Search results for: "new horizons"


All I Want For Christmas Is A Quentin Tarantino Science Fiction Film

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QuentinWhile another Firefly/Serenity movie would be ideal, however unlikely at this moment, I would really love to see Quentin Tarantino make a science fiction movie. He’s tackled many other genres such as Westerns (Django Unchained), Kung Fu (Kill Bill), and the World War II movie (Inglourious Basterds). Tarantino has also made a number of films in obscure sub-genres like Blaxploitation (Jackie Brown) and Slasher/Grindhouse (Death Proof). So far, however, he has yet to make a science fiction film. I think he’d completely subvert the genre and deliver a movie that is something different and interesting.

A filmmaker with a vast knowledge of cinema, especially genre cinema, would re-imagine what we think of as science fiction with whatever movie he would deliver. Although it would be somewhat tough to see Quentin Tarantino tackle an alien invasion movie or an action/adventure in the sci-fi genre, it would still be something worth watching simply because Tarantino’s name is attached. Maybe a science fiction movie would be too expensive for the 50-year-old writer/director to make, or maybe high-concept sci-fi is just outside of his wheelhouse, but it’s just something I’d like to see happen one day.


NASA’s Planned Missions Through 2030 In One Neat Infographic

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NASA infographicHappy 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.


Sorry Trekkies, Pluto’s Moons Are Now Called Kerberos And Styx

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nasa plutoBack in February, the International Astronomical Union decided to flex its social media muscles by creating Pluto Rocks, which allowed the naming of Pluto’s two most recently discovered moons, previously called “P4” and “P5,” to fall into the hands of voters. And the people have spoken! Well, about 500,000 of us. Not exactly the number of voters that something like The Voice gets on a weekly basis, but it’s not bad for a science-sanctioned poll. That said, I bet more people would have voted had “Adam Levine” been a choice. Sigh.

Voters had 12 names to choose from, all of which were related to Pluto’s mythological role as the Greek god of the underworld. Where they made their mistake was in allowing a write-in vote. Whereas contests in other areas may have yielded prank results, voters were very serious in following William Shatner’s beck and call to get Vulcan to win the vote. 170,000 people or so voted for it, making it a shoe-in, as three-headed demon dog Cerberus was in second-place with almost 100,000 votes. But in a movie that was very “wishy washy government style” for an international union, neither of those names actually made it.


Artist Ron Miller Shows Earth He Cares By Giving It A Ring

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Earth with rings

Art and science are colliding all over the place lately. You’ve got an astronaut surveying a futurist earth, paintings of the bones of famous spacecraft, and now, illustrations of what Earth would look like with Saturn’s rings.

DC rings

Artist Ron Miller, former art director of the National Air & Space Museum’s Albert Einstein Planetarium, is most known for his space art. He tries to make his ringed-Earth series as realistic as possible, choosing locations not just for their high recognition factor, but also for their distance from the equator, which he took into account as he rendered the rings. At the equator, for example, the rings would appear as a straight line bifurcating the horizon.

Quito rings

He also depicts scenes at different times of day in order to capture the change in the rings’ luminosity. Depending on their distance from the Moon, and the different times of year, these paintings capture the change in the Sun’s position.

Tropic of Cancer rings

Miller also specializes in science fiction art, and has worked as a production illustrator on David Lynch’s Dune, a conceptual artist for Total Recall, and a consultant on Robert Zemeckis’ Contact. His art has also graced the covers of a bunch of awesomely geeky magazines, like Discover, Scientific American, and many more.

Tikal rings

In addition to creating works of visual art, Miller writes fiction and non-fiction books about space and science fiction, with a particular aim to engage young people in science. He even designed a series of postage stamps for each planet in the solar system, inspiring the New Horizons probe with his “Not Yet Explored” Pluto stamp, one of which was affixed to New Horizons before launch.

pole rings

Miller has also depicted what the sky would look like if other planets were as close to Earth as the moon, as well as envisioned a post-apocalyptic Earth. I think the ringed-Earth series has them both beat, but maybe that’s just because I’ve always had a case of Saturn envy.


This Is The 8th Anniversary Of The First Manned Private Spaceflight

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Eight years ago on June 21, 2004, history was made 100km over a small desert airport in New Mexico. Mike Melville flew the first privately-funded spaceflight in Space Ship One, a craft created by visionary aerospace designer Burt Rutan and his team at Scaled Composites. Not only did this achievement put Scaled Composites in the lead on wining the Ansari X-Prize, but it also showed for the first time that multi-billion dollar spacecraft and government involvement weren’t the only way for mankind to reach the boundaries of space.

Rutan says the idea that created Space Ship One dates back to 1996, but full development of the spacecraft started in, appropriately enough, 2001. With a generous investment from philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Scaled Composites started work on the air launched vehicle consisting of the hybrid rocket powered glider Space Ship One and it’s launch plane White Knight One. The idea for the air launched plane is not new, the X-1 series of planes which famous test pilot Chuck Yeager flew were dropped from the belly of a modified B-29 bomber. Where Space Ship One broke new ground was in its feathering atmospheric re-entry design, where a swiveling wing structure uses air resistance to slow down and steady the craft for an unpowered runway landing.