Watch the SpaceX Falcon Rocket Launch ... and Land

This is simply incredible. SpaceX has successfully used a rocket to launch a spacecraft, and returned that same rocket back to Earth unharmed.  

Uploaded by SpaceX on 2015-12-22.

This will significantly decrease the cost of space travel.  Why? It takes a lot of fuel and rocket power to give spacecraft enough speed to leave the Earth's atmosphere.  Usually, this fuel is burnt up and the rocket is detached from the spacecraft and burns up in the atmosphere. 

Less resources on fuel means more resources on the actual spacecraft. Most importantly, less debate in a cost cutting political environment!

If you want to geek out over the full livestream, please see below:

With this mission, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will deliver 11 satellites to low-Earth orbit for ORBCOMM, a leading global provider of Machine-to-Machine communication and Internet of Things solutions. The ORBCOMM launch is targeted for an evening launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

Time Is Not the Same for Everyone #Interstellar (Spoiler Free)

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The movie Interstellar involves many interesting scientific concepts, including the fluidity of time. On Earth, time moves at the same speed for all of us – otherwise our watches would constantly need to change how fast they move.  However, time can change in two specific scenarios.

If someone is moving significantly faster than us on Earth

If someone is under the effects of more gravity than us on Earth

Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) experience this.  As they orbit the Earth, the gravitational pull keeps them in orbit, and makes them move much faster than we are on Earth.  As a result, they age less than us.

If the same astronauts wanted to head away from Earth at an extremely fast speed – near the speed of light – they would age slower than us during the trip.  If the destination was an object with more significantly more gravity than the Earth – like a black hole – they would continue to age slower while under the effects of increased gravity.

That’s the genius of media – you can enjoy the adventure and emotion presented in the movie, and OPTIONALLY it can spark a light of curiosity that leads one to further research.

Shouldn't that be what science education is about?