the universe, being relatively small

the universe, being relatively small

I stumbled across a piece of beauty today… the universe, being relatively small, can’t seem to contain all my ideas, often, I think it’s far too small to fit both of us what we need is a multiverse full of quantum possibility and unloaded dice with infinite sides ready to be rolled what we need is myriad universei ready to grow or shrink to fill the needs of the people (no matter how small and petty they are) i like you quite a bit, so maybe we can have abutting universes with similar laws of gravity. I’d like to be close enough to drop by for cribbage and tea but far enough to keep the boundaries straight work with me here, it’s not easy being God. –Stephan Anstey I have always been fascinated by the idea of multiverses. So...

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Reaching into the Low Orbit Frontier

Reaching into the Low Orbit Frontier

One of the great things about working on Astronomy Cast is that sometimes I get to learn about things that I just didn’t fully appreciate in the past. Today I’m preparing for an episode on amateur/community spacecraft. I knew this was something that was going on, but I hadn’t appreciated the sheer diversity of missions that are in the works. In order to try and get my notes straight for today’s episode, I am going to summarize things here so that they are a resource for all of us. I’m sure this will be out of date very quickly, but hopefully it will help you appreciate everything as much as I now do. (image credit: NASA) ARKYD: The actual first public space telescope! ¬†This project raised $1,505,366 with 17,614 backers, exceeding...

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Looking for inspiration

Looking for inspiration

I have to admit, life has gotten sufficiently busy that I’ve lost all track of time and place. Yesterday, waking up in Austin for SXSW Interactive, I was reminded by the intertubes that it is Women’s Month, and yesterday (not today) was International Women’s Day. Scott Lewis (KnowTheCosmos) interviewed Nicole Gugliucci and I about what inspired us and will be posting the video soon. This experience, and a recent talk that I gave at the Midwest Regional Women in Physics Conference, made me take a minute and really reflect on who has inspired me over the years. For most people my age, there is only one answer: Carl Sagan. For people in their 30s and older, he was the man of science that filled their heads while he filled their small screens. The...

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IAU, I’m lost within you

IAU, I’m lost within you

This morning I woke up in Beijing. This wasn’t entirely surprising since I’d fallen asleep at about 32,000 ft on AA187, inbound to PEK from ORD. Nonetheless, no matter how much you know logically that you are soon to be somewhere very foreign, the reality of it is always startling. Beijing assaults the senses the moment the cabin door opens. There is the smell; air so thick with pollution that you feel constantly dirty, and my nose runs and lungs ache. There is the sudden change in personal space, which grows far less, and politeness, which becomes far more important. The buildings are like something out of the Fifth Element, but the roads are cluttered with an odd mix of foot traffic, bike traffic, rickshaw traffic, and insane car traffic. Beijing is...

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Thank you, Neil Armstrong

Thank you, Neil Armstrong

When I heard Neil Armstrong had died, my first reaction was to stop walking and reread the text, curse once, and realize I had no more words. He is a hero who lived an amazing life, a long life, and will remain an inspiration as so many past heros have remained. Its *sucks* that we lost his input on our future, but we don’t live forever and he didn’t linger in suffering has so many people do. As I walked on, I did find myself pissed off by one thing: We are sooooo close to getting back to the Moon. The Google Lunar X-Prize¬†will get rovers walking, roving, or (in my fantasy world) dancing a happy robot dance across the surface of the moon in the not too distant future. (1 or 2 years I’m guessing). Humans won’t be too far behind once the...

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IAU, Pluto, and naming P5

IAU, Pluto, and naming P5

The 2012 meeting of the International Astronomical Union is about to begin in Beijing, China. I’ll be attending the second week of the meeting, and talking on the very last day (yikes!) The 2 constant questions about IAU are “Will Pluto get back its planethood?” and “what new objects might get named?” Well, no one is rumoring that the dwarf planet issue will come back up, so I think we’re going to have to go with “Dwarf Planet” or “Planet Classic” for a few more years. On the naming front, I see Pluto’s new moons possibly getting a few new titles, and it’s possible a few more objects might get approved. The issue of naming things is more complicated in some ways and not complicated in others...

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