categories ... such as space

The Moon is shrinking!

 by John Moe // Posted: 08/20/10 11:10 AM

In an announcement that is sure to throw the world’s werewolf community into a panic, NASA announced that they’ve picked up the rumble of shrinkage from the Moon (I’ll capitalize because it’s never been given a proper name). It’s an indication that the Moon isn’t the dead rock we once thought it was but is actually capable of geological movement. They say the Moon has probably shrunk even since the time we went up there and then stopped going up there once we had golfed. Theories abound as to why this happened – Large Hadron Collider? That bomb we sent up there for no apparent reason? But it’s important to note that it’s not losing mass, just size. Pink Floyd could not be reached for comment concerning the possible de-contextualizing of their most popular album.

Comments | Filed Under: space

You can go into suborbital space and all it will cost you is too much money!

 by John Moe // Posted: 07/30/10 11:17 AM

A company called XCOR Aerospace wants to be the Jet Blue of space travel. They’re offering four days of training followed by suborbital space flight for $95,000 (extra if you check bags) (not really). That’s less than half of what Virgin Galactic is asking for a similar experience. So if you’re on a budget but still somehow have 95 grand to blow on a really high up plane trip, this may be your solution. I know that if I travel in semi-space, I really want the company taking me there to cut as many corners as possible. “I hope you have a great time and it was all worth it,” say the world’s starving people who could have used that money to not starve.

Comments | Filed Under: space

Google's got a space program?

 by John Moe // Posted: 07/28/10 11:18 AM

Yep, Google’s got a space program. The NYT has a profile of the woman in charge, Tiffany Montague. Google is not so much thinking in terms of manned rockets with GOOGLE painted on the side, more in terms of stuff like sponsoring a competition to land a robot on the moon that can send back pictures. Or getting more detailed mapping of Mars so we know what’s up there (although I think NASA and Microsoft are doing a lot of work on that already). Goofiest of all: Montague is British but talks in an American accent because she really really loved The Dukes of Hazzard.

Comments | Filed Under: google space

Go to Mars from your computer

Posted: 07/14/10 06:00 AM

Do you want to go to Mars? Of course you do. And of course you can’t. Sorry.

But you can find an awfully good simulation online. NASA and Microsoft are presenting tens of thousands of high resolution images from Mars that you can get to through your computer.  They’re NASA images presented at Worldwide Telescope dot org, a site run by Microsoft Research. The two organizations worked together to take a vast storehouse of pictures and present them in a way that was readily accessible for people online, either through a downloadable browser patch or through a regular web view (that is somewhat less dramatic). The result is pretty darn cool. You can see the treads left by the Mars rover, you can see rock formations, you can really patrol around the planet.

Ross Beyer is a Planetary Scientist at NASA Ames Research. He fills us in on what you might be able to find on your mission to Mars. And Dan Fay from Microsoft explains the process of getting all these images into a form that was navigable from your computer.

Incidentally, I asked Dan if this program could work with a Mac. He said it would but only if the Mac was running Windows 7.

Also in this show, we play p0nd and try not to worry about what it all means.

Comments | Filed Under: space mars microsoft

Get energy from the stars

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/04/10 11:13 AM

Well, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? Scientists at the wonderfully named National Ignition Facility are conducting an enormous laser fusion experiment where they’re trying to harness the power of stars. They envision having a functional power plant up and running in 15 to 20 years producing carbon free energy. It’s not just some dreamy theory either, there’s 3 billion dollars invested in this thing. CNET has the explanation and a video.

Comments | Filed Under: energy space

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