Weekly News Roundup: March 1-7, 2015

 

Dawn of the Harvest

It only has taken us 214 years since Giuseppe Piazzi spotted the asteroid Ceres, but if everything goes correctly Friday, the Dawn space craft will enter in to orbit around Ceres. The space craft launched in 2007 and spent part of 2011 and 2012 around the asteroid Vista, a smaller contemporary of Ceres.

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They both are stunted planets, making them interesting remnants of the very early solar system. Ceres got even more interesting on the lead up to entering orbit. Two bright spots were seen in one of Cere’s many craters. Although likely to be venting or some other form of geologic activity, we will all have to wait for a closer look. Piazzi would be proud.


 

SXSW Know Where you GO

A few new features for the official SXSW app have been announced recently. In addition to helping you plan where to go and maps to help you get there, new sensor towers will be in place to give the user an idea of who’s where and allow you to know when someone you follow or favorite is nearby.

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The Irish are Coming and a Few Other Folks

Just a few day ago, the Prime Minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny, announced he will be speaking at SXSW.

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In addition to this, Senator Rand Paul, Dan Pfeiffer from the White House, Julia Boorstin of CNBC, and others will be coming to Austin to talk tech and our future.


 

In Search of New Life

When we think of alien life, mostly it’s of the H.G. Wells variety or at least some strange creatures on an Earth-like world, not microbes in negative 260 degrees Fahrenheit liquid methane seas. A new study out of Cornell University proposes new biochemistry that could mean life is a possibility on Titan.

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Researchers James Stevenson, Jonathan Lunine, Paulette Clancy postulate that a membrane could form in the harsh conditions on Titan. This is a key piece in the formation of something similar to the cell we find here on Earth.


 

Peace and Long Life, Live Long and Prosper

At the age of 83, we lost an actor who portrayed a paragon of science fiction. Leonard Nimoy did more than portray the emotionless, yet emotive half Vulcan. To most of us, despite the breadth of his work and variety of pursuits, he will always be Spock. A role for which he was nominated three years in a row for an Emmy as Best Supporting Actor.

The character he portrayed, and the man himself, showed us the power of adventure, compassion and logic as a means to wisdom.

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Thrusters on full Leonard. We will miss you.