A five-part series on the ultimate limit on technology, and how that limit could help us find other civilizations: 1 2 3 4 5 [via]
The Man who Fell to Earth was Nicholas Roeg's Sci-fi classic featuring a fragile cocaine addicted David Bowie, between his Thin White Duke days and his Berlin trilogy, as a homesick alien falling into despair. Years later Duncan Jones - AKA Zowie Bowie, subject of a sentimental song on Hunky Dory - would make a Sci-Fi film of his own with similar themes of isolation.
Nefertiti, the jumping space spider, has died. Neffi (whose name means "the chosen one") apparently adapted from the typical hunting behavior of a redback jumping spider to that of her microgravity environment, "sidling up to her prey instead of leaping onto it". [more inside]
Voyager One, the furthest man made object from earth, recently entered the boundary between the heliosphere and interstellar space. Scientists from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have nicknamed this boundary area the Magnetic Highway.
In 1964, Zambia joined the Space Race with help from Edward Makuka Nkoloso, an enthusiastic, if overly optimistic, primary school teacher (partial transcript, video very much of its time). Though the rocket never left Lusaka, and there was never any real support from either the Zambian government or UNESCO, Nkoloso's project caught the imagination of Spanish artist Cristina de Middel in her short film, The Afronauts. Middel explains, "The images are beautiful and the story is pleasant at a first level, but it is built on the fact that nobody believes that Africa will ever reach the moon. It hides a very subtle critique to our position towards the whole continent and our prejudices. It's just like saying strong words with a beautiful smile." via.
We taught it everything we know, we did everything we could for it. But now it has to find its own path.
Mars Curiosity Rover. A short film by Dan Winters, narrated by members of the team that sent Curiosity on its way. [more inside]
What would combat in space really be like?
Don Pettit, famed International Space Station photographer, gives an interesting talk at Luminance 2012 about the opportunities and difficulties of shooting aboard a space station.
Camilla the rubber chicken is the child of a chicken and an extra-terrestrial visitor (whose name is being concealed for legal and safety issues)." After a sad childhood in the circus, Camilla joined the Heliophysics team at NASA and befriended Little SDO, the satellite component of the the Solar Dynamics Observatory. In her capacity as SDO mascot and astrochick, Camilla flew into space with Little SDO, flew into a solar radiation storm, continues to monitor space weather, and is training for a trip to the International Space Station alongside astronaut Lt. Commaner Wiseman. Camilla also participates in science outreach and education programs, and she's currently in Australia, preparing to run the solar eclipe marathon! [more inside]
On November 3 1957, Лайка, also known as Laika The Space Dog is launched into orbit around the planet earth. A small mongrel chosen for her patient temper, the Soviet Space Program gloried in her achievement, but when she was sent into space, there was no plan in place for a proper re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. When pressed for details, the USSR media eventually claimed that she was peacefully euthanized with drugged food after six days in orbit. Documents released years later revealed that after six hours and four orbits, she died from a faulty heat-shield malfunction. Her spacecraft disintegrated five months later... But what if Laika didn’t die? [more inside]
The Last Pictures. In Billions of Years, Aliens Will Find These Photos in a Dead Satellite. Interview with artist Trevor Paglen (previously).
In case you felt that your week was missing an interview of Carl Sagan by Sidney Poitier during the 1989 Voyager Neptune encounter, you're welcome. [more inside]
Derek Smart has been making games for over 20 years. He sold his first games in plastic baggies at hobby stores. Yet his longevity is somewhat of an anachronism. Many gamers today don't even know who is is, in spite of the fact that his games have sold well enough to keep his company in business since 1992. And the games themselves, well they're mostly terrible. Especially his first, Battlecruiser 3000AD. The Verge takes an in-depth look at the hotheaded perfectionist millionaire game developer whose impenetrable, terminally overhyped games sparked one of the most legendary flamewars in internet history.
Sarah Brightman, multi-million selling singer, actress and songwriter, has taken her medical and will soon start training to become the 7th or 8th 'Space Tourist', visiting the ISS in 2015. [more inside]
SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday morning, after a slightly problematic launch on Sunday. Following on the successful test flight in May, this mission marks the first official supply run to the ISS by a private company. [more inside]
Iain M. Banks, Alastair Reynolds, and Peter F. Hamilton discuss their books with fans (video). The Hydrogen Sonata, the 10th of Bank's Culture books, will be released October 12th, read the first chapter here. Meanwhile it's 20 years since Reynolds first started work on Revelation Space.
All evidence is pointing to the fact that Voyager I has left our solar system. New data from the spacecraft, which I will discuss below, indicate Voyager 1 may have exited the solar system for good. If true, this would mark a truly historic moment for the human race — sending a spacecraft beyond the edge of our home solar system
.... .. -.. . -. .. .-- .- -.- .- (HI DE NIWAKA) If you see something flashing in the sky and it flashes with that morse sequence, it's not an UFO. It's the small (10cm cube) cubesat FITSAT-1 greeting us from the space with powerful LED morse flashes.
The satellite man is typically young, with an entrepreneur’s zeal and a sense of adventure, often from the mercantile district of South Tehran, trained by colleagues in the black-market niche of satellite TV installation...
Atomic Rockets is chock full of stuff to tickle the imagination of anyone who has enjoyed science fiction accounts of space travel. You can move your cursor over the "Show topic list" button in the top right corner of the page and start exploring.
In 2005, the Discovery Channel aired Alien Worlds, a fictional documentary based on Wayne Douglas Barlowe's graphic novel, Expedition: Being an Account in Words and Artwork of the 2358 A.D. Voyage to Darwin IV." Depicting mankind's first robotic mission to an extrasolar planet that could support life, the show drew from NASA's Origins Program, the NASA/JPL PlanetQuest Mission, and ESA's Darwin Project. It was primarily presented through CGI, but included interviews from a variety of NASA scientists and other experts, including Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, John Craig Venter and Jack Horner. Oh, and George Lucas, too. Official site. Previously on MeFi. [more inside]
Our home food dispenser broke and I had to wait 20 seconds at the check out counter, such inefficiency.
50 years of The Jestons and Why the show still matters. It was September 23, 1962 when ABC aired the first episode of The Jetsons. This was ABC's first color program and while it only lasted a single season, its impact, influence, and popularity is still felt today. Many of the predictions portrayed in the series are coming true.
Photos of the Flight Deck (cockpit) of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, fully powered for one of the final times, by young former NASA photographer Ben Cooper
Boojum, a spacefaring Cthulhu Mythos story run through the filter of Lewis Carroll by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear (Interview). A sequel in the same universe, Mongoose, Appeared in the Ellen Datlow edited anthology Lovecraft Unbound. An audio of Mongoose is available at the Drabblecast (part 1, part 2), as well as a further sequel, The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward (part 1, part 2)
Over at Make Blog, Sean Ragan has after years of search dug up a copy of the Rockwell International Integrated Space Plan from 1989. It's now scanned and downloadable for your enjoyment.
"It's horrible to see smoke pouring from wounds in your own country from such a fantastic vantage point." Astronaut Frank Culbertson's reflections as he orbited the Earth on Sept. 11th, 2001.
The fine people over at the International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum talk knots. On Mars.
A cold autumn day was dawning as the German soldiers of the Altenwalde Versuchskommando prepared their V2 rocket for launch. They'd done this a hundred times before, but when the V2 finally roared up into the sky over the North Sea, the men of the AVKO couldn't help but smile and cheer. Soon the rest of the soldiers and officers around the launchpad were cheering as well. British officers and soldiers. Because this was Operation Backfire, the beginning of something that most people don't even know existed - the British Space Programme. [more inside]
The physics of how cats flip their bodies to land feet first also allows spacecraft to turn. Flipping cats [previously] is interesting. It's even more interesting if your dad works at NASA and you have access to people who use flipping-cat physics to make spacecraft turn in space.
Google brings its Street View cameras into the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is their largest special Street View collection to date: 6000 panoramic images, including the Apollo 14 module, the Vehicle Assembly Building, Launch Firing Room #4 and Space Shuttle Orbiters Atlantis and Endeavour. Intro Video. (Via) [more inside]
"... with the break-up of the Soviet Union, Baikonour, now part of Kazakhstan, had to be leased by Russia from the Kazakh government, and suddenly looks less and less like a long term solution to the future of space exploration."
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]