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This 360 degree VR formatted video from BBC News takes you on a brief tour inside the Large Hadron Collider, which is pretty much the most complex machine in the world. The folks over at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, have done a lot of excellent science with this installation. Since I probably won’t get to visit the place in person, it is nice to have a virtual visit to play in the headset.

Gravity Waves have finally been observed, not once, but twice, and the era of Gravity Wave Astronomy is now here. So far our detectors can only pick up really powerful events in the form of black holes multiple times the mass of our sun colliding together, but as the science matures we should be able to detect less energetic events. Why did I say finally been observed? Because they were predicted by Albert Einstein right around 100 years ago as part of his General Relativity Theory, and it took us until last year to begin to detect them.

Yes, I am going to add an Orbital Report here, and this is my first attempt, embedding it in a page rather than inserting a widget into the sidebar. If I get this part working properly, I will go for the widget. Assuming I can compress it down enough to fit without losing the raw data or the readouts.

Track ISS, everything is default, except the NORAD id:

Track ISS, Hubble, NOAA, small widget (use the drop-down to select the satellite:

Track Funcube, large widget, don’t care if next pass is optically visible or

It is rare when a new element is discovered, so we are having a bit of a bonanza at the moment. There are 4 new elements in the Periodic Table, elements 113, 115, 117 and 118, and the discovering teams have put forth names for each of them. The rules for naming an element say you can use Mythology, a place, a scientist, a property of the element, or or a mineral which includes the element as the basis of the name. In this case the names proposed include Nihonium (Nh) for element 113, discovered in Japan (Nihon is the name of the country English speakers call Japan, named in our language after the excellent lacquer-ware that was Europe’s chief import from Nihon starting in the 1600s; China suffered a similar fate for its equally amazing ceramics at about the same time). Two teams working in tandem, the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research in Moscow and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee working in conjunction with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California came up with the other three. They chose Moscovium (Mc) for element 115, Tennessine (Ts) for element 117, and Oganesson (Og) for element 118; Yuri Oganessian is a giant of superheavy element research, and lead the Moscow team who synthesized element 117. Thanks to Scientific American and the Royal Society of Chemistry for the heads up on these exciting new discoveries!

NASA has assembled the surface of Mars as a Mixed-Reality environment (VR and RL) Called OnSight for scientists all over the world. They are using it not only to explore the Red Planet, but also to design the next set of landers (and other spacecraft) to visit it. Not content to stop there, they will be making it public this summer at the “Destination: Mars” exhibit, which will open at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. I feel an expedition coming on! For a little more insight into OnSight, check out this story at the Upload VR site, and watch their video. Thanks to VR Scout for the original heads up!