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Behold, The World’s First Space-Vine

In only a year and a half of Vine, we’ve seen six-second loops of just about everything under the sun. With a recent dispatch from space, however, we’ve apparently moved on from underneath and are now broadcasting Vines from somewhere more adjacent to the sun.

Astronaut Reid Wiseman has posted the first-ever Vine video sent from space.

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A Very Special “Everything Wrong With” Featuring Neil DeGrasse Tyson And “Gravity”

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.

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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.

Read More>

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.

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.
More> These Mini Satellites Have An Unexpected Addition: Beautiful Art

Andrew ZolliWhy 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.

More> These Mini Satellites Have An Unexpected Addition: Beautiful Art

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.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield

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More> Everyone’s Favorite Astronaut Chris Hadfield On Why He Is Pro SpaceX, Anti “Gravity”

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 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.