Remember the floating training remote
in Star Wars? Some people have done DIY versions of the remote
that can levitate
on your desktop. However, leave it to NASA to create the real thing and call it SPHERES: Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites
: robotic bowling balls (OK, 18-sided polyhedron satellites
) with autonomous propulsion, power, avionics, software, communications, and metrology subsystems, that fly freely
in the ISS
. First tested in 2006, they have been upgraded
with Android smartphones
, which makes them (for now) the less terrifying item in Google's growing robotic arsenal
posted by elgilito
on Aug 3, 2014 -
If you met Phil Pressel at a party anytime over the past half-century, he couldn't tell you what he did for a living. If you were his wife, you didn't even know where he was staying on those mysterious business trips. Today, after 46 years,
the man who made the camera that prevented a war finally got to show off his magnum opus.
posted by Spike
on Oct 14, 2011 -
Fancy way to build a satellite -- spend millions of dollars hiring engineers to carefully construct your orbital gem
, then millions more on a massive rocket
to loft it into space. BORING. Easy way to build a satellite -- shove a radio into a spacesuit and toss it off a space station. Meet SuitSat 1.
posted by eriko
on Jan 26, 2006 -
is an interesting JAVA web-app offered by NASA which gives a 3D interactive display of over 500 satellites currently orbiting the Earth.
posted by numlok
on Feb 16, 2005 -
This is a pretty neat website for anybody interested in astronomy. Give it your location (City names work, even my white bread red-neck plains town did) and it'll give you star maps, fly by times and viewing instructions for satellites and so on.
posted by substrate
on Sep 10, 2004 -
. Can you find your own house? I drove myself mad looking, until I finally resorted to using the address finder. I can see my road, but I can't make out which house is mine. Can you find your home, or even your neighborhhod, in a satellite photo of the country?
posted by archimago
on Aug 29, 2003 -
The Mars Gravity Biosatellite Project
is an unmatched international effort that pools top-notch technical talent from MIT, the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. The mission is nothing short of groundbreaking. The plan is to build a spacecraft capable of housing a small crew of mice, including pregnant females, which will simulate the gravity of Mars to determine its effects on mammalian development.
posted by David Dark
on Sep 18, 2002 -
The Global Positioning System
is now commonly used for navigation in hundreds of ways worldwide. Some very innovative things
are now being done with the system beyond simply finding out where you are. However, according to this BBC story
, "emerging applications are being hampered by concerns that information from the global satellite network, which is run by the United States, could be switched off or restricted in the event of a security threat." Am I the only one worried about what will happen to all the hikers, rescue services, ships, small planes and geeks that would suffer if the network is switched off?
posted by Gamecat
on Mar 16, 2002 -
See? Y'all sent me off to TVTechnology, and I found something interesting... Remember a couple years ago -- The Day The Pagers Died? They died because Galaxy 4 fell over, which in turn was because its Satellite Control Processors broke.
Both of them. 4 other birds are down one processor
; a total of 25 are in danger -- all built on the Hughes HM-601 satellite 'bus'. What is it we always say about genetic diversity being good? Wouldn't you hate to be the engineer on the hook for *this* 12 billion dollars?
posted by baylink
on Jan 29, 2001 -
MSNBC's Robert Wright seemes confused
in this story about the Global Positioning System. He misinforms the reader about how terrorists can now use the military's encrypted GPS signals for more accurate positioning. (FYI: you are still unable to use the military's encrypted GPS signals, contrary to what Wright claims.) more inside>>
posted by darainwa
on Jun 28, 2000 -