NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko lifted off Friday from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to spend almost a year on the International Space Station. Kelly’s long sojourn in space will beat the U.S. record for longest-duration spaceflight by more than 100 days. Kelly and Kornienko will be closely monitored for studies aimed at determining the effect of long-term spaceflight on the human body. Former astronaut Mark Kelly, Scott Kelly’s identical twin, will be monitored on Earth as a control subject for the unusual yearlong experiment.
Still no word on when a cat will get a chance to go to space, and from the looks of Commander Kibble (above), the technology and funding are still lagging for this important scientific endeavor.
I’m just going to have to trust that the quantum physics here is correct.
It’s Pi Day! Today’s date, 3.14.15, rolls around only once every 100 years, making it an even more special Pi Day than usual. In fact, at exactly 9:26:53 AM, the date and time will describe pi to 10 digits (π = 3.141592653). Since it’s Caturday, you may have slept in and missed it. But don’t worry, you can still celebrate by doing geometry problems, eating pie, and reading about why Josh thinks Pi Day should fall in February.
A team of scientists from University College London report that they have developed a tough new self-cleaning paint. In a paper published in this week’s issue of Science, the researchers say the paint, made from coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles, is not only extremely repellent to water, but won’t get ruined even if it’s scratched or exposed to oil. Because it is so hard-wearing, it could be used for a wide range of applications, from clothing to cars. Reached for comment, our Caturday correspondent Professor Kibble said, “Big deal. I haz been self-cleaning since I was a itty-bitty kitty. I iz also extreemly rezistant to water (see Fig. 1 above).”
This week, the NASA spacecraft Dawn captured a stunning image of Ceres, a dwarf planet between Mars and Jupiter.
Earlier pictures from Dawn had shown a bright spot on the surface, and as the spacecraft got closer, another was revealed. Experts are speculating on the cause of the mysterious lights, but we’re pretty sure that one of the kitties on Ceres accidentally left his high beams on. Set to stun, Fluffy. We come in peace.