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Space Shuttle Discovery arrives at its new home

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]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 17, 2012 - 55 comments

A snack of classical mechanics

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.
posted by Algebra on Apr 6, 2012 - 21 comments

Outta the way HAL, humans have work to do

Why Space Exploration Is a Job for Humans.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 4, 2012 - 83 comments

I am zucchini - and I am in space.

Bloggernaut Don Pettit brings you Astro-Z in Zero-G: The Diary of a Space Zucchini.
posted by Laminda on Apr 3, 2012 - 4 comments

To the ocean, Alice!

"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.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 29, 2012 - 59 comments

For once, clouds are a good thing

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.
posted by dirigibleman on Mar 24, 2012 - 18 comments

That German that sent Americans to the Moon

Remembering Wernher von Braun on his 100th Birthday.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 24, 2012 - 85 comments

Dissecting OV's 103, 104 and 105.

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.)
posted by zarq on Mar 23, 2012 - 13 comments

"One small fling for a bird, one quantum leap for birdkind."

"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.
posted by obscurator on Mar 22, 2012 - 21 comments

Video of aurora from orbit

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.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 19, 2012 - 6 comments

Got The Space Station Blues, with apologies to musicians everywhere

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]
posted by nickyskye on Mar 19, 2012 - 62 comments

Introducing Dotsies: The Space-Saving Font

Introducing Dotsies: The Space-Saving Font
posted by Confess, Fletch on Mar 16, 2012 - 69 comments

Skywalker Sound

Beautiful HD video, with enhanced sound, of STS-117 and STS-127 booster rockets launching and returning to Earth . Previously.
posted by swift on Mar 15, 2012 - 29 comments

Looking for life in all the wrong places

Any Sufficiently Advanced Civilization is Indistinguishable from Nature.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 8, 2012 - 50 comments

"Any nation, at any time, has the capacity to create a hero."

Neil deGrasse Tyson gives testimony on March 7, 2012 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (Majority member page) (Minority member page) Eight minutes of speech followed by questioning and response. [more inside]
posted by lazaruslong on Mar 8, 2012 - 80 comments

Can we go Dad, can we?!

Making the Case for Human Missions to Asteroids
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 7, 2012 - 26 comments

Taller than a HiRISE

Just a photo of a half-mile tall Martian dust devil, snapped by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Mar 7, 2012 - 13 comments

Bright lights, big galaxy.

Phil Plait (previously) writes about asteroid 2011 AG5.
posted by curious nu on Mar 6, 2012 - 24 comments

Back again, in 1/128 size.

A Space Shuttle flies again.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 4, 2012 - 24 comments

1,000 new worlds

NASA has announced that the latest Kepler data dump contains 1,091 extrasolar planet candidates, with 196 Earth-sized planets among them. The data shows "a clear trend toward smaller planets at longer orbital periods is evident with each new catalog release. This suggests that Earth-size planets in the habitable zone are forthcoming if, indeed, such planets are abundant." Total Kepler candidates as of February 27, 2012: 2,321. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Mar 1, 2012 - 44 comments

A (potentially) not so sunny day

Earth Faces 12% Chance of "Catastrophic Solar Megastorm" by 2020 The last gigantic solar storm, known as the Carrington Event, occurred more than 150 years ago and was the most powerful such event in recorded history. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Feb 29, 2012 - 75 comments

"That orbed maiden, with white fire laden, / Whom mortals call the moon."

""The moon is actually expanding or stretching and being pulled apart in some small areas and by a little bit," [CBC.ca] New evidence suggests that the moon, once thought to be geologically cold and dead, is still stretching and contracting on its surface.
posted by Fizz on Feb 26, 2012 - 27 comments

paint your own nebula

Paint your own nebula
posted by rebent on Feb 25, 2012 - 24 comments

"That View Is Tremendous"

Fifty years ago today, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. In an recent interview, he lamented the decline of the manned US space program: "It's unseemly to me that here we are, supposedly the world's greatest space-faring nation, and we don't even have a way to get back and forth to our own International Space Station." [more inside]
posted by dsfan on Feb 20, 2012 - 80 comments

"A situation in many respects similar to ours"

For a time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was erroneously believed that there were canals on Mars.
Maps of the Martian canals. List of Martian Canals. Historical Globes of the Red Planet.
A modern perspective. The Planet Mars: A History of Observation and Discovery .
posted by timshel on Feb 12, 2012 - 26 comments

Tobe Hooper's "Lifeforce"

... it’s no exaggeration to say that LIFEFORCE tosses everything in but the kitchen in an attempt to entertain you. Actually, scratch that, it tosses everything including the kitchen sink. By the time the movie is complete, you may have to watch it again just to verify that you actually saw what you just saw. The movie is a mess of enormous proportions which I absolutely loved.* (previously) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 6, 2012 - 59 comments

Goddamn that's beautiful

The Blue Marble is a famous photograph of Earth, taken by the crew of Apollo 17 on December 7th 1972, as they traveled to the moon. On January 23th, 2012, the Suomi NPP satellite snapped a similar, high definition photo, called Blue Marble 2012. By sure to check out the other side of the Marble, how the photos were taken and a PDF that describes the NPP project.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Feb 3, 2012 - 22 comments

Space Stallions!

Space Stallions! A 2012 bachelor film project from The Animation Workshop. More epic than epic. More 80s than the 80s ever were. (slyt)
posted by jazon on Feb 1, 2012 - 36 comments

Astronomical Cat Removal

Meet Brant Widgeon, an Astronomical Image Enhancement Engineer. This short video goes into the steps he takes to clean up the images taken of space. One of the most technically difficult parts of Brant's job, however, is dealing with space cats.
posted by routergirl on Jan 31, 2012 - 11 comments

Is the Earth getting lighter?

Is the Earth getting lighter? BBC Radio's More or Less ("the mathematical icing on the cake of life") talks to some of the Naked Scientists from Cambridge about whether the Earth is gaining or losing mass, revealing some surprising and interesting facts.
posted by philipy on Jan 31, 2012 - 12 comments

Apollo 18

Is Newt Gingrich’s plan for a moon mine science fiction? The technology may be in place, but is there any reason to go?
posted by Artw on Jan 27, 2012 - 178 comments

One Giant Leap For Tiny Plastic Mankind

A pair of Toronto high school students sent a Lego man into space two weeks ago. [more inside]
posted by mhoye on Jan 25, 2012 - 31 comments

The tiniest star system

Astronomers using data from NASA's Kepler mission have discovered the three smallest planets yet detected orbiting a star beyond our sun. The planets orbit a single star, called KOI-961, and are 0.78, 0.73 and 0.57 times the radius of Earth. The smallest is about the size of Mars.
posted by IvoShandor on Jan 11, 2012 - 29 comments

In Soviet Russia, Mars travels to you

The utopian Mars fiction of Soviet Russia
posted by Artw on Jan 11, 2012 - 8 comments

High resolution scans from the US Gemini space program

On Jan. 6, the NASA Johnson Space Center and the School of Earth and Space Exploration unveiled the Project Gemini Online Digital Archive. The archive contains the first high-resolution digital scans of the original flight films from the US Gemini space program.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 10, 2012 - 13 comments

OpenCode

Today, NASA goes open source with its code, joining endeavours such as SpaceHack [previously], WorldWind and (for more worldly coders) Github, GoogleCode, and the venerable SourceForge.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jan 8, 2012 - 11 comments

HOLY SH*T MAN WALKS ON F**KING MOON

At one point, Stafford recognized a landmark crater, Censorinus A. He was momentarily distracted by the dramatic shadows and giant boulders surrounding the crater. “I’ve got Censorinus A right here,” he said out loud to the world, “bigger than shit!” A shocked reporter listening to the transmission in mission control turned to astronaut Jack Schmitt. “What did Colonel Stafford just say?” Thinking quickly, Schmitt covered for his colleague and replied “He said, ‘Oh, there’s Censorinus… bigger than Schmitt!’”

How not to swear on the moon, and other fun facts from Vintage Space.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jan 6, 2012 - 21 comments

X-37B spaceplane spying on Chinese space station?

In March last year, the unmanned X-37B US military spaceplane launched from Cape Canaveral on mission USA-226, to "demonstrate various experiments", sensors and technology. Its original 270 day mission was extended in November "as circumstances allow" for "additional experimentation opportunities", but a dedicated group of optical tracking specialists in the US and Europe believe that the X-37B is in fact spying on the Chinese space station Tiangong-1. [more inside]
posted by adrianhon on Jan 5, 2012 - 59 comments

"We Stopped Dreaming"

King of the Cosmos (A Profile of Neil deGrasse Tyson) by Carl Zimmer. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 3, 2012 - 20 comments

"Without your space helmet, Dave, you're going to find that rather difficult."

Human Exposure to Vacuum
posted by troll on Dec 28, 2011 - 74 comments

The universe, Carl Sagan, a golden record, chance and love

Click the photo at the top of the linked page to view The Voyagers, a rumination on the universe, love, a golden record and two small space probes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 26, 2011 - 4 comments

Best Of 2011: Space and Astronomy

Timelapse of the Year: an awe-inspiring trailer for the movie TimeScapes by Tom Lowe (full 4K version on YouTube/MP4 direct link). (Previously)
Rover Newcomer: Where In The Solar System is Curiosity?
Astronomy Photographer of the Year. The Top 24 Deep Space Pictures of 2011Top 14 Solar System PhotosTop 16 Space Photos.  (Images of a million-light-year long collision of galaxy clusters and a “stellar snow angel” didn’t make the cut, but should have).
Discovery of the Year: Opportunity uncovers conclusive proof that water flowed on Mars.
Astronomy Animation of the year: a zoom to the center of the Milky Way, and the supermassive black hole that is feeding there.
Lifetime Achievement: The Known Universe, a stunning three-minute zoom from the peak of the Himalayas to the edge of the cosmos, finally available in HD. (Previously).
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Dec 15, 2011 - 6 comments

SpaceShipTwo

The team that won the X-Prize in partnership with SpaceX, goes orbital
posted by Long Way To Go on Dec 13, 2011 - 29 comments

Other earths, circling different suns

The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog is a database of the planets outside our solar system which are considered the most suitable for life according to certain steps and metrics. So far 16 have been identified as possible candidates. This Guardian article is a good introduction. You can also just dive into the catalogue, which ranks planets on two main scales, similarity to Earth and surface habitability (note that all images are computer renderings). The catalog is a project of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at University of Puerto Rico in Arecibo (home to the world's largest radiotelescope).
posted by Kattullus on Dec 5, 2011 - 42 comments

We got some right, some not so right.

"They may well do it." [The Guardian] Sir Arthur C Clarke predicted in a lost BBC interview that the Russians would win the space race by landing the first man on the moon in 1968, probably on the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. Arthur C Clarke on The Sky at Night – video.
posted by Fizz on Dec 2, 2011 - 38 comments

SPACE FIRE!

Fire tests on the International Space Station are showing some really neat results, including that fire can burn in microgravity at lower temperatures and with less oxygen. Video included at the link. [more inside]
posted by odinsdream on Dec 1, 2011 - 23 comments

Mars or bust!

Curiosity launched today and is on its way to Mars!
posted by Tom-B on Nov 26, 2011 - 60 comments

Fabric of the Cosmos

Brian Greene's Fabric of the Cosmos is online in its entirety on NOVA's website, in four one-hour episodes. Time, Space, Quantum Mechanics, Multiverses.
posted by empath on Nov 26, 2011 - 32 comments

SciGuy Eric Berger

One of my favorite blogs happens to be local to me. Eric Berger, the Houston Chronicle's "SciGuy" usually reports on the weather. But he also posts entertaining and serious stuff as well. [more inside]
posted by PapaLobo on Nov 22, 2011 - 3 comments

What Are These Mysterious Lines In China's Desert?

Some Google Earth enthusiasts have found a strange and unexplainable grid pattern in the middle of China's Gobi Desert.
posted by reenum on Nov 14, 2011 - 70 comments

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