09 August, 2006

More Science Fun

Over the years I’ve participated in some of the various distributed computing projects, first donating (few) spare CPU cycles from i286 & i386 machines on one of the Pi projects, then on to the classic SETI@home and now the current BOINC offerings. As cool as these things are they are mostly passive eye candy as a screen saver - however there is some real active science you can do at home – looking for Stardust!

Check out

  • Stardust

  • The Planetary Society Stardust FAQ

  • The project uses Aerogel a very bizarre material, specifically it is a “Solid, Glassy Nanofoam” that is only a few times denser than air and has a unique property in that it can capture particles traveling at several miles per second and above. When particles traveling that fast strike any other material they simply convert their kinetic energy to heat and vaporize.

    The two Arogel collectors were sent to chase comet Wild 2 (pronounced "Vilt" 2). Launched in 1999, one of the collectors was used to sample the cometary dust and one to collect interstellar dust – the collectors were returned to earth January 2006.

    Now that they have been imaged the fun begins, this is a unique distributed project in that your eyeballs are needed to process the raw data

    Check it out, have some fun and make a real contribution to science!

    1 comment:

    1. Hey great plug! Once I get back on High Speed (durn country living) I'll sign up again!