• The Countdown 7/11/2011

    Now that many of you are back from the 2011 Origins meeting, it’s time to get back into the swing of things…

    3… Cold water holds more CO2 than warm water does. (Take note, those of you making their own carbonated drinks.) That has implications for the amount of carbon the oceans can store, which in turn has huge implications for what happens to carbon dioxide we emit. Unfortunately, decade-scale cycles have made it difficult to tease apart long-term trends in ocean-uptake of CO2 in response to warming surface temperatures. Well, yesterday Nature Geoscience posted a comprehensive article that accounts for this cyclicity… and shows that there is a long-term decrease in the ability of oceans to absorb CO2. It’s good that we know this, but it’s bad news to know.

    2… The Space Shuttle Program will be extended… by a day. Atlantis is now scheduled to land next Thursday, July 21 at 5:56 AM EDT. If you go, take a picture for the rest of us. ;-)

    1… This is important. I mentioned last week that a congressional committee currently has plans to cancel the James Webb Space Telescope. Well, we need to do something about that. This isn’t a “NASA decision” to cancel it within a constrained budget where JWST is being traded for another astrophysics mission or a mission to observe Earth or other planets or stars. Nope. This is a real cut. It’s either JWST… or no JWST. Remember, we won’t have Hubble in a few years, either. And if you like the “increasing the awesome” video… that phrase was originally motived by JWST. How do we save it? Make your voice heard, and take a look at GeekDad’s post on this. He’ll give you the links you need.

    …. LAUNCH!