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Last Shuttle Mission Earns Best Space Photo Of The Year

More than just a magazine which shows pictures of topless tribal women, National Geographic is actually a great resource for amazing photography. You’ve probably seen some of their stunning underwater shots on the wall of your dentist’s office, but this week they’ve announced their picks for the best space pictures of 2011.

Contained in their full gallery are some truly stunning examples of pictures taken in outer space. This one is my favorite, the Space Shuttle Endeavor captured on the final shuttle mission to be launched by NASA as it docks with the international space station:

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High-res Images From Ridley Scott’s Prometheus

There hasn’t been an official trailer or fleshed-out plot description released yet for Ridley Scott’s new film Prometheus, but all of the little teasers are extremely intriguing.  Remember how exciting it was when those first images from the film made it to the internet last week?  Space!  A giant head!  Blonde Fassbender!  Maybe some xenomorph eggs!  But the images were less than stellar quality, seeing as they were just scans from an Entertainment Weekly spread.  Luckily, 20th Century Fox has now released the actual images – and in high res!

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Tom Cruise To Put A Sci-Fi Spin On Groundhog Day In All You Need Is Kill

If you’ve ever found yourself watching Groundhog Day and thinking, “This is good, but what it really needs is aliens and Tom Cruise,” then you’ll want to pay attention to one of Tommy boy’s upcoming film projects. Variety is reporting that Cruise has committed to star in All You Need Is Kill, based on a Japanese graphic novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.

So, where does the Groundhog Day element come in? Set during a future war between humans and aliens, All You Need Is Kill will cast Cruise as a soldier who is killed, only to awaken and find himself repeatedly reliving the same day. Thankfully, he carries his memories and skills over each time, giving him a hope of eventually breaking the cycle and changing his fate.

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RoboCop Reboot Director Reveals More Details

Assuming we have to have a RoboCop reboot in the first place, it would have been interesting to see what kind of movie Darren Aronofsky would have given us. Sadly, that’s not to be; Aronofsky bailed and Brazilian director Jose Padilha took the helm. Padilha’s resume definitely doesn’t compare to Aronofsky’s, but thanks to some details he has revealed in a new interview with Bleeding Cool, he does at least have an interesting take on the material.

Padilha says his version of RoboCop will be, at its core, the story of “a man being turned into a product by a corporation.” The new film will move away from the original’s themes of police corruption and instead focus on broader technological and ethical concepts. He wants to use the science fiction premise of a man being turned into the future of law enforcement to explore the implications our own imminent future.

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Fahrenheit 451 Gets An E-Book Release

Nearly 60 years after Ray Bradbury’s science fiction classic Fahrenheit 451 was first published, the book has entered the digital age with an e-book release from Simon & Schuster. Given how prevalent electronic editions of books are becoming, you wouldn’t think this would be that newsworthy. Bradbury, however, was a long-time holdout who had spoken out against e-books in the past, saying they “smelled like burned fuel.”

The Washington Post says that the 91-year-old author was finally forced to concede to the emerging technology as the rights to his book were about to expire. His agent, Michael Congdon, said, “We explained the situation to him (Bradbury) that a new contract wouldn’t be possible without e-book rights … He understood and gave us the right to go ahead.”

It seems strange to think that the author of a story so in love with the concept of books would be hesitant to embrace a technology that will make his works even more readily available, but Bradbury was hardly the only one. The Post’s article mentions that J.K. Rowling, author of the insanely successful Harry Potter books, was also a digital holdout until recently.

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Harrison Ford May Be Graff In Ender’s Game

We told you two weeks ago that Hugo star Asa Butterfield had been offered the lead role in the bigscreen adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s classic SF novel Ender’s Game. It’s official: Variety is reporting that the deal is done and Butterfield will indeed be playing the young military prodigy Ender Wiggin.

Now the casting rumors turn toward another of the story’s biggest characters: Colonel Hyrum Graff, who is in charge of training Ender and the other young prospects at the International Fleet’s academy to be officers in the war against the insect-like “Buggers.” So who do the filmmakers have their eye on for the role? None other than Harrison Ford.

Viggo Mortensen was previously the front-runner for the role, but that didn’t come together. I could definitely see Mortensen as Graff, but Ford is even better. The prospect of seeing Ford in a proper science fiction flick again is exciting. Sure, sure, he was in Cowboys & Aliens, but I want to see the man back in space, damn it! Even better if he can return to the stars in a dream project like Ender’s Game, which has been in the works it seems nearly since the book came out back in 1985. Besides, the presence of an old vet like Ford might alleviate — somewhat — my reservations about director Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine).