The first gravitational wave ever sensed by mankind has a Twitter account, and you people voted to name it Wavey McWaveface. Clearly the internet has become self-aware, and is poking fun at itself.
Jupiter is a hot property this week. Juno has returned a batch of images, and NASA encourages the general public to work with the raw images and submit them back. Roman Tkachenko picked one and cleaned it up into a heart-stopping beauty shot of Jupiter’s south pole, which is the feature image for this story, above. Taken with its JunoCam instrument in the visible spectrum, the image shows the terrible storms and vortices around the turbulent pole. Here’s the original:
Juno has been stuck in a 53-day orbit after some trouble in October 2016, instead of its expected 14-day science orbit. But it’s making the most of its time around Jupiter, and doing all the science it can while mission control works to sort out the orbit. Its next close flyby is scheduled for March 27. Even its current, limited perspective results in a great deal of scientific eye candy, which you can check out along with the mission timeline here.
Juno’s polar orbit starts out skimming shallowly through the magnetosphere, but makes deeper and deeper dives. Image: NASA/Caltech/JPL
Closer to home, NASA has really jumped into VR with both feet. According to Matthew Noyes, software lead at Johnson Space Center’s Hybrid Reality Lab (talk about your job titles), VR is the new duct tape. Noyes wants to apply VR to everything from astronaut training to helping them stay fit while they’re living aboard the International Space Station.
“We marry the very nice graphical performance of VR today with physical objects that we 3D print, allowing people to grab and interact with tools in the real world that are very inexpensive to produce, overlaid in virtual reality with really good graphics on top of those tools,” Noyes told The Australian. Training astronauts in this fashion apparently gets rave reviews from the astronauts themselves.
Furthermore, VR can be used to help astronauts exercise. “If they’re up in space they need to do about two hours of exercise a day to mitigate bone-density and muscle loss, and that can get kind of boring,” Noyes said. “If we can replace the ISS environment with maybe their favorite running track on Earth, or images of their family, like nostalgia therapy for dementia patients, that might be extremely useful on a mission to Mars.”