Itching to get off-world for some reason? United Launch Alliance has, well, launched Rocketbuilder, a one-stop interactive desktop/mobile tool to select, configure and cost your next ride to orbit - or beyond. [more inside]
"Saturn's largest moon might be the only place beyond Earth where humans could live" Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix urge some of us to consider becoming Titanians. (via) [more inside]
NASA's long awaited paper, Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio-Frequency Cavity in Vacuum, has passed peer review and been published in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)’s Journal of Propulsion and Power. The takeaway? They consistently measured 1.2 millinewtons per kilowatt of thrust in a vacuum with no apparent reaction mass. Several potential sources of error were considered and examined. If the results are replicated and not the result of error our current understanding of physics would be shattered. [more inside]
"Binzel suspects that Pluto’s “heart,” particularly its left ventricle region, called Sputnik Planitia, was created by an impact with another object in the Kuiper belt, an asteroid belt near the edge of the solar system. That impact gouged out a piece of the surface of Pluto, making the crust very thin at the point of impact. Underground water, kept warm by Pluto’s radioactivity, then flooded this area of thin crust like water in a blister. This formed the extra mass that caused Pluto to reorient itself so the impact zone faced away from Charon." [more inside]
In 1999, two men with metal detectors unearthed one of the most significant finds of modern archaeology: the Nebra Sky Disc, a 30-cm bronze disc inlaid with gold depicting the sun, moon, stars (including the Pleiades), and arcs that apparently represent sunrise and sunset at the solstices at Mittelberg Hill in Germany, and a holy sun boat symbol, dating from 1600 BCE or earlier. Because the illicit finders sold the disc on the black market, skepticism about its authenticity abounded for several years before scientific investigations confirmed it was a legitimate find and possibly the oldest concrete depiction of astronomical phenomena ever found. (The looters were seized by police in a sting operation in a bar in Switzerland, sentenced to prison, appealed, and got longer sentences.) [more inside]
Would you like to see an ultra-high-definition fly-through of the International Space Station, shot with a fisheye lens? Video is 18 minutes long.
On November 14 the moon will be closer to the Earth than it has been in 70 years, creating a massive "supermoon." [more inside]
Epitaph, a game about the Fermi Paradox -- Given the likelihood of other forms of life, why don't we find them? Part of the September 2016 Fermi Paradox Jam, Epitaph lets you act as a guiding hand for burgeoning civilizations discovered. The rarity of a planet's survival to the technological level needed for interstellar communication becomes apparent. Over time, failed civilizations fade away... [more inside]
Space law [previously: 1, 2] is a thing. Popular Science asks whether the laws of Earth would apply to the colonists of Mars. Want to know more about the law of space? Engadget has you covered. Space.com tells you who owns the moon. Wired asks whether asteroid mining is legal. [more inside]
Europa, the moon of Jupiter made famous by the movie 2010: The Year We Make Contact, appears to have plumes of water at its south pole. This will make it easier to figure out what's in the ocean underneath all that ice. [more inside]
No, Alan Moore Isn't a Recluse [Publishers Weekly] “Speaking in intimidatingly long and thoughtful sentences, Moore is affable, relaxed, and eager to talk about his new novel, Jerusalem [Amazon], to be published in September by Norton’s Liveright imprint in the U.S. and Knockabout in the U.K. It’s a 600,000-word opus that has been lurking, Cthulhu-like, behind his last decade of work. Remixing the most-reader-challenging tricks of writers such as James Joyce, Roland Barthes, and Mark Z. Danielewski, Jerusalem is an astonishing collection of words and ideas that weaves a hypnotic spell.” [Previously] [Previously] [more inside]
Norman Rockwell, Walt Disney, Wernher von Braun, space habitats and moon landings - the improbable, bold history of space concept art.
"No one is claiming that this is the work of an extraterrestrial civilization, but it is certainly worth further study. Working out the strength of the signal, the researchers say that if it came from an isotropic beacon, it would be of a power possible only for a Kardashev Type II civilization. If it were a narrow beam signal focused on our Solar System, it would be of a power available to a Kardashev Type I civilization. The possibility of noise of one form or another cannot be ruled out, and researchers in Paris led by Jean Schneider are considering the possible microlensing of a background source by HD164595. But the signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target." [more inside]
After almost two weeks of speculation, it has been announced in Nature: At a distance of 1.295 parsecs, the red dwarf Proxima Centauri is the Sun’s closest stellar neighbor and one of the best-studied low-mass stars. Here we report observations that reveal the presence of a small planet with a minimum mass of about 1.3 Earth masses orbiting Proxima with a period of approximately 11.2 days at a semi-major-axis distance of around 0.05 astronomical units. Its equilibrium temperature is within the range where water could be liquid on its surface. (paywalled article w/ abstract) [more inside]
NASA’s new online archive is a treasure trove of free research articles: NASA launched a free online archive for science journal articles that were funded by the space agency. The archive, which was announced this week, is called PubSpace, and it will make available research and data that are often hidden behind the subscriptions and paywalls of scientific journals. [more inside]
Dr. Robert Zubrin with a brief, passionate, and well-articulated answer to the question: why should we go to Mars?
There's something weird going on beyond Neptune - A mysterious object has been discovered with an inexplicable orbit.
On December 8, 2013, a tiny video game studio called Hello Games announced No Man’s Sky [previously], a first-person space adventure game of exploration, combat, trade, and survival, whose environments would be entirely procedurally generated and functionally infinite. The game was released today on PS4; it is promised to be available for Windows PC on Friday. [more inside]
Florida Company Gets Approval to Put Robotic Lander on Moon. Moon Express, a small startup based in Florida, is the first private enterprise to receive approval to land on a celestial body. If successful, such a feat would win the Google Lunar X Prize. [more inside]
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Celebration Reel [YouTube] Go behind the scenes with the cast and crew of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. [more inside]
Margaret Hamilton's source code for Apollo 11 on Github! The extraordinary code from the original Apollo 11 guidance computer has been converted to .s files for syntax highlighting and posted to Github. The project was undertaken by Virtual AGC and the MIT Museum. [more inside]
At 600 cubic centimeters and 26 horsepower an internal combustion engine under development by Roush Fenway Racing is among their smallest and least powerful. It also will be the first internal combustion engine to go into outer space.
What no "Apollo 13"? The Complete List of Movies and TV Shows on the International Space Station. Spoilers, at least they had "Alien"
Bonhams is hosting an auction of Space History on July 20th. Now is the time to get that full scale Sputnik model for your living room.
Mission Juno Tonight, Earth species Homo sapiens sapiens, with ongoing support from photosynthesizing relatives in the Plant kingdom, will attempt the delicate task of inserting a large machine into polar orbit around the highly radioactive gas giant Jupiter. After using a slingshot maneuver around Earth and Jupiter's tremendous gravitational pull to become "one of the fastest human-made objects ever built," it is hoped Juno will collect data for 20 months, shedding light on the composition of the planet and what it can tell us about the origin of the Sol system 4.6 billion years ago. [more inside]
Small Asteroid Is Earth's Constant Companion: A small asteroid has been discovered in an orbit around the sun that keeps it as a constant companion of Earth, and it will remain so for centuries to come. [more inside]
California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has been central to the US missile and rocket development and operations for decades, and from the beginning that technology's success rested on a corps of expert mathematicians, people known as computers. And from the beginning they were all women, in a time when such opportunities were few and far between. You can find pictures of them, but names have not been well-recorded ... until now. Nathalia Holt found many of those women and wrote about their experiences in her book, Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars. [more inside]
For the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, forget the fireworks for the opening show... How about an on-demand meteor shower instead? [more inside]
The EmDrive (previously 1, 2) is still getting attention from the scientific community. MIT Technology Review sums it up: The Curious Link Between the Fly-By Anomaly and the “Impossible” EmDrive Thruster
Space X has successfully returned the first stage from their Dragon rocket! This is link to the video clip of the landing, here's a link to the launch. [more inside]
How many digits of pi do we really need? Thirty-nine.
We all know people don’t explode when exposed to space without protection. But science fiction has taken some ... liberties with vacuum exposure over the years. Here are 19 scenes of people being exposed to space, ranked from the least realistic to the most.
The future of space travel demands better communication. The pokey pace at which our current Martian spacecraft exchange data with Earth just isn't enough for future inhabitants who want to talk to their loved ones back home or spend a Saturday binge-watching Netflix. So NASA engineers have begun planning ways to build a better network. The idea is an interplanetary internet in which orbiters and satellites can talk to one another rather than solely relying on a direct link with the Deep Space Network, and scientific data can be transferred back to Earth with vastly improved efficiency and accuracy.
Astronaut ice cream is a lie (SLYT)
Trek at 50: The quest for a unifying theory of time travel in Star Trek by Xaq Rzetelny [Ars Technica] [more inside]
The images for JPL’s Visions Of The Future 2016 Calendar, which was an internal gift to JPL and NASA staff along with scientists, engineers, government and university staff, have been put online. "As you look through these images of imaginative travel destinations, remember that you can be an architect of the future." [via] [more inside]
Vimeo user somersetVII has created 10 beautiful, masterful supercut videos. Coens | 30 celebrates 30 years of Coen Bros movies while Stanley Kubrick gets an appropriately moody and atmospheric tribute. Other standouts include Baseball on Film and Cinema: A Space Odyssey, which only a true fan of the genres could make.
"Members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology tore apart NASA's Journey to Mars initiative, claiming the program needs a much more defined plan and clear, achievable milestones to work. Those in attendance also doubted the feasibility of a long-term Mars mission; they cited the massive amount of money needed for the trip — much more than NASA currently receives year to year — as well as a significant leap in technological development. Because of these enormous challenges, a few witnesses at the hearing suggested that NASA either rethink its approach or divert its attention to a Moon mission instead."