This question was asked by an audience member at a recent event at the Ri, in which NASA’s chief scientist Dr Ellen Stofan gave an overview of their plans to develop a human exploration pathway to Mars. Here is what she replied:
“Everything we do at NASA, someone has to imagine first. That’s why the arts are such an important part of education, because you have to learn to be creative, to be innovative. We’re trying to do really hard things, trying to get humans down to the surface of Mars… Building models, testing things on a small scale before we ever spend the money to enlarge them up to a big scale is really important.”
Britain made its formal declaration of war against Germany on this day in British history, 4 August 1914. After Germany’s invasion of Belgium, British PM Herbert Asquith had given an ultimatum that Germany withdraw by midnight of 3 August. A large part of this defence of Belgium stemmed from the 1839 Treaty of London, but Asquith still had the option of ignoring Germany’s advances on the continent. After the ultimatum expired and Germany remained in Belgium, Asquith declared that Britain was formally at war with Germany.
Sir Winston Churchill described the scene in London as the ultimatum expired and Britain entered into the Great War: “It was eleven o’clock at night – twelve by German time – when the ultimatum expired. The windows of the Admiralty were thrown wide open in the warm night air. Under the roof from which Nelson had received his orders were gathered a small group of admirals and captains and a cluster of clerks, pencils in hand, waiting. Along the Mall from the direction of the Palace the sound of an immense concourse singing ‘God save the King’ flouted in. On this deep wave there broke the chimes of Big Ben; and, as the first stroke of the hour boomed out, a rustle of movement swept across the room. The war telegram, which meant, “Commence hostilities against Germany”, was flashed to the ships and establishments under the White Ensign all over the world. I walked across the Horse Guards Parade to the Cabinet room and reported to the Prime Minister and the Ministers who were assembled there that the deed was done.”
Happy Birthday, Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse ONA in Florida!
The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area is part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands, and the only complete unit east of the Mississippi River. The ONA was established on this day in 2008 and is cooperatively managed in a unique partnership between the BLM and local partners.
The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse ONA is located at the confluence of the Loxahatchee River and Indian River Lagoon, just ¼ mile from the Atlantic Ocean in southeastern Florida.
The ONA offers a range of recreation activities, from exploring the cultural and military history associated with the historic 1860 lighthouse to exploring the trails of natural Florida. For the more adventurous, kayaking the ONA’s shoreline and exploring its lagoon offer unique views of the lighthouse and the opportunity to get close to manatees.
Learn about the birthday celebration today at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse ONA - also a National Conservation Lands 15th anniversary event: http://www.facebook.com/BLMJupiterInlet. Follow all 2015 anniversary events and activities with #conservationlands15.
The Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his Wife are Assassinated
28 June 1914
Today is the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. After leaving a reception in Sarajevo, the driver of their car took a wrong turn and was forced to back down a small street in order to turn around. Seeing the couple in a vulnerable spot, a Serb nationalist named Gavrilo Princip shot them to death at point-blank range. Their deaths triggered the chain of events that led a month later to the start of World War I — a horrifying, bloody four-year conflict that killed some 14 million people, collapsed empires and redrew large parts of the world’s map. The photograph below shows the couple entering the car in which they would be killed, following a reception at Sarajevo City Hall.
Cory Arcangel was born on this day in 1978. For Super Mario Clouds (2002), Arcangel hacked into and modified a cartridge of Super Mario Bros., the blockbuster Nintendo video game released in the U.S. in 1985. By tweaking the game’s code, the artist erased all of the sound and visual elements except for the iconic fluffy white clouds that scroll endlessly across a bright blue sky.
On this day, President Bush signed the Arizona Desert Wilderness Act of 1990 into law, which established 38 new wilderness areas and expanded the Aravaipa Canyon wilderness. The bill also established the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area featured here.
The 23,000-acre Gila Box Riparian NCA is truly an oasis in the desert. It has four perennial waterways - the Gila and San Francisco rivers and Bonita and Eagle creeks, which are the lifeline for this remarkable place. The Gila River canyon section, known as the Gila Box, is composed of patchy mesquite woodlands, mature cottonwoods, sandy beaches, and buff-colored cliffs. Bonita Creek, popular for birdwatching, hiking, and picnicking, is lined with large cottonwoods, sycamores, and willows. The perennial creek and riparian vegetation make this a cool year-round desert oasis.
Cliff dwellings, historic homesteads, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and over 200 species of birds make this year-round watery desert refuge worth the short drive from Safford, Arizona.
Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai died on this day in 1849.
These are three stunning woodblock prints from his famous Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji series.
Hokusai (1769-1849) was the first great designer of landscape prints. Before him, most print designers created images of beautiful women or kabuki actors. Then, in the 1820s and 1830s, Hokusai produced his Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji series which showed the sacred mountain from different viewpoints, during different seasons and at different times of day.
With its simple colour schemes and bold compositions it was stylistically ground-breaking, combining elements of Japanese, Chinese and Western painting.
Many 19th-century European artists collected Hokusai’s prints – including Monet, Degas, Gauguin, Klimt, Manet and van Gogh – and without him Impressionism may never have happened.
In #1994 #RKelly & #Aaliyah (then 15 years old) were allegedly married. A marriage certificate was later discovered, with Aayliah falsely listed as aged 18. The union was apparently annulled by the singer’s parents
It was rumoured that R. Kelly thought he impregnated Aaliyah and the marriage was meant to be a cover-up – the only way Kelly and his staff believed he could dodge a sex scandal. #TWIMH
They say that “Virginia is for lovers.” But it’s Oregon that was born 156 years ago today, on Valentine’s Day. Maybe that’s why there are so many things to love about BLM-managed lands in Oregon, more than 15 million acres of forests, rangelands, beaches, mountains and more!
Jocelyn Bell Burnell makes the Nobel Prize in Physics discovery of pulsars, but she is left out of the story. Her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish and Martin Ryle share the prize without crediting her work. Just this February, Burnell became the first woman President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.