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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.