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Chris Hadfield launching 'It's Not Rocket Science' this fall

Courtesy: Evan Hadfield at INRS. Used with Permission.

Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 6:05 PM - Chris Hadfield launches a new science-comedy video series, Pluto and Charon could have the geekiest names of any object in our solar system, and amazing new maps of dwarf planet Ceres. It's What's Up In Space!

It's Not Rocket Science for an astronaut

Chris Hadfield's mission historic to the International Space Station has already gone down in history. He was the first Canadian to ever be in commander of the station, and - along with his son, Evan - the incredible social media campaign he led from space inspired millions with countless images of our beautiful planet from orbit.

Now, Chris and Evan Hadfield are starting up a new science comedy video series called It's Not Rocket Science, which is due to debute this fall.

Chris Hadfield is joined by Albert the Space Pug to explain science in a fun and inspiring way. Credit: INRS. Used with Permission.

According to the show's Patreon site:

"It's Not Rocket Science", a monthly animated series meant to help make things better by simplifying scientific concepts into an easily digested narrative.
You're going to absolutely love it.

Of that, I have absolutely no doubt!

The 10 episodes of the show are being offered, entirely for free, on YouTube, with one hitting the web each month starting in Fall 2015. In order to deliver on this, though, the group is running a Patreon campaign to raise enough funding to produce the entire run. Currently, as of July 29, their campaign is sitting at $2399.50 per episode, just shy of 48% of their goal. Given the incredible potential here, it's certainly a project worthy of donations, and it would only take 131 people to donate the smallest amount - $2 per episode ($20 total!) - to make it happen!

Will Pluto and Charon become the Geekiest solar system bodies of all?

The latest images added to the New Horizons gallery reveal a wide range of names the team is submitting to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for consideration as the official names on the maps of Pluto and Charon, and they include some of the best from science fiction and fantasy.


Included on this map is Tombaugh Regio, an icy plain named after astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930. Others already revealed are named for various mythological characters - those having to do with the afterlife - and joining them are the names of various mythological underworlds themselves (Tartarus and Pandemonium), as well as robotic spacecraft explorers (Viking, Voyager, Venera, Hayabusa, etc).

Turning around to look at Charon's map, though, makes Pluto's feature names seem downright mundane.


Craters named after Star Trek's Kirk, Spock, Sulu and Ohura, Ripley from the Alien movies, and Skywalker, Organa and Vader from Star Wars. Chasms named from Alien, Dr. Who, Joss Wheadon's Firefly and the Macross Japanese anime series. Mountains named for those responsible for giving us one of the greatest science fiction stories (print and film) of all time, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

These names are not, in any way, official of course. They will need to be considered by the IAU before being accepted as the actual names that will appear on maps of Pluto and Charon. Also, thanks to the OurPluto campaign, there are plenty of other geeky names to consider.

Incredible new maps reveal Ceres names and insights

This new false-colour terrain map of dwarf planet Ceres shows off the varied geography and names associated with its features. The scale extends from 7.5 km below the surface (indigo) to 7.5 km above the surface (white). The mysterious bright spots in crater Occator have been indicated in a lighter colour on the map, however they are on the same elevation level as the rest of the crater floor. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

According to NASA:

"The craters we find on Ceres, in terms of their depth and diameter, are very similar to what we see on Dione and Tethys, two icy satellites of Saturn that are about the same size and density as Ceres. The features are pretty consistent with an ice-rich crust," said Dawn science team member Paul Schenk, a geologist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston.
Some of these craters and other features now have official names, inspired by spirits and deities relating to agriculture from a variety of cultures. The International Astronomical Union recently approved a batch of names for features on Ceres.
The newly labeled features include Occator, the mysterious crater containing Ceres' brightest spots, which has a diameter of about 60 miles (90 kilometers) and a depth of about 2 miles (4 kilometers). Occator is the name of the Roman agriculture deity of harrowing, a method of leveling soil.

The topographic maps shown here were produced using data from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which has now completed two of its four planned orbital surveys of Ceres. The next survey, from its High Altitude Mapping Orbit (HAMO) of just over 1,400 km above the surface, is scheduled to begin in mid-August. This will return the best images of the dwarf planet so far, allowing us to pick out even finer details - possibly even revealing more to solve the mystery of its fascinating bright spots.

Sources: It's Not Rocket Science | John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/OurPluto | OurPluto | NASA/JPL-Caltech

WATCH BELOW: What causes those bright flashes in the sky during a meteor shower. Find out in the latest episode of For Science!

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