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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

"...all I could think was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful and yet again, wonderful"

Between August and October this year the crew of the ISS used a special low-light HD camera to visually capture the earth as it passed beneath them. The result, edited together by Michael König and set to music, is jaw-droppingly spectacular.

It may be redundant to tell you to set Vimeo to full-screen mode before playing, but do so - you won't regret it. Post intended as something of a sequel to this. Some related channels on Vimeo: The World In HD, HDTime, Slow Motion & Timelapse Theatre.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Nov 13, 2011 - 74 comments

Space Station Reboost

Physics! (SLYT via)
posted by curious nu on Nov 10, 2011 - 38 comments

To The Moon

To The Moon is a stunningly good game about death, love and memories. If you love games and you enjoy love stories, I highly urge you to download it and play it immediately. Here's a review, but you shouldn't read it. You should just play it. Warning: Have kleenex handy.
posted by empath on Nov 9, 2011 - 26 comments

Space fail?

Yesterday, Russia's first interplanetary mission in 15 years launched sucessfully from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It ran into serious problems almost immediately. In jeopardy are a sample return mission from the Martian satellite Phobos, The Planetary Society's Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment (LIFE), and China's Yinghuo-1 Mars orbiter.
posted by IvoShandor on Nov 9, 2011 - 40 comments

First Chinese space docking

The Divine Craft docked with the Space Palace on Wednesday, and no one said anything! Cmon space fans, this is the first Chinese space kiss!
posted by Tom-B on Nov 4, 2011 - 55 comments

We have to pay attention to the stupid stuff right in front of us.

Why not space? We've previously looked at Do The Math's assessment of energy use and economic growth. But could going to the stars allow us to escape?
posted by bitmage on Oct 27, 2011 - 31 comments

To me that’s backwards! Humans, Autochthony, Earth, and a home for us all at the end of the Universe.

Time lapse videos can be breathtaking, lovely, and a joy to watch… but they can also show you something you may not have thought about before. Before I even read the caption for Murray Fredericks’ video called "IRIDIUM", I knew it was filmed in the southern hemisphere. Can you guess how? [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Oct 23, 2011 - 14 comments

NASA's new ride

NASA is designing a spiffy new rocket, the Space Launch System, which will lob people and cargo to the moon, an asteroid and eventually Mars. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 20, 2011 - 92 comments

We see the Earth, now.

On September 30, 2011 at 11:08am, Derek Deville's Qu8k (pronounced "Quake") launched from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to an altitude of 121,000' before returning safely to earth. Above 99% of the atmosphere the sky turns black in the middle of the day and the curvature of the earth is clearly visible. Direct video links inside. [more inside]
posted by lazaruslong on Oct 10, 2011 - 25 comments

Astronauts who got creative about their experiences

Over 500 people have traveled into outer space. While many have written books about the experience, only a few have used more creative means to express what they saw and felt. Here are a few: [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 9, 2011 - 13 comments

Big Dumb Objects

Chris Foss: The Joy of Starships (More Chris Foss here)
posted by Artw on Oct 1, 2011 - 35 comments

Bioshock

Scientist and Science Fiction author Joan Slonczewski, author of A Door Into The Ocean, guest blogs about science fictional and microbiology on Charles Stross's site: Salt Beings, Microbes grow the starship, Synthetic Babies
posted by Artw on Sep 30, 2011 - 13 comments

Apollo 11, as seen through Google Moon

The descent of the Apollo 11, plotted with Google Moon Pictures from the actual moon landing side-by-side with Google Earth, as the lander descends. [via]
Also, try the Google Earth KML file for the Apollo 11 landing.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike on Sep 28, 2011 - 22 comments

"And the Cadillac of rovers is not far behind...."

Martian Life's Last Stand in the Trenches? "Scientists have found water-bearing deposits on Mars that are out of step with what was happening elsewhere on the planet, raising the prospect that the sites could have hosted Martian life's last stand."
posted by Fizz on Sep 28, 2011 - 27 comments

Moon Camera's Missing Instructions

It's probably too late to take your Hasselblad aboard a Space Shuttle, but if the opportunity arises, read the Astronaut's Photography Manual (PDF) and you might capture photos like this one. Previously.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Sep 26, 2011 - 9 comments

Walt Disney's "The Black Hole"

To paraphrase a character in the film, The Black Hole walks "a tightrope;" if not between "genius" and "insanity," then certainly between "genius" and "banality". If you're looking at this movie as a Manichean exercise between darkness and light, then you can -- for at least a few hours -- entertain the "genius" part of that equation.
posted by Trurl on Sep 25, 2011 - 106 comments

How many people traveled on the space shuttle?

How many people flew on the Space Shuttle?
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 21, 2011 - 35 comments

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

The secretive NRO celebrated 50 years of spying from space with a one-day surprise public exhibition of a just-declassified KH-9 Hexagon "Big Bird" imaging satellite. Between 1963 and 1986, a constellation of KH-7 Gambit, KH-8 Gambit 3, and KH-9 Hexagon satellites, all revealed after a half-century of secrecy, returned high-resolution film exposures of Cold War targets from orbit by parachute.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Sep 19, 2011 - 49 comments

Fly me to the moons of Saturn

Carolyn Porco is the leader of the Imaging Team on the Cassini-Huygens mission. Watch as she extolls the wonders and discovery about two of Saturn's most interesting moons, Titan and Enceladus. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 18, 2011 - 25 comments

ver·tig·i·nous

How does it feel to fly over planet Earth from the perspective of the ISS? A timelapse movie by James Drake, compiled from pictures drawn from the incredible Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Place the video in HD and fullscreen for the full effect. via [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Sep 17, 2011 - 29 comments

New photos of several Apollo landing sites

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken new photos of the landing sites of Apollo 12, 14 and 17. Almost 40 years after the missions, the tracks made by the astronauts and the Lunar Rover are still visible.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 6, 2011 - 74 comments

Dark Matter Haters to the Left

When we talk about dark matter and its alternatives, we are talking about no less a task than explaining the structure of every large object in the Universe. On the largest scales dark matter blows all of its competitors away. In terms of explaining the large-scale structure of the Universe, not a single one of dark matter's alternatives comes close to mirroring its success. But of course, that doesn't stop the sensationalist headlines from rolling in. We are understandably uncomfortable with the notion that we are not the most important thing in the Universe. We've just successfully figured out where the new material to form the Milky Way's young stars is coming from: high-velocity intergalactic gas clouds! About a Sun's worth of gas falls into the Milky Way (on average) every year, and this resupplies the Milky Way's gas reserves, which get eaten up as new stars form over billions of years. But what about the other, larger mystery? What about reproducing the structure of the Milky Way itself?
posted by 2manyusernames on Sep 5, 2011 - 17 comments

Time Lapse Video From Hubble

Incredible, stunning, beautiful and humbling. Time lapse videos from Hubble.
posted by pashdown on Sep 1, 2011 - 35 comments

What humans are doing in space these days

Hey, remember the ISS, that space station the Space Shuttle helped build before the shuttle was retired? Turns out humans might have to vacate that nifty space station for a bit. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 30, 2011 - 93 comments

Stars

Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life finished today. Promises of new projects and a print version by December have been made. [more inside]
posted by jeffamaphone on Aug 20, 2011 - 12 comments

The man who killed Pluto doesn't DESERVE those sweaters!

FOX has greenlit an update of Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (on Hulu, previously) co-produced by Sagan's widow Ann Druyan and Seth MacFarlane, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, which will air in Fall 2013. [more inside]
posted by Apropos of Something on Aug 5, 2011 - 95 comments

Water water everywhere

NASA May Have Discovered Flowing Water on Mars Dark, finger-like features appear and extend down some Martian slopes during late spring through summer, fade in winter, and return during the next spring. Repeated observations have tracked the seasonal changes in these recurring features on several steep slopes in the middle latitudes of Mars' southern hemisphere.
posted by modernnomad on Aug 4, 2011 - 65 comments

It is 50/50: Either they do or they dont

Are We Alone In the Universe? New Analysis Says Maybe. In a new paper published on arXiv.org, astrophysicist David Spiegel at Princeton University and physicist Edwin Turner at the University of Tokyo argue...using a statistical method called Bayesian reasoning...that the life here on Earth could be common, or it could be extremely rare — there's no reason to prefer one conclusion over the other. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jul 28, 2011 - 111 comments

We Could've Had The Moon

Tim Kreider writes a little essay comparing the Moon and Afghanistan.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 23, 2011 - 50 comments

All space shuttle missions, in 8 minutes.

All space shuttle missions, in 8 minutes. (SLYT)
posted by Zarkonnen on Jul 22, 2011 - 13 comments

Time to update your moon charts for the solar system.

Pluto may have been downsized in 2006, but it's still living large, moon wise: A fourth moon has been discovered orbiting the dwarf planet.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 20, 2011 - 82 comments

Dawn orbits Vesta

Dawn spacecraft now orbits asteroid Vesta - After almost 4 years of space travel, the Dawn spacecraft successfully entered orbit around Vesta, an Arizona sized rock. Dawn tweets, takes pictures, and there is a Vesta Fiesta party to celebrate. After hanging out at Vesta for a year, Dawn will head off to visit the Ceres asteroid next, a three year trip. Amazing achievement of engineering, innovation and accuracy.
posted by Argyle on Jul 17, 2011 - 42 comments

The grooviest frontier.

Space: 1975!
posted by loquacious on Jul 16, 2011 - 43 comments

Jebediah Kerman is unfazed by his impending fiery death.

Fancy yourself a rocket scientist? Want to build rockets and shoot little green guys into space? Comfortable with your rocket flying apart and exploding into a thousand fiery pieces? Able to press the space bar? Try Kerbal Space Program. [more inside]
posted by Lord_Pall on Jul 16, 2011 - 26 comments

It's SOHOt

On July 5th the SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured video of a comet, known as a sungrazer, in route to collide with our star. SOHO is equipped with an occluding coronograph that blocks direct sunlight and reveals the corona, but also prevents direct study of the terminal impact of sungrazers. But on July 6th, with the help of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), astronomers were able to observe the comet (slyt) streaking in front of the surface of the sun for the first time in history. It likely disintegrated before impact due to extreme heat and radiation.
posted by troll on Jul 8, 2011 - 18 comments

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