Voyager I: The greatest exploration feat of all time?

I remember the exact moment about one year ago when I read that it was suspected that Voyager I had entered interstellar space. I freaked out, texting my friends and telling nearly everyone within a mile radius, “we may have left the solar system!”

Now, it has finally been confirmed by NASA that Voyager I has indeed left the solar system and entered interstellar space!!!

Image Credit: JPL/NASA

Image Credit: JPL/NASA

This may not seem as momentous as the Spanish conquistadors and explorers venturing to the Americas, but Voyager I, in my opinion, far exceeds most engineering and all exploration feats of all time (with the exception of the lunar landings). The impact of the spacecraft leaving the solar system may not be widely felt, as no humans are aboard the craft, but just imagine! We are  the only known intelligent race, and we have sent a robot OUTSIDE of the solar system. Voyager I passed the planets, the asteroid belt, as well as the Oort Cloud… All thanks to incredible engineering. (Voyager I was launched in 1977, and was engineered for years before that. How is that for “old”, “antiquated” engineering?)

We have LEFT the solar system, the neighborhood we love so much, to discover and explore places that have never been explored before. Is this not amazing? We as a species are one step closer to the stars; slowly we are climbing the rungs to become a space-faring planet.

We have not only explored our own Earth and moon, but also our neighboring planets; now we are off into the great unknown. Who knows what we will discover?

Read more about Voyager I at the links below:

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Slime and Tarantulas

I love working at the library, but some days I reeeeally love my job.

On Friday, to advertise for July’s Science Saturday (where we will be making SLIME!), I made a poster and some slime for both visual purposes, and for kids to play with to excite them about the program. Each kid will get to make their own slime, and I’ll take about polymers and how the slime forms from the ingredients.

To make the slime, I first set up my workstation lab.

IMG_5761 I mixed 1/2 cup of water with a teaspoon of Borax. I mixed half a cup (4 oz) of glue with a cup of water (a normal 5 oz bottle of glue works perfectly), and added green food coloring. Then you slowly stir in the Borax solution into the glue, and the slime forms almost instantly. There is a lot of leftover water, but you can scoop it out and start kneading it, and it turns harder and less sticky, and perfect for fun. I used clear gel glue for the final run, but will use white glue for the actual experiment day (will be interesting to see how different it turns out- I will post on it that day!)

IMG_5766

IMG_5769A word to the wise- if you do this experiment, have somebody- a sister, neighbor, well behaved dog- take the photos for you. Cleaning slime off cell phone screens = not fun.

Then the Jacksonville Zoo was doing a program with lots of cool animals. The theme was Dig Into Reading, and they brought a hedgehog, snake, bunny, tortoise, and more. My personal favorite animal though was:

IMG_5785I actually got to spend some nice quality time with this pretty lady, while she was in her temporary home.

How many jobs do you get to make slime and chill with tarantulas?  

Then yesterday, I was given a project to sort through and select/size tons of posters…. A gentleman came into work and donated a TON of “vintage” (a few I saw were maybe 10-15 years old, I’ll know upon later inspection) & newer NASA, Lockheed, and Boeing posters. I’ve only seen a few, but some appeared to be from the 90’s-early 00’s. I’ll definitely be taking my camera and sharing picture of the posters. 

More Curiosity…

Amazing video; reactions to landing
Picture without lens cover (Source.)

Curiosity also has a twitter! You can follow updates @MarsCuriosity .
Check out my original post on Curiosity here


Curiosity has landed!

The newest Mars rover, Curiosity, has landed on Mars! This is an amazing feat; Curiosity is five times heavier and twice as big as the Spirit and Opportunity rovers and had to be landed in a completely new fashion. It’s seven minute descent and landing was called the “Seven minutes of terror” by NASA. 

Seven minutes of terror

These are the first images from Curiosity: 

Source.
What exactly is Curiosity, other than another Mars rover? Originally called the Mars Science Lab (MSL), Curiosity is a giant rover whose main mission is to search for evidence that Mars may once had the “basic building blocks necessary for microbial life to evolve.” (Steve Gorman and Irene Klotz). This is also NASA’s first astrobiology mission since the 1970’s.

Congrats to NASA, the Jet Propulsion Lab, and everyone who worked for the success of the Curiosity rover! 
What do you think about the landing of Curiosity? Leave your comments below!