We add another near miss asteroid to our growing collection. First there was asteroid 2007 WD5 close flyby of Mars, then we have asteroid 2007 TU24 coming within 334,000 miles of Earth now we have a newly discovered asteroid 2008 CT1 missing us by only 84,000 miles on February 5, came from behind the glare of the Sun, didn't see it coming. Now the size is only somewhere between 8-20 metres, still it could have taken out a large city if it actually got through the atmosphere and hit us. The asteroid was discovered by the LINEAR or Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research Project.
Finally Shuttle Atlantis after a 2 month delay got off the ground to deliver and install the Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station. Video shows that a couple of what they think to be small foam pieces fall of the external fuel tank 2 minutes after launch, and then another piece of foam came off about 7 minutes into the launch. The astronauts spent most of Friday inspecting the Shuttle's heat shield using it's 15m boom and robotic arms. Pilimanary findings look good, no apparent damage.
On a final note, a musical note at that, NASA for the first time ever is using it's Deep Space Network to beam a song, a Beatles song Across The Universe into space, towards the North star Polaris, about 431 light years away. Had to get Yoko Ono's okay, just in case aliens have MP3 capability and do illegal downloads. The real funny part in all this is that some scientists are saying there needs to be more open discussions about the potential risks involved in sending even symbolic messages to potentially evil aliens, that's why I linked the lyrics to the song, maybe a rap song that says "come get a piece of me" over and over again, aliens could consider it a challenge and try to get a piece of us. Maybe they mean the part of the Beatles song were it says "nothing's gonna change my world" as an out and out challenge to the bad aliens, and they might see it as such and come and try to change our world, who knows for sure what aliens think. The song was sent to celebrate the 40th. anniversary when the Beatles recorded the song and the 50th. anniversary of the Beatles and NASA beginnings.
I'll leave you now with another prairie sunset animated gif.