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Mission to Mercury

Mercury Messenger, a NASA probe, just performed a fly-by of Mercury at a height of 200 kilometers. It's the first spacecraft to visit Mercury since 1975.
posted by Artw on Jan 14, 2008 - 21 comments

 

Science and Technology in the 2008 Presidential Election

Dr. President: "The next president of the United States of America will control a $150 billion annual research budget, 200,000 scientists, and 38 major research institutions and all their related labs. This president will shape human endeavors in space, bioethics debates, and the energy landscape of the 21st century." With the coming election, the AAAS has created a new website and devoted a section of their journal Science to the Democratic and Republican candidates' positions on science and technology issues. But to help further clarify their positions, some people are calling for the candidates to have a presidential debate on science and technology. [Via The Intersection and Wired Science.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 9, 2008 - 48 comments

The Science Fiction Artwork of John Harris

John Harris's science fiction artwork is stunning. Much of it attempts to capture scale and the hugeness of relative comparisons in the universe. From the book Mass that looks at his work: "From skyscapes to lost cities, planetary bodies to megalithic structures, Harris's concepts are truly colossal, conveying not just the sheer scale that the edifices of future-fantastical technology might attain, but also the awesome-ness, even terror, of their presence." His work has graced the covers of many science fiction books, which you may have recognized. Interestingly, there's no wikipedia article about him.
posted by SpacemanStix on Jan 8, 2008 - 25 comments

Bad news for the Martian dinosaurs...

There's a slight chance that an asteroid could impact Mars at the end of this month. Usually, collisions between heavenly bodies have vanishingly small odds (a million to one, say), but the chances on this one have been steadily improving, from 350-to-1 to 75-to-1 to 25-to-1 (link to Washington Post). Scientists say that this could be comprable to the famous Tunguska blast in Siberia a hundred years ago (not to be confused with this other Tunguska blast). [more inside]
posted by math on Jan 7, 2008 - 37 comments

Who Speaks for Earth?

Who Speaks for Earth? "After decades of searching, scientists have found no trace of extraterrestrial intelligence. Now, some of them hope to make contact by broadcasting messages to the stars. Are we prepared for an answer?"
posted by homunculus on Jan 1, 2008 - 63 comments

Warp Drive, When?

Warp Drive, When? "Have you ever wondered when we will be able to travel to distant stars as easily as in science fiction stories?"
posted by amyms on Dec 15, 2007 - 60 comments

Spirit's Swan Song?

Real robot drama is happening on Mars today. Spirit, racing for her life to find shelter before winter, injured and underpowered after four years of hard labor, may have made her most significant find yet. The broken foot she's dragged behind her for the past two years unexpectedly uncovered evidence of a once-wet Mars with conditions theoretically hospitable for primitive life.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Dec 12, 2007 - 89 comments

HobbySpace

HobbySpace hosts an exhaustive collection of information and links about space-related hobbies, including amateur astronomy, satellite design, and rocketry for both beginners and experts.
posted by Upton O'Good on Dec 2, 2007 - 3 comments

Yes, their job is cooler than yours.

Astronauts in Space, the music video.
posted by blue_beetle on Nov 14, 2007 - 8 comments

Hot space bot uses stirling engine

NASA proposes using a Stirling cooler (essentially a Stirling engine in reverse) to keep a probe cool on the surface of Venus, which has had a tendency to melt or smash previous probes. The cooler would maintain a 25cm sphere within the probe at 200°C -- 100°C above the boiling point of water but sufficiently cool for a high-temperature microcontroller to operate. The waste heat radiators on the exterior of the sphere would reach the temperature of 500°C, 40°C above the the normal Venusian surface temperature.
posted by Artw on Nov 12, 2007 - 40 comments

Video of a Tour around STS-120/ISS

A tour around Discovery STS-120 and the International Space Station with Paolo Nespoli and Dr. Scott Parazynski. Tomorrow, Parazynski will be perched at the end of a robot arm and sensor boom assembly, stitching up a damaged solar array in what might be one of the riskiest EVAs since Skylab 2.
posted by brownpau on Nov 2, 2007 - 29 comments

Doctor Steel versus The Hammer of God

Not only does Dr. Duncan Steel have a manly name, he's also one of the guys responsible for keeping those pesky asteroids away from Earth.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 8, 2007 - 15 comments

Deep Space Pharma

Growing drugs in space. If the rainforest runs out of undiscovered medicines, just grow new drugs in space: Wired reports that "a swaggering Texas investor" wants to turn the International Space Station into a kind of orbiting drug lab: "If people knew what I already know," he says, "the International Space Station would be considered one of the most valuable resources our world possesses." Think of it as New Jack City in zero-G – full of weird, crystallized proteins (and billion dollar cures).
posted by BLDGBLOG on Oct 7, 2007 - 19 comments

Bre and his friends make things.

Bre and his friends make things like space ballons. Sometimes they launch them and are unable to find them. Although the project has been abandoned the videos are very informative and show what amazing things a small team with a little money and off-the-self technology could do. Earlier this year a Canadian team had success with their space balloon and got some amazing aerial photos.
posted by damn dirty ape on Oct 7, 2007 - 9 comments

Retro space cowboys

For many kids, the space age made its TV debut years before Sputnik with 1950's TV space serials.
1950 - Space Patrol - The Hidden Treasure of Mars. (Part two)
1954 - Rocky Jones' Space, Space Ranger - Rocky's Odyssey. (Chapters two, three)
1954 - Flash Gordon - Deadline at Noon and Akim the Terrible. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 24, 2007 - 5 comments

One small step for Man, One Giant Leap For WomanKind.

Astronaut Sunita Williams (more links to pictures on the bottom right hand corner) returns to her ancestral hometown of Ahmedabad, India, after breaking multiple records in Space, where she stayed for a duration of 194 days, ran the Boston Marathon, and Space Walked for 22 hours and 27 minutes.
posted by hadjiboy on Sep 21, 2007 - 24 comments

Space: 1989

Some photo galleries (and youtube video) of Buran, the USSR's space shuttle program (previously) from the 1980's, long since abandoned. Bonus: A comparison between Buran and the US space shuttle. Double Bonus: More on Buran from russianspaceweb.com, which is awesome. Combo breaker: An official page with NASA's take on Buran, (and their photos), frozen in time a decade ago.
posted by dersins on Sep 13, 2007 - 25 comments

We live in a wonderfully insane universe.

NASA Astronomers Find Bizarre Planet-Mass Object Orbiting Neutron Star [via]
posted by brundlefly on Sep 13, 2007 - 45 comments

Race To Mars

"Somewhere on the planet are ten-year-olds who, someday, will be the first people to set foot on Mars" 300 scientists and space-experts contributed to what's billed as "a realistic vision of the first Human Mission to Mars" -- Race to Mars. Discovery Channel Canada used Hollywood special effects, but for added realism rather than ray-guns and aliens. On the website, you can argue about whether they got it right. www.racetomars.ca
posted by richlach on Sep 7, 2007 - 24 comments

The Final Frontier

Primary Terminal: Foster + Partners chosen for Branson's [YouTube] spaceport.
posted by brautigan on Sep 6, 2007 - 26 comments

Dear Earth: Send More Chuck Berry

The Golden Record: Hear what the aliens will hear.
30 years ago today, a collection of images and sound recordings engraved on a record was launched toward the stars. The playlist covers an amazing collection of music, and has been called the Mix Tape of the Gods.
posted by Hadroed on Sep 5, 2007 - 78 comments

Unseen photos of lunar surface

In honor of this morning's impressive lunar eclipse, another moon-photo post: For decades you had to be a scholar or specialist to get access to the original Apollo flight films, most of which have been stored in freezers at Houston's Johnson Space Center. Now Arizona State University and NASA are scanning the negatives with high-resolution equipment and creating an online digital archive of downloadable images for the general public. Here are the first few, from Apollo 15. (Similar topics previously: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
posted by GrammarMoses on Aug 28, 2007 - 9 comments

aliens. robots. space. war.

space war - a little animated clip by Christy Karacas.
posted by madamjujujive on Aug 18, 2007 - 26 comments

And the internets went two by two.

Let's send a knowledge Ark to the Moon, says a French University. The founders of the group Alliance to Rescue Civilization (ARC) agree: "extending the Internet from the Earth to the moon could help avert a technological dark age following "nuclear war, acts of terrorism, plague, or asteroid collisions." Better than sending 1679 binary digits, into space? The French are no strangers to CETI , inventor Charles Cros petitioned the French Government for years for funding to construct a giant mirror to burn giant lines of communication into the deserts of other planets. [previously]
posted by takeyourmedicine on Aug 18, 2007 - 45 comments

Save Skylab

While enjoying today's International Space Station construction mission, don't forget America's first outpost in space, Skylab. Launched in 1972, the experimental station, cobbled together from Apollo hardware, was abandoned two years later and plunged to Earth in 1979. Today, you can pitch in to save the rotting hulk of the Skylab trainer.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Aug 13, 2007 - 17 comments

Soviet Space Art

That the first space race was politically motivated shouldn't detract from your enjoyment of Soviet propaganda space art. More here and here.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Aug 2, 2007 - 21 comments

Booking my ticket for Titan.

Fifty Years of Space Exploration Professor John Zarnecki gives the The Open University Lecture 2007. You can watch or listen whilst exploring the resources elsewhere on the OU site.
posted by Abiezer on Jul 26, 2007 - 2 comments

AKARI IR Sky map

The AKARI mission has produced the first infra-red sky map in over 20 years.
posted by nthdegx on Jul 19, 2007 - 20 comments

A Pale Blue Dot

A Pale Blue Dot - An Unauthorized view. Some time before he died in 1996, Carl Sagan recorded a partial audio version of his 1994 book "Pale Blue Dot". Often described as the "sequel" to Cosmos, the audio version of Pale Blue Dot is, at this moment, regrettably out of print. This video is "episode one" of an unauthorized attempt at producing a series of videos based on Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot" audio book combined with a soundtrack and appropriate video and still images intended to recall the feel of the classic documentary series "Ascent of Man" and "Cosmos"
posted by empath on Jul 9, 2007 - 8 comments

Space objects

Real time satellite tracking - another interesting use of Google Maps, Ajax, and orbital telemetry.
posted by Burhanistan on Jul 5, 2007 - 10 comments

In Space no-one wants to hear you.

"Should we ever hear the space-phone ringing, for God's sake let us not answer". First we are told Space Colonisation is a stupid and expensive idea. Then that contact with space aliens is inadvisable. Maybe David Bowie was right, the government would just ruin it anyway. That's why we can't have nice things.
posted by takeyourmedicine on Jun 28, 2007 - 92 comments

Space Diving

Why yes, I WOULD like to ride a rocket into space, then jump out of it and free-float to an Earth re-entry. Columbia widower Jonathan Clark and X Prize launcher Rick Tumlinson want to redefine re-entry. Whether for fun or for survival, the two want to make it possible for you or me to survive the 150 mile, 18,000 MPH, 8.2G, 3,000°F fall back to Earth in the worlds first orbital life vest. [via]
posted by daHIFI on Jun 27, 2007 - 49 comments

"What a beautiful world this will be. What a glorious time to be free."

It's been nearly 50 years since the beginning of the International Geophysical Year (IGY), an 18-month period of scientific activities and discoveries that ran from July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958. Both the US and the USSR launched the world's first artificial satellites during the IGY (Sputnik 1 and Explorer 1). Other achievements of the IGY included the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts and the mapping of mid-ocean ridges. The IGY also inspired at least one artistic endeavor: Steely Dan's Donald Fagen wrote his 1982 solo song "I.G.Y. (International Geophysical Year)" [YouTube] as an homage to 50s optimism.
posted by amyms on Jun 21, 2007 - 14 comments

Zibigniew Rybczinski's "Tango"

“Thirty-six characters from different stages of life - representations of different times - interact in one room, moving in loops, observed by a static camera. I had to draw and paint about 16.000 cell-mattes, and make several hundred thousand exposures on an optical printer. It took a full seven months, sixteen hours per day, to make the piece”[ source]: Zbig Rybczynski on the making of his award winning (and much imitated) animation "Tango "(YT, mildly NSFW).
posted by rongorongo on Jun 19, 2007 - 27 comments

The future is not clean and antiseptic

Slime molds may control our future computers and robots, and fungi may protect us in outer space.
posted by bad grammar on Jun 16, 2007 - 25 comments

N1 Scale Model Launch

The Soviet Union’s answer to Saturn V, the massive, complex, and top-secret N1 rocket, failed win the moon race after four disastrous launch explosions between 1969 and 1972. In 2004, Polecat Aerospace had much better luck launching their 1/16 N1 scale model.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Jun 13, 2007 - 17 comments

Space Oddity

Mars and Beyond - 50 years ago, this animated episode of Tomorrowland aired on Disneyland a few months after the launch of Sputnik - an entertaining melange of astronomy, sci-fi, pop culture, science, speculation, and surreality. Walt himself and Wernher von Braun make guest appearances and clip 5 is particularly trippy. (Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 10, 2007 - 9 comments

...the models live in the curved space of the hypersphere...

Here are some beautifully rendered views of polytopes, and a few more. The rendering program, Jenn 3D, is free and downloadable, (OS X, Linux, Win) and includes some really dazzling fly-about and camera effects as well as tons of high-dimensional models to explore. There's also a mind-boggling possibility of playing Go on boards in projective space. Via the Math Paint blog, which leads to other interesting places...
posted by Wolfdog on Jun 2, 2007 - 13 comments

Ice hot planet

Scientists have discovered a planet composed of scorching hot ice. Originally thought to be a gas giant due to its mass, its actually only four times the size of Earth and most likely composed of exotic forms of ice, such as Ice VII and Ice X with s surface temperature of 300° C.
posted by Artw on May 16, 2007 - 30 comments

Animation of Tvashtar Volcano Erupting on Io

Tvashtar in Motion. Awesome five-frame GIF of fountaining sulfuric lava on Io courtesy New Horizons as it swung by Jupiter earlier this year. Found via Planetary Society Blog (Thank you, Emily). More on Tvashtar.
posted by brownpau on May 15, 2007 - 19 comments

Best of the Webb

"Clearly we need a much bigger telescope to go back much further in time to see the very birth of the Universe." The venerable Hubble space telescope is going to be replaced by what looks like a honeycomb on a box of chocolates. Of course, if it takes more pictures like this (XL), nobody is going to complain about its looks.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on May 11, 2007 - 39 comments

Breaking: Science fiction is fiction

Ruining science fiction: Not only are the science fiction cliches humorously skewered in the Tough Guide to the Known Galaxy, but the science itself is wrong. For example, despite the best efforts of SF writers, interstellar trade will never work, unless wine costs $11 billion a bottle. Slower-than-light travel is much harder than you think, and warp drives are far away. Space battles, if they happen, won't have fighters and dramatic dogfights, but instead involve vast distances and maneuvers lasting years. And you can ruin a whole lot more science fiction with real science (and wonderful examples) at Atomic Rocket. Don't follow the links if you want to read Heinlein or watch Battlestar Galactica with a light heart.
posted by blahblahblah on May 8, 2007 - 185 comments

And the baths of all the western stars, until I die

Under alien skies: Start with the simply stunning Exosolar, a flash-based interface for navigating through 2,000 nearer stars in 3-D, including all discovered planets outside our solar system. See what the skies would look like from other planets and suns. Explore star maps from many science fiction universes, from Star Trek to Dune. Watch the Big Dipper change its shape over a hundred thousand years. Zoom into a face-on map of the Milky Way that would cover 16 square meters if printed, and see the Atlas of the Universe. [prev. on extrasolar planets, prev. on star maps]
posted by blahblahblah on May 6, 2007 - 9 comments

Cameras....In.....SPAAAAAAAACE

Knowing that Sputnick went up in 1957, when would you guess the first photo from space was taken? If your answer is "more than 10 years earlier", you'd be right. (Previously 1 and 2)
posted by DU on May 4, 2007 - 44 comments

Unarius

Welcome, space brothers, from representatives of planet earth! It's the Unarius Academy of Science. (wp)
posted by serazin on May 3, 2007 - 17 comments

RIP Wally Schirra

RIP Wally Schirra, 1923-2007. One of the original Mercury Seven "Right Stuff" astronauts (just two left now), Schirra flew on Sigma 7, Gemini 7, and Apollo 7. From there on, it's stationkeeping.
posted by brownpau on May 3, 2007 - 50 comments

Accident Prone

I hope STS-117 isn't delayed by this train wreck like it was from that hailstorm last March.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on May 3, 2007 - 24 comments

Cake to person ratio = infinite

To celebrate the 17th birthday of the Hubble Space Telescope, please feast your eyes on a very detailed (Flash) picture of the Carina Nebula.
posted by WolfDaddy on Apr 30, 2007 - 27 comments

A home away from home?

Spacefilter: ESA telescope detects planet 20 lightyears away with a temperature between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius, dubbed "most Earth-like planet yet."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Apr 24, 2007 - 104 comments

Far distant lands

The first was found just fifteen years ago, after centuries of speculation. As of today, we're up to 227 and counting. Most are just wobbles in data, but we have pictures and exotica too. And we are looking for more (although some think we shouldn't look very hard and others are drawing some surprising conclusions). The science and technology of finding the most fascinating and elusive types demands some of the cleverest engineering, yet you can even have a go for yourself. Previously on Metafilter
posted by Devonian on Apr 22, 2007 - 23 comments

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