March 3, 2008
[apollo] The Moon Museum — Apparently, there is a small museum of art on the Moon hidden in the leg of the Apollo 12 lander … ‘[Andy] Warhol’s contribution, which is obscured by the thumb above, is described as “a calligraphic squiggle made up of the initials of his signature. Actually, it’s a drawing of a penis.’ [via Kottke]
February 12, 2008
[space] An astronaut from NASA describes the smell of space: ‘At first I couldn’t quite place it. It must have come from the air ducts that re-pressed the compartment. Then I noticed that this smell was on their suit, helmet, gloves, and tools. It was more pronounced on fabrics than on metal or plastic surfaces. It is hard to describe this smell; it is definitely not the olfactory equivalent to describing the palette sensations of some new food as “tastes like chicken.” The best description I can come up with is metallic; a rather pleasant sweet metallic sensation. It reminded me of my college summers where I labored for many hours with an arc welding torch…’
December 22, 2007
[space] Astronomy Pictures of the Year for 2007 — another end of the year list from the always worth visiting APOD.
October 14, 2007
[space] NASA Announces Plan To Bring Wi-Fi To Its Headquarters By 2017‘NASA has suffered from a public credibility crisis in recent years due to perceived incompetence, a failed mission to Mars, the damaged and dormant Hubble telescope, and its inability to procure a long enough USB cable to reach all the way over to engineer William Chen’s cubicle. But NASA officials argue that a secure high-speed line could prevent disasters such as a 2005 incident in which an employee attempting to download the movie trailer for Cheaper by the Dozen 2 crashed the Mission Control Center mainframe computer for two weeks.’ [via Qwghlm]
September 9, 2007
[movies] In the Shadow of the Moon — trailer for a documentary about the Apollo Moon Missions.
November 23, 2006
[movies] The Top 10 Movie Spaceships‘The Nostromo is little more than a space tugboat, pulling a giant ore refinery through space. Though it has no weapons, when given the (famously complex) command to self-destruct, it really goes off with a bang. An underrated ship, it could land on planets and scope out foreign lifeforms… which turned out to be not such a great idea after all.’
October 29, 2006
[space] Ask Metafilter: What happens after you’re tossed out of the airlock into Space?‘I agree with the mummy idea. Slow leatherizing of the skin and a very very slow loss of moisture over many years. It would end up in 10 or 50 years a shrivelled (and by how much is a debatable factor) mummy, burnt or burnished on the outside and frozen-ish on the inside. It could take thousands of years to be obliterated completely.’
October 23, 2006
[space] Warren Ellis: Amazing Pictures of a Space Shuttle Launch seen from the International Space Station.
October 9, 2006
[space] Ask Metafilter: Has anyone ever had sex in space? From the comments: ‘I had a friend who worked with NASA, and he had this conversation with them at some sort of official place (I actually think he has a paper out on it). The main issue was birth control and pregnancy, with concerns about the effects on the embryo of radiation on re-entry being the biggest issue. He said that hearing officials in the space industry seriously debate enacting a “anal sex only” rule to be one of the most surreal moments of his life.’
August 1, 2006
[wiki] My Wikipedia Contrail: Fallen Astronaut‘Fallen Astronaut is an 8.5-cm (slightly over 3″) aluminum sculpture of an astronaut in a spacesuit. It is the only piece of art on the Moon.’
February 11, 2006
[google] The Register: 40-Metre Profanity Spotted from Space‘It beats crop circles for crowd-pleasing entertainment value. Quite who Eddie is and why his name is writ large in rural England, we’ll leave that to readers to explain.’
December 25, 2005
[xmas] Happy Christmas Everybody.
July 28, 2005
[python] How accurate is Eric Idle’s Galaxy Song?Song: Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars. Comment: While there have been some estimates that are a bit higher than 100 billion stars, this is still a pretty good estimate.’ [via Badly Dubbed Boy]
April 20, 2005
[space] What a Little Moon Dust Can Do — if I went to the Moon I’d still need Loratadine‘”Dust is the No. 1 environmental problem on the moon,” said Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, who reported having a severe allergic reaction to moon dust during his mission in 1972. “We need to understand what the (biological) effects are, because there’s always the possibility that engineering might fail.” Moon dust is much more jagged than dust on Earth because there’s no water or wind on the moon to toss it around and grind down its edges. It’s created when meteorites, cosmic rays and solar winds slam into the moon, turning its rocks into powdery topsoil.’
April 2, 2005
[science] 13 things that do not make Sense — from the New Scientist … ‘IF YOU travel out to the far edge of the solar system, into the frigid wastes beyond Pluto, you’ll see something strange. Suddenly, after passing through the Kuiper belt, a region of space teeming with icy rocks, there’s nothing. Astronomers call this boundary the Kuiper cliff, because the density of space rocks drops off so steeply. What caused it? The only answer seems to be a 10th planet. We’re not talking about Quaoar or Sedna: this is a massive object, as big as Earth or Mars, that has swept the area clean of debris…’
July 21, 2004
[apollo] July 21st 1969: Neil Armstrong – The Awful Truth

‘TRANQUILITY: I abso-fucking-lutely am standing on the surface of the fucking moon. I am talking to you from the goddammed fucking moon. Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket.

HOUSTON: Holy Shit.

TRANQUILITY: Holy mother of fuck. The fucking moon. Over. ‘

June 9, 2004
[venus] A piece of History Passes By and 350 years on the Sun Shines for Jeremiah the Genius — Simon Hoggart spent yesterday up a Hill in Lancashire with 92 astronomers as the Transit of Venus happened …

‘…it is the unity between our own past and the immensity of the universe which is skin-tingling. Just after the last transit, in 1882, Robert Ball wrote: “The next time people will see it is when the flowers are in bloom, in June 2004.” It was good to be there with the flowers.’

December 24, 2003
[mars] Beagle 2’s Weblog — hopefully updating with good news tomorrow morning. Landing on Mars sounds pretty difficult: ‘At 2.47am on Christmas Day it will slam into the upper atmosphere at 13,000mph, creating friction that will bring the heatshield up to 1,600C, but slow the probe to about 750mph. Sensors on the tiny craft will blow off the shield and the back cover of Beagle 2 and fire a mortar to release a pilot chute, which should reduce the descent to around 200mph. A 10m parachute will then be used to drag the Beagle back to a relatively gentle 35mph. By this time, an altimeter will be measuring the distance to the ground. At 200m, it will trigger the inflation of three gas bags that will form segments around the lander and cushion its impact as it hits the deck…’
December 4, 2003
[blogs] Beagle 2: Weblog — a blog for British Mars Lander which is now approaching the Red Planet‘Since 17 November the onboard software has been ‘frozen’ after several updates and the spacecraft is now quietly proceeding to its destination.’ [thanks Graybo]
August 18, 2003
[moon] Neil Armstrong – The Awful Truth — Blogjam presents what Armstrong really said when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon … ‘This is Tranquility Base. The Eagle has landed. Jesus H. Christ, Houston. We’re on the fucking Moon. Over.’ [Related: Onion – Holy Shit. Man Walks on Fucking Moon | via Sore Eyes]
July 21, 2003
[space] The Moon, July 21st. 1969

‘The lunar module curved gently down over the Sea of Tranquility, the drama heightened by the calm, almost casual voices of the astronauts and the mission controller at Houston.The casualness was deceptive: from 500 ft. above the surface and all too aware that an error could lead to irretrievable disaster, Aldrin brought the spacecraft down under Armstrong’s direction. At the moment of approach Armstrong’s heartbeat rose from its normal 70 to 156. Yet his voice was calm and flat: “Contact light: engines stopped? The Eagle has landed.” The landing was perfect.’

March 7, 2003
[science] You Ask The Questions — Sir Patrick Moore‘Q: Have you ever seen a UFO while gazing into space? Would you be surprised if an alien landed in your garden? A: Yes, I have spotted a UFO. I was in my observatory one night, looking at the Moon. Then I saw dozens of flying saucers swirling around. I thought: “The Martians have arrived!” But then I realised I was looking at pollen slightly out of focus. The moonlight was playing tricks on me! Of course, aliens could visit Earth — after all, there are 100 billion stars in our galaxy. And I’d be delighted if they landed in my garden. I’d say, “Good afternoon. Tea or coffee?”‘
February 8, 2003
[shuttle] Shuttle Tiles had History of Glitches — backgrounder on the history of Space Shuttle tiles … ‘It took forever to glue on the thermal tiles that shielded the space shuttle from the scorching heat of reentry — nearly two man-years of work for every flight — and the glue dried so fast that technicians had to mix a new batch after every couple of tiles. But they came up with a solution: spit in the glue so it took longer to harden.’ [via Robot Wisdom]
February 4, 2003
[shuttle] Beam Me Out Of This Death Trap, Scotty — article from 1980 about problems within NASA’s Space Shuttle program … ‘The main cause of [problems] is currently the shuttle’s refractory tiles, which disperse the heat of reentry from the ship’s nose and fuselage. Columbia must be fitted out with 33,000 of these tiles, each to be applied individually, each unique in shape. The inch-thick tiles, made of pyrolized carbon, are amazing in two respects. They can be several hundred degrees hot on one side while remaining cool to the touch on the other. They do not boil away like the ablative heat shieldings of capsules and modules; they can be used indefinitely. But they’re also a bit of a letdown in another respect–they’re so fragile you can hardly touch them without shattering them.’ [via Metafilter]
February 3, 2003
[shuttle] Net History… First Mention of the 1986 Challenger Disaster on Usenet. ‘…it appears that the first inflight disaster of the NASA space program has claimed the lives of six astronauts and NASA’s first passenger. The disaster occured 17 years and 1 day after the Apollo I tragedy.’
February 2, 2003
[shuttle] ‘I knew what was about to happen’ — two NASA engineers describe the “inside story” behind the Challenger Shuttle Disaster in 1986 … ‘When the clock reached T minus five seconds the two engineers held hands and braced themselves for an explosion. But to their immense relief Challenger cleared the launch pad. “I turned to Bob and said ‘we’ve just dodged a bullet,’ because it was our expectation it would blow up on the pad.” The two men began to relax. But then, at 73 seconds, the heart-stopping plume of white smoke suddenly filled the screen.’
February 1, 2003
[shuttle] Metafilter on the Columbia Disaster

Screen Grab of Metafilter

August 27, 2002
[books] The Word Factory — great interview with Iain Banks …

‘I would dread to think that either we’re as good as it gets, or that the universe is empty. If there’s nobody else out there, it’s all going to fall to us eventually, which is a frightening responsibility.’

January 23, 2001
[history] Guardian Unlimited offers the ‘Inside Story’ behind the Challenger Disaster‘When the clock reached T minus five seconds the two engineers held hands and braced themselves for an explosion. But to their immense relief Challenger cleared the launch pad. “I turned to Bob and said ‘we’ve just dodged a bullet,’ because it was our expectation it would blow up on the pad.” The two men began to relax. But then, at 73 seconds, the heart-stopping plume of white smoke suddenly filled the screen. “There was silence for the longest time,” says Boisjoly. “Then I went to my office, sat facing the wall and tried to hold back my emotions.”‘
January 15, 2001
[weird tech] It does not get much weirder than this… Macs in Space. ‘Dennis Wingo is one aerospace researcher who definitely thinks outside the box. A self-proclaimed computer geek, he wants an astronaut to hurl a specially modified G4 MacIntosh Cube computer into orbit in 2001 from the International Space Station.’ [Related Links: Some Apple PR, via Unxmaal]
October 3, 2000
[fungus in space!!] Space Fungus attacks the Mir Space Station. Life will always find a way… ‘Linenger, author of “Off the Planet,” a book about his experiences on Mir, said that he did not see any evidence that fungi or bacteria on the craft caused health problems. But he added that the station had “a strong smell of fungal contamination” – a smell he called “mushroomy” in his book – and that “there were areas you wouldn’t want to stick your hand in”.’ [via Slashdot]
July 16, 2000
[aliens] The Observer on the search for alien life in space. “On other worlds, it has remained rooted at the level of amoebas, microbes, and primitive pond life. All aliens are scum, in other words – an observation with crucial implications. As UK astronomer Ian Crawford points out in the latest issue of Scientific American , we may be ‘the most advanced life-forms in the galaxy’.”.
May 14, 2000
[america] America planned to drop a nuke onto the moon! [I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.]
May 3, 2000
[tech] Slashdot reports that the Internet goes into orbit after a satellite is pinged from earth. 15 minute ping times, sure. But how the fsck will RIAA stop us from downloading MP3s when the servers are located in deep space? :) :) :)
[something fell!] newsUnlimited talks about Space Junk [Text Only] after a large red-hot metal ball falls on South Africa.