Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lockheed Martin Wins NASA Moon Contract

NASA on Thursday gave the contract to build a manned lunar spaceship to Lockheed Martin Corp.

NASA will use the Orion crew exploration vehicle to replace the space shuttle fleet, take astronauts to the moon and perhaps to Mars. Unlike Apollo and earlier spacecraft, it will be reusable. NASA has asked for eight separate spaceships.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pluto Will Keep a Place in Maine

Pluto may have been demoted by the IAU earlier this month, however the "dwarf" planet is still held in high regard, in the universe of northern Maine.

The planet - um, dwarf planet - is represented by a half-inch wooden ball that is a part of the Maine Solar System Model created by a geology professor at the University of Maine-Presque Isle and lots of volunteers.

The scale model - one mile equals 93 million miles, the distance from the Earth to the sun - took four years to complete and begins with a wooden representation of the sun on the Presque Isle campus.

The display is spread out over 40 miles along Route 1 where passing travelers can gawk at each planet and test their memories of grade school science.

ESA Smart 1 to Crash into the Moon

Europe's first mission to the moon to crash into the Moon's surface Sunday. SMART-1 should hit the Lake of Excellence at 1:41 a.m. EDT, at 4,475 mph.

The prime object of this mission was to test the ion engine they hope to use for future interplanetary missions, such as the BepiColombo joint mission to Mercury with Japan's space agency slated for launch in 2013. Check out the link for more details

Monday, August 28, 2006

Robot takes flight with hydrogen fuel cell

A group at Georgia Tech has devised a unmanned aerial vehicle that flies on a hydrogen fuel cell.

The craft, which has a wingspan of 22 feet, has made several flights lasting up to a minute. Fuel cell UAVs could offer some distinct advantages. One, they are quiet, which, considering that UAVs are used for battlefield reconnaissance, is important. Two, they leave a more faint heat signature than UAVs on electric motors, so they potentially won't get picked up by counterintelligence systems as easily.

(can anyone say Terminators....I knew that you could...PAC)

Revolutionary LED Fabric

Philips has come up with a way to weave flexible LEDs into fabric to create wearable fabric displays, which it has named Lumalive. These light emitting textiles make it possible to create materials that can carry dynamic messages, graphics or multicolored surfaces. Imagine the possibilities! (imagine the science fiction! pac)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Planet Earth may have 'tilted' to keep its balance

Imagine a shift in the Earth so profound that it could force our entire planet to spin on its side after a few million years, tilting it so far that Alaska would sit at the equator. Princeton scientists have now provided the first compelling evidence that this kind of major shift may have happened in our world's distant past.

China and Russia plan a joint mission to Mars

China and Russia plan to launch a joint mission to Mars in 2009 to scoop up rocks from the red planet and one of its moons

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto ain't a planet anymore.....

After a tumultuous week leading astronomers Thursday stripped Pluto of the planetary status. The new definition of what is — and isn't — a planet fills a centuries-old black hole for scientists who have labored since Copernicus without one.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Astronomers rethink planet definition

Leading astronomers are divided over new guidelines that would define what is and isn't a planet. The debate all but dooms a proposal to expand the solar system to 12 planets from the traditional nine. Pluto, Ceres and Charron may well become "dwarf planets" oh and you can forget "plutons" it's already history.

Spaceman spills the beans

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- The name of the new vehicle that NASA hopes will take astronauts back to the moon was supposed to be hush-hush until next week.

But apparently U.S. astronaut Jeff Williams, floating 220 miles above Earth at the international space station, didn't get the memo.

Williams let it slip Tuesday that the new vehicle's name is Orion.

The future of Robots

here is an execellent Popular Science article of the most advanced works in robotics to date and speculation on where this research is leading now.

Monday, August 21, 2006

SMART-1 on the trail of the Moon’s beginnings

ever since the late 1960s/early 1970s, planetary scientists have been struck by the similarity of the moonrocks and the rocks found deep in the Earth. This boosted the theory that the Moon formed from debris left over after the Earth was struck a glancing blow by a Mars-sized planet.

Thanks to a large solar explosion and ESA SMART-1 observations, that might not be entirely the case.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Apollo 11 film found..on the Dark Side of the Moon

A REEL of film held for 20 years in a vault could could help explain what happened to the original tapes of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

The reel belongs to Australian film producer and rock video director Peter Clifton, had ordered the reel in 1979 for a rock film he was making about Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon but forgot he had it until seeing a news report on television .

Discovered "footage" may solve big mystery

A REEL of film packed away in a personal collection and placed in storage 20 years ago could be a key to unlocking the mystery of the missing tapes of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

The footage of Neil Armstrong's "one small step" on the moon is considered among the most important artefacts of the 20th century. But the original NASA tapes have been mislaid in a labyrinth of archives in the United States. It is now hoped that a reel of 16 millimetre film owned by two Australian music-film producers will help direct researchers to the warehouse or museum where the missing tapes are stored — if they still exist.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Beam Me Up Episode 15 for 08/19/2006

Well Murphy's law continues to strike fear in the hearts of mortal bloggers. The cd recorders decided to stop working half way through he broadcast so we had to redo the last half of the show for the podcast in the studio at Stella Maris. So it's been a long day.

Subjects for discussion this week are: Here a planet, there a planet... More and more and more planets...Nasa if not wasting or losing is scavenging our history away with Aries1, weird biology. New Star Trek News, can anyone say roast, comments on Star Gate's 200th - Part 2 of my interview with Nelson of New Farmer films and part 4 of Cory Doctorow's I robot. Plus more....honest!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Earth's moon could become a planet

You know, ever since I started hearing that if a body is round due
to gravity and more than 500 miles across - it can be classified
as a planet - i started joking that the moon will be our next planet...
I was joking, but here is an article that proposes just that.
Click the link below or the article title for the CNN article.

Colbert's 9 planet rant

Steve Colbert and his Colbert's Report can be a bit much sometimes but his rant on adding new planets is fall down funny. I am going to cut it into the podcast for this weekend. Check it out.

What was 9 is now 12...Planets that is

Sorry, kids. You'll no longer have to memorize the names of just nine planets. Apparently, there are now going to be 12.

A committee of the International Astronomical Union, which decides such matters, voted unanimously Tuesday to add three worlds to our solar system's planetary population. More planets will be added later, astronomers said.

The IAU committee recognized two other plutons -- Pluto's smaller companion, Charon, and Xena, an icy body bigger than Pluto that was discovered in 2003.

In addition, Ceres, the biggest asteroid between Mars and Jupiter, will regain the planetary status it enjoyed in the 19th century.

Thus the new roll call of planets, starting closest to the sun, would be: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Charon and Xena.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mussels can evolve at an "astonishing" rate

Early evidence came from finches in the Galapagos Islands , then the phenomenon appeared in lizards in the Caribbean , and now researchers believe they have found a case of rapid, contemporary evolution occurring in mussels off New England . RAPID EVOLUTION

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

New space port in the NOVA SCOTIA

Nova Scotia has signed a "team agreement" to provide 300 acres of land — and perhaps even some funding — for a massive orbital launch facility that will involve industry giants and could eventually be on scale with huge NASA operations. link

Voyager 1: Hits New Milestone

Voyager 1, reaches 100 astronomical units from the sun on Tuesday, August 15 at 5:13 p.m. Eastern time (2:13 p.m. Pacific time). That means the spacecraft, which launched nearly three decades ago, will be 100 times more distant from the sun than Earth is.
But what is so amazing is that both Voyager spacecraft continue to operate and send back data! In depth story link

Nasa goes back to the future....(and this is a good thing?)

See!!! I knew this was going to happen. Idiot Bush mandates
without funding and this happens. I have been mentioning
something like this happening on the podcast (
I got a lot of blank looks and recycling bs but I ask you how is dusting of almost 50 year old tech a good thing? You think I'm kidding?! Here is an exerpt and the link. Judge for yourself.

... a manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has been removing valves and other parts from Apollo exhibits as he oversees construction of the upper-stage engine on the new moon rocket, dubbed Ares 1. Some of the pieces and accompanying documentation are not available anywhere but museums.....
here is the link

Check out my Skylab post a few entries ago. this mindset is
nothing new. This is just another example of how our space
history legacy to the future is being raped by every level of
the Bush and Nasa admin.

Discovery hints at space rocks beyond Neptune

Dozens of rocky bodies and rocky fragments have been spotted beyond planet Neptune, thanks to a novel technique. Examining data from NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, scientists monitored the light coming from Scorpius X-1. As small objects moved in front of The star in what are called occultations, they found obvious dips in the light. SMALL OBJECTS LINK

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

NASA can't find original tape of moon landing

The U.S. government has misplaced the original recording of the first moon landing, including astronaut Neil Armstrong's famous "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," a NASA spokesman said on Monday. LINK

"I wouldn't say we're worried" said one NASA spokesman......(humm for not worried there seems to be a lot of worrying going on in the news and blogs... )

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Is Pluto a planet? New discoveries cloud the issue

For decades, the Solar System has consisted of nine planets, even as scientists debated whether Pluto really belonged. Then the recent discovery of an object larger and farther away than Pluto, an icy rock known as "2003 UB313", really caused some controversy. Should Zena, as it was nicknamed by its discoverer Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology, become the 10th planet? Should Pluto be demoted? And what exactly is a planet, anyway? Complete story link

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sink-or-swim robot race

As part of the Navy's effort to attract new "blood", college students were recently invited to build robots that could perform a series of tasks without human control in a 38-foot deep research pool. The culmination, last weekend's International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition, was a sink-or-swim contest.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Is it a Plane? Is it a Rocket? Rocketplane maybe

Structural engineer Derrick Seys carefully draws lines and arrows on the outside of an aging Lear Jet, which resemble the markings doctors place on patients being prepped for surgery. His crew will splice together the bodies of two other jets to add 20 inches of length. The extra room will accommodate kerosene and liquid-oxygen tanks, which will power a 36,000-pound-thrust rocket engine they plan to stick up the plane’s tail. The rocket engine, plus an all-new delta-wing assembly taking shape on a scaffold beside the fuselage, will turn this former Lear 25—once a high-flying chariot for business execs—into an even higher-flying spaceship. Check out the plans for Rocketplane's first mission

Space Pioneer Van Allen Dies

Physicist James A. Van Allen's experiments in the late 1950s taught scientists to look at space in a whole new way died Wednesday at age 91. Van Allen discovered the belts of radiation surrounding the Earth that are now known as the Van Allen Belts. complete story link

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Group work to resore Skylab mockup

In its glory days, the aluminum-and-steel hulk that sits outside the Alabama space museum was a training ground for astronauts who flew in America's first space station.

Today, the full-size training mock-up of Skylab is slowly rotting away in a parking lot, it has flecks of gray paint from a wall dotting its mesh floor, and a bird's nest resting in an equipment compartment. Restoring Skylab mockup

China to 'space-mutate' seeds

This is SO whacked that I almost put it on the SCI-FI blog....but this is 100% legit...

In an effort to feed its ever-growing population, Chinese officials are launching over 2,000 seeds into orbit for a two-week trip designed to force the seeds to mutate. Exposed to special environment such as cosmic radiation and micro-gravity, it is hoped that some seeds will mutate to such an extent that they may produce much higher yields. Don't believe is the link

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Mars Rover Inspects Beagle Crater

Opportunity has just concluded a survey of Beagle Crater, a relatively young feature, said William Farrand, a research scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. He is also a member of the Mars Exploration Rover science team. link to story

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Remote-Controlled Humans

It's a disturbing thought: being able to remotely control the way a person moves at the push of a button. But scientists have already managed to do just that.

Link to story

Automated garage traps cars

Last week, hundreds of cars were trapped in an automated garage. This lasted for several days. The problem: a contract dispute between Hoboken, NJ, and Robotic parking. The city did not want to renew a software license that made the garage work. Experts warn that this is one of the dangers of increasingly complex licensing agreements. Link to story

Monday, August 07, 2006

Tiny Star Has Companion Planet

University of Toronto astronomers have been trying to decide how to tell the difference between a small planet and objects like asteroids and comets.

The question arose due to the discovery of what appears to be a companion planet of a tiny star called Oph1622, the New York Times reports.

The star is about 400 light-years from Earth and is so small that it never shown brightly, the astronomers say. LINK

Sunday, August 06, 2006

10 miles on no gallons beats all mpg averages

With a top speed of 25 mph and a range of 10 miles, Art Haines' solar powered car is no threat to be on the NASCAR circuit.

"Infinity Miles Per Gallon," a 15 minute film, shot by Nelson Cole of New Farmer Films chronicles the creation of this ultimate green machine that Haines, a mechanical engineer from Norridgewock,Maine built. Check out the story here

Extremely Large Telescope could reveal secrets of life, the universe and everything

The Extremely Large Telescope (Elt) being proposed by scientists from a consortium of European countries based at the Cerro Paranal observatory in Chile's Atacama desert will dwarf anything astronomers use today. It could be used to address mysteries such as what the first objects in the universe were LINK

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Fireball caught on tape

A fireball seen streaking through the sky in Lakeway, Texas, "turned night to day," August first 2006, according to a police officer who witnessed the event.

See the video from the officer's cruiser camera

asteroid could rock your world in '36

Apophis (named for the Egyptian god of
death and darkness), will come very close
to our planet in 2029, and have a chance
of hitting Earth on its next pass in 2036.

If it hits, the impact would equal the
force of 100 nuclear bombs link

Can We Make Another Universe?


Friday, August 04, 2006

Our universe may be 15% larger and older than we thought,

Big bang pushed back two billion years

Recent estimates have put the age of the universe at 13.7 billion years, and the new research suggests it may actually be 15.8 billion years old. link

Philip K. Dick biopic

Bill Pullman may play surrealist SF author Philip K. Dick in a new feature film called Panasonic

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What was before the "Big Bang"?

Though Einstein's theory of general relativity does an excellent job of describing the universe almost back to its beginning, near the Big Bang matter becomes so dense that relativity breaks down, says Penn State physicist Abhay Ashtekar. "Beyond that point, we need to apply quantum tools that were not available to Einstein."
full story here

A 10+ Foot Tall Wearable Robot Suit with Guns for Sale

Called The Land Walker, it weighs close to 1 ton (2,000 pounds!) and is controlled by four pedals from inside the cockpit. Additionally, it has built-in air guns that can shoot bullets (not real bullets, though..."sponge bullets").

A Sci-Fi Writer Who Lived Her Own Amazing Stories

In 1967, when Alice B. Sheldon was 51, she spied a jar of Tiptree jam in a grocery store near her Virginia home. This was arguably the pivotal moment in her life. She morphed Tiptree jam into a name: James Tiptree. Her husband added a “Junior.” They laughed. Then she attached the name James Tiptree Jr. to some science fiction stories she had written and put them in the mail. And one of the strangest careers in the already weird world of sci-fi was born. Info on the new biography of one of SF's most success and flamboyant writers.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Life After Earth: Imagining Survival Beyond This Terra Firma


The Alliance to Rescue Civilization differs from other so-called doomsday projects. It envisions a lunar base where, in the event of global catastrophe, humans could carry on, protecting DNA samples of life on Earth and maintaining a bank of human knowledge. Click lunar base for complete article

Robot exoskeleton that can be worn by human

Exoskeleton that can be worn by a human is a new type of robot under development at Tsukuba University. It's called Hybrid Assistive Limb, HAL for short, and anyone who wears it has potential to lift up to 10-times the weight they normally could. Page has a really wild video... Though I about crapped my pants when I saw what the control on the back was called... see for yourself

Can high-tech cavemen live on the Moon?

For decades, engineers and space scientists have discussed the possibility of using lava tube caves as astronaut housing because they are sheltered from space radiation and micrometeorite impacts
check out "Moon Caves" for more info

Has alien contact been made....YES

On the July 30, 2006 "Coast to Coast AM" radio broadcast, Art Bell made the following announcement.

According to Dr. Steven Greer:

(paraphrased) We have confirmation that SETI has received signals "confirmed"as contact from an alien source. These multiple signals are increasing in number and frequency.
See article

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Skywalker jet packs & Jet powered skydiving!

The alure of strapping something to your back and flying of to the wild blue yonder still has its appeal. Rick Herron, creator of Skywalker Jets, just won't let the dream die. Check the link out here Jet Pac oh and if that isn't insane enough for you, check out this sky diver who straps jet turbines to his feet and dives from 2000 meters - Rocket Man takes on a whole new meaning!