Sunday Science Update #3

Last week was a busy week and I found myself pressed for time and unable to produce my Sunday Science Update. I stuck with the news though and tried my best to post relevant and interesting news items later in the week. Scroll down to check them out.

The news items from this week cover a wide range of topics, but i think you’ll find each one a fascinating. The last one is just for laughs.

First up, a brush with mass extinction? Nah, this asteroid is 334,000 miles shy. Though any closer and we might have to send Bruce Willis to handle it. In all seriousness though, the asteroid poses no threat to Earth and should be an excellent opportunity for novice sky gazers to see something they don’t see every night. Check the article out for information on how you can see it.

Asteroid to Make Rare Close Flyby of Earth
Physorg.com
Scientists are monitoring the orbit of asteroid 2007 TU24. The asteroid, believed to be between 150 meters (500 feet) and 610 meters (2,000 feet) in size, is expected to fly past Earth on Jan. 29, with its closest distance being about 537,500 kilometers (334,000 miles) at 12:33 a.m. Pacific time (3:33 a.m. Eastern time). It should be observable that night by amateur astronomers with modest-sized telescopes.

If Bruce Willis did have to go save the Earth from an asteroid, he might do it in one of Sir Richard Branson’s new Spaceship Two vehicles.

Virgin Galactic unveils designs for new spacecraft
VirginGalactic.com
Plans for a new commercial suborbital spacecraft were presented this week by Virgin Galactic, the space tourism arm of Virgin Atlantic, and Scaled Composites, maker of the first privately funded manned spacecraft.

It’s good that there are people like Sir Richard Branson out there. NASA’s fleet of spaceships is getting a bit rickety and with the doors open for new machines and new utilizations of the, pardon the word usage, space above our heads, things can only go forward. Branson is fully committed to revolutionizing space travel and making it available to… well, not my income bracket. But, AN income bracket. Go Branson.

And while Mr. Willis is up there flyin’ round space commercially, he can break out his new Sony digital camera.

Sony Cameras Wait for Baby to Smile
Physorg.com
Sony has improved the smile shutter feature, which enables the camera to detect multiple smiles, and delay the shot until everyone is smiling. The smile shutter feature can be set to prioritize children or adults, and the new models with the feature will wait to snap a picture when a child in the frame smiles – even if it´s just for a second.

Unbelievable… cameras that wait for smiles. What’s next? Antibiotics that wait until you’re sick? Grass that doesn’t require mowing?

And finally, this bit of humor:

That’s all for this week. More science updates next week. Until then, uh… stay learned!

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