If you frequent this site, along with most other science/space-based areas of the Internet, then you’re familiar with the name (and the sounds of) Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut who commanded the International Space Station from December 2012 through May 2013. While up there, Hadfield almost single-handedly gave astronauts social media relevancy, assisted by his son Evan, by releasing videos and soundbites of just how differently things worked in space, from crying to conservation. He recently released a video through SoundCloud, thanking them for allowing him to share his with the world things that regular citizens don’t get to see or hear everyday.
If you think you’ve missed the train to Mars, don’t bother settling for counting stars. (Hum reference!) Just head on over to NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where they’re walking around Mars like nobody’s business. Well, they aren’t actually setting foot on the red planet, but rather virtually traversing the dusty ground with the combined use of an Oculus Rift VR headset and Virtuix’s Omni treadmill. When combined, you get all of the high-resolution planetary exploration with none of the eye-bulging death by suffocation.
This experience is made possible by the massive amounts of imagery obtained over the last year by the Curiosity rover, as well as satellite imagery from above. The lab had previously combined all this into a panorama which could be “explored” in two dimensions using an Xbox 360 controller, and before that even, they allowed Xbox users to land the rover on Mars last year. But after getting hands-on with the Oculus Rift and feet-on with the Omni, NASA contacted both products’ companies to get the equipment in the lab.
And now, a fully immersible experience can be had, though neither of these products is on the market just yet. (The headset is planned to ship out pre-orders in September, while the treadmill is set to ship in January 2014.)
The Fermi Paradox illustrates the apparent contradiction between the high likelihood that there is intelligent life somewhere out there and our lack of contact (or proof of contact) with any of those civilizations. The Paradox rests on the ideas that there are billions of stars and galaxies much, much older than ours, and that many of them contain habitable planets (the Kepler telescope has confirmed this), and some of those must support life. And where there’s intelligent life, there’s technology, particularly in terms of interstellar travel.
The key question, then, of the Fermi paradox is: why haven’t we been visited by aliens? In a recent interview with Business Insider, astrophycisist Neil deGrasse Tyson shares some “unorthodox” thoughts about why that might be.
Happy birthday, NASA! Everyone’s favorite underfunded government organization is turning 55. Instead of buying NASA a tattoo or a new DeLorean, Mashable is celebrating NASA’s birthday with the future-focused infographic above. (You can see a larger version of the image right here.)
First of all, it’s a relief simply to see that NASA has plans for missions in the next few decades, and because these missions are all detailed on NASA’s website, it means that it has to carry them out, right? In September, NASA will return focus to the moon before following up Curiosity’s atmospheric research on Mars. Then, the missions get particularly interesting.
It’s two days after the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and eventual transformation of the moon into mankind’s toilet/golf course in the sky, but we’re not done celebrating just yet. The fabulous people at Jalopnik posted a slew of pictures from the Apollo 11 mission that stray beyond the shots you’re used to seeing of the historic event.
The photographs come courtesy of the snap-happy Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, who made themselves familiar with cameras throughout the mission. And why wouldn’t they? People inundate social media with images of the cupcakes they’ve made and how their dogs look while they sleep with their legs in the air, so it’s only natural that humanity’s greatest achievement in space would warrant a couple more shots than just the moon man and his flag that became MTV’s logo so many years ago.
The pictures are in high definition, which gives them all stunning depth, but I’m sure conspiracy theorists would also say they look more staged than ever. But these life trolls should probably look elsewhere for like-minded nuts. Take a peek at a few more below, and hit the link for more.
The only things I’ve ever gotten from the bottom of an ocean are leg wounds from being whisked along jagged rocks. Amazon CEO and mega-bazillionaire Jeff Bezos and his company, Bezos Expeditions, have confirmed via press release that the rocket engine parts found at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean are indeed the same ones that came from the Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket that made history in 1969. Well, I guess the astronauts aboard the shuttle were actually the ones to make history, but that’s splitting hairs.
Back in March, the Expedition team recovered a sizable number of wrecked and warped pieces from two F-1 engines that were known to be from one of NASA‘s heyday missions. At the time it couldn’t be determined which one they were from, given they sat three miles beneath the surface of the ocean for over forty years. After some restoration efforts, the pieces were scanned with a black light and special lens filter, and that’s when they found what they were hoping for: the number 2044 stenciled into the side of a thrust chamber. 2044 is the Rocketdyne serial number that matches up with NASA’s serial number 6044, which is the very same one that corresponds to F-1 Engine #5 from the Apollo 11 mission.