Spaceheads

Digital Monkeys

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Unless you have been living under a rock, or perhaps have a cold empty heart devoid of emotional excitement for space adventures (coincidentally, space is also a cold empty void), you probably noticed NASA very recently conducted a successful test launch and recovery of the new Orion capsule. (Still not to be confused with this other, more atomic Orion.) Once upon a time, such tests would have been conducted using happy, energetic little monkeys, but now we live in a digital, monkey loving world, a world where we could likely take bets on who will receive sentient being legal status first, a computer or a monkey. NASA went the computer route, sending a robo-monkey to shoot video out the Orion window. Most of that was streamed ‘live’, but not the critical phase involving superheated plasma during re-entry. Luckily the digital monkey had a nice steady hand, so hit the jump and check out some plasma!

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Spaceheads

By the Light of the Moon

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The passion that those who feel ‘the Apollo record is full of anomalies and inconsistencies’ still surprises me at times. The idea that it is easier to believe that hundreds, if not thousands, of folks involved with NASA and the Apollo program pulled off the greatest hoax in history and managed to keep the secret, even to this day, than it is to believe those same hundreds and thousands put forth their best effort and took risks and accomplished one of the biggest technological challenges of the last century, well it quite honestly astounds me.

Yesterday I came across a video from computer graphics company NVIDIA that purports to: “Explore the truth behind the iconic Buzz Aldrin moon landing photo. See how modern graphics innovations can shed new light on a 35-year-old conspiracy theory.
Learn more about Maxwell, the new GPU architecture powering the GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970.”

It is a piece of advertising for their new gear, but I think re-creating a 45 year old scene rock by rock digitally is quite an interesting tech accomplishment, and if they get a little bit of advertising by aiming the ad at a controversy that has arguably gained traction in the age of the internet, well there you go. The video has been on YouTube for less than a week, and the amount of comments, many of which argue very strongly against the assumptions made by NVIDIA and discussing how it in no way proves anything, are quite impressive. Even more fascinating to me, the first comment links to a site, aulis.com, that has quite the discussion about those Apollo program ‘inconsistencies’. One of the recent posts is also a discussion of how NVIDIA attempted to rope a skeptic in for exploitation, for one assumes just this video advertising campaign. But the skeptic in question was not fooled, oh no. Conspiracies within conspiracies, Egad!

Hit the just to see the video, and decide for yourself if you want to believe!

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Genius Innovators

Chertok’s Mustache

Hopefully you all got the chance to read the article linked in yesterday’s post, about the Soviet mission to resuscitate the Salyut 7 Space Station. In the comments of that article, the author, Nickolai Belakovski, mentioned this little story from Boris Chertok, a senior official at Energiya, a major Russian space company. (“Formed […]

Pushing Boundaries

Rescue T-13

Yesterday I discovered a fascinating story about a daring space adventure back in 1985, a rescue mission to save the Soviet space station Salyut 7, the direct processor to Mir. This tale was posted over on the arstechnica website, and I am not going to do it an injustice by trying to retell […]

Go-Fast Technology

You Have to Land Sometime

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No doubt you have wondered to yourself while watching Star Wars, “Sure, the Millennium Falcon is fast in space, because spacecraft shape doesn’t matter in a vacuum, but what would the reentry be like?” After all, one you finish the Kessel Run you’ve still got to deliver Logan or whatever else it was you were running, and that means landing on a planet or moon. (Unless it is no moon.) Now, certainly this could be simply explained away with shields and other such-not, but that’s just not all that interesting, now is it? So how about a wind tunnel model, with speeds up to Mach 3!

“Supersonic wind tunnel testing and schlieren flow visualization of a Millennium Falcon model at Mach 3. The high-speed images show startup, steady state, and shutdown of the blowdown wind tunnel facility at Penn State University. The oblique shock waves over the model are observed. The boundary layers on the bottom of the wind tunnel are also imaged”.

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Spaceheads

I Heard You Like Space

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My kids happen to all be huge fans of the Disney Buddies franchise. Now, I would imagine side of you probably missed out on the whole Buddies thing and have no idea what I am talking about, so let me briefly explain. At some point in the 90s, Disney made a movie about a dog, a golden retriever to be specific, that could play sports. And then he could do more things, which meant more movies. Then, they hit on the true genius of the form, the only thing cuter than a golden retriever doing human things and talking–golden retriever puppies talking and having adventures. To date, there have been something like 12 Buddies movies made (I have no idea what the actual number is, but it is seriously a bunch, they are trying to give The Land Before Time a run for their money), and one of those movies just happens to involve space. And a Russian space dog that gets rescued from Mir. Also, one of the friends from the Drew Carey show lives on Mir and is crazy Russian cosmonaut!

My point with all this being, the dogs in said film wear cheesy, fake looking space suits. But there have been actual dogs sent to actual outer space wearing actual pressure suits! And now, thanks to to victory of capitalism over communism, you have the chance to own one! You will have to hurry, because the auction it’s this weekend! And in Berlin.

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Spaceheads

What Goes Up

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The world has been launching satellites into orbit since October 4, 1957, and as you might imagine, they don’t all just stay up there. Instead of just reading through boring list of numbers witg up and down counts, a gentleman by the name of Leon Friedrich has been so kind as to put together the little grarpical animation video you’ll find after the jump. What goes up, sometimes does come down!

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Spaceheads

Saturnday Morning

Cassini Vimeo

Saturday morning has always been about cartoons, so tv, which in the future of which we live means internet videos. And therefore, let’s watch a video! this particular video was created by one Chris Abbas by compiling still images collected by the Saturn Cassini probe, and setting it to some mildly darkish Nine Inch Nails (purely instrumental, no singing, in the event you aren’t into the resonating Reznor). To me it has a nice 2001 type vibe, which might be a little melancholy for Saturday morning, but hey, that’s why it’s Saturnday instead!

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Spaceheads

Watching A Space Shuttle Launch

STS-127 Launch

One of my most treasured memories is having the opportunity to witness two space shuttle launches. The photo above is one I took with my old point and shoot camera of STS-127. Even from approximately 5 miles away, the sound of the launch was incredible. You can no longer see a space shuttle launch. However, thanks to the wonder that is the innerwebs, you can see one virtually. Hit the jump, crank up the speakers, and pretend you’re in Florida.

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User Input

Message in the Sand – Graffiti on Mars

Here’s a little intergalactic Easter egg…

Our latest Mars Rover “Curiosity”, which set down on the Red Planet last year – August 2012, has a curious pattern molded into the tread of its 20 inch wheels…

For those of you well versed in the ancient language of the Old West, or perhaps even […]

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