The “Everything Wrong With” series from Cinema Sins is a popular, fun way to make you feel dumb for liking things (yet smart for knowing why you shouldn’t). The latest edition of the ongoing series has a special guest who can make you feel especially stupid for enjoying Gravity: Namely, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, America’s favorite astrophysicist, who interjects with some very science-y reasons why the Sandra Bullock mega-hit is bad and you should feel bad for liking it.
Robonaut, installed on the International Space Station to perform chores for astronauts, just got its first pair of real legs.
NASA says that the new seven-jointed legs are designed for climbing in zero gravity and offer a considerable nine-foot leg span. Instead of feet, the legs feature “end effectors” designed to grapple onto handrails and sockets located both inside the space station and, eventually, on the ISS’s exterior. Robonaut’s end effectors have a built-in vision system—almost like a pair of eyes—that are designed to eventually automate each limb’s approaching and grasping.
The former astronaut shares his views on the importance of innovation, collaboration, and leadership to the success of any project.
“Once this hypothetical machine was built, “it could take you from ground to orbit with a net of basically zero energy.”
Asteroid mining, orbital 3-D printing, and—of course—manned spaceflight are all part of the modern-day space race. Read>
The new Z-series suit is designed for walking on Mars, not simply floating around in space as astronauts have in the past. The space agency now wants your help to pick the final look.
“American achievement (in space) has mainly been a response to the Russians saying or doing something. We’ve been more reactive than proactive.”
If you happened to be falling into a black hole, the last thing on your mind will likely be how pretty the view is. Read more
Andrew Zolli: Why have art in space at all? What does it say about us as a species?
Forest Stearns: Symbolic mark-making has always been an important part of the human experience. From caves to canvases to satellites, we all have an ambition to tell our story. And as we migrate upwards and outwards with space technology, we felt it was important to take this expressive instinct with us.
“After the TED talk, Hadfield met with press to discuss all things space. And I had to ask: what does Hadfield think about all the private space companies, like Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, that are popping up? Can they really democratize spaceflight?
"You could ask the exact same question a century ago about airplanes. We’re at 1912 or maybe 1915 in spaceflight. The shuttle is a ridiculous vehicle, and yet it’s the best in the world.”
Seen from space, cities look incredibly detailed at night, when streetlights and buildings glow brightly enough that it’s possible for astronauts to clearly see individual streets. Photos taken from the International Space Station inspired London-based animator Marc Khachfe to spend hours creating this artwork in homage.
Chris Hadfield is a hero. A boss. The real deal. Not simply because he was Commander of the International Space Station, but for what he did while up there. Not content with being just “an astronaut,” he assumed the role of rock-star spaceman, conducting regular science-experiment videos from space, answering questions like, “What happens to tears in space?” Then, he gave us this: the first video from space. Watching Hadfield’s rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” while orbiting the Earth is nothing short of sublime. Mr. Hadfield, you win 2013.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, armed with specialized wide- and narrow-field lenses, has taken the best images to date of a unique jet stream in Saturn’s atmosphere.
NASA engineer Jerry Budd has an idea so audacious that it might just work—he wants to use unmanned, autonomous gliders to send small, low-cost satellites into orbit.
The Towed Glider Air-Launch is an experimental project (still awaiting government approval) that would fire air-launching rocket boosters from a drone glider. In Budd’s modest words, the proposal offers “affordable, flexible access to space.” A glider would be towed into high altitudes by military transport aircraft on planned flights and would be released by the plane—the glider would then fire a rocket booster (with a satellite enclosed) into orbit. Afterward, pilots located in remote NASA facilities safely guide the glider home.
The space gliders would be used to launch cubesats into orbit. Cubesats are small, low-cost satellites that weigh under 200 pounds and can be built and sent into orbit for low cost. Right now, it costs about $50,000 to build a cubesat and $100,000 to put one in orbit. Budd’s proposal would sharply reduce the cost of sending cubesats into space by allowing specialized drones to handle much of the hard work. Instead of sending cubesats into orbit on Russian rockets, NASA could build a new revenue stream by shipping these small satellites into orbit for other entities—effectively meaning the agency would provide space logistics services.