#6. Space Science with Python
Here are this week's 3 links plus a book worth exploring:
There is a vast range of astronomical science being performed with open source tools. But it can be daunting for a non-scientist to explore. Thomas Albin means to change that with his Space Science with Python YouTube series of video tutorials. He shows the software tools used by the pros, how to calculate orbits of solar system objects, the programming behind space missions, machine learning the asteroids, and more: https://www.youtube.com/@Astroniz/videos
Where is the Earth exactly located with respect to the Sun? Let's use Python to find out! SPICE is an observation geometry system for space science missions developed by NASA, comprising a library and toolkit. Though SPICE itself is not written in Python, I can use SPICE with the Pythonic wrapper SpiceyPy to start computing Earth's location and velocity: https://www.dwarmstrong.org/where-is-earth/
DEVELOP is a NASA project to use its extensive Earth science data to solve real-world problems, partnering with other public agencies, non-profits and for-profits alike. dnppy is the DEVELOP National Program Python package, which opens up the toolkit used for working on NASA satellite data and NOAA datasets: https://github.com/NASA-DEVELOP/dnppy
Book of the Week: The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space by Gerard K. O'Neill — Published in 1976, O'Neill was a physicist at Princeton who started with the question: "We should ask, critically and with appeal to the numbers, whether the best site for a growing advancing industrial society is Earth, the Moon, Mars, some other planet, or somewhere else entirely. Surprisingly, the answer will be inescapable: the best site is 'somewhere else entirely'". What followed was a detailed step-by-step plan to kickstart humanity's expansion into the Solar System - starting in cislunar space - by using the resources of the Moon and asteroids to build enormous space habitats and new industries and opportunities. The future hasn't (yet!) turned out like O'Neill would have hoped but, though his vision predates the first flight of the Space Shuttle, the points raised are more relevant than ever. A half-century of hindsight can inform the plans for the half-century to come.
Quote of the Week: "If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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