Christ on the cross, Bartolome Esteban Murillo, 1665
“Certainly, God has given a sign of himself in the greatness and power of the cosmos, from which we may dimly perceive something of the power of the Creator. But the real sign that he chose is hiddenness, from the wretched people of Israel to the child at Bethlehem to the man who died on the Cross with the words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
- Pope Benedict XVI (What it Means to Be a Christian)
The three final members of ISS Expedition 35 are set to launch to the space station today from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, aboard a Soyuz capsule. Launch is currently scheduled for 4:43 p.m. EST. This launch will be the first attempt at a new, faster trajectory that will get the crew from the ground to docking at the space station in a mere six hours. Previous missions have taken a paced, two-day trip to get to the station. The new procedure, while more hectic, will save on fuel and supplies and will more quickly get the astronauts out of the cramped Soyuz and into the roomier, more comfortable ISS.
The American Society of Human Genetics is hosting an essay contest for students in grades 9-12 for “DNA Day”, which marks the 1953 discovery of the DNA double helix and the 2003 completion of the Human Genome Project. Prizes are offered for first, second, and third place, and honorable mentions. The contest is open to classroom and homeschooled students. The essay submissions should address the following question:
2013 marks the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the double helix of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick and the 10th anniversary of the first sequencing of the human genome. Choose either of these breakthroughs and explain its broader impact on biotechnology, human health and disease, or our understanding of basic genetics, such as genetic variation or gene expression.
Justify your answer in detail and be sure to include one or more specific examples of broader impact. Use reliable references and citations to support your argument, for example, research published by experts in scientific journal articles and books.
An asteroid will pass within 18,000 miles of the Earth’s surface tomorrow, one of the closest predicted asteroid approaches on record. The ability to track and predict the motion of asteroids this small is a recent development, so although close passes like this are relatively common in the long term, it is only now that we can know about them in advance. There is no chance that the asteroid will pose any threat to the Earth itself, and while it will be flying within the range of the many geosynchronous satellites that orbit the Earth, the chance that it will strike any of them is slim. NASA Television and the SLOOH SpaceCamera team will be providing live coverage of the closest approach, which will occur tomorrow at about 2:25 p.m. EST. Read Sky & Telescope for more.