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Stories by Caleb A. Scharf

Two New Arrivals Send Back Pictures Of Mars

The skies of Mars just got a little more crowded. On September 21st, 2014 NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) fired its engines for some 33 minutes in order to swing into a safe orbit...

September 26, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
C-SPAN’s ‘After Words’ Discusses Our Cosmic Status

C-SPAN’s ‘After Words’ Discusses Our Cosmic Status

Ever feel that broadcast TV fails to tackle the big issues? I don’t mean the state of the economy, healthcare, the future of clean energy, or what B-list celebrities had for breakfast – I mean the Really Big Issues...

September 23, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
The Biggest Cosmological Problem Is…

The Biggest Cosmological Problem Is…

…living in a place that makes doing cosmology hard. Let’s backtrack a little. Unless you’ve been living under a particularly thick and insulating rock you’ll know that in recent months the world of experimental cosmology (what would have previously been called observational cosmology, or just plain old astronomy) has been on tenterhooks waiting to see [...]..

September 22, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

Interstellar Space Can Be Pebbly

We’re used to thinking of the space between the stars as void, bereft of all but the most sparsely distributed atoms and molecules, or the occasional microscopic grain of silicon or carbon dust...

August 29, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

The Great Alien Debate: How Unlikely is Life?

This post is one in a series covering, and expanding on, topics in the book The Copernicus Complex (Scientific American/FSG).           The conversation usually goes like this: Do you think we’re alone in the universe?...

August 26, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

NASA Mission Captures Orbital Waltz of Pluto and Charon

After a ten year journey, NASA’s New Horizons mission is still 420 million kilometers from the Pluto system – but that’s close enough to begin to see the orbital dance of an icy world and its major moon...

August 8, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

The Copernicus Complex: A Primer

In a month’s time, the end result of two-and-a-half years of research, thinking, writing, re-writing, re-re-writing, editing, mulling, puzzling, coffee-drinking, beer-swilling, swearing, and tweaking will hit the shelves in the form of my new book The Copernicus Complex...

August 5, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
Summer Shorts: A Record 25 Miles On Mars

Summer Shorts: A Record 25 Miles On Mars

It's summer in the northern hemisphere of a small, damp, planet orbiting a middle-aged star in a spiral galaxy of matter enjoying a brief heyday before colliding with another galaxy in some 4 billion orbits of the same small, damp, planet...

July 31, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

101 Geysers Point To Enceladus' Deep Ocean

It's summer in the northern hemisphere of a small, damp, planet orbiting a middle-aged star in a spiral galaxy of matter enjoying a brief heyday before colliding with another galaxy in some 4 billion orbits of the same small, damp, planet...

July 29, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
Summer Shorts: A Cometary Rubber Duck

Summer Shorts: A Cometary Rubber Duck

It’s summer in the northern hemisphere of a small, damp, planet orbiting a middle-aged star in a spiral galaxy of matter enjoying a brief heyday before colliding with another galaxy in some 4 billion orbits of the same small, damp, planet...

July 27, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

Spacecraft Sneaks Up on a "Sweaty" Comet

Over the coming month the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta mission will fire its main engines no less than eight times to tweak its interplanetary intercept course with Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko; eventually sidling up to the 4 kilometer wide cometary nucleus at about 7.9 meters per second in early August...

June 30, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
The Photons Of Your Life

The Photons Of Your Life

An unusual question raises an intriguing idea. At a party a few nights ago a friend approached me with a dilemma. A relative of theirs had died, and the spouse was trying to understand if it was at all possible that there was still ‘something’ of their partner in existence; a tangible part of their [...]..

June 16, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

Space: A New Hope or an Old Dream?

The release of a long-awaited National Academy of Sciences report on the state and future of the US space program has triggered wide-reaching commentary on what it means to be space-faring...

June 5, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

Exoplanet Size: It’s Elementary

Since quite early in the history of the discovery of planets around other stars it’s been apparent that the likelihood of certain types of planets around a star is related to the abundance of heavy elements in that system...

June 3, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

Heads Up! Thirteen Years Of Asteroid Impacts On Earth

Since the Chelyabinsk event in early 2013, when a brilliant meteor fireball streaked across Russian skies and exploded with the energy of thirty Hiroshima bombs, humans have paid slightly more attention to the potential danger of asteroids than before...

April 23, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
Copernicus in Cleveland

Copernicus in Cleveland

What is our cosmic significance? Does it even make sense to ask a question like that? If you happen to find yourself in Cleveland, Ohio this coming Thursday evening, and stop by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History at 8pm you can catch me talking about this...

April 14, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

What do NYC Streets and Asteroids Have in Common?

                    Fatigue, that’s what. As a particularly frigid winter recedes across the north and east of the United States (we’ve become accustomed to milder weather in past years), the abuse suffered by asphalt roads is becoming apparent...

April 8, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
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