January 14th, 2008


Messenger to encounter Mercury in...

...one hour, 13 minutes (and counting down)! This is the first mission to Mercury in more than 30 years, and we'll start seeing close-up images as soon as Messenger gets into better position to transmit to us.

Click the image to see the story.

We don't fully understand how Mercury formed: It is mostly - 65% - iron, about double the other Inner Planets, with much of the balance made up of magnesium and iron silicates. Is its odd composition due to its proximity to the Sun, with the Sun's energy blasting away the lighter materials? Is Mercury perhaps only the core of a world destroyed in an ancient battle?

Perhaps we'll find out soon. I'm personally hoping we find evidence of slagged alien obelisks that had once been buried hundreds of miles below the surface.


ethanol advances

Here's how to make ethanol in an environmentally sensible and renewable way that doesn't compete with food (which drives up prices while harming poor countries): Use biological waste materials! The cool thing is that this company is a partner with GM, which plans to put a huge number of "Flex-Fuel" vehicles on the road.

Our energy future is looking less dire.