Your Own Personal Jupiter

My ‘citizen scientist’ photo of a moon’s path between Jupiter and Juno is up on the JunoCam site.

jupiter_round_obj_bw

JunoCam is inviting artists, scientists and enthusiasts to download Juno’s most recent photos, add color enhancements, highlight a certain feature or create collages. Then upload and share them with the world –

Featured works include this analysis by Philosophia-47:

jupiter_south_pole
Jupiter’s South Pole : Philosophia-47

and the lovely Van Gogh inspired  Jupiter in Landscape by Amelia Carolina Sparavigna:

jupiter_van_gogh
Jupiter in Landscape : Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

What does your Jupiter look like?

Fun with Jupiter and Photoshop

juno-jupiter-artist-concept

NASA’s Juno spacecraft was launched in 2011 to orbit, explore and photograph Jupiter.

Juno began orbiting the massive gas giant last July, and NASA is sharing the love with their JunoCam community, which lets members observe and download raw JunoCam images. You can also do your own image processing. NASA says:

Anything from cropping to color enhancing to collaging is fair game. Then upload your creations here.

I downloaded a zipped file of photos used for the image [below] from Mission Phase : PERIJOVE 3 (Perijove is the point in a spacecraft’s orbit where the spacecraft is closest to Jupiter).

jnce_2016346_03c00124_v01-mapprojected

After adjusting the tonal range and sandwiching a few layers together, (processed image [below] I noticed a round object following a fairly straight path, apparently passing between Juno and Jupiter. It can be seen at the left-hand side of the photo, moving at an approximate 75 degree angle.

jupiter_round_obj_bw

Is it a moon, a speck on the lens, or a wayward Phileas Fogg?

If anyone has any ideas, let me know –

Where’s My Flying Car?

When we first started hearing about self-driving cars, I figured it would be very difficult to teach a computer to follow a road system that was designed for human-friendly navigation.

It would be easier and more fun to reach for the sky. It’s difficult for humans to navigate the airways, but it’s a (relative) piece of cake for a sensor/gyroscope/GPS-equipped machine.

aero-mobil
The Slovakian Aeromobil

Well, Uber is working on it. They’ve hired former NASA engineer Mark Moore to direct their flying car program, “Elevate”.

According to Uber’s recent White Paper, their airborne focus is on vertical take-off and landing on-demand (VTOL) aviation. They’re working towards a network of small, electric aircraft that will “use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground.”

According to this BBC report:

Mr Moore explored a similar concept in a paper published while he was at NASA. He said that electric propulsion was a “potential game changing technology” for aircraft, adding that the only thing holding it back was current battery storage.

But other obstacles stand in the way.

[E]ach flying car company would need to independently negotiate with suppliers to get prices down, and lobby regulators to certify aircrafts and relax air-traffic restrictions. But he says Uber, with its 55 million active riders, can uniquely demonstrate that there could be a massive, profitable and safe market. “If you don’t have a business case that makes economic sense, than all of this is just a wild tech game and not really a wise investment,” Moore says.

Here’s how it could work – people would take conventional Ubers from their homes to nearby “vertiports”. Then they would zoom up into the air and across town to the vertiport closest to their offices. (“We don’t need stinking bridges!” says Moore.)

larry-page-flying-car-patent
Zee-Aero’s prototype

These flying cars would have a range of 50 to 100 miles, and they could be partially recharged while passengers are getting on and off. Human pilots would manage the onboard computers and deal with emergencies. They would probably be on board for the foreseeable future.

Moore proves that he’s a risk-taker by leaving NASA one year before he’s eligible for retirement, walking away from a significant percentage of his pension and free health care for life. He says he’s doing it “to be in the right place at the right time to make this market real.”

airbus_prototype

Airbus’ “Vahana” (taken from the Hindu reference to vehicle of a god)

Joseph Cornell: In the Box

2002.58.36_1a

I like the way Cornell uses Surrealism to tell stories of nostalgia and dreams, all wrapped in a tidy box.

Here, Alex Kittle describes his life and work

The instinct to collect may be a basic part of human nature; we acquire and amass and stockpile a variety of things, be it nostalgic keepsakes, artistic treasures, emergency snacks, or cherished memories. Parents hold on to their children’s baby teeth, bibliophiles fill their houses with books, sports fans hunt down memorabilia from their favorite teams; my own mother dutifully collected Longaberger baskets for a good ten years. I myself collect all manner of things, often to the level of hoarding, but that is a discussion for another day. Perhaps this shared tendency is why the work of Joseph Cornell strikes a chord within so many, as I have yet to meet anyone who dislikes his thoughtful and intricate assemblages of found objects. A collector as much as an artist, he has inspired generations of artists and art-lovers, tapping into that seemingly innate human interest in stuff.

Born in 1903, Cornell grew up in the small village of Nyack, New York, a picturesque spot along the Hudson River. His four years at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts became the longest period he would spend away from home. After leaving school without a diploma, he moved back in with his family and became a textile salesman like his father, who had passed away in 1917. During the 1920s he collected various paper and secondhand ephemera, but it was not until around 1931 that he began making art out of such materials. Inspired by Surrealist exhibitions at the Julian Levy Gallery–especially Max Ernst’s collages–he created three-dimensional boxes and sculptures assembled from found objects. By 1932 he was exhibiting at the same gallery, with a solo show that fall. He also experimented with filmmaking, cutting together bits of collected film strips to create collaged movies (he returned to the medium in the 50s, collaborating with auteurs like Stan Brakhage to make films with new footage).

Throughout the next several decades, Cornell worked full- or part-time as an artist, never moving out of his mother’s house in Flushing, NY (where he helped care for his brother Robert, who had cerebral palsy) but taking frequent trips to New York City and establishing an ever-growing assortment of artistic connections and friendships, from artists Mark Rothko and Yayoi Kusama to dancer Allegra Kent and poet Mina Loy…

… The wonderful thing about Joseph Cornell is he created works of high art that could easily be read as pure knick-knacks if not for their powerful associative effect. He taps into the nostalgia inherent to so many objects, deftly combining his found items so as to elicit a response related to memory or personality, expressing feeling and experience through secondhand castaways. Putting together things like glassware, maps, stuffed birds, torn book pages, and keys, he silently invites viewers to extrapolate their own connections with such everyday items. We bring along our own baggage, our own memories, our own wishful thinking, and we are able to take it personally. Generally, Cornell is not making bold political statements or irreverent art historical references; he is not caught up in the manifestos and rampant theories of many artists of his day. He is sharing his own interests and perspective with others–often specific friends, colleagues, and crushes–through his own belongings. Many early-twentieth-century artists made art out of the everyday, but Cornell made art out of his everyday, which in turn could easily become reinterpreted as our own.

Internet Weekly went to a Cornell exhibit and said:

Cornell’s style including his use of repetitive pictures like in the Medici Princess (above) also influenced Pop artist Andy Warhol … there was newspaper that Cornell sent to his relatives during the Depression called Goop Joe’s Poultry Pages.  Some of the articles, which he typed with a Smith Corona were a hoot, especially the story on Page 19 – Duck Hunter Falls Out of Boat; Drowns.  I was cracking when I read it, and then I saw a young girl read the same article and she cracked up too.  I think Cornell would be pleased to know that his humor is still relevant today especially to his potential fees, filles or faeries as he called young women that caught his eye in New York City.

An Unexpected Discovery: Planet Orbiting 3 Stars

planet3suns

According to Gizmodo, this planet with three suns shouldn’t even exist.

In 2014, the ESO’s Very Large Telescope was outfitted with a new instrument called SPHERE, which features an adaptive optics system for canceling out the distortion of Earth’s atmosphere, as well as an instrument to block starlight, called a coronagraph. SPHERE is now one of the most powerful direct imaging tools planet hunters have at their disposal, and it bagged an exotic triple-star exoplanet on its very first observational campaign.

HD 131399A orbits a young A-type star, HD 131399A, taking a casual 550 Earth years to complete a single rotation. Far beyond its orbit, a Sun-like star and a K-dwarf (predictably named B and C) twirl about one another like dumbbells, while also revolving slowly around star A.

“The planet is about a third of a way out [between star A, and the B/C pair],” Wagner said. “All of the stars have a lot of gravitational influence on the planet, meaning it has a very irregular orbit that’s constantly evolving and changing.”

Whether the competing gravitational tug of three stars will cause the planet to be ripped apart or ejected from its overcrowded birthplace remains to be seen. In cosmic terms, HD 131399Ab is an infant, just 16 million years old. But the fact that it has survived this long suggests there could be more worlds like it. Some could even be small, rocky, and habitable.

“We thought that [triple star planets] weren’t going to be common, or at least in this extreme configuration, so we hadn’t really looked,” Wagner said. Studying these systems will expand our understanding of the conditions under which planets form and migrate about.

Aircraft Composites

Using resins in composite construction

There are several resins types that can be used with composites. Generally, use the one that your aircraft kit manufacturer advises. Some examples are: vinyl-ester, polyester and epoxy resins. Epoxy being more expensive, will not react on most materials used in aircraft construction. But it might have a negative effect on your body, epoxies can be toxic.

Polyester resin dissolves some foam like materials as easily as warm water melts sugar. It hardens quickly when mixed when MEKP catalyst is added in the right amount by weight.

Vinyl Ester Resin

Vinyl-ester is a relatively newcomer and is mainly used because of the aggressive allergic problems some people experienced with the other epoxy resins.

The right choice of resin also depends on the application. If you are building fuel tanks then polyester resin might not be the best choice as it will slowly be dissolved by the alcohol in the fuel. Either use vinyl-ester resins, aluminum tanks or stay away from fuels with alcohol.