I am a staunch believer in leading with the bad news, so let me get straight to the point. Earth, our anchor and our solitary haven in a hostile universe, is in a precarious situation. The solar system around us is rife with instability.[more inside]
Educators, prepping for World Space Week, Oct 4-10? Be sure to include the very excellent space documentary The Mars Underground in your plans. It's free! [more inside]
Look, I get that some of you want to go to Mars even if it means dying there. I know you're bitter that there are no giant ads for Coke on the surface of the Moon. But what would it say about our species if we let you go and do stupid shit like that? The fact that our scientific community is mostly on board with not murdering you to explore Mars is a good thing. The fact that we are trying to figure how to safely and sustainably build on the Moon before doing it — that is a sign of progress.
Twelve Months in Two Minutes; Curiosity's First Year on Mars. Happy First Anniversary, Curiosity! [Previously]
Ever Upward isn't just a blog about space but a love letter to the wonder and beauty lurking in the science of space. It is written, and occasionally drawn, by MeFite Narrative Priorities [more inside]
Scientists now have definitive proof that many of the landscapes seen on Mars were indeed cut by flowing water.
There once were two planets, new to the galaxy and inexperienced in life. Like fraternal twins, they were born at the same time, and took roughly the same shape.
How NASA brought the monstrous F-1 "moon rocket" engine back to life - "The story of young engineers who resurrected an engine nearly twice their age." [more inside]
The Smell of Orange Groves. This short story by Lavie Tidhar (author of Osama: A Novel) is part of his Central Station story cycle, taking place in or around Tel Aviv’s Central Station neighborhood sometime in the future. [more inside]
NASA recently announced that the latest results from NASA's Curiosity Rover on Mars provide clear physical evidence that Mars once had all the conditions necessary to support life. Despite the skeptical reception given to recent news that the rover may also have found indirect evidence of organic compounds and active microbiological activity, other recent scientific results have gone even further. One Australian study from 2011 concluded, given what we know about Mars now, 3% of its total volume (as compared to 1% of Earth's) is likely habitable to known terrestrial lifeforms. And more recently, further analysis of the results of experiments performed by the 1976 Viking Lander mission suggests that we have likely detected active microbiological activity on Mars already, with one researcher going so far as to claim a 99% certainty that those earlier results detected life. (Previously).
Will Mars be rocked by a massive comet in 2014? Maybe a little. Maybe a lot. A comet will definitely pass close to the Red Planet on October 19, 2014. [more inside]
Space tourist Dennis Tito wants to send a 2-man crew to Mars in 5 years. The Inspiration Mars Foundation has sent out a media advisory for a press conference planned for next Wednesday, February 27. [more inside]
Cartoon Brew's animation historian Amid Amidi posted an almost-definitive collection of Automobile-themed cartoons from the 1950s and 1960s. [more inside]
Mars One is now accepting applications for its Human Settlement on Mars in 2023. Here is how you apply.
With the help of Stargazing Live, 10,506 citizen scientists are exploring the surface of Mars like never before.
That rover the United States sent to Mars found something. It won't blow your mind, but it's interesting if you're into Mars geology.
We taught it everything we know, we did everything we could for it. But now it has to find its own path.
Mars Curiosity Rover. A short film by Dan Winters, narrated by members of the team that sent Curiosity on its way. [more inside]
Do you have $500,000 lying around? If you do, Elon Musk might just send you to colonize Mars. This is not the first time that Musk has discussed his desire for a colony on Mars. Interesting as it sounds, not everyone is excited about the idea.
The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos, to know itself.
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series of one hour shows written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, that was aired at the tail end of 1980 and was - at the time - the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. It is best introduced by an audio excerpt of one of his books, The Pale Blue Dot. Inside is a complete annotated collection of the series. [more inside]
Amateur astronomer Stuart Atkinson painstakingly stitched together 55 photos to create this stunning self-portrait of Curiosity sitting on Mars. (Click the picture for the full-size 5400 pixel-wide masterpiece.)
Curiosity has been on Mars for 51 sol-days and today NASA announced it has found what looks like a concrete slab made up of rounded stones which is probably an ancient stream bed formed by hip-deep fast-moving water over thousands or millions of years. Observers have long hypothesized the canyons and river-like beds photographed from space were carved by water, but only now do researchers have on-the-ground confirmation for the first time.
What lives where in the Solar System. Fantastic Adventure covers from 1939/40 depicting the kind of lifeforms they think each planet can support. [more inside]
A wristwatch for NASA's curiosity team. What do you do when you are supposed to show up for work 39 minutes later than you did the previous day? You commission a special wristwatch to keep you on time.
Let's take another look at Chris Wayan's PLANETOCOPIA (previously): A series of detailed conceptions and paintings of vastly different Earths based on differing climates and land mass position. A planet designed to speed up East-West cvilization development! A life-bearing super hot world! An Earth with most of the seas missing! Forever Ice Age Earth! [more inside]
The fine people over at the International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum talk knots. On Mars.
The Curiosity rover is preparing to use its rock vaporizing laser for the first time, on a rock labelled as N165. Rock N165 has a twitter account. People are chatting to it.
Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea. Desolation and the Sublime on a Distant Planet. Mars-inspired artwork, commisioned by NASA, by Kahn & Selesnick (previously). [Via]
NASA commentary on Curiosity landing has just started, landing itself is expected two hours later, at 5:31 am UTC/10:31 pm PDT. [more inside]
Coming soon to a red planet near you, it's the Mars Science Laboratory! On Monday, August 6 at 05:31 UTC (other times around the world), NASA's Curiosity rover is expected to land on Mars in search of conditions suited to past or present Martian life. Live coverage begins on NASA TV at 03:30 UTC. But this mission has been years in the making, so if you have a little catching up to do... [more inside]
Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror is a YouTube video guaranteed to get you excited about NASA again. It shows the elaborate process that will get the Curiosity rover onto the Martian surface on August 5. It involves the largest supersonic parachute ever built, multiple vehicles, 76 explosive devices, and a skycrane.
In the late 1970s the UK's Anglia Television ran a respected weekly documentary series: Science Report. But when the show was cancelled in 1977, the producers decided to channel Orson Welles in their final episode. The result was Alternative 3. Over the course of the hour, the audience would learn that a Science Report investigation into the UK "brain drain" had uncovered shocking revelations: man-made pollution had resulted in catastrophic climate change, the Earth would soon be rendered uninhabitable, and a secret American / Soviet joint plan was in place to establish colonies on the Moon and Mars. The show ended with footage of a US/Soviet Mars landing from May 22, 1962. After Alternative 3 aired, thousands of panicked viewers phoned the production company and demanded to know how long they had left to change planets. [more inside]
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA has narrowed the target for its most advanced Mars rover, Curiosity, which will land on the Red Planet in August. The car-sized rover will arrive closer to its ultimate destination for science operations, but also closer to the foot of a mountain slope that poses a landing hazard. "We're trimming the distance we'll have to drive after landing by almost half," said Pete Theisinger, Mars Science Laboratory project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "That could get us to the mountain months earlier." It was possible to adjust landing plans because of increased confidence in precision landing technology aboard the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, which is carrying the Curiosity rover.
A Dutch company has unveiled plans to establish a human settlement on Mars by 2023. They hope to finance the innitiative by making a reality TV show of the mission and cut down on operational costs by having the astronauts stay on Mars for the rest of their lives.
""Each bathtub was carved in Italy from a single block of Carrara Marble. Three bathtubs were shipped from Genoa, Italy in July, 1859 and reached Baltimore in November of that year. The other three were shipped from Leghorn, Italy in September of 1859, and arrived in New York in January of 1860. The precise dates of the bathtubs' arrival and installation at the Capitol are uncertain, but the Senate Bathing Room is known to have been in operation as of February 23rd, 1860."Roman Mars's 99% Invisible design podcast [previously] explores the once-luxurious Senate bathtubs hidden among the boiler rooms in the basement of the U.S. Capitol. [more inside]
The newly released trailer for Total Recall (2012) shows a Quaid quite conspicously not getting his ass to Mars. It could all have been different, as many versions of Total Recall 2 have been in the works over the years. Meanwhile is the Robocop remake anything but total recall? And has the American action movie gone kablooey?
Skittles’ new level of fame has quickly become a kind of marketing crisis that is threatening to hurt the company even as sales improve.
One of the neater aspects of astronomy is that amateurs often make significant contributions to the field. A few nights ago Wayne Jaeschke found a strange cloud feature in his Mars images. He posted his findings to the site Cloudy Nights. It created a bit of a buzz there, as well as the wider media, (even MSNBC!). It has also piqued the interest of the pros. Researchers working with the Mars Thermal Emission Imaging System onboard the Mars Odyssey spacecraft and the Mars Color Imager onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Observer are looking over their data to try to figure out exactly what it is they're seeing.