"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 -
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 -
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
posted by brownpau
on Jun 13, 2005 -
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 -
"The drama takes place on Darwin IV, a fictional planet 6.5 light-years from Earth, with two suns and 60 percent gravity. Having identified Darwin as a world that could support life, Earth sends a pilot mission consisting of the mothership and three probes." Discovery channel feature, Flash heavy site, via Pharyngula
posted by dhruva
on May 9, 2005 -
NASA takes ultrasound to space
No astronaut is pregnant, but NASA is using ultrasound as a portable diagnostic tool in space. If the NHL ever settles its labor dispute, the Red Wings' trainer may use it too.
posted by Cranberry
on Feb 16, 2005 -
is an interesting JAVA web-app offered by NASA which gives a 3D interactive display of over 500 satellites currently orbiting the Earth.
posted by numlok
on Feb 16, 2005 -
Chicago's current archetectual and artistic showcase, Millenium Park
seems to be causing some problems. The pedestrian bridge
was closed because the hardwood used to build it can not take the salt used to remove ice from pedestrian walkways. But it also seems that the massive sculpture Cloud Gate
aka "The Bean" is a copyright elephant in public space. Park security are shaking down
photographers for permits. As is typical, the copyright shakedown appears to be less about protecting the rights of the original artists, and more about the rights of the distributor
(in this case, the city's desired monopoly on postcards and prints). See boing boing
for editorializing and Slashdot
for the typical herd reaction.
posted by KirkJobSluder
on Feb 12, 2005 -
is a skill pretty much taken for granted now, but it wasn't
. Accurate maps were once prized state secrets, laborious efforts that cost a fortune and took years (or even decades) to complete.
How things have changed. (Yours now, $110
) It took almost 500 years to map North America, but it's only taken one tenth of that to map just everything else. In the last 50 years, we've been able to create acurate atlases of two planets
and one moon
(with a second
in the works). Actually, we've done a lot more than that
. We're actually running out of things to map.
posted by absalom
on Jan 27, 2005 -
Instead of liquid water, Titan
has liquid methane. Instead of silicate rocks, Titan has frozen water ice. Instead of dirt, Titan has hydrocarbon particles settling out of the atmosphere, and instead of lava, Titanian volcanoes spew very cold ice.
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Jan 21, 2005 -
NASA has released some pictures from another moon
The article has some pictures - almost actual and computer-enhanced of Titan. There are also links to the radar signals Huygens received in its descent to Titan and Cassini sent back to NASA. (They sound a bit like a Vespa buzzing past a window.)
posted by Cranberry
on Jan 17, 2005 -
Thanks to Yahoo's video search
, I've spent the morning thrilling to movies from Nasa's earlier space programs.
Ed White does the first american spacewalk
, the crew of apollo 8 sends out a christmas message
(wonder how that would play these days), Neil Armstrong goes for a walk
, Buzz Aldrin gives a science lesson
, John Young goes muddin'
, Apollo 17 lifts off from the moon
. Galileo gets his due
via Apollo 15, as does Kubrick
, via Skylab
all this makes the Challenger explosion
just incredibly sad.
Though I still don't know why searching for apollo 8 turned up gay porn
and I don't wanna know.
What is really interesting though, is watching this Apollo 17 astronaut work on the moon
. His body is moving in all sorts of subtle ways that highlight how odd it must be to work in lower gravity
posted by Brandon Blatcher
on Jan 9, 2005 -
NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory recently detected
[reg required] the largest explosion ever detected in the universe: an eruption releasing the energy of hundreds of millions of gamma ray bursts
. Just to put it in perspective, a single GRB
releases enough radiation to wipe out
just about everything human beings would require for survival in a 1000 light year radius. (The Milky Way spans ~100,000 light years, while the United Federation of Planets
spans about 8,000). Arthur C. Clarke has gone so far as suggesting that GRBs might be one of the reasons for Extra-Terrestrial silence: Gamma Ray Bursts
are so large and inescapable, a single one would wipe out even an enormous galactic empire. Makes killer asteroids
seem downright quaint
posted by absalom
on Jan 8, 2005 -
Developer in space?
Oracle has announced sweepstakes to send a developer into orbit. Answer a quiz and win a sub-orbital space flight. Contest is open to software developers who work with Oracle software in connection with their employment. Start cramming. Good luck! (And for the rest, with a $10,000 deposit for the $98,000 ticket, nothing stops us from booking our own space flight with Space Adventures
posted by jellybuzz
on Dec 8, 2004 -
Move over X-Prize
- in order to win the next big space prize($50 million) one will have to build a spacecraft capable of taking a crew of no fewer than five people to an altitude of 400 kilometers and complete two orbits of the Earth at that altitude. Then they have to repeat that accomplishment within 60 days.
posted by sourbrew
on Nov 8, 2004 -
Saturn's enigmatic moon Titan
holds on to its mysteries. Radar images
reveal quite a bit of variation but no clear interpretation. The hazy atmosphere prevents the sudden shock of discovery that characterized the Voyager and Galileo flybys of the moons of Jupiter, revealing little more than fuzzy Rorschach blobs.
With less than 1% of the surface mapped, researchers suspect that Titan has a young surface
shaped by processes that have yet to be revealed.
posted by KirkJobSluder
on Nov 5, 2004 -
It was bound to happen eventually - Richard Branson announced
the launch of Virgin Galactic
, a joint venture between Virgin and Mojave Aerospace Ventures, the company responsible for SpaceShipOne
. They expect to send up to 3000 people into suborbital space over five years for £115k each (around $200k)and the first ship will be named the Virgin SpaceShip VSS Enterprise
(well, I guess he can name it what he wants...). It's all immensely exciting, but personally I think Virgin Spacelines sounds classier.
posted by adrianhon
on Sep 27, 2004 -
Step aside xprize
, here comes the elevator 2010
challenge. Sponsored by the Spaceward Foundation
this is a "public challenge centered around the Space Elevator concept, offering a substantial prize for the first laser-powered tether climbing demonstration that can meet specific criteria." more here
posted by Grod
on Sep 6, 2004 -