Why Space Data Is The New Big Data

Space may be final frontier, but in terms of harnessing it for data, we’re just getting started. Thanks to a surge in private investment space data gathered from satellites is more widely available than ever and businesses are starting to mine it for data which they can put to use back home on Earth

An 80-Foot Steel Kraken Will Create an Artificial Coral Reef Near the British Virgin Islands

All images via Owen Buggy

This past April a massive 80-foot steel kraken was purposefully sunk into the Caribbean Sea on top of a decorated WW2 ship. The former Navy fuel barge and its monstrous passenger were placed underwater in order to jumpstart a new coral ecosystem, while also serving as a cutting-edge education center for marine researchers and local students from the surrounding British Virgin Islands. The project is titled the BVI Art Reef, and aims to use sculptures like the porous kraken as a base to grow transplanted coral.

The Kodiak Queen, formerly a Navy fuel barge named the YO-44, was discovered by British photographer Owen Buggy approximately two and a half years ago on the island of Tortola. Instead of letting the historic vessel get picked apart for scrap metal, Buggy approached former boss Sir Richard Branson about collaborating on a restorative art installation. Together with nonprofit Unite B.V.I., artist group Secret Samurai Productions, social justice entrepreneurial group Maverick1000, and ocean education nonprofit Beneath the Waves, the project was established as both an eco-friendly art installation, and a philanthropic measure to rehabilitate native marine species.

“It’s envisioned that within just a short space of time the ship and artwork will attract a myriad of sea creatures,” said Clive Petrovic who consults on the environmental impact of the BVI Art Reef. “Everything from corals to sea sponges, sharks and turtles will live on, in, and around the wreck. The ship will become valuable for future research by scientists and local students alike.”

To sink the massive ship, the project sought the help of the Commercial Dive Services who safely submerged the vessel off the coast of the island Virgin Gorda. It was the first time the ship had been in the water for nearly 17 years, and was lead to its final resting place by a bevy of boats and helicopters.

Filmmaker Rob Sorrenti filmed the both the construction and sinking of the kraken and its ship, and will premiere a full-length documentary of the project within the next month. You can watch a clip from the upcoming film below. For information on visiting the BVI Art Reef, and to learn more about its educational programs, visit the project’s website and Facebook.

Google Maps Now Lets You Explore the Solar System in Detail

google map of venus

Venus

Google now lets you leap into space with new Google Maps feature that shows 16 different planets, moons, and the International Space Station. You can take a spin around planets like Jupiter, Venus, and Mars or marvel at the many moons of Saturn, with the help of images from the Cassini spacecraft.

“Explore the icy plains of Enceladus, where Cassini discovered water beneath the moon’s crust—suggesting signs of life,” Google encourages on its blog. “Peer beneath the thick clouds of Titan to see methane lakes. Inspect the massive crater of Mimas—while it might seem like a sci-fi look-a-like, it is a moon, not a space station.”

While Google has hosted imagery of the Earth’s Moon and Mars for quite some time, this is the first opportunity to view these celestial bodies directly in maps. Google worked with astronomical artist Björn Jónsson, who used imagery from NASA and the European Space Agency to put together the planetary maps. You can explore the planets by zooming in and out, spinning them around, looking out at the stars that surround them, and flying close to get a more detailed look at the terrain.

As you move closer to each planet or moon, significant areas and landmarks are labeled to help orient you. The system just launched, so there are still some kinks to work out. For instance, Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society noticed that some of the moons appear to have errors with their labeling. She points out that the large Herschel crater on Saturn’s moon Mimas, which gives the moons its distinct appearance, is labeled on the opposite side from where it should be. Luckily, she is in touch with Google and hopefully, these errors will be resolved quickly.

A new Google Maps feature allows you to explore 16 different planets and moons.

google planetary maps

Io

Google Maps - Planets and Moons

Earth

Google Maps - Planets and Moons

Close up detail of the Earth’s Moon.

You can also get a look inside the International Space Station, which recently joined Google Street View.

International Space Station on Google

International Space Station

Google Maps: Website
h/t: [Mashable]

All images via Google.

Related Articles:

Stunning Satellite Photos of Earth From Outer Space

Hubble Space Telescope Captures Jupiter in 4k Ultra HD

New Still Photos of Jupiter Are Set into Motion Against a Cinematic Soundscape

NASA Releases Beautifully Colorized Image of Our Sun

The post Google Maps Now Lets You Explore the Solar System in Detail appeared first on My Modern Met.

The Hubble Space Telescope Is Falling (Synopsis)

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” -Dalai Lama

Orbiting at hundreds of miles above Earth’s atmosphere, you’d think the Hubble Space Telescope would be safe and stable for a long time. But despite our definitions, Earth’s atmosphere doesn’t “end” and space doesn’t “begin” when we get 60 miles (100 kilometers) up. Instead, Earth’s atmosphere continues, albeit tenuously, for incredible distances, until it eventually merges with the solar wind. It’s the fourth (of five) layers that contains the Hubble Space Telescope: the thermosphere.

The layers of Earth’s atmosphere, as shown here to scale, go up far higher than the typically-defined boundary of space. Every object in low-Earth orbit is subject to atmospheric drag at some level. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Kelvinsong.

Although each oxygen molecule might travel for a kilometer before striking another, the presence of these molecules is enough to slowly produce a drag on Hubble. Over the timespan of years and decades, it loses altitude and begins to fall. If we do nothing, then by the late 2020s to the mid-2030s, it will uncontrollably de-orbit on its own. Our greatest optical observatory will be lost, and there are no plans to save it.

The soft capture mechanism installed on Hubble (illustration) uses a Low Impact Docking System (LIDS) interface and associated relative navigation targets for future rendezvous, capture, and docking operations. The system’s LIDS interface is designed to be compatible with the rendezvous and docking systems to be used on the next-generation space transportation vehicle. Image credit: NASA.

Come learn how the Hubble Space Telescope is falling, what we can do, and why we need to act now.