Posts tagged Space

Human Barbie Doll Claims To Be Spirit Guide

In the VICE documentary Space Barbie, Valeria Lukyanova, the Ukrainian woman who is famous for crafting her appearance to look like Barbie, reveals that she is a time-traveling spirit guide who can speak to aliens. She explains that being physically perfect (or close to it) has helped her share her ideas with the world because the human race is naturally attracted to good looks.

Related: According to The Huffington Post, Mattel just released “Mars Explorer” Barbie to celebrate the first anniversary of NASA’s Curiosity rover landing.

FJP: Two Space Barbies coming out in the news at the same time, eh? That’s awfully good timing for online marketing and SEO, wouldn’t you say? - Krissy

Asteroid Mining Company Makes Space Telescope Accessible To Public
Asteroid mining company, Planetary Resources, has acquired their goal of a million dollars from Kickstarter to fund Arkyd, a space telescope that allows ordinary people to snap selfies and other images of space. If you donate $25, you’ll get a photo of yourself displayed on the onboard screen and then receive a digital picture of your face in space (it gets pricier if you want an actual print). You can also point the telescope anywhere you want to snap your own pictures of the great beyond. 
According to Mashable, the Arkyd’s true mission isn’t to make space snapshots popular in social media, but to discover and dismember asteroids that contain trillions of dollars worth of minerals like platinum and gold. At a space conference in 2006, co-founder of Planetary Resources Peter Diamandis said, “There are $20 trillion checks up there waiting to be cashed.” 
FJP: So why not help Diamandis cash in early with some space-selfie fees? Cha-ching. - Krissy
Image: Mashable

Asteroid Mining Company Makes Space Telescope Accessible To Public

Asteroid mining company, Planetary Resources, has acquired their goal of a million dollars from Kickstarter to fund Arkyd, a space telescope that allows ordinary people to snap selfies and other images of space. If you donate $25, you’ll get a photo of yourself displayed on the onboard screen and then receive a digital picture of your face in space (it gets pricier if you want an actual print). You can also point the telescope anywhere you want to snap your own pictures of the great beyond. 

According to Mashable, the Arkyd’s true mission isn’t to make space snapshots popular in social media, but to discover and dismember asteroids that contain trillions of dollars worth of minerals like platinum and gold. At a space conference in 2006, co-founder of Planetary Resources Peter Diamandis said, “There are $20 trillion checks up there waiting to be cashed.” 

FJP: So why not help Diamandis cash in early with some space-selfie fees? Cha-ching. - Krissy

Image: Mashable

How does copyright work in space?

Here’s one for your inner copyright lawyer:

CHRIS HADFIELD has captured the world’s heart, judging by the 14m YouTube views of his free-fall rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, recorded on the International Space Station (ISS). The Canadian astronaut’s clear voice and capable guitar-playing were complemented by his facility in moving around in the microgravity of low-earth orbit. But when the man fell to Earth in a neat and safe descent a few days ago, after a five-month stay in orbit, should he have been greeted by copyright police? Commander Hadfield was only 250 miles (400 km) up, so he was still subject to terrestrial intellectual-property regimes, which would have applied even if he had flown the “100,000 miles” mentioned in the song’s lyrics, or millions of kilometres to Mars. His five-minute video had the potential to create a tangled web of intellectual-property issues. How does copyright work in space?

Some things to think about before you answer.

Copyright law differs from country to country while global agreements also create common rules and regulations. But with the space station orbiting the planet almost 16 times a day, which earthbound jurisdiction should govern any copyright claims? Or, riddle this one: the ISS is constructed of different modules. There’s an American one along with European, Russian and Japanese ones. So whose rules would govern copyright as Hadfield floated throughout while singing Bowie’s song?

As The Economist points out, “The agreement governing the ISS makes it clear (in Article 5) that the applicable laws, including those governing IP rights, depend on which part of it an astronaut is in.” [Emphasis ours.]

Exploring Space
The BBC has created a monster infographic illustrating “every attempt to leave Earth’s orbit and reach a destination in extraterrestrial space – be it with probes, orbiters, rovers, or of course manned missions.”
The graphic shows successful and failed missions, country of launch origin and type of mission (eg., fly-by, rover, actual landing).
Related: How Big is Space?
Image: Screenshot, detail from Spacial Awareness: Ultimate guide to exploring space, via the BBC. Select to embiggen.

Exploring Space

The BBC has created a monster infographic illustrating “every attempt to leave Earth’s orbit and reach a destination in extraterrestrial space – be it with probes, orbiters, rovers, or of course manned missions.”

The graphic shows successful and failed missions, country of launch origin and type of mission (eg., fly-by, rover, actual landing).

Related: How Big is Space?

Image: Screenshot, detail from Spacial Awareness: Ultimate guide to exploring space, via the BBC. Select to embiggen.

Astronaut Wrings Out Wash Cloth In Space

Astronaut Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency demonstrates water’s reaction to being wrung from a wash cloth in zero gravity. His video is a response to 10th graders in Nova Scotia who won a CSA  contest because of their science experiment with surface tension in outer space.

FJP: If you check out the CSA’s YouTube channel, you’ll find more sweet cosmic how-to’s — like how to clip your nails and how to sleep in space.

And for all my fellow Trekkies out there, this one’s for you: Chris Hatfield’s space convo with William Shatner.Krissy

The White House responds to the Death Star Petition
In response to a petition at We the People, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, writes:



Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.



Besides, he adds, “The Administration does not support blowing up planets.”
Well played. Very well played.

The White House responds to the Death Star Petition

In response to a petition at We the People, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, writes:

Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.

Besides, he adds, “The Administration does not support blowing up planets.”

Well played. Very well played.

Goodnight: Evening on Planet Earth

Above, satellite Suomi NPP's view of lights on our planet. Compiled from imagery taken over the course of 22 days.

Here’s Slate:

I’ll note Suomi NPP orbits about 800 kilometers (500 miles) above the Earth and sees only a small part of the planet at any one time. This animation comprises 2.5 terabytes of data—2500 gigabytes!—that were stitched together to show the entire Earth’s face over a single rotation. 

Happy Birthday, Carl Sagan!

Rest in Peace, Carl. Now, let’s watch Cosmos.

TCM to screen “Forbidden Planet” in Flordia (and Space)
If you’re going to be in Florida next month and fancy a movie, consider getting free tickets to a screening of “Forbidden Planet” and watch it with some astronauts. They’ll be on the ISS, by the way.
via the Times:

Movies are part of what NASA calls psych support, or psychological support, for astronauts aboard the space station.
One of those astronauts, the American Sunita Williams, is to introduce “Forbidden Planet” from space to the attendees at the Kennedy Space Center screening. 

TCM to screen “Forbidden Planet” in Flordia (and Space)

If you’re going to be in Florida next month and fancy a movie, consider getting free tickets to a screening of “Forbidden Planet” and watch it with some astronauts. They’ll be on the ISS, by the way.

via the Times:

Movies are part of what NASA calls psych support, or psychological support, for astronauts aboard the space station.

One of those astronauts, the American Sunita Williams, is to introduce “Forbidden Planet” from space to the attendees at the Kennedy Space Center screening. 

Curiosity’s Mars Descent in HD

Someone took all the pictures of the Mar’s descent and made a video of Curiosity’s descent to Mars.

Here’s his explanation, posted on Reddit:

For those wanting to know how I made this:

I manually added thousands of motion-tracking and adjustment points.

Here’s a screenshot of some of them

I had to go the laborious manual route because the frame-rate is too low causing the footage to jerk around too quickly for automated motion tracking to handle it.

It should definitely be noted that by its very nature interpolation creates inaccuracies. The original was 4fps, so converting to 30fps at the same speed means that you’re essentially inventing 87% of the footage.

On top of that I also had to use pan and scan techniques in order to convert it to the 1080p format but still track the interesting features.

The first few seconds were the hardest part. Accomplishing smooth movement in that section actually involved separating the heat shield from the background layer and rendering them as two independently moving layers.

I say all of this because people should understand that although I took great pains to make this accurate, you should still watch the original footage if you want a true accuracy.

(Plus, white-balancing images of a planet that we’ve never been to is quite a task :)

I used the rather meaningless phrase “ultra HD” to try and describe the fact that I actually rendered the video at enterprise-quality 1080p, 50,000 kbps (instead of the usual ~1000kbps). This meant it took the entire night to render and the filesize was hundreds of times bigger.

You probably won’t notice the difference unless you play the video at 1080p - but I think it was worth it.

Edit: Here is a brief “making of” video

Coronal Mass Ejection
On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled at over 900 miles per second. The CME did not travel directly toward Earth, but did connect with Earth’s magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, causing aurora to appear on the night of Monday, September 3.—NASA
Image via Flickr. NASA also posted a video of the CME captured by three of its observatories.

Coronal Mass Ejection

On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled at over 900 miles per second. The CME did not travel directly toward Earth, but did connect with Earth’s magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, causing aurora to appear on the night of Monday, September 3.—NASA

Image via Flickr. NASA also posted a video of the CME captured by three of its observatories.

antesmejor:

Amazing Movie of Mars Curiosity HD (por highercalling88)

FJP: phenomenal!

popmech:

We posted this back in spring, but in case you missed it then: How Curiosity will land on Mars, in 11 easy steps. 
Plus: The Anatomy of Curiosity.

FJP: And remember, “We accurately guided this monster from 200 million miles away (that’s 7.6 million marathons). It requires better accuracy than an Olympic golfer teeing off in London and hitting a hole-in-one in Auckland, New Zealand. It will use a laser to blast rocks, a chemical nose to sniff out the potential for life, and hundreds of other feats of near-magic.”

popmech:

We posted this back in spring, but in case you missed it then: How Curiosity will land on Mars, in 11 easy steps. 

Plus: The Anatomy of Curiosity.

FJP: And remember, “We accurately guided this monster from 200 million miles away (that’s 7.6 million marathons). It requires better accuracy than an Olympic golfer teeing off in London and hitting a hole-in-one in Auckland, New Zealand. It will use a laser to blast rocks, a chemical nose to sniff out the potential for life, and hundreds of other feats of near-magic.”

Next week, while we’re all watching NBC, a nuclear-powered, MINI-Cooper-sized super rover will land on Mars. We accurately guided this monster from 200 million miles away (that’s 7.6 million marathons). It requires better accuracy than an Olympic golfer teeing off in London and hitting a hole-in-one in Auckland, New Zealand. It will use a laser to blast rocks, a chemical nose to sniff out the potential for life, and hundreds of other feats of near-magic. Will these discoveries lead us down a path to confirming life on other planets? Wouldn’t that be a good story that might make people care about science? But telling us this story means more than just the composition of the rocks (sorry, Mars geologists). It’s about the team that makes it happen.

No one producing an Olympic teaser asks, “What’s the importance of 100 meters?” No, they tell us about the athletes who dedicate their lives to running the race, because dedication and triumph are what make a human running 100 meters interesting. If NBC can get us all misty-eyed about 100 meters, imagine what NASA could do with 200 million miles.

The Mars race is about human survival and understanding our place in a vast and terrifyingly beautiful universe. And the stories of its athletes (mathletes?) should be world-class, because they accomplish near-impossible tasks on a cosmic scale — the hardest sport you could ever compete in. It requires dedication and doggedness that only the most passionate people in the universe could deliver. Unfortunately, this drama plays out behind closed doors. We won’t have insights into the sacrifice, scandal, discovery, divorce, hardship, and drama that it takes to work for a decade delivering a one-ton super rover to another planet. It’s the biggest irony that the most junior engineer at NASA is fearless in the face of trying to send a robot to Mars, but the career bureaucrats are afraid to tell that engineer’s story of failure or success.

NASA will say that they’re doing the best they can and stretching their education and outreach budgets to the max. But if they hope to stay in business, they need to tell us how they’re pushing the limits of humanity with over-the-top, risky-ass missions that will answer questions about who we are as a species on this planet.

Andrew Kessler, The Huffington Post. Why You Should Be More Interested in Mars Than the Olympics.

Kessler, who spent ninety days inside NASA to write Martian Summer: Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen and My 90 Days with the Phoenix Mars Mission, believes the agency is “so frightened of failure that they’re willing to sacrifice their greatest asset: the ability to inspire.” In other words, they no longer tell a good story.

Know who could help? Kick ass science journalists.

Sidenote: AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards applications are due tomorrow.