Archive for the 'Space' Category

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.

(via Slashdot)

What Exactly Is a Blue Moon?

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

SpaceEveryone’s heard the phrase, “once in a blue moon.” Turns out it has nothing to do with the color of the moon at all, but instead refers to either two full moons within one calendar month or four full moons within a single season. The linked article attempts to explain it all, but concludes that the no single, precise definition exists. On a side note, I suggest you check out the memorable short story, “Blued Moon,” by Connie Willis, where incredible coincidences occur in Chugwater, Wyoming after chemical plant emissions turn the moon blue.

Thanks to Ciro for this link.


Liquid Diamond

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

DiamondSomehow I’ve never considered that diamonds could have a melting point, much less that there may be oceans of liquid diamond on Uranus and Neptune. Turns out that solid diamond floats on liquid diamond, much like ice floats on water. Melting a diamond, however, is more complicated than just raising the temperature. The linked article explains all.


It’s All About Location, Location, Location

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

SpaceThis photographer’s work is being shown at the most exclusive gallery of all: the Moon. Astronaut Charles Moss Duke left a family photo on the Moon during the Apollo 16 mission in 1972.

(via digg)

Sci-fi Becomes Sci-fact: Power Beamed From Space

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

SpaceAs I grow older, I’m amazed to see the creation of technologies that I once read about in science fiction books. The Japanese government is spending $22 billion on a project to put a large solar panel array in orbit that will generate energy and beam it down to the Earth.

(via digg)

Personal Satellites

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

SpaceInterorbital Systems is selling satellite kits for the low, low price of $8000—this includes launching the satellite into a low-Earth orbit that will be maintained for a few weeks. The kit has quite a bit of pre-configured hardware and software, but you can send pretty much whatever you want as long as it meets the size and weight requirements. I’m thinking this would be a great way to make a marriage proposal.

Link #1:…
(via Slashdot)

Link #2:…

The Interplanetary Superhighway

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

SpaceIt started out in the mid-1700s with the discovery of the five Lagrange points, relatively stable areas in a rotational system with two bodies (e.g., Earth/Moon or Earth/Sun). But the solar system, with its multitude of planets and moons, is much more complex. The forces exerted by gravity are changing all the time, sometimes stronger or weaker, sometimes in one direction then in another.

These dynamic forces can be modeled, and it’s possible to generate a low-energy flight path for a spacecraft, where it could (theoretically) use no fuel but instead be propelled through the solar system by these changing gravitational forces. In the real world, of course, some fuel is necessary, but it’s a minimal amount.

This type of spaceflight would not be suitable for human beings, as the path meanders significantly, taking much, much longer to reach a destination than a direct flight. But the interplanetary superhighway is ideal for certain types of unmanned probes. And kudos to the people who first came up with the idea—this is definitely thinking outside the box.

Thanks to Josh for the Lagrange point link.


Update: Here is some more recent information on this topic.

The Moon Landing, 40 Years Later

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

SpaceJuly 20th is the 40-year anniversary of humankind’s first walk on the Moon. To help celebrate, here are Ten Things You Didn’t Know About the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. My favorite is #7: “When Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface, he had to make sure not to lock the Eagle’s door because there was no outer handle.”

(via Neatorama)

Spaceport Construction Underway

Monday, July 6th, 2009

SpaceConstruction has started for Spaceport America. I believe we need to encourage commercial space travel as much as possible, or it will forever be the ultra high-priced monopoly of governments. It’s my hope that space travel will someday be as common as air travel is today.


Gyroscopes in Zero-G

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

ScientistThe video in the linked article is from the International Space Station, and shows the stabilizing effect of gyroscopes. The demonstration is done in zero-gravity, and the “gyroscopes” are portable CD players.


Thinking Outside the Universe

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

SpaceThis article is one of the more readable explanations that I’ve seen of how universes are created. It’s short and concise, yet manages to cover topics from quantum multiverses to what may exist outside of our universe.

(via digg)

Death By Black Hole or Asteroid

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

SpaceThe linked video is a bit long, but definitely worth watching. Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson discusses the mechanics of being sucked into a black hole (spaghettification), as well as the possibility of the asteroid 99942 Apophis hitting Earth (and killing a lot of things in the process). Tyson also appeared on The Daily Show, where he covered some of the same topics.