Cool things happening in the sky

Source: http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-5809939090

I have two awesome bits of science to tell you about today, both of which might make you think twice next time you go outside and look up.Source: http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-5809939090

First, there’s a new project out of the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL): the Solar Beacon. As part of the 75th anniversary celebration for the Golden Gate Bridge, scientist John Vallerga and artist Liliane Lijn conceived of a pair of heliostats atop the bridge towers that can reflect sunlight to any place in view of the bridge. The project will continue until August 30, and you can play along at home! Just go to the website, input your location and the desired time, and the mirrors will send the sun’s reflection wherever you want it to go. You can even program a custom show of flashes to spell out a code. Read more from the UC Berkeley News Center here.

The second science bit I want to mention is a bit farther up in the sky– approximately 250 miles. The International Space Station is complete after over a decade of construction, and last year, NASA hired a non-profit called the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to get people excited about doing research on the station. The first collaboration came as somewhat of a surprise: Cobra Puma Golf, which manufactures golf clubs and other equipment, plans to start a research program on board. Last week, CASIS put out a call for proposals on the subject of Advancing Protein Crystallization Using Microgravity. If you need a change of scenery from your boring old land-based lab, why not put in a proposal? You might find yourself in a new lab that orbits the earth once every 90 minutes. NPR has further coverage of the CASIS story here.

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