Pluto’s big moon may host Doctor Who names in space!

This month’s New Horizons flyby of dwarf planet Pluto and its biggest moon Charon left a wealth of incredible data in its wake, with unforgettable pictures of geographic features such as the now famous giant “heart” on Pluto.

But the highly detailed pictures gave the New Horizons team a welcome problem: What do they call all those craters, plains and mountain ranges?

Now, thanks to maps the New Horizons team plans to submit to the International Astronomical Union (the official governing body for names of celestial objects), we know the answer.

Their names are drawn from movies, TV shows and books sure to gladden every geek’s heart — including Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Firefly, Alien, Lord of the Rings and the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

Spock, Kirk, Sulu and Uhura craters dot the Vulcan plane. Spock, Kirk, Sulu and Uhura craters dot the Vulcan plane. The Tardis chasma crosses the Gallifrey macula — named for the Doctor’s vessel and home planet respectively. Which could make for an awkward moment if the Time Lord ever lands there.


IC 1795: The Fishhead Nebula : To some, this nebula looks like the head of a fish. However, this colorful cosmic portrait really features glowing gas and obscuring dust clouds in IC 1795, a star forming region in the northern constellation Cassiopeia. The nebulas colors were created by adopting the Hubble false-color palette for mapping narrow emission from oxygen, hydrogen, and sulfur atoms to blue, green and red colors, and further blending the data with images of the region recorded through broadband filters. Not far on the sky from the famous Double Star Cluster in Perseus, IC 1795 is itself located next to IC 1805, the Heart Nebula, as part of a complex of star forming regions that lie at the edge of a large molecular cloud. Located just over 6,000 light-years away, the larger star forming complex sprawls along the Perseus spiral arm of our Milky Way Galaxy. At that distance, this picture would span about 70 light-years across IC 1795. via NASA

Nichelle Nichols to Fly NASA Mission

During an IAmA on reddit last week, actor Nichelle Nichols—known to many as Communications Officer Lt. Uhura on the original Star Trek—revealed she’s preparing to fly on an official NASA mission. While she won’t be going into space, she will be helping to  move humanity beyond into the final frontier.

Ms. Nichols will work with the SOFIA mission, NASA’s initiative involving the world’s largest airborne observatory.

“SOFIA does not, sadly, fly into space,” Nichols told fans. “It’s an airborne observatory, a massive telescope mounted inside a 747 flying as high as is possible. I was on a similar flight, the first airborne observatory, back in 1977. It’s an amazing experience, you get a totally different perspective than from Earth. I do hope someone gets some great pictures.”

Keep reading

The Apollo 11 crew await pickup by a helicopter from the USS Hornet, prime recovery ship for the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. The fourth man in the life raft is a United States Navy underwater demolition team swimmer. All four men are wearing Biological Isolation Garments (BIG). The Apollo 11 Command Module “Columbia,” with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. splashed down at 11:49 a.m. (CDT), July 24, 1969, about 812 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii and only 12 nautical miles from the USS Hornet.


Wittnauer Professional Chronograph ref. 242T from 1964 with cal. Valjoux 72

1964 NASA - Only three chronographs out of six, successfully survived this arduous pre-selection processes called the “Qualification Test Procedures”.
     This watch, together with the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph 6239 and the Omega Speedmaster 105.003, were subjected to 11 different tests  by NASA in the 1965.

- Wittnauer
- The crystal warped and disengaged during the High Temperature Test. The same discrepancy occurred during the Decompression Test.
- Rolex Daytona Cosmograph 6239
- It stopped running on two occasions, during the Relative Humidity Test and subsequently failed during High Temperature Test, when the sweep second hand warped and was binding against the other hands on the dial.
- Omega Speedmaster 105003
- It gained 21 minutes during the Decompression Test and lost 15 minutes during the Acceleration Test, The luminescence on the dial was destroyed during testing.

1964 NASA
- Solo tre cronografi su sei,  superarono con successo questo arduo processo di preselezione denominato le “Qualification Test Procedures”.
    Questo Cronografo, assieme al Rolex Daytona Cosmograph 6239 e all’Omega Speedmaster 105.003,  furono sottoposti a 11 test diversi dalla NASA nel 1965.

- Wittnauer
242T -
Il vetro si deformò nel corso della prova ad alta pressione, lo stesso guasto si verificò durante la prova di decompressione.
- Rolex Daytona Cosmograph 6239
-  smise di funzionare in due occasioni, durante la prova di umidità e durante la prova ad alta temperatura, quando la lancetta dei secondi deformatasi andò a toccare le altre sfere.
- Omega Speedmaster 105.003
-  acquisì 21 minuti nel corso della prova di decompressione e perse 15 minuti durante la prova di accelerazione, la luminescenza del quadrante svanì durante i test.