Posts Tagged 'NASA'

Behind the Scenes of the Kepler Telescope

With the recent announcement that the Kepler mission has confirmed another 26 new planets, it’s worth checking out this video that shows how the Kepler telescope and team do their work. The video offers some approachable explanations of Kepler’s technology and a great behind the scenes glimpse of a science team in action.



Two Planets Discovered Through Crowdsourcing

NASA frequently invites the public to engage in crowdsourcing data gathering efforts through projects like their Be a Martian game and their plan to give the public input on potential photo targets for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment currently circling Mars. Now, there’s evidence that these crowdsourcing efforts are bearing fruit. NASA recently published a paper that two new planets have been identified through crowdsourcing effort “Planet Hunters” (you can read the announcement and the technical paper at the link, or get involved in Planet Hunters here). Well done, crowd!

Exciting Day for Star Wars Nerds

Starting today, we know that planets with two suns don’t just exist in George Lucas’ imagination. NASA announced today that the Kepler Telescope discovered a planet orbiting two stars. The NASA press releasepage also includes a great animated video of the planet, nicknamed Tatoonie, orbiting its stars.

Kepler Data Visualization and Data Fatigue

Earlier this year, the Cosmic Variance Blog at Discover Magazine posted this very cool visualization of planetary candidates discovered by the Kepler satellite. The image and video make these findings tangible and exciting. Months later, the blogger looks back on the visual when contemplating the overwhelming feeling of data fatigue he’s been experiencing. The post highlights one of the challenges faced by technical communicators: how to make things interesting and appealing at a time when people are drowning in information. The blogger writes: “We are being swamped by data in unprecedented forms and quantities, and it’s a crucially important task to sort it all out and understand how we can use it.” Great tech writing should help with this process of sorting out and using the nearly limitless amounts of data we have available.

Graphic Design Flashbacks

The AIGA Design archives hosts a cool archive of charts, diagrams, graphs, and maps that’s worth browsing.  They also uncovered a NASA graphics standards manual from 1975. This Flickr site offers photos of several pages for a more in-depth look.