SUI GENERIS punk rock bike shop home-brew art/craft love

Stardust @ home

Yesterday's setback aside, the recent encroachment of nice weather has started me thinking again about the world outside my heated house. I'm looking forward to more gardening this year, mushroom hunting in the spring, and summer weekends at The Lake.

Late last autumn I also renewed my interest in Astronomy: constellation spotting, star waching, phases of the moon, and what have you. So I was excited to discover Stardust@home, a hands-on way to participate in an unprecedented project.

Basically, we've retrieved the FIRST EVER samples of interstellar dust particles from the Stardust spacecraft. The problem is that the impacts are so tiny, "it would take more than twenty years of continuous scanning" for scientists to locate them all. So, they are calling on volunteers to assist with the effort by using an online "virtual microscope" to scan through the images online.

There's more information at their website. You don't have to commit to anything as a volunteer, so I figure it's worth a shot. And if you are a serious Astronomy geek, this should entice you to sign up: "the discoverer of an interstellar dust particle will appear as a co-author on any scientific paper by the Stardust@home collaboration announcing the discovery of the particle." Wow! I can just see it now, my own little Sui Generis particle. That would make a good story for the grandkids.

No comments: