Several months ago, Bill Rankin of Radical Cartography (previously and previouslier) created an astronomical calendar of events for New Haven, Connecticut, where he lives, featuring all of the inexorable rhythms of the Solar System in one handy PNG file. Now you can create such a calendar for any location on the planet, with information as basic as the hours of daylight or as esoteric as the tilt of Saturn's rings, all lovingly rendered in soothing translucent pastels. [more inside]
Space Stasis - What the strange persistence of rockets can teach us about innovation. By Neal Stephenson.
Amateur radio gets stick for being home to a lot of reactionary weird old buffers. How true. Many are put off by this. And that's a crying shame... [more inside]
Challenger . . . . go with throttle up. Twenty-five years ago today the U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into the 25th space shuttle flight. The reports (pdf) tell us of O-Ring failures. Today, we remember one of the most tragic days in the history of the U.S. manned spaceflight program. Today, January 28, 2011, we remember: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe.
The Voyager I spacecraft, 33 years into its mission, "has outrun the solar wind" and is exiting the solar system. This nice article explains what this means, and has a bunch of wonderful details and interviews with the original mission scientists. [more inside]
Visceral Games launches a very innovative ad campaign for their upcoming game, "Dead Space 2". The second installment of the Dead Space series is set to come out January 25th of this year. In what seems to be a final ditch effort to build some last minute hype, the producers have started an interesting ad campaign. [more inside]
Weightless Cats and other fun experiments. An excerpt from from coverage of research at the Aerospace Medical Division Hq 657Oth Aerospace Medical Research Laboratories including scenes of F-104 seat ejection; drop tests from C-130 and ejection from F-106; effects of weightlessness on cats and pigeons in a C-131; test subjects in water tank, on centrifuge, in heat chamber and on complex coordinator. Also, scenes of vertical deceleration tower, incline impact test facility, vertical accelerator, equilibrium chair and vibration platform. More videos can be found at Airboyd.tv: Accident Animations, Aviation Films, Military Flight Training Films, and Space Shuttle Vidoes.
"The theme of this blog is not only and obviously space, but in particular places in space that a person might theoretically be able to one day visit. So for the most part, nebula, galaxies and the like are not a part of this forum. I tend to focus on “terrestrial” places or places that host such places. I suppose I would like to find out more about these places that we may one day inhabit or simply visit."
Hat tip to Nice Guy Mike!
Hat tip to Nice Guy Mike!
Slate says putting more than one space between sentences is "totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong." Microsoft's Bill Hall agrees. LaTex does not. The American Psychological Association used to agree but has changed its mind. The exhaustive Wikipedia article on sentence spacing has a predictably prickly discussion page.
One of the most enduring mysteries in solar physics is why the Sun's outer atmosphere, or corona, is millions of degrees hotter than its surface. - Now scientists believe they have discovered a major source of hot gas that replenishes the corona
Cosmic Journeys is a documentary series on various astronomical and space-related subjects, e.g. supermassive black holes, Apollo 12, whether the universe is infinite and many more. The creators, SpaceRip have a lot of other, shorter videos online as well. They are indexed here. Most, if not all, of the videos are available in HD.
A space wardrobe - images of the National Air and Space Museum’s collection of spacesuits from throughout the history of American space exploration.
"I can sense stars, and their whispers amid the roaring of our own Sun." So goes one poetic status of the Voyager 2 twitterfeed, which appeals to my sense of wonder like nothing else on the internet. Interstellar space probes and microblogging go hand in hand in the 21st Century.
Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight! "A rare event not seen in 372 years will occur early Tuesday morning, when a total lunar eclipse coincides with the winter solstice."
The most detailed photo of the surface of the sun looks like this. It was taken by the team at CA's Big Bear Solar Observatory. They have some other neat images of our nearest star at their website. [more inside]
Dmitar Sasselov is an astrophysicist, Director of the Origins of Life Initiative at Harvard and a co-investigator of the Kepler space telescope project to find Earth-like planets around the Cygnus constellation and discover extraterrestrial life. But no matter how successful the Kepler project may be, it still won't answer the most fundamental questions of astrobiology: How diverse is life in the universe? If alien life exists, will it have Earthly DNA and proteins? Or will it run on something else? So Dr. Sasselov has decided to collaborate with two synthetic biologists, asking them to create a life form based on mirror-image versions of what we know as the essential building blocks of living things on Earth. [more inside]
A hot carbon-rich gas giant exoplanet, WASP-12b, has been discovered. As the lead author of the paper being published today, Nikku Madhusudhan, says: ""This planet reveals the astounding diversity of worlds out there". In particular, the discovery supports theories that there are likely to be planets made of diamond and graphite out there.
How is it possible for an individual to build a planetarium? In most cases it is impossible. One must first truly love the beauty of the night sky and be willing to share that love with others. Wisconsin Man Builds Planetarium in His Backyard. [more inside]
"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. " -- Douglas Adams [more inside]
ARTSAT Internet Radio uses SuperCollider and telemetry data from the PRiSM picosatellite to make music. The satellite weighs only 1kg and measures 10cm on each edge of its cubic body. (Google translation • direct radio link for your audio player)
Built as part of the fifth /dev/fort developer retreat, Spacelog.org allows you to explore early space missions via the original NASA transcripts. Currently live are Mercury 6 which made John Glenn the first American in orbit, and the 'successful failure' Apollo 13 (The transcribed key moment and the original). Alongside the transcripts are supporting materials from the NASA archives including photography and descriptions of the mission phases. The developers are looking for help to digitise the Gemini 7, Apollo 8 and Apollo 11 missions.
The Galaxy Garden is a 100-foot diameter outdoor scale model of the Milky Way, mapped in living plants and flowers and based on current astrophysical data. [more inside]
Did you know that there's an art museum on the moon? A tiny, tiny one. The Moon Museum features works by Forrest "Frosty" Myers (the instigator), Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, David Novros, and John Chamberlain, inscribed on a little chip of silicon and surreptitiously transported to the moon's surface on the Apollo 12 mission. But of course there's a mystery, in this big of a secret: who is John F., the engineer at least partially responsible for smuggling the chip onboard the lunar lander? Related: other stuff people have left on the Moon (!)
Order your 1:1 scale replica Space Shuttle model today! (Shipping not included. Replica will not fly)
Wired has selected a few of their favourite "enhanced" images of Earth taken by the Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 satellites. [more inside]
One small step for a robot, one giant leap for robot-kind... but not yet. The Robonaut R2 (sic) will have to wait at least another three weeks, as the final mission of Space Shuttle Discovery is delayed.
“There’s a certain exuberance that comes from being out there on the edge of technology, where things are not certain, where there is some risk, and where you make something work.” Joseph Gavin Jr., an MIT-trained engineer and director of the Apollo 11 lunar module program for Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, died on Saturday. A few quotes from Joe about the program's complexity via an old Popular Mechanics article are nice, but this more complete interview providing some fascinating insights on the process and the culture and just how much went into the lunar lander program, from an engineer's perspective, is fantastic.
We are nearing the end of a golden age of astronomy as more than a dozen space observatories reach their end of life in a few years. The only replacement on the horizon is the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2014. Due to its enormous complexity and ever-rising costs, the JWST has starved other projects of funding. The fate of an entire generation of cosmologists and astrophysicists rests on its success.
Communist Space Babies. Title says it all, really. The tags were pretty easy too.
"Star Trek: First Contact gave John Eaves the opportunity of a lifetime when his boss Herman Zimmerman asked him to design a new starship Enterprise. As he recalls, he was determined that the new ship would be sleek, fast, and muscular. " Designing the Enterprise NCC-1701-E from FSD: Starship Concept Art
The 2010 Brooklyn Space Program. Here is Luke Geissbuhler's homemade spacecraft. It is made of awesome.
Astronomers have found the first exoplanet within the "habitable" band around a star, or within the distance band around a start that would allow for liquid water. The planet is roughly 3 times the size of the Earth and orbits red dwarf Gliese 581 every 36.6 days at a distance of about 13 million miles.
Gravitational wave detectors: the universe ripples, they listen. These detectors (LIGO, GE600, TAMA300, AIGO) are listening for the gravitation waves: black holes spinning and colliding, or neutron stars inspiralling to their final fates in a black hole. [more inside]
The Island by Peter Watts (previously), winner of this years Hugo Award for Best Novelette. An audio version is available over at StarShipSofa (previously), itself a Hugo recipient.
Time lapse footage of Earth taken by Don Pettit during his time on the International Space Station. [more inside]
Jack Horkheimer, host of "Star Gazer" (formerly known as "Star Hustler") has died. See this excellent post on Horkheimer's work.
Space Settlements collects various resources relating to the human colonisation of space: online books (including NASA studies from 1975, 1977 and 1992), a contest for schoolkids (so NASA can steal their ideas, natch), but most importantly, kitschy 70s pictures of proposed space colonies (toroidal, spherical, OR cylindrical!).
Road to the Stars (Doroga k Zvezdam, 1958) was a remarkable Soviet documentary about the future of space exploration, directed by the "Godfather of Star Wars" and still admired for its impressive miniature effects. Watch the entire film.
Friday Flash Fun: Color Theory is a puzzle platformer about... um... color theory. And gravity switching. And aliens. Via the eternal font of pleasant time-wasters, jayisgames.
"Tubes of space borscht are on sale in the museum gift shop. “There are white and black tubes. On the white is written: ‘BLONDE.’ On black one: ‘BRUNETTE.’ " Astronauts relate challenges of life in space.
In the year 2182 -- 172 years time -- there's a 1 in 1000 chance that we might be hit by a very large asteroid. With two centuries advance notice, will we be able to develop effective asteroid deflection techniques? [more inside]