Red Star in Orbit is a three-part BBC documentary about the history of the Soviet space program, originally broadcast in 1990 as part of the ongoing series Horizon. Based on a book by American space historian and NASA vetran James Oberg, who features prominently in the program, Red Star in Orbit was filmed and assembled while the slow collapse of the USSR was already underway. The filmmakers were given an unprecedented amount of access to active Cosmonauts, veterans of the program and to Star City itself. [more inside]
A flight through the universe using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. [single-link APOD]
NASA commentary on Curiosity landing has just started, landing itself is expected two hours later, at 5:31 am UTC/10:31 pm PDT. [more inside]
Coming soon to a red planet near you, it's the Mars Science Laboratory! On Monday, August 6 at 05:31 UTC (other times around the world), NASA's Curiosity rover is expected to land on Mars in search of conditions suited to past or present Martian life. Live coverage begins on NASA TV at 03:30 UTC. But this mission has been years in the making, so if you have a little catching up to do... [more inside]
How Big is the Universe? Measured with a protractor. Lots of Pictures!!!
Views from the ISS at Night (Vimeo) - Knate Myers assembled this video from a series of time-lapse videos taken aboard the ISS. Plus, one of my favorite movie soundtracks! Naturally, go full-screen HD for best experience. [more inside]
Robbie is a short film assembled from NASA archive footage.
Un Petit plat pour l’Homme (A Small Dish For Man) is a cute animated short by Corentin Charron which looks at dining in space. [via]
Up-close with Atlantis. A photo gallery of Space Shuttle Atlantis, as it awaits decommissioning in the VAB.
In the late 1970s the UK's Anglia Television ran a respected weekly documentary series: Science Report. But when the show was cancelled in 1977, the producers decided to channel Orson Welles in their final episode. The result was Alternative 3. Over the course of the hour, the audience would learn that a Science Report investigation into the UK "brain drain" had uncovered shocking revelations: man-made pollution had resulted in catastrophic climate change, the Earth would soon be rendered uninhabitable, and a secret American / Soviet joint plan was in place to establish colonies on the Moon and Mars. The show ended with footage of a US/Soviet Mars landing from May 22, 1962. After Alternative 3 aired, thousands of panicked viewers phoned the production company and demanded to know how long they had left to change planets. [more inside]
Kelly Beatty of Sky & Telescope magazine has introduced the first entirely new Moon globe in 40 years using high-resolution data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC). You may know LROC as the satellite that showed us the remains of the Apollo missions (previously). One nice detail is that they got the Moon's asphalt-like color correct.
The U.S. Air Force's robotic X-37B space plane came back to Earth today (June 16) after 15 months in orbit on a mystery mission. [more inside]
China has announced it will launch Shenzhou-9 on Saturday morning at 6:37am EDT. The space mission will feature the country's first manned docking with Tiangong 1, a mini space station; the first Chinese woman to go into space, Liu Yang, and Jing Haipeng, the first taikonaut to venture into space twice.
Stunning video of the transit of Venus by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.
The United States Department of Defense has generously "decided to give NASA two telescopes as big as, and even more powerful than, the Hubble Space Telescope." They apparently had some antiquated spy satellite hardware sitting around unused and unwanted. NASA still needs to find money to outfit them with recording instruments and pay a team to manage them, which may take 8 years
Last week, I wrote about how urban trees—or the lack thereof—can reveal income inequality. After writing that article, I was curious, could I actually see income inequality from space? It turned out to be easier than I expected.
Science off the Sphere is a video series by Don Pettit aboard the ISS showing off the neat things you can do in zero-gravity. [more inside]
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich has put together the fantastic short video Measuring the Universe which briefly describes the different techniques used to allow us to calculate the vast distances to stellar objects in space. [via]
An Audience With Neil Armstrong is an hour long interview with Neil Armstrong about the moon landings from 2011, including a comparative view of footage from the Eagle's landing alongside Google Moon maps. [more inside]
SpaceX's Falcon9 rocket carrying Dragon capsule to dock with the ISS, has launched successfully. [more inside]
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon cargo capsule is scheduled to launch at 8:55 am UTC on Saturday, May 19, 2012 - a little less than 12 hours from now. [more inside]
One week ago, anonymous engineer "BTE Dan" put up a website called Build the Enterprise. He envisions a $1 trillion spaceship modeled on the USS Enterprise. There are highly detailed plans for constructing and funding it. It quickly spread all over the news to GizMag, DailyMail and other places. The BTE website is slow to load, while waiting why not Build the Starship Enterprise from useless office supplies.
In a recent episode of Mad Men titled "Lady Lazarus," Pete Campbell has an existential crisis when he sees a picture of the Earth from space, but were there color pictures of the whole Earth in October 1966? First some background... [more inside]
Farting and f-bombing on the Moon - Apollo 16. [SLYT] Houston: "Okay John. We have a hot mike." Commander John Young: "How long we had that?"
There's a little black spot on the sun today.... Venus transits the sun in June - it's a once-in-a-lifetime event for most of us. (Bonus song lyric links here and youtube here)
Chilling amateur home video of the Challenger disaster "Obviously a major malfunction." Those words have always haunted me, but to hear them here, echoing across a PA system as shocked onlookers come to terms with what they have just seen, they carry even more power than they did when they were just an anonymous voiceover on a TV shot.
Carl Sagan wrote, “We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.” But how will humans or our machine representatives fly to the stars? [more inside]
A new Seattle-base company called Planetary Resources (twitter), created by several billionaires, apparently has a lofty goal in mind ... to bring a 500-ton asteroid to Earth by 2025, for the purposes of mining its resources. And according to a recently released report (pdf) by CalTech, it's not all that outlandish an idea.
Watch an Interactive Simulation of the Solar System (SLYT) It's like watching God at work, and he's a software developer.
The Space Shuttle Discovery, known for launching the Hubble telescope, as well as being the workhorse of the fleet, made a final flight today. [more inside]
What is the Dzhanibekov effect? Known as the Tennis Racket theorem in English and documented by Vladimir Dzhanibekov in 1985 space, it is the result of unstable rotation about a principle axis.
"NASA is one of the few institutions I know that can inspire five-year-olds. It sure inspired me, and with this endeavor, maybe we can inspire a few more youth to invent and explore." An undersea expendition funded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has discovered the spent rocket engines used to power Apollo 11.
One of the neater aspects of astronomy is that amateurs often make significant contributions to the field. A few nights ago Wayne Jaeschke found a strange cloud feature in his Mars images. He posted his findings to the site Cloudy Nights. It created a bit of a buzz there, as well as the wider media, (even MSNBC!). It has also piqued the interest of the pros. Researchers working with the Mars Thermal Emission Imaging System onboard the Mars Odyssey spacecraft and the Mars Color Imager onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Observer are looking over their data to try to figure out exactly what it is they're seeing.
Orbiter Autopsies "What NASA will learn from dissecting Space Shuttles Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavour" before they transition into retirement. (From the May 2012 issue of Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine.)
"A space station is a serious place. We're doing serious research." Rovio and NASA further explore the classic avain-porcine rivalry (and microgravity) through a Space Act Agreement. Angry Birds: Space is launching today.
Auroras Underfoot is a short documentary about auroras by NASA, which uses high-definition images taken by International Space Station science officer Don Pettit of aurora from orbit. Pettit writes about the difficulties of taking photographs from orbit and other subjects on his blog.
Learning his return to Earth from the International Space Station might be delayed for possibly up to two months, NASA astronaut Ron Garan sings the blues from the Soyuz spacecraft that will take him home. Eventually. [more inside]