If you haven’t heard, Biognosys just released its latest software update of one of our most popular products, Spectronaut Pulsar X. In the same way that Spectronaut has taken many journeys over the years, so have the people who have inspired them.
Our team likes to give a nod to the other important scientists (and scientific moments) throughout history who have gotten us where we are in modern science. Spectronaut Pulsar X is inspired by astronomical research, by space. Why? Because Spectronaut goes where no man (or woman) has gone before in regards to researching the proteome. Biognosys’ motto is Understanding Life and just like in space exploration, proteomic research also searches for an understanding about who we are and how we came to be.
In honor of our latest software upgrade, we wanted to tell you about the 12 people who inspired the current and past releases:
Spectronaut 1 (Released: 2011-12-16) – Yuri Gagarin
Major Release Feature: First release, Targeted Analysis of SWATH Data
Born in 1934 in the former Soviet Union, Yuri Gagarin was a cosmonaut and Soviet pilot. When he was just seventeen, he volunteered to become a Soviet air cadet and learned to fly at a local flying club in Saratov, Russia. In 1960, Gagarin was selected among 16 other pilots to join the Soviet Space program. On April 12th, 1961, he became the first human being to enter outer space when his spacecraft named Vostok did the first ever orbit around the Earth. This began a world-wide fascination with space exploration and was ultimately what started the Space Race to the moon. Gagarin became a legend and is still hailed for his efforts in space exploration. Yuri Gagarin died in March, 1968.
The first man in space is the perfect person to become the first release name for the earliest version of Spectronaut.
Spectronaut 2 (Released: 2012-03-23) – Alexey Leonov
Newest Spectronaut Feature: Preliminary Integration of mProphet
Alexey Leonov is a retired former Soviet cosmonaut. He was selected among 20 other pilots to become apart of the first cosmonaut group in 1960. After Gagarin’s feats in becoming the first human to enter orbit, the USSR wanted to take their astronomical research a step further. In the aptly named Vostok 2, Leonov became the first person to exit his capsule for a 12-minute space walk in March, 1965. A few years later, he also commanded the Apollo-Soyuz, the first joint space mission between America and Russia. Today, Leonov spends his time writing biographies about his time as a cosmonaut. He’s also a pretty spectacular artist:
Spectronaut 3 (Released: 2013-03-08) – Neil Armstrong
Major Release Feature: First Public Release of the Software.
We can’t talk about the Space Race without talking about Neil Armstrong, which is why it seemed logical to name our third Spectronaut upgrade after the man, the myth, the legend.
Born in 1930 in the small town of Wapakoneta, Ohio, Armstrong’s destiny was quite literally written in the stars. His love for flying came at an early age, as his father often took him to the Cleveland Air Races. Armstrong started flying lessons while in high school and was selected to become apart of the (very literally named) US Navy’s “Man in Space Soonest” program. In the thick of the Space Race, Armstrong piloted the Apollo 11 into orbit and on July 21, 1969, he became the first man to ever walk on the moon. He then spoke his now famous words: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” After his stint in space, Armstrong became a university professor and public personality. He died in 2012.
Spectronaut 4 (Released: 2013-09-18) – Buzz Aldrin
Major Release Feature: Support for DIA on QExactive Instruments
Armstrong wasn’t alone on the Apollo 11. The Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 11, Buzz Aldrin, was right by Armstrong’s side during the historical space expedition and became the second man to step foot on the moon. Prior to that, Aldrin spent 5 hours outside the Gemini 11, which showed that long-term extravehicular activity (EVA) was possible. This paved the way for the Apollo program. Without his efforts on the Gemini 11, Armstrong may have never been the first man on the moon those few years later. Aldrin retired in 1971, but continues to advocate for space exploration.
Spectronaut 5 (Released: 2014-04-03) – Hubble Space Telescope
Major Release Feature: Spectral Library Generation, Interference Correction, QC Monitoring
Though it’s the first non-living Spectronaut release name, the Hubble Space telescope is just as important and integral (as was Spectronaut 5 in proteome exploration). Though the Hubble Space telescope, (Hubble for short), was not the first space telescope–that was the Stargazer— it is the largest, most versatile and is still in operation. The Hubble was launched in low orbit in 1990 and is the first and only space telescope to be serviced in space by astronauts.
The Hubble is named after Edwin Hubble, an American astronomer who played an extremely crucial role in establishing extra-galactic astronomy as well as observational cosmology. He is regarded as one of the most important astronomers of all time. Like its namesake, the Hubble aids extra-galactic astronomy by taking extremely high-res photographs of space and has produced some of the most visible light images ever taken, which allows for a deeper view into space and the Earth’s orbit.
Spectronaut 6 (Released: 2014-09-09) – Johannes Kepler
Major Release Feature: Library Generation from ProteomeDiscoverer
Stepping away from more modern space exploration, we take you back a few hundred years to 17th Century Germany.
Johannes Kepler was best known for his laws of planetary motion and was a key component of the 17th century scientific revolution. In a time when the rules between astronomy and religion blurred, Kepler took his belief in God and used to figure out the laws of the natural world. At this time, there was no clear distinction between astronomy and astrology. Kepler took his religious beliefs and scientific knowledge in order to explain that the world was created with an intelligible plan accessible through the light of reason. He called this “celestial physics” which transformed the old-world tradition of cosmology by treating astrology as being one in the same with universal mathematics and physics. Kepler also worked in upgrading theories in the field of optics as well as inventing an improved version of the refracting telescope. His research paved the way for his contemporaries like Galileo and Isaac Newton. He was one of the few 17th Century scientists and theorists who did not get tried for heresy.
Spectronaut 7 (Released: 2015-03-06) – Leonard Nimoy
Major Release Feature: High-Precision iRT, Post Analysis Perspective
In our next upgrade, we blurred the lines of reality and fiction by naming SN7 after Leonard Nimoy, most commonly known for his role as Spock in the Sci-fi classic Star Trek. Before SN7 released, Nimoy died a few weeks prior. We named it after him in his honor.
Science fiction shows like Star Trek are integral for space exploration because their fictional characters not only told us of alternate realities where people could live and thrive in space, but also kept an interest in space exploration alive. Star Trek’s cult-following inspired young minds to think more about the universe that lies, vast and expansive, around us. Some even believe that without Star Trek, there would be no journey to Mars. Leonard Nimoy’s run as Spock from the pilot of Star Trek in 1964 to the show’s end in 1969 made him one of the most beloved actors, and Spock one of the most loved fictional characters of all time. His biographies “I Am Not Spock” and “I Am Spock”, published later in life before his death in 2015, show his closeness with the character that he carried with him throughout his life. Of course, he’s not really Spock, but to the world, he was. He is.
Spectronaut 8 (Released: 2015-11-10) – Cassini-Huygens
Major Release Feature: Protein Inference
The Cassini-Huygens mission, commonly known just as Cassini, was a collaborative effort between NASA, ESA, and ASI to study and probe Saturn. The Cassini had several objectives, including determining the behavior and three-dimensional structure of Saturn’s rings as well as studying the time variability of Titan’s clouds and hazes. The Cassini has been sent on several missions since 2004, and the results each mission hailed have been exemplary in their findings. These discoveries include: the new moons of Saturn, Saturn’s rotation, a landing on Titan (Saturn’s largest moon) that studied its diverse and dynamic surface. The project ended with a “Grand Finale” in 2017 which included a number of passages through the gaps of Saturn’s rings. Though the project is officially over, its findings will be studied for years to come.
Spectronaut 9 (Released: 2016-05-11) – Michael Collins
Major Release Feature: Added Bruker Impact II™ Support
As all things do, SN9 looped back to its roots by being named after Michael Collins, the Command Pilot on the Apollo 11. Collins voyaged to space only twice, on two very important missions. The first, on the Gemini 10, allowed him to experience two separate EVA’s. Then, of course, he joined the Apollo 11 on the historical voyage to the moon, though he did not step foot on it. He is one of 24 people who have flown to the moon.
Spectronaut 10 (Released: 2016-11-29) – Orion Constellation
Major Release Feature: Gene Annotation and Ontology Support, External library Import
It’s amazing that constellations have been viewed by so many people in our past and present and will continue to be wondered at long after we are gone. The Orion Constellation is no exception. In fact, the Orion Constellation is one of the most well-known and most easily recognizable constellations in the sky. At this point, Spectronaut had gone through 10 upgrades, and we were confident that it had become an easily recognizable (and well-used) program in the proteomics constellation. It was fitting that we name our 10th rendition after Orion, the hunter placed among the stars.
Can we just appreciate it in all its beauty?
Spectronaut 11 (Released: 2017-06-03) – Isaac Asimov
Major Release Feature: DirectDIA and Pulsar
We’ve covered everything from cosmonauts to constellations, but for SN11 we couldn’t leave out a famous writer like Isaac Asimov. Asimov had an interesting literary career, as he started out being a foundation for Science Fiction with short stories like I,Robot and The Caves of Steel but then later moved to writing novels with themes in popular science like The Naked Sun and Foundation’s Edge, for which he won a Hugo Award. However, one of Asimov’s most important contributions to modern science was the fact that he coined the terms “robotics,” “spome,” and “psychohistory.” He did a great deal for explaining scientific terms in an interesting and historical way, which paved the road for other writers and scientists like Paul Krugman and Karl Popper.
Spectronaut Pulsar X (Released: 2018-06-03) – Jocelyn Bell
Major Release Feature: Hybrid Libraries
We’ve made it. The most recent release name for our most recent upgrade, Specronaut Pulsar X. You may have noticed that the past release names have been strictly, um, of the male verity. However, as the times change, so has Spectronaut so here we have the first (and hopefully not the last) female release name, Jocelyn Bell.
Bell is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland who has been credited with achieving “one of the most scientific achievements of the 20th Century.” During her postgrad studies in 1967, Bell discovered the first radio pulsars. Despite being the first one to discover and study the pulsars, she was snubbed and excluded from winning a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1974. This has been a point of controversy for many years because Bell notably helped build the four-acre telescope and noticed the anomaly of the pulsars before anyone else. She spent hours of her life reviewing up to 96 feet of paper data per night. Her findings were met with resistance but ultimately, the men who resisted her got credit for her discovery. Bell’s snub was undeserving so we decided to name Spectronaut Pulsar X after her in her honor. She was the Nobel Prize winner in our eyes.
Spectronaut has grown and changed and adapted, as has space exploration and the ideas surrounding it. These release names are reminders of the scientists and expeditions who have come before us. Naming Spectronaut releases after the above is our way of honoring them.
Spectronaut will continue to grow, as will the stories behind the people who inspire us. Just like space exploration, our research into the proteome is never finished.
With Spectronaut Pulsar X, and everything else we do, Biognosys is taking one small step for proteomics, one giant leap for…well you know the rest.
For more information about Spectronaut Pulsar X, check out our shop page here.