Monday, February 1, 2010

More Fine Particles Solidified from a Higher-Energy Phase

Okay, I just got through talking about European snow, and what should come waltzing into my RSS but this magnificent image of Asian snow. And ash. This is a great shot from NASA's Earth Observatory, titled "Plume and Ash from Karymsky Volcano." The picture below is a labeled crop from the full-sized image (6mb), which shows all sorts of volcanic land forms: "Calderas and craters and domes, oh my!"Karymsky is described as one of the most active volcanoes on Russia's Kamchatka peninsula; here is another ash plume from the vent taken last March.

As long as I'm on the subject of NASA, Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy has a very interesting analysis of President Obama's proposed budget for that agency. Overall, the vision thing looks really positive; he proposes scrapping the Ares-Constellation program, turning routine launches over to private industry, and putting NASA back into developing the cutting-edge programs that can move space exploration into the future rather than back to the 1960's. The issue, as Phil puts it, is "the other thing to remember is that this must pass Congress first." Money quote:"When Republicans whine about privatizing something, you know you’re in for a fight, and it’s not like Congressional Democrats have been all that useful in backing up Obama’s plans."

He also points out that this is the seventh anniversary of the loss of Columbia.(funnyjunk) Not to make light of an awful tragedy, but when NASA tries to violate physical law, things are bound to go bad. And thanks for helping to promote science literacy, CNN.

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