• Countdown to 12/3/11

    5. Silent for too many moments. Hope fades for Phobos-Grunt (but check out these remarkable photos by an amateur astronomer).

    4. Are you ready for a closeup? Nifty new radar images of the south polar regions of Enceladus, source of water geysers.

    3. Calling Carl Sagan fans. A brilliant and loving parody. The long lost episode of Cosmos: The Meat Planet (embedded below).

    2. Arsenic update. Today, Dec. 2, is the one-year anniversary of the online publication of the “arsenic life” report that generated so much controversy. Alan Boyle’s written a good overview of the current state of affairs. The jury is still out, but progress is being made, especially toward independent verification (or falsification) of the findings.

    1. This day in science history. On Dec. 2, 1942 Enrico Fermi harnessed atomic power, carrying out the first controlled nuclear chain reaction beneath the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago. A momentous day in the history of science, and of our species, although nature might have done it first.