Happy birthday Nicolaus Copernicus, true revolutionary. The Google doodle today celebrates Copernicus and his theory of heliocentrism, as presented in the treatise on the Revolutions of Celestial Spheres.
De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (published 1543) argued that the planets in the solar system orbit around the sun. This challenged the established notion that the earth was the planet at the centre of the universe, and prompted the philosophical, theological and scientific revolution that gave birth to modern science.
In 2004 the discovery of Copernicus’ skeleton buried deep in an unmarked grave by Frombork Cathedral (Poland) did not receive as much media coverage as the bones of Richard III.
Earth, 121 Megapixel Russian Edition
Via The Verge:
There’s been a long history of NASA-provided “Blue Marble” images of Earth, but now we’re getting a different perspective thanks to photos taken by the Elektro-L No.1 Russian weather satellite. Unlike NASA’s pictures, this satellite produces 121-megapixel images that capture the Earth in one shot instead of a collection of pictures from multiple flybys stitched together. The result is the highest-resolution single picture of Earth yet. The image certainly looks different than what we’re used to seeing, and that’s because the sensor aboard the weather satellite combines data from three visible and one infrared wavelengths of light, a method that turns vegetation into the rust color that dominates the shot.
Destination Moon was written 19 years before the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing and several years before manned space flight. Hergé was keen to ensure that the books were scientifically accurate, based on ideas about space flight then available (see above). Professor Calculus explains that his nuclear rocket engine essentially works like a slowly exploding nuclear fission bomb. The engine is able to withstand the extreme heat and radiation, since it is made of “calculon”, a silicon-based, extremely heat-resistant material also invented by the professor. However, the deadly radioactivity produced by the engine would pollute the launch and landing area, hence the rocket is also equipped with a conventional chemical rocket engine. (The X-FLR6 is said to use aniline and nitric acid propellants.) The nuclear engine is only used above 800 km altitude in space and produces a constant acceleration of one Earth gravity. [Wikipedia]