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Friday, November 21, 2014

Engineers On Mars

Hmm...

The rocks on Mars have become something of a Rorschach test: Those who believe the planet once held some form of life see signs of it everywhere; others, not so much.

The image below either shows a humanoid skull partially buried in the sands of Mars... or just another rock.

Although the photo was taken several years ago by the panoramic camera on the Spiritrover, the Paranormal Crucible website recently posted a video of the image on YouTube with digital alterations to make it look even more like a skull.

The photo above, however, is part of the original image from NASA (with a circle added by The Huffington Post).

UFO Sightings Daily claims there's an 80 percent chance it's a real skull...

Clearly it's a Ringworld Engineer:

Must've been looking for prospective solar systems to start a Ringworld project and was killed by a thoat.  Or maybe, you know, not.

ntodd

November 21, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Ground Control To Major Sharon

Yup, I think PZ's right: men are just too emotional and weak to send on an expedition to Mars.

ntodd

November 17, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fly Me To Another World

Fitting that Philae lands on a comet on the same date that Voyager I began its historic flyby of Saturn in 1980.  Nice pictures from both spacecraft (Voyager II, too).

ntodd

November 12, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained."

Why does Rice play Texas?

William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.

If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred.

Why will Rosetta land on a comet?  This could be an interesting date in history...

ntodd

November 11, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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How Do You Walk In Space?


Even after Leonov, White and several other Gemini flights, we still hadn't figured it out, so XII was launched on 11/11 with a well-trained Buzz Aldrin on board.

ntodd

November 11, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Saturday, November 01, 2014

Feathers And Balls

You would think that this would fall faster than this, wouldn't you?  And you'd be absolutely right.

Science, Shakespeare, Stoppard, astronauts, gravity.  The Cosmos is a wondrous place.

ntodd

November 1, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dance Partners In Space And Time

Via Phil Plait, this is an astonishingly gorgeous photo (larger version):

But really, once you've seen one Lunar/Terran picture you've seen them all, amirite?

ntodd

October 30, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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The Real Reason That Rocket Exploded


It's all a conspiracy.

ntodd

October 30, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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Heads, Fox Wins; Tails, NASA Loses

These guys really are too much:

When Orbital Science’s latest launch of the Antares rocket was preparing to lift off of the pad for the ISS resupply mission, Fox News had a colorful title promoting how the launch vehicle was being managed by a private company.

When the rocket failed a few seconds after liftoff, they immediately turned on their heels, and called it a “NASA Cargo Rocket.”

Private industry cannot fail, it can only be failed.

ntodd

October 30, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"Discover the force of the heavens O Men."

I swear, this guy is Kepler and Galileo reincarnated:

“He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time at which he assured them of his continuous presence, giving being to every reality, and so creation continued for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until it became which we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the creator who gives being to all things,” the pope said.
...
“God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,” the pope said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

No shit.

ntodd

October 28, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Platonic Ideals In Space!

This is a reasonably stunning piece of informationYou Can Fit Every Planet In The Solar System Between Earth And The Moon.

For some reason that reminded me of Kepler's solids.

ntodd

October 27, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Apes In Space

The first photo from space:

On October 24, 1946, not long after the end of World War II and years before the Sputnik satellite opened the space age, a group of soldiers and scientists in the New Mexico desert saw something new and wonderful—the first pictures of Earth as seen from space.

The grainy, black-and-white photos were taken from an altitude of 65 miles by a 35-millimeter motion picture camera riding on a V-2 missile launched from the White Sands Missile Range. Snapping a new frame every second and a half, the rocket-borne camera climbed straight up, then fell back to Earth minutes later, slamming into the ground at 500 feet per second. The camera itself was smashed, but the film, protected in a steel cassette, was unharmed.

Fred Rulli was a 19-year-old enlisted man assigned to the recovery team that drove into the desert to retrieve film from those early V-2 shots. When the scientists found the cassette in good shape, he recalls, "They were ecstatic, they were jumping up and down like kids." Later, back at the launch site, "when they first projected [the photos] onto the screen, the scientists just went nuts."

Before 1946, the highest pictures ever taken of the Earth’s surface were from the Explorer II balloon, which had ascended 13.7 miles in 1935, high enough to discern the curvature of the Earth. The V-2 cameras reached more than five times that altitude, where they clearly showed the planet set against the blackness of space. 

And yet, we still haven't found a monolith on the Moon yet.

*throws bone into the air* 

ntodd

October 24, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fox News On Mars: WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE FROM THE COMET!!!

This should be fun:

On Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, at about 18:30 UTC (14:30 Eastern), Mars will experience a very close encounter with a comet.

The comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will pass just about 130,000 km (80,000 miles) from the surface of Mars. There is no danger of an impact, but the planet will pass through part of the comet's tail (which is composed of gas molecules and dust).

NASA and other space agencies have taken precautions to make sure the spacecraft at Mars won't be hurt, but they're also hoping to capitalize on this unprecedented opportunity to see a comet VERY up close and personal. I'm not sure just when we'll start seeing data from them, but I highly recommend keeping an eye on Emily Lakdawalla's blog page and her Twitter feed. She is really great about staying up to date and relaying accurate information as soon as she has it.

SL-9 was so interesting a couple decades ago.  This won't have atmospheric explosions, but I'm sure we'll get some neat pictures and a little bit more knowledge all the same...

ntodd

October 18, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, October 04, 2014

I Could Not Be An Astronaut

Finally got a manned Apollo mission off the ground, but it wasn't much fun:

By the second day in space, all three men were congested with the same head cold. And they were miserable. The Earth’s gravitational environment mean that any fluid accumulating in the sinuses with a cold drains. But in a pressurized cabin in a microgravity environment, that natural drainage doesn’t happen. The only relief the crew had was blowing their noses, hard, which led to a painful pressure in their ears and increased their risk of a burst ear drum.

The three men took aspirin and decongestant, but there was otherwise little they could do. They were stuck being uncomfortable. In short order, discomfort led to bad moods. As the mission wore on, conversations with mission control became increasingly terse. And Schirra as commander of his craft, began arguing with and defying mission control.

The crew argued with mission control about the TV transmissions seeking to cancel the first broadcast scheduled for their second day in orbit. They fought back against changes and additions to their flight plan, be it an additional engine burn or a test of the TV circuit. They berated “the man” who had designed a particularly clunky piece of equipment over an open line. Everyone in NASA could hear their complaints, and no one appreciating the astronauts they were working so hard to keep safe insinuating they were idiots.
...
Exhausted, uncomfortable, and frustrated, the crux of the crew’s arguments with mission control came at the end of the flight. Procedures stipulated that the crew wear pressure suits and helmets throughout reentry as a defense against sudden loss of cabin pressure. But Schirra didn’t like the idea of wearing a pressurized helmet with a cold, fearing the inability to blow his nose might result in a burst eardrum. It had happened before when he’d flown with a cold years previously. Schirra won the fight. Each astronaut took a decongestant pill and, cushioning their heads with whatever they could find, settled their unhelmet heads on headrests for reentry.

Unfortunately for the crew, Apollo 7 was the last mission for all three of them. Schirra and Eisele left NASA shortly after, though Cunningham did stay with NASA long enough to work on the Skylab program. Lead Flight Director Chris Kraft is said to have vowed that none of the men would ever fly again, and Deke Slayton, head of the astronaut office and flight assignments, seems to have obliged. He couldn’t assign anyone to a crew that Kraft’s people wouldn’t work with, not when there were other astronauts waiting for flights of their own.

Not sure the whole gravity-drainage thing is working very well down here on Earth...

ntodd

October 4, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

You Didn't Think Martians Would Use Lasers, Did You?

Curiosity apparently found a cannonball fired by sand ships.  And NASA keeps lying about it, like they do about everything.  Hopefully the Indian space program will expose all the deceptions.

ntodd

September 25, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Speaking Of Space Travel

A couple interesting short items:

  • Burka - Indian Mission to Mars Outsourced to U.S.
  • Engadget - NVIDIA's new GPU proves moon landing truthers wrong.

(via FB)

ntodd

September 24, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Welcome To The Club

Go, go, Mangalyaan!

India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) probe was captured by the Red Planet's gravity around 10:11 p.m. EDT Tuesday (Sept. 23; 0211 GMT and 7:41 a.m. Indian Standard Time on Wednesday, Sept. 24), making India's space agency just the fourth entity — after the United States, the European Space Agency and the former Soviet Union — to successfully place a spacecraft in Mars orbit. 

The MOM probe, which is named Mangalyaan (Sanskrit for "Mars Craft"), executed a 24-minute orbital insertion burn Tuesday night, ending a 10-month space journey that began with the spacecraft's launch on Nov. 5, 2013.

It's been a groovy trip.  Glad to have India in the interplanetary exploration club.

ntodd

September 24, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Lovin' It Up 'Til I Hit The Ground

MAVEN got to Mars (I didn't stay up).  But what's cooler is the possibility that we might finally get a space elevator thanks to nanotech.

ntodd

September 22, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Heh, They Said 'Insertion'

NASA:

After a 10-month, 442 million mile journey, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) is set to enter Martian orbit at approximately 9:50 p.m. EDT tonight. NASA TV coverage begins at 9:30 p.m.

It is the first spacecraft dedicated to exploring the upper atmosphere of Mars, answering important questions about the planet's history and climate.

Hope they didn't fuck up the metric-English units this time.  Wonder if I'll be able to stay up--there are no bodies in this house that are clear on precisely what time it is.

ntodd

September 21, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, August 29, 2014

I'm Starting To Miss That Old Bird

The Shuttle was a deadly jalopy, but I find myself waxing nostalgiac:

"If Discovery could talk, it would surely express happiness at seeing so many people coming to visit and saying how awesome it looks," said Valerie Neal, Discovery's curator at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and the author of the recently released book, "Discovery:Champion of the Space Shuttle Fleet."

Discovery launched on the first of its 39 missions, STS-41D, on August 30, 1984. The flight logged the first week of the orbiter's ultimate total of 365 days in space (spread out over 27 years). Discovery retired with the shuttle fleet in 2011 and became part of the Smithsonian's collection a year later at the Udvar-Hazy Center in northern Virginia.

Dare the impossible...

ntodd

August 29, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack