Just 15 minutes after its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft looked back toward the sun and captured this near-sunset view of the rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains extending to Pluto’s horizon. The smooth expanse of the informally named icy plain Sputnik Planum (right) is flanked to the west (left) by rugged mountains up to 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) high, including the informally named Norgay Montes in the foreground and Hillary Montes on the skyline. To the right, east of Sputnik, rougher terrain is cut by apparent glaciers.
The Transit of Venus event at the Museum of Natural History - Roger Willaims Park in Providence, was a huge success. Over 200 families, patrons and invited guests pariticpated in the historic event. The Museum had the transit streaming live from Hawaii along with plenty of family fun activities. Although a cloudy evening, the Sun made a brief appearance and patrons and staff alike were able to see the transit using solar filter eclipse glasses and binoculars.
Astrobiology revolves around three central questions: “Where do we come from?”, “Where are we going?”, and “Are we alone?” The Stanford-Brown iGEM team explored synthetic biology’s untapped potential to address these questions. To approach the second question, the Hell Cell subgroup developed BioBricks that allow a cell to survive harsh extraterrestrial conditions. Such a toolset could create a space-ready synthetic organism to perform useful functions off-world. For example,