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Anthropology, Archaeology and SETI

Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communication is a free book (PDF) from NASA. The premise is that communication with alien lifeforms will have some (cautious) analogues to interpreting past cultures, and to the work that anthropologists and linguists do cross-culturally. Among the 16 chapters are: Beyond Linear B - The Metasemiotic Challenge of Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence; Learning To Read - Interstellar Message Decipherment from Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives; and, Mirrors of Our Assumptions: Lessons from an Arthritic Neanderthal.
posted by Rumple on May 23, 2014 - 27 comments

Mars is a world of wonders!

Educators, prepping for World Space Week, Oct 4-10? Be sure to include the very excellent space documentary The Mars Underground in your plans. It's free! [more inside]
posted by humannaire on Sep 24, 2013 - 5 comments

Ever Upward - blogging about Space for Tor.com

Ever Upward isn't just a blog about space but a love letter to the wonder and beauty lurking in the science of space. It is written, and occasionally drawn, by MeFite Narrative Priorities [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 1, 2013 - 4 comments

Keep up your sensawunda

The entire history of the exploration of the Solar System in one handy picture, as created by Olaf Frohn. (Requires HTML5.)
posted by MartinWisse on Apr 30, 2013 - 14 comments

The Rockwell International Integrated Space Plan

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.
posted by Harald74 on Sep 14, 2012 - 41 comments

Fetch, NASA, Fetch!

Veteran astronaut Tom Jones thinks NASA should nab an asteroid.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 21, 2012 - 27 comments

Ad Astra Incrementis

Carl Sagan wrote, “We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.” But how will humans or our machine representatives fly to the stars? [more inside]
posted by audi alteram partem on May 1, 2012 - 42 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

May have a chilling effect

Sunspots, first observed by Galileo, normally follow an 11-year cycle. We are into a few years into (recorded) cycle number 24 but according to NASA it's looking rather underpowered. Nobody is certain exactly what the consequences will be, but one distinct possibility is a cold period; a previous low in solar activity, the Maunder minimum, is correlated with a brief Little Ice Age. Nobody really knows how this unusual solar weather pattern might interact with human-caused climate change. Previously, albeit somewhat controversially.
posted by anigbrowl on Jun 14, 2011 - 28 comments

Clearly, it's not a rock...

An 'armchair astronomer' named David Martines has found something on Google Mars which he believes is some kind of space station. Allegedly, NASA is investigating the image. Another theory says that what he sees is a "linear streak artifact produced by a cosmic ray".
posted by anastasiav on Jun 6, 2011 - 104 comments

The Sun is Still a Mass of Incandescent Gas

NASA has released the first STEREO images of the entire sun.
Previous. Previouser. Previousest.
posted by steambadger on Feb 9, 2011 - 17 comments

Even the SEV crew have to obey traffic laws!

These Flickr collections document NASA's 2010 Desert Research and Technology Studies tests (Desert RATS!). [via]
posted by brundlefly on Sep 20, 2010 - 7 comments

Before the heliosheath

Emily Lakdawalla has published the first 42 of 99 Voyager Mission Status Bulletins (thanks to space fan Tom Faber). Before the days of the internet, updates on space missions were distributed via newsletter. From 1977-1990 NASA published these Voyager newsletters to update scientists and enthusiasts. Both Voyager I and Voyager II are still out there, hurtling toward the stars. Voyager I and II weekly status updates from 1995-present are currently available online. Lakdawalla will be publishing the rest of the bulletins after she indexes them.
posted by IvoShandor on Sep 15, 2010 - 15 comments

All these worlds are yours except... etc.

The Ice Fracture Explorer is Joseph Shoer's concept for an unmanned expedition into the oceans of Europa. [via]
posted by brundlefly on Aug 17, 2010 - 19 comments

Water is likely to be widespread in the moon’s interior

The Carnegie Institution for Science reports "a much higher water content in the Moon’s interior than previous studies." For decades, the moon's water content was estimated at less than 1 part per billion; the new estimates range from 64 ppb to 5 parts per million. A scientist at Washington University said, "We can now finally begin to consider the implications—and the origin—of water in the interior of the Moon.” There's more at NASA and the BBC, and the full paper is available at PNAS (PDF).
posted by Stan Carey on Jun 15, 2010 - 21 comments

3 Million Tons of Extraterrestrial Ice Fishing

At least three million tons of fishlike creatures could theoretically live and breathe on Europa, according to Professor Richard Greenberg of the University of Arizona in Tucson. Greenberg recently presented his findings to the Division for Planetary Sciences, American Astronomical Society (PDF, Google quick view). Greenberg has written about potential life on Europa before, but his recent calculations suggest that the concentrations of oxygen would be great enough to support not only microorganisms, but also more complex animal-like organisms which have greater oxygen demands. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 18, 2009 - 46 comments

50 years of space exploration- The poster

50 years of space exploration on on huge poster.
posted by pjern on Oct 11, 2009 - 44 comments

Where am I now? Travelin' 1.18km/s(2646mph). 70,289km from the Moon. 19 hrs! RU Excited? I am! #lcross

On October 9th, NASA spacecraft will run into the moon, and on purpose. The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and its rocket's Centaur upper stage will impact the moon, with the goal of sending some of the (possibly present) ice above the lunar surface. Once out of the eternal shade of the moon's south pole, sunlight will break the ice up into H+ and OH- molecules, which can be detected by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The initial impact site was the crater Cabeus A, but the target was later changed to Cabeus (proper), selected for highest hydrogen concentrations with the greatest level of certainty, and for the high-contrast back drop to detect ejecta and vapor measurements. NASA has provided guides for amateur observations of the impact, a facebook group, and a Twitter feed so you don't miss the moment.
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 8, 2009 - 53 comments

Phoenix to land on Mars.

Phoenix is set to land on Mars at 2353 UTC. Video coverage: NASA | CNN
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on May 25, 2008 - 97 comments

Booking my ticket for Titan.

Fifty Years of Space Exploration Professor John Zarnecki gives the The Open University Lecture 2007. You can watch or listen whilst exploring the resources elsewhere on the OU site.
posted by Abiezer on Jul 26, 2007 - 2 comments

Exploring Space

The Quest for Life. And while you're at it, play out the life of an astronaut on this simulated mission. Do you have the right stuff to succeed and survive?
posted by sluglicker on Feb 15, 2007 - 15 comments

"We're space explorers, and we need space!"

Where did you want to live when you grew up? If you're like me, you read Clarke's SF classic, Rendezvous with Rama (soon to be a major motion picture?). Donald E. Davis took what we dreamed about and illustrated it, for NASA. His depictions of O'Neill Cylinders, Stanford Tori, and Bernal Spheres are in the public domain (and make excellent desktop wallpaper).
posted by Eideteker on Feb 2, 2007 - 24 comments

Spaceship renderings (and I don't mean melted fat!)

"Since I was a little boy I have always dreamed that one day man would journey to the moon and beyond. I now try to create images that show the possibilities of space flight with the technologies that are currently available today or what could be in the near future. In doing so, I try to depict what a manned space mission might actually look like to one of the 9 planets in our solar system." [Not Flash, but fun for Friday anyway.]
posted by OmieWise on Aug 19, 2005 - 14 comments

European Space Agency

Instead of liquid water, Titan has liquid methane. Instead of silicate rocks, Titan has frozen water ice. Instead of dirt, Titan has hydrocarbon particles settling out of the atmosphere, and instead of lava, Titanian volcanoes spew very cold ice.
posted by Pretty_Generic on Jan 21, 2005 - 28 comments

Ring-around-the-posie

" It was beyond description, really, it was mind-blowing," she said. "I'm surprised at how surprised I am at the beauty and the clarity of these images. They are shocking to me."
posted by moonbird on Jul 2, 2004 - 2 comments

Stairway to Heaven

An Elevator to the Stars. The paper of record claims this isn't science fiction, but do we really believe that in ten years we'll be able to build a 60,000 mile long cable capable of supporting 13 ton cargo loads? Would you trust this to take you into asynchronous orbit? (Or maybe you just want to make like Joe Kittinger and jump out at 100,000 feet.)
posted by alms on Sep 23, 2003 - 24 comments

retro-future

Designing a Space Colony? Start Here. Some light Reading. Be sure to check out the artwork (more space art by Don Davis).
posted by wobh on May 3, 2003 - 4 comments

Pioneer 10 finally gives it up for good.

Pioneer 10 space probe finally packs it in for good. So long, little fella...
posted by 40 Watt on Feb 25, 2003 - 27 comments

"Survivor" meets "Star Trek".

"Survivor" meets "Star Trek". The next tourist in space may be a game-show winner. (Gad.)
posted by Steven Den Beste on Jul 3, 2001 - 5 comments

NASA releases new high resolution images of the "Face on Mars" digitally enhanced to make it it look like an ordinary mesa rock formation.
Of course, we know better...
posted by lagado on May 28, 2001 - 7 comments

Future Moon Base Sited

the key points:
Shackleton crater (best image)
a resource of hydrogen, likely in the form of water ice, ammonia, and other materials
at the Moon’s south pole and is some 30 kilometers in size
peak of external light - more or less continual Sun. solar energy becomes usable all the time. in the permanently shadowed areas in that region, various astronomical instruments could be operated with telescopic optics kept cold and stable

posted by Sean Meade on Apr 11, 2001 - 15 comments

Will the Pluto mission once again get cancelled?

Will the Pluto mission once again get cancelled? I mean, now that Pluto isn't a planet anymore; apparently, it's been downgraded to "big ball of ice." After all those years of service, of faithful rotation, that steadfast revolve, how can they just kick a planet out like that?! It's a travesty, I tell you -- a travesty!
posted by monstro on Jan 22, 2001 - 11 comments

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