Archive for the ‘space’ tag
Wait But Why explores with an admirable depth the answers that have so far been posited for the Fermi Paradox, which they summarize as:
Some people stick with the traditional, feeling struck by the epic beauty or blown away by the insane scale of the universe. Personally, I go for the old “existential meltdown followed by acting weird for the next half hour.” But everyone feels something.
Physicist Enrico Fermi felt something too—”Where is everybody?”
It’s an astronomy story I knew before, but this presentation is good enough and awe-inspiring enough to share:
Speaking of space, this is a fun little visualization of the size and scale of the solar system that got a lot of love last week. Worth a look.
(If, like me, you get a bit sick of the horizontal scrolling, it’s worth pointing out that the planets are symbols at the top you can click to jump between.)
If I’m honest, this isn’t that interesting to me on its face — all writing of any value is revised. But it’s an excuse to expose people to one of favorite things in the world, Carl Sagan’s few pages about the Earth when viewed from a photograph taken by Voyager 1:
Consider again that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there—on the mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
And the video version the post includes, which I’d never seen before, is pretty great:
Really interesting and sci-fi-evoking story:
NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) can listen to the spacecraft [the ISEE-3/ICE], a test in 2008 proved that it was possible to pick up the transmitter carrier signal, but can we speak to the spacecraft? Can we tell the spacecraft to turn back on its thrusters and science instruments after decades of silence and perform the intricate ballet needed to send it back to where it can again monitor the Sun? The answer to that question appears to be no.
A fun little visualization of the vastness of space. Both technologically and practically it’s pretty neat.
I got this from Kottke, who also gives the best possible description:
NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, who has spent almost a year in space, gives us a 25-minute tour of the International Space Station. AKA the nerdiest episode of MTV Cribs.
I have to add: space does crazy things to long hair, and being able to effortlessly move in three dimensions seems to make navigation a bit harder.
Perhaps you’ve heard it:
The Americans spent millions of dollars developing a pen that would write in space; the Russians just used pencils.
Thing is, that’s not really a good explanation of why Space Pens were invented, or how human have written in space. I long suspected these facts, but I never actually bothered to confirm them, which io9 has conveniently done.
Quite a story told by Robert Krulwich — most noted on the internet for his work on WNYC’s excellent Radiolab — about the death of a cosmonaut all but condemned to take a flight that was expected to fail. This isn’t one of the incidents overheard by those Italian brothers (LB) but the similarity did strike me and the event is mentioned in that story.
This is the most unexpectedly exciting piece I’ve read in a while. Two Italian radio hobbyists managed to get a view of the space race nearly as good as its participants. Yes it’s old, and maybe seems a little dry, but I promise it’s a good read.
(via Justin Blanton, who links to more about this story)