THE LUSH LIST
An irregularly posted list of SciCultureTech that makes me go ooh!
1. It's all about the ring(s)
Nothing says "I love you" like the perfect diamond, and Saturn's rings are the gem of the solar system, inspiring deep devotion around the globe. The Cassini spacecraft, which has been orbiting Saturn for the last five years, has a prime view of the rings right now due to their particular tilt. The resulting shadows have brought the rings' features into stark relief, allowing for some pretty amazing pics.
Here's just one of the many incredible shots from JPL's Cassini Equinox Mission page:
The unique geometry of equinox has thrown into relief small moonlets within the rings and the structures they create around them. Propeller-like features, a few kilometers long, centered on and created by the action of small embedded moonlets only about 100 meters across, were discovered early in the mission (see PIA07792 and PIA07790). These previous findings constituted the first recognition of the presence in Saturn's rings of bodies bigger than the largest ring particles (about 10 meters, or 30 feet, across) but smaller than the 8-kilometer-wide (5-mile-wide) ring moon, Daphnis, in the outer A ring.
For more on the mission, read The New York Times' profile of Dr. Carolyn Porco, a senior researcher at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, CO and the leader of the camera team on the $3.4 billion Cassini mission.
2. An AIDS Vaccine? Maybe Not.
Earlier this week the news was all abuzz with stories of a potential AIDS vaccine based on the results of a 16,000 person U.S./Thai trial. But a closer look reveals that perhaps there's not much there to celebrate. The Lay Scientist offers a dissection of the results.
3. Swimming on the Moon
Widespread but small amounts of water have been discovered on the surface of the moon. MSNBC.com reports:
While the findings, detailed in the Sept. 25 issue of the journal Science, don't mean there are pools of liquid water sitting on the moon, it does mean that there is — entirely unexpectedly — water potentially tied up or mixed in the minerals that make up the lunar dirt.
The new observations from India's Chandrayaan-1 satellite, NASA's Cassini spacecraft and NASA's Deep Impact probe challenge the previous assumptions about the make-up of the lunar surface. Suddenly, a trip back to the Moon begins to look a lot more interesting...don't forget your snorkel.
4. Rock Stars of Science
The band Aerosmith doesn't usually conjure images of research labs, but the "Rock Stars of Science" (Rock S.O.S.) campaign is attempting to change that. Created by GEOFFREY BEENE GIVES BACK®, Rock S.O.S is a public education campaign to create awareness and support greater funding for medical research across diseases. It pairs celebrities with leading scientists to highlight the “rock star” genius that drives scientific innovation.
On September 24th, Rock S.O.S. presented an event on Capitol Hill featuring Aerosmith's Joe Perry and some of the nation’s top scientific minds, including Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Rudy Tanzi, Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University. The event was moderated by Terry Moran of ABC News and included panel discussions and interviews with a focus on promoting cures and improving therapies for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS and PTSD.