Thursday, October 16, 2014

Higher, cometary math

The idea that the European Space Agency is about to land a spacecraft on a comet is downright remarkable. Here's how they got there:

Can you imagine the mathematics involved in calculating an orbital path so precisely, much less landing the thing and riding the comet for most of the next year? Unreal.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Three random math and science items I want to remember

A comet slingshot around Mars later this month and NASA has a remarkable number of ways they're gathering data from the event. Check out the graphic here. Here's another depicting its trajectory.

I didn't know a "blood moon" was a real thing until the recent eclipse. I was up during the time frame but there was too much cloud cover to see the moon from my back deck. Some of the pics from locales were it was visible were pretty spectacular. Apparently the earth's atmosphere acts as a lens to create the refracted red effect.

How many ways do you know to multiply? This person has counted 25, at least. I also enjoyed this blog post on the history of division. I'm coaching 4th and 5th graders on an elementary school math pentathlon team and am teaching them to add, subtract and multiply from left to right in their heads as opposed to right to left as one does when performing sums on paper. They think one different way to multiply is too much; 25 would (will) blow their mind.