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The window, the window, throw it out the window...

Fancy way to build a satellite -- spend millions of dollars hiring engineers to carefully construct your orbital gem, then millions more on a massive rocket to loft it into space. BORING. Easy way to build a satellite -- shove a radio into a spacesuit and toss it off a space station. Meet SuitSat 1.
posted by eriko on Jan 26, 2006 - 32 comments

Enough speculation Pluto, time to see if you really are a planet.

The New Horizons spacecraft will be the first man-made object to visit our controversial sibling planet. An Atlas V will be used to launch the craft to the fastest speed that man has ever hurled an object to the heavens. Due to this and the small size of Pluto, the probe will only be capable of one flyby. Today is the first day in the launch window that the rocket is hoped to be launched.
posted by Phantomx on Jan 17, 2006 - 69 comments

384mb panoramic view of the Orion Nebula

Orion Nebula in very high resolution gorgeous
posted by obeygiant on Jan 13, 2006 - 30 comments

Space Nerds Rejoice!

Stardust@home. The Stardust spacecraft (discussed recently here) should land in Utah early Saturday, carrying in its hold a sprinkling of grains of interstellar dust. Researchers are seeking the public's help in pinpointing the submicroscopic bits of dust. Participants will sift through the hundreds of thousands of pictures of the roughly square-foot collector plate.
posted by ND¢ on Jan 11, 2006 - 21 comments

Make the Kessel run in less than twelve par-secs!

Hyperdrive and a possible Unified Theory. New Scientist article about a paper and proposal to NASA outlining development parameters and possiblities for a faster-than-light anti-gravity propulsion system, based on some rather interesting physics theories originated by a guy named Heim. You mean you've never heard of the Millenium Falcon? (via)
posted by zoogleplex on Jan 9, 2006 - 70 comments

'The search for the perfect suit continues...'

Space Suits
posted by anastasiav on Jan 9, 2006 - 18 comments

FAA space regulations

Terrorists not allowed in space (the FAA would like to regulate commercial space flights)
posted by gunthersghost on Jan 8, 2006 - 22 comments

Tragic triana

Bob Park mourns Triana in his "What's New" newletter: NASA has quietly terminated what may have been its most important science mission. Critics of programs to limit emissions argue that climate change is caused by solar variation, not by atmospheric changes. There is one unambiguous way to tell: locate an observatory at L-1, the neutral-gravity point between Earth and Sun. It would have a continuous view of the sunlit face of Earth in one direction, and the Sun in the other, thus constantly monitoring Earth's albedo. Originally called Triana, the Deep Space Climate Observatory has already been built and is sitting in storage.
posted by 445supermag on Jan 6, 2006 - 23 comments

Meteor 1.0

West Australians were treated to a spectacular light show last night when a meteor streaked across the sky. LQ video also available. Via ABC News.
posted by sjvilla79 on Dec 4, 2005 - 22 comments

Olaf Stapledon: The Star Maker

Olaf Stapledon was a man ahead of his time. His epic 'novel' Star Maker (1937) considered the emergence of genetic engineering, the outcome of the many worlds interpretation and delved deeper than any book before or since into the consequences of evolution on the cosmos. His fans have included the likes of Arthur C Clarke, Jorge Luis Borges and Virginia Woolf. Even his greatest detractor, C.S.Lewis, wrote an entire Cosmic Trilogy in response to his imaginings. Yet despite Stapledon's magnetic prose and extraordinary influence on speculative fiction his name remains largely forgotten by the world. Yet his words still resonate with insight: "Did not our life issue daily as more or less firm threads of active living, and mesh itself into the growing web, the intricate, ever-proliferating pattern of mankind?"
posted by 0bvious on Nov 27, 2005 - 24 comments

Truman Show?

A Dutch television producer, who previously brought you Big Brother, now produces a show for British commercial television were you witness the training of three lucky guys to become astronauts and their subsequent launch into earth's orbit for 4 days. They are trained in a Russian facility and are launched with a Russian rocket. There is only one catch: it's all fake. When they leave their orbiter to make a space walk they will be welcomed by their family and friends, and find out they never left England.
If I were one of the contestants I'd go postal after this. But of course these contestants were specially selected to be prone to suggestion, so they will probably just forever hide in corner so they won't hear the constant mockery..
posted by kika on Nov 21, 2005 - 69 comments

Cheezy music included free!

Deep Space and The Good Earth: pretty picture shows. (flash)
posted by fungible on Nov 16, 2005 - 8 comments

Road trip to venus!

Road trip to venus!

The Venus Express was launched on Nov. 9th, 2005 from Baikonur, the historic spaceport in Kazakhstan. It is the first Venus probe sent by the ESA , and you can follow it's progress on the six month journey to the planet.

Exploration of Venus begin in 1962 with Mariner 2, the first space probe to fly by another planet and other flights, including the Russian Venera 7, which was the first probe to land on another planet. The Soviets took quite an interest in Venus and dominated the exploration of the planet through the '70s and '80s. A lot of the images recorded by those early craft have been reprocessed with modern technology.

In the early '90s the Magellan spacecraft spent several years mapping the surface of Venus, providing us many, many, many images and 3D maps of the planet.

As for Venus Express, it's goal is to spend two years making detailed studys of the planet's clouds and atmosphere.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 13, 2005 - 19 comments

road trip, anyone?

Explore our local chunk of space. Here is a scale view of the Solar System, and here one can take a quick trip around it. Use the guidebook to plan your trip (but beware the pop-up ads). Don't forget to bring a camera and snap some photos.
posted by dazed_one on Nov 12, 2005 - 12 comments

Where is everything?

Live tracking Thusday: Where are the interstellar probes? (and the objects in orbit?) Where is the lightning in Europe? Where is the fleet? Where is my flight? Where is tomorrow now? Where is your God now? Where is the magnetic north pole today? [J-track prev.]
posted by blahblahblah on Nov 3, 2005 - 19 comments

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, its probably not a cow??

A Photo Gallery of Meteorwrongs
posted by anastasiav on Nov 3, 2005 - 17 comments

Stunning Saturn/Dione Photo

Stunningly beautiful photo of Dione and Saturn with rings. Such a sensation of depth and grandeur. Thanks, Cassini/JPL/NASA. [animation] [planetary photojournal entry] [B/W mirror from kokogiak] [now you play fun Flash spaceship game].
posted by brownpau on Oct 21, 2005 - 18 comments

Nice Cans!

How to build a Deep Space Network station. Via: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
posted by loquacious on Oct 14, 2005 - 4 comments

willywillies

Martian dust devils (gif movies) NASA’s Mars rover Spirit has caught a bevy of dust devils racing across the surface of Mars.
posted by dhruva on Oct 3, 2005 - 18 comments

Cassini Flies by Tethys

Cassini Flies by Tethys and Hyperion, and the photos so far have been awesome and weird. I especially want to point out this fascinating view, which, if you look at it closely, reveals what appears to be a string of small impact craters, in a straight line over older terrain. What kind of meteor impact could have produced such an excellent formation of craters? Hyperion photos are coming. (Kokogiak's got backup in case the JRUNS strike.)
posted by brownpau on Sep 26, 2005 - 29 comments

I can see my house from here

Hi-res satellite photos of Earth Four pages worth, desktop wallpaper sized.
posted by jonson on Sep 22, 2005 - 29 comments

we came in peace

Moonbase Visions. You've read about and discussed NASA's plan to use new post-shuttle launch vehicles to return to the moon. But what, exactly, is the US planning to do on the moon? What would a semi-permanent moonbase look like? And why return at all? NASA's announced answers to these questions remain vague. But last year eleven sets of responses to these questions were offered to NASA in the development proposals submitted to NASA by eleven Aerospace concerns, each of which suggested different designs, missions, and philosophies for NASA's return to the moon. Some common themes:
Military: "Provide nationally assured access to orbital locations for the placement of observation systems" and "assured access to space for development of force projection systems and movements of logistics." (pdf link, p. 5) Commercial: "Commercialize space products and services" (pdf link, p.6) Public Relations: Keeping the public inspired with "regularly placed program milestones." (pdf link, p.7)
It's interesting to compare the details of these proposals. But taken together, they raise a broader question: does NASA's fear that the public will lose interest in this commercializing, militarizing, moon venture reflect an awareness that that the vision has finally been lost?
posted by washburn on Sep 22, 2005 - 62 comments

NASA soundtracks

Ignition sequence starts ... A spoken word documentary album of the flight of Apollo 11 to the moon. Dramatic - evocative - the right stuff. Provided by Hepcat Willy.
posted by carter on Sep 13, 2005 - 9 comments

No sign of giant robots or flaming flying turtles...yet...

Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft has arrived at asteroid Itokawa
posted by gimonca on Sep 12, 2005 - 19 comments

Spirit photographs Phobos and Deimos

Two Moons Passing in the Night. Mars rover Spirit took these sequential photos of Martian moons Phobos and Deimos passing overhead in the night sky. Those rovers are still going strong!
posted by brownpau on Sep 10, 2005 - 17 comments

Fate has ordained...

Now that Discovery is home safe and well, let's take a moment to remember some anxious moments 36 years ago, when President Nixon had a contingency memo prepared to read in case that Neil Armstrong et al. were somehow unable to return to Earth. The forgotten memo, written by William Saffire, is from the National Archives.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Aug 9, 2005 - 18 comments

"Go" for de-orbit burn...

Discovery is coming home... Around now (6.06am EDT) STS114 is due to commence firing its orbital maneuvering engines for 2 minutes and 42 seconds and commence its entry of the atmosphere to return home to Edwards Air Force base. Florida was declared a "no go" both yesterday and today due to weather conditions.

Weather at Edwards is good. Landing tracks from NASA available here.
BBC story with live video footage is here.
Pilot Jim Kelly is handling the de-orbit burn, according to commentary and mission commander Eileen Collins will make the final approach and touch down at Edwards.

Best of luck, Discovery, I'm sure I speak for all when I say that all of our thoughts are with you.
posted by tomcosgrave on Aug 9, 2005 - 130 comments

Shuttle Launch Exhaust

Ecological impact of Space Shuttle launch exhaust. Aluminum oxide powder, hydrogen chloride, and of course, water vapor, which can form noctilucent clouds. The environmental impact is supposedly minimal.
posted by brownpau on Aug 6, 2005 - 15 comments

Best. Self-Portrait. Ever.

Astronaut Steve Robinson took a picture of himself that Escher would've loved, when out fixing the Space Shuttle Discovery. Available in hi-res, too (not safe for dialup).
posted by cerebus19 on Aug 5, 2005 - 67 comments

out of the blue!

Is there any purpose to the kind of manned space flights we seem to be concentrating on?
posted by pantsrobot on Aug 4, 2005 - 48 comments

BBC News - In Pictures

BBC News' wonderful In Pictures section, including Hiroshima: Now and Then, Space Shuttle Discovery in orbit, and readers' photos of Battersea Power Station.
posted by Mwongozi on Aug 4, 2005 - 8 comments

Sky@Night

The Sky At Night Every episode of the BBC science series made since the end of 2001 viewable online. Anything I know about the universe I learnt from Patrick Moore.
posted by feelinglistless on Jul 30, 2005 - 17 comments

STS-114 Liftoff

Liftoff! Discovery is in orbit, and STS-114 is well and fully underway. The fuel sensor problem which had previously delayed the launch was not an issue this morning. Mission timeline, mission updates, and the Wikipedia entry.
posted by brownpau on Jul 26, 2005 - 38 comments

space sounds

Saturn's Eerie Radio Emissions and other space sounds.
posted by dhruva on Jul 25, 2005 - 24 comments

"I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords"

"I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords" - in what looks like a thinly-veiled attempt at viral marketing, a company claims to be giving bloggers the opportunity to send a piece of their lives into space to potentially connect with extraterrestrials. Let's just hope that future generations will not have to endure this kind of thing, next time a blogger decides to quit ranting on about themselves.
posted by UbuRoivas on Jul 19, 2005 - 9 comments

Cassini Photos of Saturn's Rings and Moons

Rocks Among the Rings. The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla has compiled some of the loveliest imagery of Saturn's ring-and-moon system from Cassini. More on Saturn from the Planetary Society here. Also see the Cassini at Saturn photoset, from our very own kokogiak, and watch for updates on the latest Enceladus flyby.
posted by brownpau on Jul 15, 2005 - 5 comments

T-22 hours, and counting

The space shuttle (and NASA) return to flight tomorrow at a scheduled launch time of 1551 ET, weather permitting. They had a laundry list of things to fix, and of course, they've fixed all of them... except the three that actually killed the last crew. They're launching nonetheless, and NASA TV will be covering it, with a couple of lists of mirror site links. I wish them well.
posted by baylink on Jul 12, 2005 - 37 comments

A dreamable space simulation

Noctis is a free space simulation program/game written mostly in assembly by Alessandro Ghignola, an Italian programmer. It is downloadable for Windows and MS-DOS, but be warned there is quite a learning curve. It features a planet lander, onboard ship computer, a Fido Net style method of communicating newly named and discovered stars and systems with other users, and a haunting sense of being alone in an immense universe. Fan fiction. Screenshots reveal the outdated resolution of the program.
posted by nervousfritz on Jul 10, 2005 - 19 comments

Return To Flight

Three days and Counting Breathe deep, mine eyes, the frosty saga of eternal suns. From unseen depths and dreams undreamt, I sing the gleaming cantos of unvanquished space. By thought I embrace the universal, With wings of mind I sail the infinitude. Glory! 'tis the stars which beckon man's spirit and set our souls adrift!
posted by blue_beetle on Jul 10, 2005 - 14 comments

Big, Big Bang

THWACK!  (NASA TV Live feed) This is just a heads up, only about 80 minutes until Deep Impact (NASA mission page) slams into comet Tempel 1. Recent discussion here.
posted by planetkyoto on Jul 3, 2005 - 122 comments

NASA Claims Readiness for July 13 Launch

NASA says shuttle is ready for July 13 launch, but doubts remain. With two catastrophic failures marring the Space Shuttle's safety record, many people fear that the coming launch of the shuttle Discovery could turn in to a billion-dollar fireworks display. While NASA is optimistic about the coming mission, an independent panel of aerospace executives, academics and former astronauts are not. They concluded that NASA has failed to fully implement three of the fifteen return-to-flight recommendations made by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) in August 2003. While we wish the astronauts a safe and uneventful journey, serious doubts remain as to NASA's competency to continue carrying mankind to the stars. Perhaps our best hopes now lie with private ventures such as Scaled Composites?
posted by nlindstrom on Jul 1, 2005 - 20 comments

Star Atlases, Mercator Globes and Celestial Sundries

Star Atlases, Mercator Globes and Celestial Sundries [more inside]
posted by sciurus on Jul 1, 2005 - 8 comments

Well, no sleep for me tonight.

"The stars are veiled. Something stirs in the East. A sleepless malice. The eye of the enemy is moving. He is HERE."
posted by keswick on Jun 30, 2005 - 15 comments

avast ye maties! set sail for the milky way, yarr!

Cosmos 1 is officially lost! However, fellow solar sailors, it's not too late to buy a t-shirt. I, however, can't help but focus my attention on this educational BBC News article; I believe I'm having some sort of pavlovian response to that last diagram, but thankfully it seems I'm not the first solar sailing pervert out there.
posted by analogue on Jun 29, 2005 - 15 comments

Cosoms 1

In just over two hours, Cosmos 1, the world's first experimental "solar sail" spacecraft will launch, and reportedly will be visible "from nearly everywhere on its surface at one time or another".
posted by theonetruebix on Jun 21, 2005 - 19 comments

'It is I, Seagull! Everything is fine. I see the horizon.'

On June 16, 1963, at the height of the US-Soviet Space Race, Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space. Her flight aboard the Vostok 6 lasted 48 orbits and 71 hours, and during her flight she spent more time in space than all the U.S. astronauts combined to that date. Although NASA trained women astronauts in the 60's, it would take 20 years for an American woman to follow in Tereshkova's footsteps.
posted by anastasiav on Jun 15, 2005 - 18 comments

Pioneer Anomaly

The Pioneer Anomaly. Something's up in deep space: the Pioneer spacecraft, now out of contact, have shown an unexplained Doppler drift, indicating sunward acceleration, effectively decelerating the probes cumulatively. The effect may be be nongravitational, and could be explained by any number of factors: an undiscovered twist in Newtonian physics, localized cosmological contraction issues, or just venting gas. Other deep space probes may have experienced the anomaly as well, and a new mission could explore the puzzle; but for now, all we have is past Pioneer data, and that's stored on old 9 track tape which can only be read by antique readers. What's to be done? (Also see Pioneer Odyssey for a nostalgic romp through those early days of deep space exploration. And NASA, bring back the original Pioneer home page plz, kthx.)
posted by brownpau on Jun 13, 2005 - 21 comments

A New Kind of Solar Storm

Going to the moon? Be careful. A new kind of solar storm can take you by surprise. Biggest proton storm since 1956 - before there were satellites monitoring the sun.
posted by Cranberry on Jun 10, 2005 - 11 comments

Free at last, free at last, thank Mars almighty, Opportunity is free at last

Free at last, free at last, thank Mars almighty Opportunity is free at last. After a several week long struggle, the Mars Opportunity Rover is free from the sand trap many across the world had predicted would bring it to an end.
posted by mk1gti on Jun 4, 2005 - 22 comments

Odd Spot on Titan Baffles Scientists

Unidentified Titan Object Saturn's moon Titan shows an unusual bright spot that has scientists mystified. The spot, approximately the size and shape of West Virginia, is just southeast of the bright region called Xanadu and is visible to multiple instruments on the Cassini spacecraft.
posted by Diamornte on May 25, 2005 - 32 comments

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