Orbiter - A Free Space Flight Simulator
Starving for a high realism space simulator ever since Microsoft's Space Simulator was discontinued? Look no further than Orbiter, a free realistic space simulator written and maintained by Dr. Martin Schweiger. How realistic? You might want to start off by consulting NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Basics Of Space Flight
to get you grounded so to speak. This is a free, non-commercial simulator that uses accurate math and orbital physics (more or less) to try to model space flight. However hard it may appear, after orbiting Earth with the high-res (8192x4096) mod-pack installed, or sitting on the launch pad with the seamless OrbiterSound 2.1b
sound environment installed, you will be well rewarded for reading the manual and participating in the dance of the heavens. (Even if all you want to do is fly around the solar system!)
posted by Tystnaden
on Mar 22, 2003 -
On November 28, 1960, a morse code transmission reading "SOS to the whole world" from an orbiting spaceship was picked up by the Judica-Cordiglia brothers with their home-made radio tracking station in San Maurizio Canavese, Italy. Sometime between February 2-4, they picked up telemetry of a dying cosmonauts heartbeat and breathing. Yuri Gagarin,
the universally acknowledged first man in space, did not make his flight until April 12, 1961. These brothers claimed that they intercepted radio transmissions of other secret flights as well. Were there secret Soviet spaceflights that ended in the death of Cosmonauts? Most
tend to disagree,
and offer an excellent debunking.
I started reading about this several weeks before the Columbia, but it now has a new poignancy. I agree that it is exceedingly unlikely that these alleged flights took, but the claims of these brothers, mingled with various other rumor and various Soviet urban legends, (along with the fact of Russian/Soviet general secrecy about most everything,) create an alternate history that is exceedingly disturbing.
posted by Snyder
on Feb 7, 2003 -
Cosmic bolt probed in shuttle disaster
- Scientists poring over 'infrasonic' sound waves
Federal scientists are looking for evidence that a bolt of electricity in the upper atmosphere might have doomed the space shuttle Columbia as it streaked over California, The Chronicle has learned.
posted by y2karl
on Feb 7, 2003 -
is the most beautiful toy. It's a free (open source) simulator of the universe, including breathtaking models of known planets. Watch Jupiter rise over Io or follow the course of a solar eclipse. [more inside]
posted by grahamwell
on Feb 4, 2003 -
Fire in the Sky.
Perhaps you saw moonwalk veteran astronaut Buzz Aldrin
attempt on NBC to read a poem he received in e-mail Saturday, and falter in tears. It was actually lyrics to the Jordin Kare song "Fire in the Sky,"
a tribute to manned space exploration:
Prometheus, they say, brought God's fire down to man.
And we've caught it, tamed it, trained it since our history began.
Now we're going back to heaven just to look him in the eye,
and there's a thunder 'cross the land, and a fire in the sky
posted by Tubes
on Feb 3, 2003 -
So, why hasn't the Shuttle been replaced? Because it hasn't been easy. In the late 80's and early '90s, the cold-war-fantasy-cum-shuttle-replacement was the X-30 National Aerospace Plane (NASP)
that was supposed to take off and land like a plane flying on super-fast Scramjet engines
that, alas, were never really successful...
In the late '90s, the New Economy, space-exploration-on-VC-money shuttle replacement was the X-33 VentureStar
program which was eventually cancelled
, after a long and turbulent history
. The X-33/VentureStar was one of the most technologically daring machines ever built --albeit too
daring. I cannot mention the X-33 without mentioning the ingenious-but-untested linear aerospike engine
that was going to take it to orbit. If the US is now (again) considering a Shuttle replacement, maybe the Delta Clipper
is worth a second look. The DC-X was a competitor for the X-33 program that was eventually scrapped, for technological and other reasons
. At least the Russians and Europeans liked it so much better than the other New Shuttle options that they copied it
posted by costas
on Feb 2, 2003 -
Constance Adams, Space Architect
She designed the International Space Station's TransHab module
(a prototype for manned Mars missions), and says cool things about what the role of architecture is: "Architecture involves forming harmony around the human system, balancing culture, biology, planetary knowledge and technology in counterpoint to the unknowable." (via boingboing)
posted by vraxoin
on Jan 24, 2003 -
Art goes to Mars.
This may be the very first art that our species sends into space, unless you count the little naked folks on the Voyager plaque, or broadcast television. In a somewhat bold move, they've chosen shock artist putter-of-sharks-in-formaldehyde Damien Hirst
. Is it me, or would the chosen painting be much dorkier if this were NASA rather than the European Space Agency? Like a duck or something.
posted by condour75
on Nov 30, 2002 -
--and promise to as brighter or brighter than last year:
NASA scientists' predictions for the 2002 Leonid meteor storm.
Such meteor storms rarely happen in consecutive years, but 2001 and 2002 are exceptions. Experts have just released their predictions: Depending on where you live (Europe and the Americas are favored) Leonid meteor rates in 2002 should equal or exceed 2001 levels.
That's the good news. The bad news is that the Moon will be full when the storm begins on Nov. 19th. Glaring moonlight will completely overwhelm many faint shooting stars. Indeed, I often hear that the Moon is going to "ruin the show."
We shall see.
posted by y2karl
on Nov 16, 2002 -
Swan song for a great explorer.
Tomorow, the Galileo explorer will make a flyby of Jovian moon Amalthea
ending pehaps the geatest unmanned mission in NASA history. Galileo telemetry may not survive the flyby having already receieved much more radiation than it was designed for. Even if it does survive, this will be its final orbit scheduled to crash into Jupiter in September of next year. In spite of antenna difficulties, the spacecraft returned many beautiful images
of Jupiter's moons, along with coverage of the Shoemaker-Levy collision
and the first atmospheric probe to decend into Jupiter's weather.
posted by KirkJobSluder
on Nov 3, 2002 -
Le Voyage dans la Lune/A Trip to the Moon
A tree grows in Houston. Apparently a cache of tree seeds were carried into space by an American astronaut in the early 1970s. They were carried home, planted, grown into seedlings, and distributed around the country, mostly in honor of the 1976 bicentennial. Anyway, no one took note of where the moon trees went. A curious NASA scientist is on the hunt for the locations of the moon trees. Do you have a moon tree
in your town? Do you have a documented historic tree
in your area? Are your local trees protected? Does this make local residents irate
posted by jengod
on Oct 22, 2002 -
Maybe they should have let Lance Bass on this one.
A Soyuz rocket explodes 29 seconds after takeoff, killing one and injuring eight from the blast. Although it was not carrying any material destined for the International Space Station, launch delays caused by the investigation into the explosion might hurt the IIS project in the long run.
posted by LuxFX
on Oct 16, 2002 -
The Mars Gravity Biosatellite Project
is an unmatched international effort that pools top-notch technical talent from MIT, the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. The mission is nothing short of groundbreaking. The plan is to build a spacecraft capable of housing a small crew of mice, including pregnant females, which will simulate the gravity of Mars to determine its effects on mammalian development.
posted by David Dark
on Sep 18, 2002 -
There's something out there
Target Body: J002E3 Spacecraft (UNCONFIRMED)
Observer Location: Los Angeles, CA
Coordinates: 118°14'27.6''W, 34°03'15.1''N
Since September 5th, the Minor Planet Mailing List (MPML) has been abuzz with speculation about an unidentified 16th- magnitude object. During the next 10 days the object will be moving rapidly across Aries and then Taurus, passing between the Pleiades and Hyades star clusters.
posted by riley370
on Sep 13, 2002 -
A computer aided simulation builds a spiral galaxy from its beginning
. In all, 390,000 particles were placed in an arrangement similar to a newborn galaxy. The end result after three months is an event that is believed to take billions of years to occur. (animation)
posted by samsara
on Aug 7, 2002 -
Mice and Martians!
Mice sent to Mars, first all-rodent space crew. I like the article's style:
"The crew will have no exercise wheels, however. Their motion would interfere with the centrifugal force inside the spacecraft."
posted by agregoli
on Aug 6, 2002 -
Sol: A Great Big Ball of Burning....Iron?
Well that's what a UMRolla professor thinks anyway -- instead of being mostly hydrogen, that the sun is actually mostly iron
. He's going against all popular belief, and indeed lots of evidence, but his theory states that our sun formed around the iron core of an old supernova.
posted by LuxFX
on Jul 24, 2002 -
The New Frontier-
Preparing the law for settling on Mars. "Like the abandoned launch fields [at Cape Canveral], the Outer Space Treaty [of 1967] needs to have its valuable parts salvaged, and the dangerous ones demolished."
posted by Ty Webb
on Jun 4, 2002 -
is more than 100 parties on the same night around the world, on every continent including Antarctica, April 12, 2002. What's to celebrate? The 41st anniversary of the suborbital flight of Yuri Gagarin
, and the 21st anniversary of the first space shuttle flight
, a fitting tribute to two great space milestones. Is there a party in your city? Set one up! I only read about last year's (initiated for the 40th/20th), but I'm going to try to go this year. There are, of course, even moe 40th anniversaries of significant space events to come. [tip o' the hat to Rand Simberg
, who has even more provocative stuff in his FoxNews.com column -- like relocating Israel to the Moon. And he's serious.]
posted by dhartung
on Apr 4, 2002 -
"Even though the challenges to bring the space elevator
to reality are substantial, there are no physical or economic reasons why it can't be built in our lifetime."
Once just a cool sci-fi idea dreampt up by Arthur Clarke
, Space.com reports that a 62,000 mile ride is not only possible, but probable. And cheap at only a couple hundred bucks per pound.
posted by tsarfan
on Mar 27, 2002 -