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The timelapse video that rules them all

A 6-minute video of Earth from space, featuring aurora borealis, cities at night, storms, and other wonders, created by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst from 12,500 images taken during his ISS Blue Dot mission.
posted by elgilito on Dec 25, 2014 - 9 comments

"Returning to Earth, that was the challenging part"

Forty-five years ago, Buzz Aldrin became the second man to walk on the moon. It made him one of the most famous people in the world. And it has haunted the rest of his life.
posted by cozenedindigo on Dec 25, 2014 - 45 comments

We have joy, We have fun, We have X-rays in the Sun

The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), an X-ray telescope designed to observe deep space, has been used to capture images of X-rays streaming off the Sun for the first time. [more inside]
posted by Rob Rockets on Dec 23, 2014 - 11 comments

Looking out the window, returning to Earth

This is what it's like to plummet through the atmosphere from space.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 22, 2014 - 13 comments

Pretty sure NROL-38 is a Pokemon

Sultry witches. World-devouring cephalopods. Adorable teddy bears. Smithsonian Magazine takes a look at the fantastical mission patches of the National Reconnaissance Office (via)
posted by prize bull octorok on Dec 15, 2014 - 18 comments

They should have sent a poet

CINEMA SPACE TRIBUTE SLVimeo - A beautiful montage of space scenes in big budget movies. Set to Hans Zimmer music (from Interstellar), with Anthony Hopkins reciting Dylan Thomas.
posted by DigDoug on Dec 9, 2014 - 4 comments

How big is space? Interactive views of the universe in varying scales

We know space is big, but trying to understand how big is tricky. Say you stare up at the sky and identify stars and constellations in a virtual planetarium, you can't quite fathom how far away all those stars are (previously, twice). Even if you could change your point of view and zoom around in space to really see 100,000 nearby stars (autoplaying ambient music, and there are actually 119,617 stars mapped in 3D space), it's still difficult to get a sense of scale. There's this static image of various items mapped on a log scale from XKCD (previously), and an interactive horizontal journey down from the sun to the heliosphere with OMG Space (previously). You can get a bit more dynamic with this interactive Scale of the Universe webpage (also available in with some variants, if you want the sequel [ previously, twice], the swirly, gravity-optional version that takes some time to load, and the wrong version [previously]), but that's just for the scale of objects, not of space itself. If you want to get spaced out, imagine if If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel, and travel from there (previously). This past March, BBC Future put out a really big infographic, which also takes a moment to load, but then you can see all sorts of things, from the surface of Earth out to the edge of our solar system.
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 4, 2014 - 30 comments

Alright, let's light this candle and head back into space

NASA’s new Orion spacecraft will soon blast off on its maiden voyage into space. It’ll be a quick and unmanned flight to test the craft, particularly its innovative heat shield, which will protect Iron man, Captain Kirk, Slimey the Worm and a unnamed Tyrannosaurus Rex from the white hot temperatures as Orion returns to Earth. Watch the launch on NASA TV (Audio only stream) on Thursday, December 4th, at 7:05am EST (1205 GMT) i.e. tomorrow morning for most of the Western world. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 3, 2014 - 160 comments

"The open road still softly calls."

"Wanderers" is a short film by Erik Werquist featuring narration by Carl Sagan.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Nov 29, 2014 - 15 comments

The Cloud Colonies of Venus

While talk of a moonbase or terraforming Mars has tended to dominate the discussion for the first step in human colonization of the solar system, another possibility exists: floating habitats above the cloud tops of Venus. [more inside]
posted by fairmettle on Nov 24, 2014 - 48 comments

In space, no-one can hear you click every once in a while

Orbits are hard [SLFridayTimeWaster]
posted by slater on Nov 21, 2014 - 162 comments

Astronaut Marsha Ivins describes life in space

Astronaut Marsha Ivins describes her experiences: prelaunch, launch, and zero-g: "It’s a mix of the transcendently magical and the deeply prosaic."
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Nov 19, 2014 - 13 comments

The Phone Number 321-Liftoff Is Not For Sale

​​How I Got My Own Area Code: It took the combination of phone phreak and "space cadet" to find a relationship between the number 321 and the countdowns of Cape Canaveral. [more inside]
posted by danabanana on Nov 19, 2014 - 18 comments

U JELLY, CURIOSITY?

xX| Kerbal Space Program MLG_PRO_SKILL | NO_MECHJEB | 360°_ORBITS |Xx
posted by Foci for Analysis on Nov 13, 2014 - 37 comments

A Disk Around a Young Star

The resolution of a telescope (how much fine detail it can see) is proportional to the wavelength of light divided by the size of the telescope. Since radio wavelengths are many times larger than optical wavelengths, radio telescopes like the GBT and Arecibo are large compared to optical telescopes. Even so, the resolution of radio telescopes is worse, and you rarely see radio images as beautiful as those produced by the Hubble Space Telscope. That has now changed. [more inside]
posted by sedna17 on Nov 6, 2014 - 31 comments

Spaceship Two has crashed

Spaceship Two lit its engine for a test flight then experienced an anomaly. [more inside]
posted by Sophont on Oct 31, 2014 - 180 comments

Antares rocket explodes at the Wallops Flight Facility

An Antares rocket with the Orbital Sciences Corporation Cygnus CRS Orb-3 spacecraft bound for the International Space Station exploded today shortly after liftoff from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. [more inside]
posted by Rob Rockets on Oct 28, 2014 - 69 comments

How do astronauts take such great photos? Telescope lens!

Astronaut Chris Hadfield explains how zero gravity makes it possible to take sharp, hand-held long exposures.
posted by Mike Mongo on Oct 26, 2014 - 12 comments

Scifi and comets

How do you get the world excited about space exploration? With a promotional scifilm. Come see Ambition produced by the European Space Agencacy (ESA) to promote excitement about Rosetta's mission and upcoming landing of the space probe Philae on the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November. [more inside]
posted by Wolfster on Oct 24, 2014 - 8 comments

HAL Remastered

For the upcoming digitally restored theatrical re-release of Kubrick's classic Sci-Fi film, 2001: A Space Odyssey (previously, and previously) a beautiful new trailer for the movie has been put together by the British Film Institute. Via Polygon.
posted by codacorolla on Oct 21, 2014 - 71 comments

life is short. fly to mars

i build rocket in my back garden for 10 year
i build rocket from spare car part and old nuclear facility
in month of march i buy 10,000 of my favourite protein bar
in month of april i launch rocket with me in it towards planet mars
now i am on mars

Evghenia is on Mars. She has enough water to survive for another two hundred and eighty days. In the meantime, she reminisces about her favorite and least favorite things on earth, comments on the space-speculation of poets Bowie and Elton, writes about her heroes, and criticizes Elon Musk and NASA and all the many people who have failed to be on Mars first. (She is understandably proud of her significant accomplishment.) She also writes about goatbot, who she built herself and who is her only friend, and occasionally tells jokes and sings songs and reminisces about her past and present. Definitely a Twitter account worth following.
posted by rorgy on Oct 20, 2014 - 16 comments

The sound of space

like sitting on a back porch in Tennesse in mid-July Space is a vacuum, but there is still "sound" in the form of electromagnetic waves. These recordings, taken from various sources, capture the electromagnetic sounds from 20-20,000 HZ--the range of human hearing
posted by patrickdbyers on Oct 20, 2014 - 30 comments

Had NASA believed in merit

“I would give my life to fly in space. It’s hard for me to talk about it but I would. I would then, and I will now.” The terrible injustice of Jerrie Cobb, who deserved to be the first female astronaut, yet never made it to space at all.
posted by Johnny Wallflower on Oct 20, 2014 - 29 comments

Selfie with Comet

The Rosetta Mission to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko took this picture of itself with the comet 16km away in the background. European Space Agency description of the image. Phil Platt's Bad Astronomy story.
posted by benito.strauss on Oct 15, 2014 - 38 comments

Moscow, we have a problem

The First Spacewalk. How the first human to take steps in outer space nearly didn't return to Earth.
posted by gottabefunky on Oct 13, 2014 - 13 comments

Our home is beautiful and amazing.

"Using footage from NASA's Johnson Space Center, filmmaker Fede Castro creates a captivating time-lapse video of Earth from space. In a little over four minutes, 'Nuestra Tierra—Our Earth' takes us around the world, sighting major cities and even catching the breathtaking aurora borealis." More from Fede Castro.
posted by cwest on Oct 11, 2014 - 8 comments

"Socialism Is Our Launching Pad!"

Russiatrek.org's blog has a nice collection of Soviet propaganda posters. Soviet space program 1958-1963 Part 1. Part 2. International Workers' Day. Soviet Patriotism. Soviet propaganda - the beginning 1917-1923. Stalin's Soviet Union tourism posters. Socialism vs. Capitalism. WWII Part 1. Part 2. Soviet posters of the 1970's. The blog's art category.
posted by cwest on Oct 7, 2014 - 10 comments

Lattes...in...spaaaaaace!

SPACE.com has reported that a prototype of the ISSpresso, an espresso machine heading to the International Space Station (ISS) next year, was recently displayed at the 65th International Astronautical Congress 2014. [more inside]
posted by Rob Rockets on Oct 3, 2014 - 10 comments

NASA orders up a couple of space taxis

It's official, Boeing's CST-100 and Space X's Dragon have been chosen to launch astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017, ending Russia's dominance as the sole provider of rides to the ISS, which they haven't been shy about using for leverage. Meanwhile, develop of the Space Launch System, designed for travel beyond low earth orbit, continues for its maiden launch in 2018. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 16, 2014 - 41 comments

A typical Russian winter

The recovery of Salyut 7 In 1985, the Soviet Union's space station Salyut 7 was crippled by an total electrical failure. Reactivating it would require a manual docking and working in bitter cold, 130 miles above the planet.
posted by bitmage on Sep 16, 2014 - 18 comments

Psst, Venus. What's up with those holes in your atmosphere?

Venus Express, ESA's first spacecraft to the planet, has been having a good ol' time skimming the surface at an altitude of 81 miles , finding rainbows and investigating those holes in the planet's atmosphere.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 12, 2014 - 15 comments

John Glenn refused to fly until Katherine Johnson checked the math.

Katherine G. Johnson: NASA Mathematician (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 30, 2014 - 16 comments

If we're not in pain, we're not alive

You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website], the long-delayed "sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 25, 2014 - 84 comments

But can it core a apple?

On Thursday, NASA released the names and designs of three vehicles that could replace the space shuttle as means of sending our astronauts into space. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Aug 23, 2014 - 70 comments

photos of home

Breathtaking collection of images at The Atlantic: Viewing the Earth From Space
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 13, 2014 - 13 comments

“If I could come up with another absurd detail, I would”

Civilians in Abandoned McDonald’s Seize Control of Wandering Space Satellite (with NASA's silent blessing)
posted by Itaxpica on Aug 10, 2014 - 46 comments

Springtime on Saturn

Storm Chasing on Saturn with Cassini [viz. cf.] - "The sun is slowly rising over Saturn's north pole, exposing an immense six-sided hurricane. The storm, big enough to swallow four Earths, was first spotted by the Voyager missions in the early 1980s. [Cassini] will be passing directly over the north pole with its cameras pointing down later this month." (previously 1,2)
posted by kliuless on Aug 10, 2014 - 9 comments

Rendezvous with a comet

Today at approximately 08:45am GMT, the Rosetta spacecraft entered orbit of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko after a 10 year journey. Now in orbit 100km above the surface, Rosetta is already sending back amazing images of a rocky, rough rubber duck shaped comet. [more inside]
posted by nubs on Aug 6, 2014 - 52 comments

Houston, we are go for liftoff!

Previously, on Metafilter, we met Jeff Highsmith, who designed and built a pseudo Apollo Mission Control panel play desk for his son. He's done it again, with a "spacecraft" for his other son.
posted by pjern on Aug 2, 2014 - 21 comments

Even The Stars

Even the Stars is a game about wandering through space without a purpose [more inside]
posted by hellojed on Jul 29, 2014 - 26 comments

The Miura fold: art and mathematics of origami

The Miura fold, a type of rigid origami that works by folding flat, rigid sheets with hinges, has a number of uses. For instance, It's great for folding a map, because Interdependence of folds means that it is very difficult to reverse them and the amount of stress place on the map, and can be used on solar panels that need to be folded and unfolded by automation, as deployment only requires one motor, and to transport materials for telescope lenses that originally would be too big to fly into space. Here's one schematic for duplicating the Miura fold (PNG), and a simplified version (YouTube). More information and fun with scientific origami at Robert J. Lang's origami website.
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 19, 2014 - 17 comments

Exobiotanica

Botanical Space Flight [more inside]
posted by BlooPen on Jul 19, 2014 - 8 comments

damn, that's a lot of light pollution

what does your city look like from space?
posted by yeoz on Jul 14, 2014 - 29 comments

Say Cheese

"Is it OK to take a selfie at Auschwitz?", asks archaeologist Paul Mullins. Selfies are people in places, not objects in spaces, says Katie Warfield.
posted by Rumple on Jul 11, 2014 - 76 comments

Russian home movies... in Space!

Ирина Плещева: Russian cosmonaut Max Suraev (@Msuraev) youtubes day-to-day events from the International Space Station.
posted by loukasven on Jul 11, 2014 - 2 comments

Space without the space

The solar system's solid surfaces stitched together. If you want some more detailed imagery, you can always browse around NASA's planetary photojournal archive.
posted by curious nu on Jul 2, 2014 - 17 comments

Is 100 the right number?

Astronaut Sally Ride and the Burden of Being The First. 'Tampons were packed with their strings connecting them, like a strip of sausages, so they wouldn’t float away. Engineers asked Ride, “Is 100 the right number?” She would be in space for a week. “That would not be the right number,” she told them. At every turn, her difference was made clear to her. When it was announced Ride had been named to a space flight mission, her shuttle commander, Bob Crippen, who became a lifelong friend and colleague, introduced her as “undoubtedly the prettiest member of the crew.” At another press event, a reporter asked Ride how she would react to a problem on the shuttle: “Do you weep?”'
posted by kmz on Jul 1, 2014 - 95 comments

Tax dollars hard at work around Saturn

Ten years ago, the Cassini–Huygens spacecraft became the first to orbit the planet Saturn. After dropping off Huygens on the moon Titan, Cassini proceeded to spend its time exploring the Saturn system, watching the birth of a new moon, photographing water vents on Enceladus, discovering methane lakes on Titan, spotting hurricanes on Saturn, confirming aspects of general relativity and all sorts of other stuff. Enjoy these stunning photographs, explore the timeline of its exploration and marvel at the complex orbital mechanics that keep Cassini flying in Saturn's system with a tiny fuel supply.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 1, 2014 - 32 comments

The Apollo 11 flight plan

Presented for your enjoyment and perusal: the Apollo 11 Flight Plan, and other fun reading material. [more inside]
posted by TheNewWazoo on Jun 29, 2014 - 23 comments

Zoom and Enhance!

When Falcon 9 attempted its soft water landing it recorded video, sadly not in the best condition. But SpaceX released the video to the public in the hope of recovering more. The NASA Space Flight forums released a description of how they restored the video.
posted by ElliotH on Jun 27, 2014 - 16 comments

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