Tag Archives: coronation

Mars rover Curiosity test fires the laser – pulverizes a rock just for fun (and science)

Johnny Five, aka the Mars rover Curiosity, continues its scientific journey. The nuclear-powered laboratory in-a-box pulled out it’s laser to blast a rock that got in its way. From NASA:

The mission’s ChemCam instrument hit a fist-sized rock named “Coronation” with 30 pulses of its laser during a 10-second period. Each pulse delivers more than a million watts of power for about five one-billionths of a second.

The energy from the laser creates a puff of ionized, glowing plasma. ChemCam catches the light with a telescope and analyzes it with three spectrometers for information about what elements are in the rock.


NASA said the main function of this was target practice to calibrate the ChemCam.

You gotta love the sense of play NASA is bringing to this mission. Not only are they releasing these stories about test-firing lasers, but they are all over social medial, including fan art on Facebook, a first-person Twitter account, sharing stories on Google Plus, and posting articles on their much more user-friendly website.

A great idea for the much beleaguered space agency, that I assume is a bid to get them back into America’s good graces…and taxpayer dollars.


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British Newspaper Archive – treasure trove of 3 million newspapers going back to the 1700s

I love these newspaper archives coming online. It’s like having a library in your home. The articles and pictures, the classifieds and political diatribes, it’s too fun.

When it comes to the British we have to separate our living memory from our British memory. We tend to think that American culture dominates the world but for 150 years it was the British. Think of Bram Stoker (Irish) and his Dracula, or Mary Shelley (British) and Frankenstein.

I’ve had some fun looking them up in the old newspapers as well as search terms like “tea time” and “British East India”. What did you come up with?

British Newspaper Archive

The one I found was from June 30, 1838, on the day of Queen Victoria’s coronation. You know the one played by Emily Blunt in the awesome movie, Young Victoria, and the person behind the “Victorian Era.”

“Her reign of 63 years and 7 months, which is longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history, is known as the Victorian era.

“It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.”

From Wikipedia

Download the entire front page

Some screenshots from the newspaper:

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