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Orbiter

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 - 10 comments

Massive explosion rocks NASA

Massive explosion rocks NASA And Pasadena, and a few other places, too. It's not every day you get to watch a black hole form. Includes cool animation (.mov file). Seems the gamma ray burst detector picks up two or three significant events every month or so.
posted by kewms on Mar 20, 2003 - 13 comments

Then there were two

Seattle PI have picked up the news that there's now competition in the race to build a space elevator. Liftport are the new kids on the block, with a website that only went online about 24 hours ago. I'm watching them build the message board as I type. Nothing like a bit of uplifting science news (pun unavoidable).
posted by krisjohn on Mar 18, 2003 - 14 comments

Apollo Lunar Surface Journal

The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. Journals, records and some images from the Apollo lunar missions.
posted by plep on Mar 10, 2003 - 13 comments

Space elevator one step closer.

Highlift Systems may have found a better location for their space elevator in Perth, Australia. Calm waters, few thunderstorms, not too far from the equator, international airport. (Slashdot discussion) I live in Perth, so I'm excited about the prospect, but our current premier may need a little prod.
posted by krisjohn on Feb 16, 2003 - 8 comments

Soviet

Phantom Cosmonauts 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 - 18 comments

Martian Law

Martian Law: From the Cato Institute comes this paper exploring the best choices for law on the red planet when colonization occurs.

Mars is a case of what political theorists would call a perfect state of nature. No one lives on Mars. No one currently has legal title to any part of Mars. On what basis then can Mars be exploited by individuals or consortia?

Of course, Kim Stanley Robinson has already explored this subject in his ground-breaking Martian trilogy.
posted by jdroth on Feb 7, 2003 - 10 comments

Cosmic bolt probed in shuttle disaster

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 - 29 comments

Celestia: A free real time space simulation

Celestia 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 - 21 comments

Fire in the Sky

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

[via Space.com]
posted by Tubes on Feb 3, 2003 - 7 comments

Trophy Boys

It's kind of weird how people in East Texas seem to have to "pose" with the debris, like it's a dead deer or a fishing trophy...
posted by sparky on Feb 3, 2003 - 53 comments

Challenger Nuclear Prometheus rockets

Perhaps after the Challenger tragedy Nasa will rethink Project Prometheus.
posted by thedailygrowl on Feb 3, 2003 - 23 comments

History of (Failed) Shuttle Replacements

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 - 35 comments

Houston we have a problem!

Houston we have a problem! At 9:00am EST communication was lost with space shuttle Columbia. The touch down should have been occurred at 9:16am.
posted by MzB on Feb 1, 2003 - 450 comments

Constance Adams, Space Architect

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 - 3 comments

Is there Life on Mars?

Is there Life on Mars? As NASA announce a nuclear-powered Mars and beyond project, British scientists are looking forward to the launch of the Beagle 2 which will search for signs of life on the Red Planet. Is this the return of the Space Race in a new form? And will they find any sign of life?
posted by anyanka on Jan 22, 2003 - 3 comments

Rosetta Stone II

The Rosetta Project In Spaaaace. Agh, it's a great concept... I just wish they'd made the text something a little more secular. The aliens will probably take it all too literally.
posted by Pretty_Generic on Jan 13, 2003 - 6 comments

Art goes to Mars.

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 - 12 comments

Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics

"I was willing to bet that there was going to be a universe, and I hit the nail on the head." The other day we had Avram Davidson, which got me thinking of Calvino's Invisible Cities, but all the recent talk about black holes made me remember that Italo Calvino is at his most charming when he's playing with physics, math, and cosmology in Cosmicomics.
posted by vraxoin on Nov 20, 2002 - 15 comments

Aonther massive celestial object, with a companion star in tow,

Another massive celestial object, with a companion star in tow, has been discovered hurtling through the Milky Way. Unlike similar discoveries confirming the bow shock theory of stellar dynamics, this week's phenomenon is considerably older, as it's an aftereffect of the galactic core's formation. The French and Argentine astromoners making the discovery believe what they've witnessed may be a black hole, though theoretically, the collasped matter may be a gravistar.
posted by Smart Dalek on Nov 19, 2002 - 10 comments

Leonid Meteor Storm 2002

They're back--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 - 22 comments

NASA Challenges Moon Hoax Conspiracy

NASA Challenges Moon Hoax Conspiracy After decades of almost ignoring claims that the Apollo missions were hoaxed, NASA commissioned aerospace writer James Olberg to write an official rebuttle. Perhaps a bit more reasonable than the NASA Stooge, the book is aimed at the general public.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Nov 7, 2002 - 33 comments

Swan song for a great explorer.

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 - 9 comments

Le Voyage dans la Lune/A Trip to the Moon

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 - 13 comments

Maybe they should have let Lance Bass on this one.

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 - 18 comments

What is Dick Rutan up to now?

What is Dick Rutan up to now? The reigning master of innovation in aerospace is up to something, as shown in the linked photo. But what is it? Rutan is also helping to bring us rocket powered airplanes and, of course, flew Voyager around the world not so long ago.
posted by billsaysthis on Oct 15, 2002 - 22 comments

So Long As It Doesn't Frighten The Martians:

So Long As It Doesn't Frighten The Martians: The already quite spaced-out Tate Museum [Shockwave permitting, check out Anish Kapoor's enormous new sculpture in the Turbine Hall] is now seeking new premises in Space.[More inside]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Oct 11, 2002 - 9 comments

Most of us were expecting that astronomers would discover a tenth planet and name it Persephone. A mostly harmless author preferred Rupert. One clique of New Age doomsayers claims that it is "Nibiru," or "Planet X,", which will come in 2003 to wreak havoc and usher in a new era under (I kid you not) our new alien overlords. Well, hang it all. Planet #9.5 has been discovered, and they called it "Quaoar." And I think Pluto is pissed.
posted by brownpau on Oct 7, 2002 - 41 comments

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Space Shuttle Atlantis is about to be launched from Cape Canaveral. Watch it live. Blast off at 3:45pm EDT 07/10/02.
posted by JonnyX on Oct 7, 2002 - 16 comments

omg we're all going to die,

omg we're all going to die, which means the hurricanes, the war against terrorism, high school free speech... it's all a big nothing!
posted by jcterminal on Oct 2, 2002 - 46 comments

The Mars Gravity Biosatellite Project

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 - 9 comments

There's something out there

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 - 29 comments

Earth has a third satellite?

Earth has a third satellite? Somehow I missed that a second one, Cruithne, was discovered in 1986. Is there a size or distance limit to something being considered a satellite?
posted by onhazier on Sep 11, 2002 - 31 comments

Baby, Bye, Bye, Bye!

Baby, Bye, Bye, Bye! NSYNC = NSPACE. Not anymore! Looks like Lance doesn't have the money, and the Russians got tired of waiting.
posted by wsfinkel on Sep 3, 2002 - 27 comments

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 - 7 comments

Mice and Martians!

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 - 3 comments

Sol: A Great Big Ball of Burning....Iron?

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 - 13 comments

Gotterdammerung.

Gotterdammerung. It's big, it's bad, and it's due in 2019. Dammit, who's going to rock me to sleep tonight? [via /.]
posted by tankboy on Jul 23, 2002 - 31 comments

NASA finds gravitational 'space freeway' that runs through solar system

NASA finds gravitational 'space freeway' that runs through solar system... Vorgon jokes aside, this could seriously reduce the amount of energy it takes to move around the solar system. [this is good]
posted by SpecialK on Jul 19, 2002 - 23 comments

'N Sync member Lance Bass

'N Sync member Lance Bass to be removed from the planet Earth, if only temporarily.
posted by bingo on Jul 10, 2002 - 20 comments

The engine canna take any more, captain!

The engine canna take any more, captain! So, we're going to ground the fleet. I guess our friends in the space station are just going to have to wait until NASA is done checking under the hood.
posted by dwivian on Jun 25, 2002 - 6 comments

The New Frontier-

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 - 12 comments

Next Thursday, NASA will announce the discovery of huge water ice oceans on Mars. Lying less than a metre beneath the surface south of 60° latitude, the water ice reservoirs if melted would form an ocean 500m deep covering the entire planet. NASA insiders believe these findings could result in a manned landing within 20 years.
posted by adrianhon on May 26, 2002 - 24 comments

The first images from the Advanced Camera for Surveys

The first images from the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope have been unveiled.
posted by homunculus on Apr 30, 2002 - 10 comments

Ebert: "Jason X sucks on the levels of storytelling, character development, suspense, special effects, originality, punctuation, neatness and aptness of thought."

Ebert: "Jason X sucks on the levels of storytelling, character development, suspense, special effects, originality, punctuation, neatness and aptness of thought."

Yeah, but it's in SPACE!
posted by NortonDC on Apr 26, 2002 - 26 comments

Space Station*,

Space Station*, the first 3D IMAX film, opens this week in the US, next week in the UK. Tom Cruise narrates. Hanks must have been busy.

(*Flash required)
posted by mr_crash_davis on Apr 16, 2002 - 6 comments

We should get to know our nearest neighbors. Especially when some are potentially hazardous. We've blown a kiss to 433 Eros and she has revealed some of her secrets.
posted by Geo on Apr 8, 2002 - 2 comments

Yuri's Night

Yuri's Night 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 - 9 comments

We are all made of stars.

We are all made of stars. And Moby knows it.
posted by susanlucci on Mar 28, 2002 - 6 comments

"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 - 37 comments

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