Word of the Day: graymail

noun: 1. A defense tactic in an espionage trial where the accused threatens to reveal secrets to avoid prosecution. 2. Email that the recipient no longer finds valuable even though it’s not spam. For example, a newsletter from a company where one has shopped. verb tr.: To compel the prosecution to drop charges by threatening to disclose sensitive information.

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Word of the Day: tangent

noun: 1. A line of thought or action that diverges from the main topic or course. 2. A line that touches a curve or a surface at one point but doesn’t cross it. adjective: 1. Straying from the main topic. 2. Touching a curve or a surface at one point without crossing it.

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Sending “Water” to Europa

NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft will carry a special message when it launches in October 2024 and heads toward Jupiter’s moon Europa. The moon shows strong evidence of an ocean under its icy crust, with more than twice the amount of water of all of Earth’s oceans combined. A triangular metal plate, seen here, will honor that connection to Earth.

The plate is made of tantalum metal and is about 7 by 11 inches (18 by 28 centimeters). It is engraved on both sides and seals an opening in the electronics vault, which houses the spacecraft’s sensitive electronics. The art on this side of the plate features waveforms that are visual representations of the sound waves formed by the word “water” in 103 languages. The waveforms radiate out from a symbol representing the American Sign Language sign for “water.”

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