Archive for the 'Space' Category

What Happens When You Wring Out a Washcloth in Zero Gravity

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

ISS Commander Chris Hadfield was asked by high school students to demonstrate what happens when you wring out a washcloth in zero gravity. The result is pretty cool and is all about surface tension!

Link: http://io9.com/…
(via I F***ing Love Science)

Andromeda Galaxy to Collide With Milky Way

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

SpaceEarth is doomed, and there’s nothing we can do about it. The Andromeda galaxy is about to smash into the Milky Way. (It’s currently heading towards us at 250,000 mph, and that speed will increase as it gets closer.) Earth will be torn from its galactic orbit and flung elsewhere. Fortunately this will happen in about 4 billion years, so I for one will be quite happy to see it in person.

Thanks to Josh for this link.

Link: http://www.sciencenews.org/…

The Scale of the Universe

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

SpaceThe Flash animation in the linked page shows the scale of things, from the Planck length to the estimated size of the universe. It’s quite interesting, and I find it funny how they run out of metric prefixes when things get extremely large or small.

Thanks to Josh for this link.

Link: http://htwins.net/…

Could Faster Than Light Space Travel Be on the Horizon?

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Space[NOTE: I usually ignore this type of stuff, labeling it as pseudo-science, but the source is reliable.]

According to the linked article, faster than light travel is not only theoretically possible but is something that we might be able to implement. This would change everything. The method, known as an Alcubierre drive, hinges on the fact that we can’t reach the speed of light while moving through spacetime, but spacetime itself does not have that restriction (for instance, the universe has expanded much more quickly than lightspeed). There are still major technical challenges, however, as the energy requirement is very high—the energy in a mass the size of the Voyager 1 probe is, I believe, much more than any nuclear bomb every created.

Thanks to O.Roy for this link.

Link: http://www.space.com/…

Sci-fi Becomes Sci-fact: Private Commercial Spaceflight

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

SpaceOn Wednesday, a SpaceX cargo rocket successfully delivered its cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). While it wasn’t without problems, all I can say is, “It’s about time—now do it again!” Note that this isn’t actually the first SpaceX launch to the ISS, but the previous one was a test to verify that the rocket would actually work as designed.

Link: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/…
(via Bureau 42)

Sci-fi Becomes Sci-fact: Mining Asteroids

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Galaxy[EDIT: Yes, this is a duplicate article. My bad.]

While it hasn’t actually happened yet, plans are underfoot to capture a near-Earth asteroid and mine it for precious metals. Asteroid mining was a staple of ’50s science fiction, and now we have people putting up money to make it happen. Should it prove feasible, it will also give us more resources and stave off the catastrophes predicted by limited-resource doomsayers.

Link: http://www.reuters.com/…
(via Kim Komando)

The Perfect Ring For the Science Enthusiast

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

SpaceThis gold ring includes a band made from a meteorite, with embedded gems representing the nine planets (yeah, yeah, I know). Way cool! And it can be yours for only $4200.

Link: http://www.jewelrydesignsformen.com/…
(via Neatorama)

Solar Eclipse Tomorrow

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

SpaceTomorrow, May 20th, we will have an annular solar eclipse. An annular eclipse is one where the moon isn’t quite big enough to block out the entire sun, so the maximum eclipse has a ring of sun showing around the moon. The tail end of the eclipse will be visible in the Southwestern United States at around 7:30pm Mountain Time. Unfortunately for those of us in Colorado, it appears that we’re going to just miss it. The maximum eclipse is at 5:53pm MDT, when the eclipse shadow will be somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. The linked article has pictures showing where and when the eclipse will be visible—the times are in UTC, which is 6 hours ahead of Mountain Daylight Time.

Thanks to Josh for this topic.

Update: The path shown in the linked article is where the ring eclipse will be visible. A partial eclipse can be seen from a much larger area. So if you know how to safely view an eclipse, you should be able to see the partial eclipse from much of the Western United States.

Update #2: Josh writes: “I was doing some online research and apparently http://events.slooh.com/ is doing some sort of broadcast of the eclipse from various locations along the line of annularity (via Huffington Post)”.

Link: http://www.hermit.org/…

Sci-fi Becomes Sci-fact: Mining Asteroids

Friday, May 11th, 2012

SpaceMining asteroids has long been a staple of science fiction. Now an effort is underway to make it a reality, by a company named Planetary Resources. Admittedly, the mining will take some years to actually occur, and the first asteroid will be smaller than 50 meters. And the asteroid won’t actually be from the asteroid field that’s between Mars and Jupiter. But still…. What I find interesting is that this is another example of technology solving our sustainability problems—asteroid mining has the potential to bolster the limited resources we have here on the planet Earth.

Link: http://arstechnica.com/…

Space Hotel May Become a Reality Within 5 Years

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

SpaceForget those expensive space tourism trips to the International Space Station! A Russian company named Orbital Technologies is planning to have a space hotel in orbit by 2016. A five-night stay will cost $1 million.

Link: http://www.smh.com.au/…
(via Bureau 42)

Aliens May Not Be So Alien After All

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

DNA StrandHave you ever wondered why a piece of toast always seems to fall with the buttered side down? Turns out it’s not an accident. Likewise, researchers have determined that amino acids, basic building blocks of life on Earth, have a high probability of forming based solely on the laws of thermodynamics. Thus if we ever do make contact with aliens, they may share some of the basic building blocks of our biology. (And they’ll be humanoid in shape… NOT!)

Link: http://www.wired.com/…
(via Bureau 42)

Just How Big Is the Universe Anyway?

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

SpaceThe generally accepted age of the universe is slightly less than 14 billion years. Given that the speed of light is a barrier for how fast things can travel through spacetime, one would think that the size of the universe would then be about 28 billion light-years in diameter. Not so! Because even though matter travelling through spacetime cannot reach the speed of light, spacetime itself can expand much faster than lightspeed. Recent research puts the estimated size of the universe at more than 250 times that of the visible universe.

Link: http://www.technologyreview.com/…
(via Slashdot)