NASA

Reading Roundup: Probing the Sun, Draining the Swamp, and More

Hot Hot Heat

This Saturday, NASA plans to launch the Parker Solar Probe, a spacecraft designed to touch the edge of the solar corona, the aura of plasma that surrounds the sun. It will be the first-ever spacecraft to enter into the orbits of Venus and Mercury, a feat scientists have dreamt of for decades.

Reading Roundup: John Cho, Hair Bans, a World Record, and More

John Cho Is (Finally) the Leading Man

Star Trek actor John Cho, ‘96, stars in director Kognada’s Sundance hit debut, Columbus, in theaters now. Cho plays a translator who rushes from Seoul, Korea to his hometown of Columbus, Indiana to take care of his father, who is in a coma. Though best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the recent Star Trek revamps, Cho got his start as a fill-in for an extra in a UC Berkeley play. He went on to travel with the Berkeley Repertory Theater and star in the Harold and Kumar film franchise.

Where Did the Sun Go? An Eclipse Primer

If you’re in North America, chances are you’ve heard that there will be a solar eclipse on August 21. You may even be traveling—or know people who are traveling—a goodly distance for the best view of what is essentially a monumental overcast.

So what’s the big deal?

Glad you asked! We’ve got answers to your most burning questions about the solar event of the century.

Stardust Captured: Scientists Likely Find First Bits from Beyond Our Solar System

Today UC Berkeley scientists are announcing that they have probably identified, in samples returned from a NASA probe, particles of interstellar matter—the first samples of “stardust” from beyond our solar system.

Obtaining the dust motes has been an achievement of staggering technical proficiency in extracting the infinitesimal from the infinite.

Doomsday 1: An Asteroid Wiped Out the Dinosaurs—Will We Be Next?

Editors’ Note: The Summer 2014 issue of California magazine is called “This is the End.” Every day this week: a different catastrophic scenario.

It started with a flash.

At a few minutes past 9:00, one crystalline morning last February, a burst of light brighter than 30 suns illuminated Chelyabinsk, Russia, a southern industrial city known mostly for making tractors. Thanks to smartphones, surveillance cameras, and Russian auto-dash cams, we have a voluminous record of what happened next.

From the Summer 2014 Apocalypse issue of California.
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