Jul 14 2015

Oh Snap, Pictures of Pluto

Guess what? Earth people (or at least devices built by Earth people, specifically people at NASA) have finally gotten close to Pluto. And they took pictures!

 

From BusinessInsider:

“People didn’t think it could be done … but it’s worked essentially flawlessly for the last nine years,” Alan Stern, principal investigator of New Horizons, said about the spacecraft and its mission on Tuesday at a NASA briefing.
For decades, the Plutonian system was the only one of the original nine planetary systems in the solar system unexplored by the space agency.
Now, NASA has become the first organization to reach the dwarf planet and its moons, and it can finally tick off that empty check box marked “Pluto.”

Usually I hope for the discovery of alien beings on other worlds. In this case, though, I kinda hope there aren’t any Plutonians. If there are, I hope they don’t mind that we demoted their world to “dwarf planet” status awhile back.

This of course assumes that the Plutonians are capable of aggressive action, and if so, are interested in attacking us. Which is not a given. The planet could be populated by super-intelligent shades of the color blue, for example. (Apologies to Douglas Adams.)

No matter what, I say GO NASA GO! YAY SPACE TRAVEL! (Remember when we said it was time to get more excited about space travel? We meant it. Yay outer space!)

Source: Humankind visits Pluto for first time – Business Insider


Dec 29 2014

Cool Space Images of Saturn

In our ongoing effort to get more excited about space, here is a link to some cool space images of Saturn.

Captain Video And His Video Rangers

(This isn’t a picture of real space travel. It’s Captain Video and His Video Rangers. Old TV show.)

This quote from writer Jesus Diaz sums it up nicely:

I don’t know about you, but all these photos taken by a camera 746 million miles (1.2 billion kilometers) away from us blow me away.

Two-mile-high structures rising on Saturn’s rings. (via Sploid)


Aug 31 2014

More Cool Space News

Ready for more cool space news? This Gizmodo headline had me at “hello world” — NASA Will Reformat Mars Rover’s Flash Memory From 125 Million Miles Away.

NASA Opportunity Rover

How neat is that? According to Gizmodo, “NASA’s Opportunity rover is still trundling across the surface of Mars… But its software is getting bogged down, so NASA’s doing a full system backup, memory wipe, and reboot. It’s just like your routine computer cleanup, just from the next planet over.”

The Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity (note to future Geek Gold Gard parents — good names for twins!) have 256MB of flash memory each.

Imagine it this way. It is the Dark Times, the days of Windows 95, 98, and (Lords of Cobol help us all) Windows ME. Eventually the computer running said operating systems becomes so filled with cruft that it is unusable. (To be fair, this happened to me recently with Windows 7, although that was more about the bloatware that came pre-installed on the laptop. But I digress.) You reformat the hard drive and re-install the OS. (In my case, after several years of this, you give up, buy a Mac, and become an iHole.)

Now imagine that you are doing something similar, but remotely. REALLY remotely. Like, you’re on Earth and the computer is on frickin’ MARS.

Remember, we promised to get more excited about space travel.

This XKCD comic was in the comments section on Gizmodo, but I’m reposting it here because (a) I can (XKCD is cool that way) and (b) it’s funny.

XKCD Spirit

NASA Will Reformat Mars Rover’s Flash Memory From 125 Million Miles Away – Gizmodo

Image via Wikipedia


Jun 24 2014

Space News!

NASA detects mysterious signal ?240 million light years away from Earth (Sploid/Gawker)


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Apr 19 2014

SpaceX Launches Rocket Into Orbit | TIME.com

Remember when we said we were going to start getting more excited about space travel? This is us doing that.

SpaceX Launches Rocket Into Orbit | TIME.com.


Apr 01 2014

Neil Armstrong Says The World Needs Nerdy Engineers

In our ongoing effort to get more excited about space travel and all things space science-y, here is a video from Universe Today in which Neil Armstrong says the world needs more nerdy engineers.

Universe Today (UT… actually, I don’t want to use that abbreviation, people might think I’m talking about the University of Texas, or the state of Utah) is a very cool web site that I was recently turned on to by Lucas Gonze. It is something that I should read daily. I’m saying this publicly in order to shame myself into following through on that plan.

Also, this pic from the Universe Today twitter feed is all sorts of awesome.

Neil Armstrong: Why The World Needs ‘Nerdy Engineers’ (In Animated Form).

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Jan 26 2014

Let’s Get More Excited About Space Travel

Here’s an idea. Instead of endless reports about Justin Bieber and other mindless crap, let’s get more excited about space travel.

Captain Video And His Video Rangers

(This isn’t a picture of real space travel. It’s Captain Video and His Video Rangers. Old TV show.)

Live streaming video by Ustream

(By the way, the latest Bieber news, as of this writing, is that Usher flew to be by Justin’s side and offer emotional support or something. In case you’re curious. Who says this isn’t the DaddyTips age of having your cake and eating it too?)

On January 23, 2014, three days ago, NASA launched a Next-Generation Relay Satellite. No, not Star Trek: The Next Generation. Something real. The TDRS-L Satellite. Launched by NASA. Frickin’ NASA! And they broadcast the launch live on Ustream! And I didn’t even know! (The video is archived and embedded above. I was wrong. The video embedded above appears to be NASA’s live Ustream channel. Sorry. Here is a link to the video of the launch.)

Nobody cares. Why doesn’t anyone care? We should really care about this a lot more than we do.

Why should we care? Read more »