Continue reading → Continue reading
The Mont Saint Michel Abbey was built in the 11th century on an island in Normandy, on the north coast of France. The island formed when the landscaped was eroded and granite outcrops remained. Medieval pilgrims nicknamed it, “St. Michael in peril of the sea” because of the extreme changes between high and low tides. … Continue reading Blog 2: Mont Saint Michel Abbey Tides Continue reading → Continue reading
Johannes Kepler: December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630 Johannes Kepler made important contributions to astronomy, primarily from his studies of celestial mechanics. From his calculations and Tycho’s observations, Kepler developed his three Laws of Planetary Motion. First, “Planets move in ellipses with the Sun at one focus.” Second, “The radius vector describes equal areas … Continue reading Historical Astronomers in Context Continue reading → Continue reading
This image was made by the NASA Visualization Explorer to show the path of totality of the 2017 solar eclipse. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. As the moon blocks the sun, it casts on a shadow on earth that travels west to east very quickly due … Continue reading Blog 1: Total Solar Eclipse 2017 Continue reading → Continue reading