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China Will Land A Probe On The Moon By The End Of 2013

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china rocketWhile we here at Giant Freakin’ Robot would never claim to be xenophobic, we admit that a good portion of our news about China has to do with their box office totals and their heinous censorship of movies. But we should have been paying more attention to their ascent in the space race, as they’ve moved past exoplanet hunts and their manned trip to the Chinese space station Tiangong 1. In a press statement, the State Administration of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense said they are now finished with their plans and construction of an unmanned rover which they intend to land on the moon by the end of this year. (Cue dramatic theremin note.)

The mission is called Chang’e-3, after a mythological character who resided in a lunar palace. The implications of the name are clear, even though it’ll be years before they’re able to send their own astronauts there. But the point is, they aren’t held back by having a lower budget than NASA, or by getting a later start than the U.S. and Russia in the galactic rush. They’re setting goals and they’re reaching them, which has got to make their citizens proud. Incidentally, they set 2020 as the date for their manned lunar mission.

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Beautiful Fan Made Posters For Most Of Your Favorite Movies

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Blade RunnerFan art, taken as a whole, is a hit or miss proposition most days. There are some pieces that you look at and know immediately why this person is not making art for movies in a professional capacity. But then there are the ones you look at and ask yourself, “why the hell doesn’t the movie studio just use this instead of paying some hack to make a poster where the main character stands with his back to you?” There are a lot of terrible movie posters out there for great, great movies, and for every one of those, someone invariably seems to have made of something incredibly beautiful, as if to say, “see, you poster didn’t have to suck.” Such is the case with this new gallery of fan made posters for a grip of wonderful science fiction films, classic, recent, and otherwise.

Erupting from the mind of Adam Rabalais, these posters are absolutely freaking gorgeous. (Follow the link to check out even more fantastic attempts for non-sci-fi movies, if you’re into that sort of thing.) His choice of pictures are subtle and understated, but totally capture the feel of the films in a way that you rarely, if ever, get from the cluttered, tech heavy offerings you see from most movie studios. He actually makes you feel like this is an art form rather than manufacturing throwaway chunks of movie marketing. These make me want to see movies, most posters don’t.

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Apollo 11 HD Photos Celebrate The Mission’s 44th Anniversary

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apollo 11It’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.

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Misson To The Moon’s South Pole Planned For 2016

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moretus_20120908It’s a big week for our moon, Earthlings. Yesterday was the 44th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first steps onto the lunar surface. It was confirmed that the Saturn V rockets the Bezos Expeditions recovered from the Atlantic Ocean floor are indeed from the Apollo 11 aircraft. And now, the International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) and Moon Express, Inc. have just announced a mission to the Moon’s South Pole, which they hope will happen as early as 2016. The goal: capturing Moon penguins. (Not really.)

“We are very excited to our announce that our second Moon mission will be to the lunar South Pole to deliver the International Lunar Observatory (ILO) and to prospect for resources,” said Moon Express CEO Dr. Robert Richards during NASA’s Lunar Science Institute conference at the Ames Research Center. “The mission will provide a historic landing in an unexplored region of the Moon that may harbor some of the greatest resource deposits in the solar system.”

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Victorian Observatory Where Early Moon Pictures Were Taken Is Getting An Extensive Restoration

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observatory It’s an image bred from naiveté, but whenever I mentally picture the Victoria Era, I see hoity-toity women walking around in extravagant corsets while holding tiny umbrellas, and huffy-puffy mustached men holding their top hats while they polish their pocketwatches. It isn’t a time that I freely associate with the origins of space photography, but a South Wales observatory built in the mid-1800s was the source of the world’s first photographs of the moon. In an increasingly worsening state of disrepair since the 1930s, the observatory’s legacy is being re-established with a multi-million dollar restoration. Take that, dust and mildew!

John Dilwyn Llewelyn (1810-1882) is a photography pioneer (along with a botanist and abolitionist) whose most important contribution to the practice was inventing a preservation technique called Oxymel, which allowed picture-taking on location without the necessity of developing the photograph right then and there. But we’re more interested in the observatory he built on the Penllergare (or Penllergaer, depending on where you look) estate he inherited in Swansea, South Wales. A founding member of the Royal Photographic Society, Llewelyn constructed the observatory in 1846. He and his daughter Thereza would look at the universe through a telescope, and soon began using it to photograph the moon. Seems obvious, right?

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National Park On The Moon Proposed (Yosemite Is So Passé)

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MoonIt’s one hell of a road trip, but sign me up!

Why battle the crowds at Yosemite, Yellowstone, or the Grand Canyon if you could take that National Park vacation on the moon? That’s what two democratic representatives are advocating. Donna Edwards of Maryland and Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas (there’s another democrat in Texas besides Wendy Davis? Who knew?!) have recommended making the Apollo moon landing sites a National Historic Park.

What’s the point of turning land where no one lives and few visit into a National Park? The prospect of commercial traffic on the moon that could destroy artifacts important to America’s history. China recently announced a plan to launch a moon rover later this year, and Google Lunar X PRIZE teams will compete to send the first privately funded robot to the moon. “In light of other nations and private entities developing the ability to go to the Moon, the United States must be proactive in protecting artifacts left by the seven Apollo lunar landings,” Johnson said.