So I have to ask, “Did somebody turn the International Space Station into the U.S.S. Enterprise and not tell anybody?” The folks over at Scientific AMerican brought to light a picture from Romanian photographer Maximilian Teodorescu earlier this month, taken as the ISS crossed the face of the Moon. Here’s the full picture, to give you a sense of the scale.
Toy fans and collectible collectors know that the annual San Diego Comic-Con will unleash a horde of exclusive items, and this year is no exception. Although I guess it depends on what your definition of a “horde” is. We’re not showing you everything, obviously. Just enough to get your dollar bills itching to book a plane ticket to San Diego.
The above photo showcases Boba Fett and Carbonite Han Solo, two of the figurines from Hasbro’s new line of high-end figures called Star Wars: The Black Series. I can’t be certain if Solo is actually encased in actual carbonite or not (he isn’t), but the pair of six-inch non-toys will set you back $44.99. Don’t worry though. We all know Boba is priceless.
Whenever the American space program is featured in film, it’s usually in the context of a huge shuttle launch or someone having a problem while they’re already stuck in space. (“Houston, we’s in trouble!”) A few months ago we reported on Man Men writers creating a series set around Cape Canaveral during the 1960s space program, and while that seemed like a nice departure from the norm, it really just sounded like any other primetime drama, only with people using words like “thrusters” more often. What’s sadly absent are projects that focus on the beginning of the space race, focusing on the geniuses who made it possible for men like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to become national heroes.
Matthew Brzezinski’s 2008 book Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age lays out the high-stakes competition between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. in the earlier days of the space race, presenting a fast-paced view of a sliceide of history that doesn’t always find a spotlight. Primeridian Entertainment has optioned the book’s rights for adaptation and has tapped screenwriter Nicholas Meyer to write a pilot and full treatment for an as-yet-untitled TV series.
I used to go gonzo for Christmas lights when I was a kid. Little ones, big ones, white ones, multi-colored ones, blinking ones, chasing ones. It didn’t really matter to me. Christmas was about illumination first and foremost. And then came presents and manger messiahs. But over the years, my exaltation has withered to the size of a burnt bulb, even as light displays have gotten increasingly more beautiful and complicated.
But when you take those lights off of houses and trees and put them into the hands of Joey Shanks and Shanks FX, the magic comes back immediately. You could even say it “teleport effects” back, as Shank and his effects team put together a plethora of sped-up clips that feature subjects spinning in circles while wrapped up in Christmas lights, which gives the not-quite on-the-nose effect of a transporter from Star Trek. But even though it isn’t exact or anything, I’d argue that some of the bits seen above are much more interesting looking, no matter what era of transporter we’re talking about.
There are many ways for people embedded in geek culture to feel comfortable sleeping at night. Some people like to doze off while Doctor Who streams in the background. Some (teenage) people like to fill their walls with glow-in-the-dark posters and stars. Some folks choose to wear a bandanna around their eyes like a Ninja Turtle while sleeping in a bed shaped like Optimus Prime on top of Johnny Mnemonic bedsheets. But enough about me.
Would you be willing to drop $670 dollars to sleep in a hotel room meant to make you feel as if you’re a part of Star Trek? If that sounds like a wise financial decision to you, then get your A.S.S. Enterprise over to Brooklin, a neighborhood of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where the Sheraton Hotel is currently hosting an exclusive suite designed to make fans of Star Trek feel right at home away from home. And make it quick. The Paramount Pictures-requested suite, designed by architect Pedro Luis Scalise, is only around for a month or so, depending on the level of demand.
Despite the financial hurdles likely to prevent humans from going to Mars anytime soon, scientists still constantly brainstorm the challenges of getting to the Red Planet safely. In addition to studying the need for long-term healthy food options for such a journey, scientists also analyze data from NASA’s Curiosity rover to try and anticipate other potential complexities of such a mission.
The latest one? Radiation.
About a year ago, as the Curiosity rover made its way to Mars, readings from its Radiation Assessment Detector indicated that astronauts would be exposed to 554-770 millisieverts of radiation on the journey. What does that mean, exactly? Well, most people are exposed to roughly 6.2 millisieverts of radiation a year. Taking a trip to Mars would be akin to getting a CT scan “once every five days,” according to the Cary Zeitlin, lead scientist for the Martian Radiation Environment Experiment. What that means in terms of tangible effects is still unknown. On the bright side, Martians probably wouldn’t find radiation-caused mutations all that strange, but I think it’s safe to say that we don’t want to find out.