Captain's Log: Endeavor's Star Trek Logo, habitable and free-floating planets, starting over with Doctor Who
this story calls Star Trek: The Future Begins. ?)
Despite the high drama of this launch--commanded by Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabriel Giffords, who was there, and gave the quote of the day ("Good stuff!") --the launch wasn't treated as big news, which kind of tells you one reason why the shuttles won't be flying anymore.
The crew just delivered the most expensive piece of hardware ever installed on the International Space Station, the Magnetic Spectrometer, which is a cosmic ray detector designed for cosmological research."Its successful activation also marks the first truly national-laboratory-scale physical science experiment at a space station that, so far, has only conducted what on Earth might be considered bench-top experiments in biological and physical sciences," says a Christian Science Monitor article entitled The hunt for antimatter begins at the space station: Will dilithium be next?
In other news of searching for strange new worlds, scientists believe they may have a candidate for the first habitable planet outside the solar system: Glise 581d is its designation, orbiting the red dwarf Glise, 20 light years away. But the science hasn't yet been confirmed, and exoplanet news is always a little dodgy. The much lauded Zarmina's World in this same system is now thought not to exist at all.
discovery--planets that seem to be "free-floating"--either not in orbit around any star, or in orbits so large that they seem to be on their own. (That's an artist's conception of one above.) "Although free-floating planets have been predicted, they finally have been detected, holding major implications for planetary formation and evolution models," said Mario Perez, exoplanet program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Possibly "orphan" planets that were ejected from solar systems, they may be not at all rare--perhaps even as many as planets in solar systems.
I was impressed with Eccleston all over again, and even though I've seen the finale several times, seeing it at the end of the entire season made it very moving all over again. What didn't get through to me until this time was the extent to which Russell T Davies started out with critiques of our communications technologies (along with the God obsessions) that he continued throughout his tenure. I guess I'm a bit thick but I hadn't noted how the Satellite Five stuff was not just a critique of entertainment TV, but of the Rupert Murdoch style shaping of public perceptions by how he shapes the information. I don't know about the UK (where he owns newspapers) but here in the U.S., his Fox channel is a very powerful political player, and currently is dictating who the candidates of one party will be.
Those were the last Doctor Who DVDs I'll have to rent for awhile. I just got Series 2 in the one-day Amazon Doctor Who sale, which completes my 10th Doctor collection. I also rented the new DVD of Star Trek: First Contact, in preparation for my much-promised movie review here (part 8 of the Trekalog.) I own the double-DVD set, but even though I don't have blu-ray I wanted to see if this version looks better. And on my computer it does, just enough to make a difference. The lighting changes are subtle but also striking. It's brighter and sharper in places. There are a few neat extra features--one on special effects from the perspective of now, one with an astronaut on the International Space Station talking about life there and Star Trek--but they don't in total measure up to the old set. The old set has commentaries by the writers and by director Jonathan Frakes. The new one has a toilet joke. So 21st century I guess...But I'll save some for the review. Which is coming. Really.