5 weird things NASA's Perseverance rover is bringing to Mars
In just a few short days, NASA's Perseverance rover is slated to land on Mars Thursday (Feb. 18), and it's bringing five "hidden gems" along with it. And that's just one of the many "hidden gems" on NASA's Perseverance rover. Related: How to watch NASA's Perseverance rover land on MarsPerseverance rover's Mars landing: Everything you need to knowBook of Mars: $22.99 at Magazines Direct Within 148 pages, explore the mysteries of Mars. This is a tradition for NASA's Mars rovers; the agency's most recent Mars rover Curiosity carried a microchip with 1.2 million names. A COVID-19 tributeA 3-by-5-inch (8-by-13-centimeters) commemorative aluminum plate was installed on the left side of the Perseverance rover's chassis.space.com
The Milky Way is probably full of dead civilizations
Most of the alien civilizations that ever dotted our galaxy have probably killed themselves off already. It says where and when life is most likely to occur in the Milky Way, and identifies the most important factor affecting its prevalence: intelligent creatures' tendency toward self-annihilation. "Especially since the Hubble Space Telescope and Kepler Space Telescope, we have lots of knowledge about the densities [of gas and stars] in the Milky Way galaxy and star formation rates and exoplanet formation ... and the occurrence rate of supernova explosions. In other words, we're likely a frontier civilization in terms of galactic geography and relative latecomers to the self-aware Milky Way inhabitant scene. Even an extraordinarily low chance of a given civilization wiping itself out in any given century — say, via nuclear holocaust or runaway climate change — would mean that the overwhelming majority of peak Milky Way civilizations are already gone.space.com
New this week: 'Enola Holmes,' Public Enemy and Bonnaroo
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES— “Enola Holmes”: It’s somewhat fitting that “Stranger Things” breakout Millie Bobby Brown gets her first starring role in a Netflix film, “Enola Holmes,” coming to the streamer Wednesday. — The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival was supposed to take place in June in Tennessee but was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. This week, though, the festival is launching Virtual ROO-ALITY, a three-night live broadcast featuring new performances as well as content from the Bonnaroo archive. The two-hour film will be available at 7 p.m. EDT Tuesday at pbs.org/frontline and on YouTube at 9 p.m. EDT.
Astronomers see possible hints of life in Venus's clouds
Astronomers have found a potential sign of life high in the atmosphere of neighboring Venus: hints there may be bizarre microbes living in the sulfuric acid-laden clouds of the hothouse planet. They said it doesn't satisfy the “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" standard established by the late Carl Sagan, who speculated about the possibility of life in the clouds of Venus in 1967. “It’s not a smoking gun," said study co-author David Clements, an Imperial College of London astrophysicist. After three astronomers met in a bar in Hawaii, they decided to look that way at the closest planet to Earth: Venus. ... Not a single process we looked at could produce phosphine in high enough quantities to explain our team’s findings.”That leaves life.
San Antonio Science Fiction Artist John Picacio Wins Award for Opening Door to Mexicanx Talent
click to enlarge Richard ManJohn Picacioclick to enlarge Courtesy Photo / John PicacioThe 2020 Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award, created by Mike Libby of Insect Lab Studio, is comprised of a real butterfly merged with gears, springs and wire. reported in the Current in 2018, Picacio created the Mexicanx Initiative, a fundraising campaign to bring 50 Mexican and Mexican American writers, editors, artists, filmmakers and creators to the 76th World Science Fiction Convention , one of the industry's key networking events. "Many of the folks I selected were rising stars such as David Bowles, Julia Rios and Marcela Davison Aviles," Picacio said. "The Initiative enhanced their networks, but the vast majority of my picks were much newer talents to the field. "Since the convention, Mexicanx Initiative alumni have racked up an impressive list of successes.sacurrent.com
Neil deGrasse Tyson ponders the fate of planet Earth in 'Cosmos: Possible Worlds' finale
Related: Carl Sagan's legacy, from the 'Pale Blue Dot' to interstellar spaceIn the season finale of "Cosmos: Possible Worlds," host Neil deGrasse Tyson takes a trip to the 2039 New York World's Fair. Some of the promises made at the New York World's Fair remained unfulfilled, Tyson notes, while others have exceeded anything we might have thought possible. "Cosmos: Possible Worlds" imagines what the 2039 New York World's Fair could look like. A sweeping view of the 2039 New York World's Fair at night, with a monumental Tree of Life in the background. Against the backdrop of this possible future, Tyson asks us to think about how we can avoid repeating these mistakes.space.com
'Pale Blue Dot' shines anew in Carl Sagan Institute video to mark iconic photo's 30th anniversary
The Carl Sagan Institute (formally known as the Carl Sagan Institute: The Pale Blue Dot & Beyond), an institute at Cornell University that is dedicated to furthering the search for, and the study of, habitable planets and moons, also joined in to celebrate the anniversary of the magnificent image. Related: Voyager: 40 photos from NASA's epic 'Grand Tour' missionNASA released an updated version of the famous "Pale Blue Dot" image of Earth taken by Voyager to celebrate the photograph's 30th anniversary. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)On Feb. 14, the institute shared a new video entitled "Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot - 30 Years On." In the video, a rotating cast of voices articulate one of Sagan's most famous quotes from his book "Pale Blue Dot." The Institute for Pale Blue Dots at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York,was renamed the Carl Sagan Institute: Pale Blue Dots and Beyond in a ceremony on May 9, 2015.space.com
NASA's iconic 'Pale Blue Dot' photo of Earth from space just got a 21st-century makeover
NASA released an updated version of the famous "Pale Blue Dot" image of Earth taken by Voyager to celebrate the photograph's 30th anniversary. Known as the " Pale Blue Dot " photo, the original image showed Earth as a tiny speck within a band of brightness caused by sunlight striking the spacecraft's instrument. Image 1 of 2 (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) An artist's illustration showing where Voyager 1 and the planets were when the spacecraft took the iconic "Pale Blue Dot" image. Image 2 of 2 (Image credit: NASA/JPL) The "Family Portrait of the Solar System" series of images taken by Voyager 1 before its camera shut down. The original photo was a compilation of images taken using three different color filters.space.com