NASA is going to slam a spacecraft into an asteroid

Note: This is a version of my personal newsletter, which I send out via Ghost, the open-source publishing platform. You can see other issues and sign up here.

A golf cart-sized spacecraft will intentionally smash into a tiny asteroid at about 14,000 miles per hour on September 26. It’s humanity’s first test of our ability to deflect dangerous incoming space rocks. NASA currently knows the location and orbit of roughly 28,000 nearby asteroids. Experts say that it’s a matter of when — not if — Earth finds itself on track to be hit by one. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 in November 2021, to see whether a spacecraft could one day divert a rogue space rock headed for Earth. The $308 million spacecraft traveled 6.8 million miles from Earth to Dimorphos, a small asteroid orbiting the asteroid Didymos.

The Chicago heiress who created lifelike crime-scene miniatures

The tiny diorama shows a miniature husband and wife, lying in their bedroom, their baby in her crib in the adjacent nursery. A typical family on a typical morning, minus the red bloodstains on the beige bedroom carpet. All three family members have been shot to death. The diorama, called “Three-Room Dwelling,” was built in about 1944 by a 60-something Chicago heiress named Frances Glessner Lee. It was made to train police officers in the handling and processing of evidence. The blood behind the baby’s crib allows officers to study blood spatter patterns. In the 1940s and 1950s, when Lee created what came to be known as The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, her dioramas were seen as a revolutionary way to study crime scene investigation.

A 3,000-year-old canoe has been discovered in a Wisconsin lake

A 3,000-year-old canoe has been discovered in a Wisconsin lake, the Wisconsin Historical Society announced Thursday. The canoe dates back to 1000 B.C., making it the oldest ever discovered in the Great Lakes region by about 1,000 years. The 3,000-year-old dugout canoe was found by a maritime archaeologist during a recreational dive in May, in the same place as she discovered a 1,200-year-old canoe last year. The canoe will be hand-lowered into a large preservation vat, which also contains the 1,200-year-old canoe. Both canoes will be freeze-dried to remove any remaining water, in a process that takes two years.

The mysterious statue of Corvo, and a legendary stash of coins

The island of Corvo in the Azores is one of the most remote places on earth. To reach it, one flies first to Santa Maria or Terceira, and then, on a very small plane, to Flores to wait for the weekly mail run by a 20-foot motor launch that is the island’s link to the world. Corvo is the tip of a volcano in the mid-Atlantic ridge and, except for a small area at the south end, it rises up in sheer cliffs from the sea. Yet this ten-square-mile speck of land is the focus of a most remarkable story of ancient seafaring, a tale involving a statue and a hoard of Carthaginian coins. The roots of this tale can be found in the year 1567, when Damien de Goes reported that a stone statue of a bareheaded man clothed in a Moorish cape and seated on a horse had been found at Corvo. His left arm rested on the horse’s mane, while his right arm stretched straight out with the index finger pointing to the west.

The woman who just started rowing her way around the world

Ellen Falterman, who sometimes goes by Ellen Magellan, began rowing around the world the other day. She launched near her childhood home, underneath the Moss Hill Bridge in East Texas, on the Trinity River. She hopes to complete the circumnavigation—a first, by rowboat exclusively—by 2029. Falterman is twenty-seven, and already something of an eminence in adventure-seeking circles. She has busked near the Amazon, hitchhiked around Scotland, and ridden a tandem bike from England to Greece. She got her pilot’s license before graduating from high school. In 2017, she kayaked the full length of the Missouri River, becoming, at twenty-two, the youngest person ever known to do so alone.

Artist with Alzheimer’s drew self portraits until he could barely remember his face

In 1995, U.K.-based American artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This is a difficult diagnosis and illness for anyone, but before his death in 2007, Utermohlen created a heart-wrenching final series of self-portraits over the stages of Alzheimer’s, which lasted roughly five years. Documenting the gradual decay of his mind created incredibly stark drawings, which were even displayed to medical students as learning material. Alzheimer’s symptoms not only include memory loss or dementia and personality changes but also affects the part of the brain, which is responsible for visualizing capabilities, so crucial for a painter. With Alzheimer’s progressing, the art becomes visibly more abstract, blurrier and vague.

If you’re surfing, watch out for the dolphins

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: