Here's a new, first-ever look at Mercury from an up-close NASA spacecraft. Mercury is about the size of our moon, with temperatures ranging from roughly 800 degrees Fahrenheit to minus-280 degrees Fahrenheit. It orbits the Sun every 88 days but revolves very slowly—only once every 58.6 days. So one Mercury "day" lasts almost as long as two Earth months. Because gravity is less powerful on Mercury, a 200-pound Earthling standing on its surface would weigh only 76 pounds...before being incinerated or turned into a freeze-dried block of human ice.
Another Maine National Park?
In case you missed it, here is a link to a story from this week on Roxanne Quimby and her plans of donating 70,000 acres of land in northern Maine for the creation of what she hopes will become Maine Woods National Park: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42295096/ns/us_news-giving/
Out Like a Lion
Speaking of Maine, for those of you who aren't up here but live vicariously through the Notebook blog, I will note that March is departing and April arriving with a large snowstorm that will begin tonight. Yesterday Pamelia and visiting Notebook contributor Haley Harwood took advantage of the outgoing month's farewell rays to do a few minutes of Down East-style sunbathing near our house.
Answer to the Last Puzzler:
1) The weight would rise.
2) There were originally 27 potatoes on the platter.
1) Artist Margaret Krug sent along the photo of the bird above, which greeted her at the Uffizi art museum in Florence. This is an open-book quiz question: Can you identify the bird?
2) I mentioned the above water bird in a recent blog post. Can you identify the species? (Small hint: This photo was taken at our house, by bird expert Pat Johnson.)
3) Unscramble these into words that describe things found in nature:
Nikolai Przewalski, the Russian geographer and explorer who first identified many plant and animal species, including the famous breed of wild horse that now bears his name, would have been 172 today. Przewalski found his now extremely rare type of horse in Mongolia.
Crawford Long, the U.S. doctor who was the first physician to use ether on patients undergoing surgery, would have turned 169 yesterday. If you ever complain about the harsh world we live in, just read an account of what surgery was like in the days before modern anaesthesia.