Tag Archives: space

Michael Collins on Apollo 11 @ 40 years

NASA posted an amusing and candid interview with Apollo 11 Command Module pilot Michael Collins (he got to sit in orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin made the landing.) Heroes abound, and should be revered as such, but don’t count astronauts among them. We work very hard; we did our jobs to near perfection, but that [...]

LAT In Orbit

My friend John worked on the Large Area Telescope, part of the GLAST spacecraft which rode into orbit on a Delta rocket earlier today. The LAT will look at a large swath of space, detecting gamma ray bursts from exploding stars and other cataclysms. And yes, people use wikis for these projects.

50 Years In Space

50 years ago, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit. Novosti agency photo of Sputnik 1′s launch via spacetoday.org A half century later, we have landed rovers on Mars, parachuted instruments onto the oven-baked surface of Venus, and put others in orbit around Jupiter and Saturn. Humans haven’t been out [...]

Mjolnir to Hammer the Martian Regolith

Sending a robot drilling rig to look for subsurface ice on Mars would be a tricky mission. Arizona State University scientist Phil Christensen proposes another way. Launch a quarter ton copper projectile at the mid-latitudes of Mars’ Northern Hemisphere, and look for water in the ejecta from the ten to 25 meter deep crater it [...]

LEGO is the reason for the season.

I run the slogan Axial tilt is the reason for the season at the end of each year. A parent in Alaska built an orrery out of LEGO to explain this to their kids. [ via Subrata Sircar ]

Twilight Rocket Launch Visible from Bay Area Tonight

Susan Kitchens says there’ll be a satellite launch from Vandenberg AFB at 7:24 PDT tonight. That’s a little after local sunset, which means the Sun illuminates the rocket’s exhaust plume from behind against the darkening sky. It’s an incredible sight. And the launch will be visible from the Bay Area. Update: It launched, but we [...]

Lunar Panoramas

A friend found Autostitch, a UBC Computer Science Department project for ‘stitching’ together photos into panoramas, and threw some photos from the Apollo Moon landing missions into it. Some of the results, like the Sea of Tranquility seen from the window of Eagle (above) are amazing. We put the results up as a Flickr photoset.

Death by Gamma Ray Burst

Thanks Bruce, instead of worrying about Popes, terrorism, peak oil, or the Congress; I can lose sleep having realized that the heavens themselves may contain the seed of our undoing.

1961: Poyeholi!

[ via Yuri's Night ] For the 44th anniversary of Col. Yuri Gagarin’s flight, animator Paul Yeh and illustrator Okasana Badrak made a short film, set to music by The Flaming Lips [ QuickTime ].

Junk on Mars

The Mars Rover Opportunity drove up to the wreckage of its discarded heat shield. The shield made a nice divot on the surface.

The Observable Universe in Crystal

The biggest structures in the known universe are the distribution of galaxies as found in the Sloan Survey: clusters and threads of galaxies, light and dark matter, megaparsecs in size. Bathsheba Grossman etches that 3-D map into a cube of crystal using a laser. A friend received one of these for a Christmas present. It’s [...]

There’s Always Mars

Meanwhile, Spirit and Opportunity are still boppin’ away on Mars. Spirit’s in the hills a couple of miles from where it landed back in January, so it has some great views. I’ve been waiting for these shots. Until this year, we had to imagine what the scene would be like.

Cheers to Space Ship One

Kudos to Burt Rutan and his team who made their second flight to 100 km this morning and won the X-Prize.

Cassini-Huygens Image Browser

The Cassini-Huygens web team at NASA built an image browser, along the lines of the one at the Planetary Photojournal, to help us sort through the hundreds of raw images the spacecraft sends back from Saturn. You can select from Cassini’s two cameras, any of the objects it photographed during the roundabout trip (including Venus, [...]

From Mojave to Dryden

Watching SpaceShipOne reminded me of a schoolboy crush I had on a rocketplane from the 1960′s. I grew up watching the Apollo flights to the Moon, but when I was able to read and haunt the school library, I learned about the X-15, the rocket-powered space plane NASA flew out of Edwards Air Force Base [...]