On Friday, Dec. 21, some say, the Mayan apocalypse will arrive and the world will end. Fortunately, it won’t.
A bold claim, we know, but if it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for us. The space agency has already issued a press release dated Dec. 22 entitled “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday.”
The Mayan apocalypse predictions arise from a misunderstanding of the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar, which wraps up a 400-year cycle called a b’ak’tun on Dec. 21, 2012, the day of the winter solstice. This just so happens to be the 13th b’ak’tun in the calendar, a benchmark the Maya would have seen as a full cycle of creation.
Did you catch that? Cycle. In other words, the Maya had a cyclical view of time and would not have seen the end of their calendar cycle as the end of the world. It wasn’t until Westerners began reinterpreting the calendar in the past couple decades that it got its apocalyptic overtones.
Mayan apocalypse rumors have proliferated on the Internet, running the gamut from beliefs that Dec. 21 will bring a new era of peace and universal understanding to predictions of a devastating astronomical event. We’re all in favor of world peace, but we’re here to put your fears to rest about the likelihood of planetary annihilation. Read on for five common Mayan apocalypse fears and why they won’t come true.
SpaceX Launch: Private Spacecraft Puts Star Trek’s Scotty’s Ashes Into Space | Technology | Sky News
On board the flight are the ashes of actor James Doohan, who played engineer Scotty in Star Trek. He died in 2005.
His remains, along with Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper and more than 300 other hardcore space fans, are to be dispatched into the final frontier.The remains are held in a container with lipstick-tube-sized canisters and, if all goes as planned, the container should spend the next year or so circling Earth as an orbital space memorial before it is pulled back into the atmosphere and incinerated.
The test flight – which should include a fly-by and berthing with the station in the coming days – aims to show that private industry can restore US access to the ISS after Nasa retired its space shuttle fleet last year.
No humans are travelling on the Dragon, but six astronauts are already at the $100bn £63bn space lab to help the capsule latch on, to unload supplies and then restock the capsule with cargo to take back to Earth.
The mission was delayed on Saturday because of a faulty engine valve in the rocket’s main engine – that was repaired on the same day.
California-based SpaceX, owned by billionaire Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, is the first of several US competitors to try sending spacecraft to the ISS with the goal of restoring US access to space for human travellers by 2015.
Until now, only the space agencies of Russia, Japan and Europe have been able to send supply ships to the ISS.
The three-decade US shuttle programme, which ferried astronauts and cargo to the research outpost, ended for good in 2011, leaving Russia as the sole taxi to the ISS until private industry comes up with a replacement.
Strange Random Space Quote:
Space isn’t remote at all. It’s only an hour’s drive away if your car could go straight upwards. – Sir Fred Hoyle
- Confirmed: SpaceX Dragon Ferried ‘Scotty’s’ Remains Into Space (mashable.com)
- Yes, ashes of Star Trek’s Scotty really are in space (seattlepi.com)
- SpaceX Dragon makes International Space Station fly-by (slashgear.com)
- SpaceX Has Beamed Scotty Up to Orbit [Star Trek] (gizmodo.com)
- Ashes Of James Doohan, ‘Scotty’ From Star Trek, Sent Into Orbit (outsidethebeltway.com)
- SpaceX Scores High PR Marks (odwyerpr.com)
- Scotty Has Been Beamed Up (lezgetreal.com)
- BEAMED UP: Star Trek’s Scotty Reaches Outerspace Aboard First Private Spacecraft To Visit Space Station (geekologie.com)
- SpaceX Falcon rocket carried the dead when it launched (slashgear.com)
- SpaceX Has Beamed Scotty Up to Orbit (gizmodo.co.uk)
The discoveries boost the list of confirmed extra-solar planets to 729, including 60 credited to the Kepler team. The telescope, launched in space in March 2009, can detect slight but regular dips in the amount of light coming from stars. Scientists can then determine if the changes are caused by orbiting planets passing by, relative to Kepler’s view.
Kepler scientists have another 2,300 candidate planets awaiting additional confirmation.
None of the newly discovered planetary systems are like our solar system, though Kepler-33, a star that is older and bigger than the Sun, comes close in terms of sheer numbers. It has five planets, compared to our solar system’s eight, but the quintet all fly closer to their parent star than Mercury orbits the Sun.
The planets range in size from about 1.5 times the diameter of Earth to five times Earth’s diameter. Scientists have not yet determined if any are solid rocky bodies like Earth, Venus, Mars and Mercury or if they are filled with gas like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
Strange Random Planet Quuote:
“The Sun, with all the planets revolving around it, and depending on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as though it had nothing else in the Universe to do.” – Galileo Galilei
- NASA’s Kepler telescope finds 26 new planets (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- NASA Kepler Telescope Finds 26 New Alien Planets in 11 Solar Systems (mashable.com)
- Kepler telescope finds 11 new planetary systems, one has five planets (slashgear.com)
- Nasa’s Keplar telescope discovers 11 new planetary systems (telegraph.co.uk)
- NASA finds 11 new solar systems (revolutionizingawareness.com)
- Kepler hits jackpot, discovers 26 new planets and 11 new star systems (inquisitr.com)
- NASA mission piles on the planets (cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com)
- NASA Finds 11 New Planetary Systems (myfoxny.com)
- NASA’s Kepler mission finds 26 new planets (cbc.ca)
- NASA Finds 11 New Planetary Systems (myfoxphoenix.com)
Some of the terrestrial world’s wealthiest men, including Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos have backed newfangled private spacecraft. Sometimes these efforts end about as well as the crew’s trip in “2001.” A sample:
Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com rich guy
As our colleague Andy Pasztor just brought you, an unnamed spaceship funded by the billionaire Amazon founder suffered a major failure during a recent test flight. Bezos’s privately funded Blue Origin was awarded NASA money earmarked for new efforts to support manned spaceflights.
Strange Random Space Quote:
- Blue Origin Spaceship Crash of the Day (geeks.thedailywh.at)
- Jeff Bezos’ Spaceship Fails During Test Flight (abcnews.go.com)
- Jeff Bezos’ spaceship fails during test flight (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Rich Guys’ Forays Into Space Haven’t Always Been Stellar (blogs.wsj.com)
- Unmanned Spaceship Funded by Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos Misfires (foxnews.com)
- Blue Origin’s experimental rocket ship crashes (cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com)
- Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!! (fountainabbey.wordpress.com)
- Jeff Bezos’ spaceship fails during test flight (sfgate.com)
IMAX IN A BASEMENT
Not-for-profit animated IMAX film in early production by a single filmmaker. Visit the site to make a tax-deductible contribution to support the film. I hope to present this clip at the international IMAX show (GSCA Expo) next month.
I’m very excited to present the first test from “Outside In” that actually represents real footage in progress from the film. Camera moves are still being tweaked and this is cropped version as IMAX-sized stuff does not play well online. But thanks to the new version of Adobe After Effects, “Outside In” can be made as I have always envisioned.
Strange Random Space Quote:
- Amazing Saturn photos made into an IMAX movie (geek.com)
- Amazing Video of Saturn Made from Cassini Images (techeblog.com)
- [Video] Saturn Cassini Photographic Animation (edugeek.net)
- “Mars Needs Moms” – Film Clip “No Broccoli” (hollywoodnews.com)
- Lego Spaceship Designs From A to Z (wired.com)
- The Saturn Fly-By (science.slashdot.org)
NASA has named the Roland Emmerich blockbuster 2012 the most scientifically-flawed film ever made. Apart from the abuse of neutrino particles and the myth of the Mayan Calendar ending in 2012, one of the things that has most upset NASA is having to set up a special website to counteract all the claims made by the film.
Among other bits of helpful advice, we find the following:
Answer (A): Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.
Q: What is the origin of the prediction that the world will end in 2012?
A: The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012. Then these two fables were linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 — hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012.
Strange Random Disaster Quote:
By showing us live coverage of every bad thing happening everywhere in the world, cable news makes life seem like it’s just an endless string of disasters – when, for most people in most places today, life is fairly good. – Gregg Easterbrook
- NASA scientists slam ‘absurd’ 2012 (hollywood.com)
- NASA Names Most Realistic and Unrealistic Sci-Fi Films of All Time (moviefone.com)
- 2012 is NASA’s most absurd movie, others got science right (thestar.com)
- Nasa names most absurd sci-fi film (thesun.co.uk)
- Which science fiction films have the best and worst science, according to NASA? [Bad Science] (io9.com)
I can see my house from here! Another great shot from the Astronomy Picture of the Day Website. And the debate is on as to what part of the Earth she is looking at …
Explanation: There’s no place like home. Peering out of the windows of the International Space Station (ISS), astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson takes in the planet on which we were all born, and to which she would soon return. About 350 kilometers up, the ISS is high enough so that the Earth’s horizon appears clearly curved. Astronaut Dyson’s windows show some of Earth’s complex clouds, in white, and life giving atmosphere and oceans, in blue. The space station orbits the Earth about once every 90 minutes. It is not difficult for people living below to look back toward the ISS. The ISS can frequently be seen as a bright point of light drifting overhead just after sunset. Telescopes can even resolve the overall structure of the space station. The above image was taken in late September from the ISS’s Cupola window bay. Dr. Dyson is a lead vocalist in the band Max Q.
Strange Random Space Quote:
The distance between the earth and her satellite is a mere trifle, and undeserving of serious consideration. I am convinced that before twenty years are over one-half of our earth will have paid a visit to the moon – Jules Verne, From Earth to the Moon, 1890.
- Emergency on the ISS: Astronaut Doug Wheelock Talks About His Experience (planetpookie.com)
- NASA caught photoshopping an image of Saturn’s moons. What were they trying to hide? [Space Porn] (io9.com)
- Astronauts View of Earth Eclipsed All Else (space.com)
- An Airplane in Front of the Moon (laughingsquid.com)
- Photo Gallery: Best Space Station Cupola Views (wired.com)
- Space Station Life Has its Ups and Downs, Astronaut Says (space.com)
- Astronauts Return To Earth After Six Months (news.sky.com)
- Five reasons why astronomy is cool (woodpigeon01.wordpress.com)
- WSU scientist proposes one-way trips to Mars (seattletimes.nwsource.com)