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Adult science night/Kepler data released/rocket tooth extraction

June 16, 2010

A massive grin sprawled across my face as I read this Nashvillest post about the upcoming “Way Late Play Date” nights at the Adventure Science Center. “Best idea ever” is an understatement. It’s been at least 15 years since I’ve been to that place- then it was called Cumberland Science Museum I believe- and I’ve wanted to go back ever since moving to middle TN in 2000. I’m quite sure I’m not the only one who’s wanted to go but felt like I’d get in the way of all the kids if I went without having my own kids. Some genius in their event planning dept. must’ve realized this and come up with the idea for this event. It’s a 21+ event, which will include 2 alcoholic drinks in the $15 ticket price. Booze+science is a winning combination in my mind. I just really hope some dumbass doesn’t get wasted and then hurl while in the moonwalk simulator. Oh, and you can also get a discount by buying 2 tickets together for only $25. The dates are June 24th and July 27th. Embrace your inner nerd and get tickets here before they sell out! (Megan & I will be there June 24th.)

I’ve written many blog posts about NASA’s Kepler Mission here early last year around the time it launched, but it’s been a while since I mentioned it. The spacecraft has been silently staring into the heavens looking for minuscule dips in stars’ brightness which may indicate a transiting planet orbiting said star. Now that it’s been over a year since its first observations, NASA is obligated by law to release the data to the public for further scrutinization. Astoundingly, Kepler has produced a list of 750 candidates for exoplanets. This is a massive list, considering the current list of known exoplanets is at about 450. I say “candidates” because these are not confirmed exoplanets yet, they are data sets that could indicate exoplanets, but those stars need further review and observation by other telescopes to confirm that the dips in their brightness was definitely caused by a transiting planet. This could take years, because in some of the cases, another transit will have to be observed to confirm that it’s indeed a planet. Nevertheless, this is very exciting news, and I have absolutely no doubt that at least one of these candidates will turn out to be the holy grail of planet-hunting: an earth twin. Read more about this at Universe Today, and even more at the NY Times.

Now behold the most badass kid ever. He had his tooth pulled by a rocket. (You may think this is a bit cruel, but I’m positive that the tooth was a baby tooth that was on the verge of falling out anyway.) (Also via Universe Today)

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