To Bennu and Back with the SciSchmooze

September 24, 2023


The recovery capsule and parachute in the Utah desert this morning. Credit Keegan Barber/NASA

Hello again Science Fans!

Just before 7:52 AM (PDT) this morning, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission returned the sample recovery capsule (SRC) containing material from the asteroid Bennu to a desert area in Utah. This is a remarkable achievement. First, they had to get to Bennu, which involved some complicated orbital mechanics. Then they had to orbit the asteroid, the smallest space object ever orbited by a satellite. Next, they had to successfully obtain a sample of the asteroid’s surface, deposit it in a container, and close the lid. Tha

Thinking about Science?

The SciSchmooze 9.18.23

Herb Masters


Hello Curious Friends,

Let’s get this started… It seems that AI is everywhere. Some see it as a threat and others see it as a promise… Earlier there the hot item was the smart phone. How about a "smart toilet" that analyzes your urine stream and fecal deposits while taking a picture of your anus for good measure? There is so much to learn at the 

Not An Existentialized SciSchmooze!

Hello Fans of Science and Reason,

Well it was about here that the day shifted direction heavily. So now I’m picking it up, rather late in the day, and in a cheap and poor imitation of the tone and style of Stephen Colbert introducing his deeply missed “Meanwhile” I can only say that my twice monthly carefully “existentialized”, finely honed tour de week of science, art, and the purpose of the universe will only be a shadow and links of itself!

SciSchmoozing from Afar

Standing on the Prime Meridian, 0.00.000

Hello again Fans of Science, all 6,111 of you currently subscribed to the SciSchmooze. Thank you for being here!

Time, and where am I?

I’m currently writing from UTC+2, also known as Central European Summer Time at the moment (UTC+1 in the winter).

A few days ago, I stood on the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory in Greenwitch Park, London and learned about the history of time as we know it today. Before there was standardization, each location had their own way to measure time. Nothing was coordinated. Imagine the chaos! T

Too much or too little with the SciSchmooze

Greetings Fans of Science and Reason,

World Mosquito Day August 20th, is meant to celebrate the time in which Dr. Ross discovered that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans.

This weeks edition of the SciSchmooze is a bit different than usual. One of my biggest challenges is to say no to something that sounds interesting and/or fun. This week really hit me with this conundrum. So I am just going to put down a bunch of links and let you sort it out.

First though, you shou

SciSchmoozing Waste & Words

Unused shared bikes in Xiamen, China  Credit: Reuters from The Atlantic

Bike sharing rentals seemed like a great idea and many millions of these bicycles were manufactured in China, clogging sidewalks and streets. Excess bikes numbering in the millions were rounded up and scrapped. This created tons of non-recyclable waste. This was a tiny trickle of the over 2 billion tons of waste created annually world-wide. Every year another 13 million tons of waste plastic enters our oceans. In less than 20 years, there will be more tons of plastic in the ocean than tons of fish. Methane is a powerful gre

What to Believe with the SciSchmooze

Angel Image:,UGC  UFO Image: Istock

Hello again dear SciSchmooze reader,

In the U.S. 69% of adults believe that angels are real, and 41% believe that extraterrestrial UFOs are regularly seen. Most children in this country are taught to believe in angels as part of their religious upbringing. I was. So that 69% figure seems explainable. 

It may be more remarkable that nearly half of adults accept that extraterrestrials are sharing our friendly skies. Wishful thinking? Underlying fears? Groupthink? Popular TV shows? “The truth is out there” … but it’s not likely to be what David Grusch would have us

A Fun HangOut at the Zoo

Koala meets Leonard Tramiel

The HangOut at the SF Zoo with Livia Edwords was a big success, with 23 people attending. We got a number of fresh faces, which is always good. Some folk responded from affiliate MeetUp groups.

Livia Edwords did a great job telling us about the animals, zoos, and her experiences as a zoo keeper there. We got a special treat when she ran into one of her old zoo keeper friends on his way to take care of the koalas. We got a truly up close and personal visit with one of his charges. Yeah, they're just as cute as the pictures suggest and with incredibly soft and thick fur.

Genie Scott

Syndicate content