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Shaun Of The Dead, Total Recall, And More Represented In Nifty 8-Bit GIFs

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shaun of the dead 8 bit
Earlier this week, I blathered on about how much I love seeing films reduced to children’s book material, and now my second-favorite type of homage has made its way from someone’s brain to my eyes via the Internet. We’re talking about cinematic 8-bit GIFs today, and the Russian website Ugaga recently hosted a series of 16 different images and challenged people to guess what they were referencing, and sci-fi is represented quite well. (From there it went on to Reddit and other places, so while we aren’t sure if Ugaga is the first source, I don’t think anyone is going to come knocking on…hold on, I have to get the door.)

Anyway, whoever made these things deserves a big whomping pat on the back, and then a cattle prod to the neck to make sure they keep delivering. And then maybe we can get a whole squad of like-minded people together, and we can prod them into making actual 8-bit video games based on these movies, because that would probably be more amazing than the tie-in games that Nintendo actually had to offer. (Man, this prod feels really comfortable in my hands.) I believe we all remember playing Hudson Hawk for five minutes before smashing it to pieces with a copy of The Return of Bruno.

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It’s Alive! Yutu Shows Signs Of Life After Malfunction

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YutuAfter arriving on the moon on December 14, China’s Yutu rover experienced a malfunction in late January, just before hibernating for its second two-week-long lunar night. Yutu seemed to bravely embrace its fate, relaying a message to “comfort” the Chang’e lunar lander, and offering some very down-to-Earth (sorry) philosophy: “About half of the past 130 explorations ended in success; the rest ended in failure. This is space exploration; the danger comes with its beauty. I am but a tiny dot in the vast picture of mankind’s adventure in space.” I couldn’t have put it any better myself, Yutu. Just before the beloved Chinese rover signed off, it relayed the message: “I don’t feel that sad. I was just in my own adventure story – and like every hero, I encountered a small problem…Goodnight, Earth. Goodnight, humanity.” I never thought I could get choked up over mechanical lunar explorer, but somewhere along the way the “Jade Rabbit” stopped feeling like a machine.

Yutu was supposed to wake up from the lunar night yesterday, but didn’t, prompting the China Daily to report that the rover had indeed died during the frigid two-week period. But anyone who’s ever read or watched science fiction (or Gravity) knows that death may not be a permanent condition. Indeed, late last night UHF-Satcom, a website that monitors cosmic radio signals, detected a faint signal from Yutu. Perhaps the fat lady hasn’t sung after all.

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NASA Program Aims To Put Commercial Landers On The Moon, Stirs Property Rights Debate

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moon miningNASA recently announced a new initiative called Lunar CATALYST (Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown) and is seeking proposals to join forces with commercial companies who can develop and deliver robotic lunar landers. The way the partnership works is that participants have free access to NASA scientists, equipment, laboratories, software, and research in exchange for giving NASA the rights to any lander designed during the partnership. While the initiative reflects the growing collaboration between the private and public sectors, some believe that the program penalizes foreign teams and may give rise to property rights disputes when it comes to who owns or regulates what happens on the moon.

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Chinese Moon Rover Yutu May Be In Trouble

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YutuChina’s moon rover Yutu landed on the moon on December 14, 2013, making China the third country to land a spacecraft on our favorite rock. Yutu, which means “jade rabbit” in Chinese, and the lander that brought it there, Chang’e-3, delivered some stunning photos and garnered plenty of global acclaim. But recent reports indicate that all is not well with Yutu. Xinhua news agency reported a “mechanical control abnormality” with the rover, and scientists are trying to figure out a way to fix it.

The State Administration of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) pinpointed the cause of the problem as the “complicated lunar surface environment,” but didn’t elaborate. SASTIND did confirm that the abnormality occurred just before the rover was supposed to hibernate again for a two-week-long lunar night on Saturday. During a lunar night, temperatures plunge to about -180 Celsius and there’s no solar power to provide energy for the spacecraft, so they shut down to conserve energy. Both Yutu and Chang’e-3 hibernated for a couple weeks about a month ago, during the first lunar night since their arrival, and both woke up on schedule two weeks later. After awakening, tests confirmed that both vehicles were operating and communicating normally. They were expected to operate for about three months — the same length of time as NASA planned for Spirit and Opportunity to operate on Mars.

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China’s Moon Rover Delivers More Stunning Photos From The Lunar Surface

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Chang'e-3 Lander

Chang’e-3 Lander

In mid-December, China became the third country to land a craft on the moon. But given the holidays and the general madness of the end of the year, it’s easy to forget about that rover and what it might be seeing and doing. The Chinese Academy of Sciences is more than happy to remind us, though, and has released a slew of stunning photos taken by Yutu.

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China’s Yutu Rover Hits The Surface Of The Moon

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YutuToday, China became the latest country to touch down on the surface of the Moon. The China National Space Agency landed a Chang’e-3 lander on our local satellite, and deployed a rover with the adorable name Yutu, to check out the scene.

Yutu has been unleashed for a three-month jaunt to explore the Bay of Rainbows, a region primarily made up of plains of dark basaltic lava. On most maps of the lunar surface, the Bay is known by its Latin name, Sinus Iridium, and forms the dark spots visible from Earth. The Bay is one of the northwestern finger of the Mare Imbrium, and is partially surrounded to the northeast and southwest by the Montes Jura mountain range.