An 11-Year-Old Made A Brewery For Use Aboard The ISS

michal-bodzianowski-astronaut-breweryThey say kids are growing up faster these days. There may be no better example of that than 11-year-old Michal Bodzianowski, who created a micro-microbrewery for a project at the Highland Ranch, Colorado STEM School and Academy. The project was so impressive that the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education’s Student Spaceflight Experiments Program has awarded it the green light to blast into space in December for use aboard the ISS.

Bodzianowski says that while many people think of beer as a party drink, it also has medicinal properties—I think he’s been reading a few “Guinness is good for you” posters, or maybe he read the GFR post about hydrating beer. Whatever his motivations, Bodzianowski developed a brewery that can fit into a 6-inch test tube and contains the individual ingredients one would use to make beer, including yeast, water, and malted barley. Hey kid—you forgot the moon dust!


Legos Make Everything More Awesome, Even Space

Lego OpportunityLegos are easily one of the greatest inventions in human history. That may be bit much, a bit too hyperbolic, but they are certainly one of better toys we’ve managed to come up with across our time on this rock. Over the years, inventive folk have proven time and time again that you can make damn near anything out of those little plastic blocks if you put your mind to it, from replicas of iconic landmarks to fantastic creatures, and even Star Wars paraphernalia. Since they’re so awesome, it makes sense that a fair amount of Lego creations are devoted to celebrating one of the other coolest things humanity has ever done, going into space. A new collection of photos of stellar Lego space recreations shows just how fantastic this combination can be, though they maybe not be exactly what you expect.

When you first think of Lego renderings of space related objects you’re probably thinking giant space shuttles, or that big ass, almost life sized X-Wing Fighter someone made a while back. These, however, are a little different, a little smaller in scale, though just as intricate and interesting as their larger counterparts. Lego artists Peter Reid and Tim Goddard have taken everyone’s favorite tiny plastic building blocks, and used them to recreate some of the more iconic moments from the space race and beyond.


The Moon Is Covered In Human Feces


You look at it a little differently when you know it’s covered in human poo.

Those of you who saw Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity this past weekend—and if the box office numbers are any indication there were a lot of you—then you’re well aware of the hazards of the random junk that we as a species leave floating out in space. There appears to be a bunch, though not all of it is zipping around at 50,000 miles per hour, threatening to shred Sandra Bullock. In the course of our history, twelve humans has walked on the Moon, and, much like a Labor Day campsite, we’ve used our only organic satellite as a de facto garbage dump. One item in particular that we’ve left on the Moon may catch your attention is human feces. That’s right, we flew all the way to the Moon—all 238,900 miles—and pooped on it.

In order to lighten the load—not intended as a euphemism—for the return home, astronauts ditched what is commonly known as their “defecation collection devices,” or emesis bags, which, as you probably guessed, are used to store human waste. And these nifty little sacks of human poo are still there, chilling on the surface of the moon. Most of us will get a ticket if we don’t clean up after our dogs at the park, so it seems a little unfair that astronauts can fling their crap around space with impunity. You have to look no farther than what happened to Dave Matthews to see the consequences of adopting a similar practice here on Earth.


Scientists Spot Clouds On An Exoplanet

Kepler-7b next to Jupiter

Kepler-7b next to Jupiter

The search for potentially habitable planets not yet saddled by ridiculous government shutdowns (I’m going to keep bringing it up until these assholes cut it out) has been a consistent topic in the news lately, despite NASA’s current crippled status. Mars has water, Cereshas ice, and now scientists have spotted clouds in the atmosphere of Kepler-7b.

Kepler-7b was, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, discovered by the Kepler telescope back when it was fully operational and in the business of spotting “candidate” planets. In fact, it was one of the first five planets identified, though it wasn’t confirmed until 2009. Like other candidate planets, Kepler-7b orbits a star, though one much larger and hotter than ours, and is often referred to as a “hot Jupiter.” This means that it shares characteristics with the giant planet, but is far hotter due to its closer proximity to its sta. 7b is also much bigger than Jupiter.


NBC’s Space Race Will Give Winners A Ride Aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo

SpaceShipTwoTimes sure have changed. Remember when reality shows were about a bunch of wacky people picked to live together in a house where they could hook up and fight to their hearts’ content? Not anymore. Reality television is now poised to tackle the final frontier, and it’s hard to know whether this is ridiculous, kind of awesome, or simply inevitable. Or maybe all three.

NBC recently announced that, at some yet to be disclosed time, it will air Space Race, a show conceived by Survivor producer/creator and reality show guru Mark Burnett and Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson.

While details about the rules and structure of the show haven’t been released, the basic premise is that “ordinary” people (as opposed to the incredibly rich people who can afford to buy seats at $250,000 a pop on Virgin Galactic’s commercial spaceflights) will compete to win a ride to space aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. SpaceShipTwo is about 60 feet long, with a 90-inch-diameter cabin that has room for six passengers and two pilots (no word yet on whether the winner gets to bring a companion on the trip). Best of all, each passenger gets a window seat — two windows, actually, given that this is no airplane.


Seven Possible Scenarios For Manned Interstellar Travel

starshipSince we learned that Voyager 1 has been in interstellar space for over a year, it’s become a bit easier to imagine that someday humans might follow. At the moment, we’re a bit more focused on getting humans to Mars and watching how that goes on reality TV, but scientists are thinking big and many of them believe that we can make major strides in interstellar travel in the next 100 years. That is, if the government gets its act together.

Of course, while some scientists believe colonizing space is an eventuality, others believe it’ll never happen, and some, including NASA’s former Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project head, Marc Millis, question the claim that we could reach the stars this century. The problem is that we don’t currently know of a way to power these trips, and even when we do figure that out, it’ll take a while to implement those technologies in interstellar spacecraft. Still, even Millis is game to try — he founded the Tau Zero Foundation to research technologies that might propel us beyond the solar system.