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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Giant Asteroid's Troughs Suggest Stunted Planet - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Giant Asteroid's Troughs Suggest Stunted Planet - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Vesta is much smaller than Pluto, even smaller than Ceres, yet it's revealing itself to be a complicated world more planet than asteroid.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Vote for Pluto in Adler Planetarium Debate This video is great, but it unfortunately does not include enough of the scientific argument for Pluto's planethood. Look at the picture of spherical Pluto and all those tiny rocks in its neighborhood. Unlike those rocks, Pluto is large enough and massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity. It is a complex world with geology and weather. The "Third Rule" classifies objects solely by where they are while ignoring what they are. The overwhelming majority of Kuiper Belt Objects are tiny and shapeless, nowhere near Pluto's size. Those that are large enough to be spherical are planets too, if one utilizes the equally scientific geophysical planet definition, which states that a planet is any non-self-luminous spheroidal body orbiting a star. Dwarf planets are planets too, just small ones. Blurring the distinction between these complex worlds and tiny asteroids is simply bad science. Also, Pluto is about 70% rock.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Support Uwingu--A New Way to Fund Space Exploration, Research, and Education

At a time when governments are unfortunately cutting funding for space exploration and astronomy research and education, you can now take part in an alternative method to fund these projects, led by a team including Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. Even the smallest donation makes a big difference!

Here is a description of the project from its web site,

"Reaching for The Sky--Help Us Launch to Increase Space Research & Education Funding

Tired of seeing space research and education always the victim of governmental budget cuts? Want to see a change in space funding and increased funds for space exploration, science, and space education? Uwingu LLC wants to effect these kinds of changes in a new way.

Uwingu is a small start-up company, a for profit LLC, consisting of prominent astronomers, planetary scientists, former space program executives, and educators who passionately want to create new ways for space exploration, research, and education to be funded.

We are planning a series of projects that will earn revenue to generate a new, private sector funding stream of millions or even tens of millions of dollars annually for space projects of all kinds, which we call The Uwingu Fund. The Uwingu Fund will provide grants to those that propose meritorious projects to us in space exploration, space research, or space education.

But to have the cash on hand to run the business in its first months, before sales can escalate, we need to raise at least $75,000 in start-up capital.

Would you help us turn our ambitions into accomplishments by helping with a sponsorship to help us get launched? Would you make a difference for space research and education's future?

But time is limited, Uwingu’s IndieGoGo crowdscourcing campaign ends late next week on September 14th. Make a difference-- sponsor Uwingu now! Thank you!"