Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Send Your Name to Mars

The Mars Science Laboratory rover going to Mars this year is allowing members of the public to have their names sent along on a microchip and thus “immortalized” on Mars. Today is the last day for submissions.

The form is here. The site also provides the opportunity to print out a participation certificate. There are also maps which give you a peek at US and worldwide participation totals.

Posted in Space June 13th, 2011 by Chip
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Ghosts of Saturn

GIANT KILLER PANDAS threaded together images from the Cassini Mission. The result is lovely. (Note: I’ve seen comments that the flickering effect between some frames is hard on epileptics, so beware.)

(via Whatever)

Posted in Space June 10th, 2011 by Chip
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Help Keep SETI Operational

SETI recently aannounced that it would be shutting down one of its main scanning tools due to lack of funding. It’s dismaying to see the slow decay of space-related research, and if you want to help stave it off you can make a tax-deductible donation to SETI here.

Posted in Space May 2nd, 2011 by Chip
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In Space No One Can Hear You Complain About Your Job

“Art-technology-philosophy group” monochrom is creating a ten-part improv-reality sitcom about life on the International Space Station.

The four actors playing the ISS crew must develop strategies on the fly in response to surprise situations, which are loosely based on actual ISS data uncovered by monochrom.

Here’s the first episode. The others (there are currently three, plus some extra video goodness) are here.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Humor, Space April 26th, 2011 by Chip
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A Moment of Silence

Smoke PlumeToday is the 25th anniversary of the Challenger disaster.

I was in high school, and they announced the disaster over the PA system. The teacher stopped class and we watched a replay on the news.

I specifically recall a voiceover by somebody in the control room who didn’t see the explosion but noticed that his equipment was registering some kind of mechanical failure saying, “Obviously, a major malfunction,” and thinking that he had just won the Understatement of the Decade Award.

Where were you when it happened?

Posted in Space January 28th, 2011 by Chip
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Evidence Emerges That Laws of Physics Are Not Fine-Tuned For Life

via Technology Review

The value of the cosmological constant suggests that the laws of nature could not have been fine-tuned for life by an omnipotent being, says a cosmologist

KFC 01/18/2011

One of the more curious debates in science focuses on the laws of physics and why they seem fine-tuned for life.

The problem is that the laws of physics contain various constants that have very specific, mysterious values that nobody can explain. These constants are balanced in such a way that life has evolved at least once, in one small part of the Universe.

But why do the constants have these values? Various scientists have calculated that even the tiniest of changes to these constants would make life impossible. That raises the question of why they are so finely balanced

One explanation is that this is pure accident and that there is no deeper reason for the coincidence. Another idea is that there is some deeper law of nature, which we have yet to discover, that sets the constants as they are. Yet another is that the constants can take more or less any value in an infinite multitude of universes. In ours, they are just right, which is why we have been able to evolve to observe them.


Posted in News, Science, Space January 19th, 2011 by ceejaydp
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Astronomers Find First Evidence Of Other Universes

via Technology Review

Our cosmos was “bruised” in collisions with other universes. Now astronomers have found the first evidence of these impacts in the cosmic microwave background
Eternal Inflation

There’s something exciting afoot in the world of cosmology. Last month, Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford and Vahe Gurzadyan at Yerevan State University in Armenia announced that they had found patterns of concentric circles in the cosmic microwave background, the echo of the Big Bang.

This, they say, is exactly what you’d expect if the universe were eternally cyclical. By that, they mean that each cycle ends with a big bang that starts the next cycle. In this model, the universe is a kind of cosmic Russian Doll, with all previous universes contained within the current one.

That’s an extraordinary discovery: evidence of something that occurred before the (conventional) Big Bang.

Posted in Science, Space January 4th, 2011 by ceejaydp
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NASA – Year in Review, 2010

Part One
Part Two

Both episodes are available as audio or video streams. Let’s think “positive” for the year(s) ahead!

Posted in News, Science, Space December 31st, 2010 by ceejaydp
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Analysis by Ian O’Neill, DiscoveryNews

They may have their differences, but it seems that dwarf planets Eris and Pluto have a lot more in common than just their planetary status.

The larger Eris orbits the sun at a distance three-times that of Pluto, so it may not seem possible that we’ll ever get a glimpse of what its surface is made of. But scientists from Northern Arizona University (NAU) have shown that even this lonely object can be probed from afar.

At the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences conference held in Pasadena this week, NAU professor Stephen Tegler presented the results of a two-year study that combined laboratory ice work and observations from two U.S. telescopes.

Posted in News, Science, Space October 11th, 2010 by ceejaydp

Houston, We Have a Trash Problem

Sean Cooper
Wired Magazine, issue 15.05

Outer space is becoming a garbage heap. Some 15,000 pieces of debris, ranging from fingernail-sized paint flecks to 10-ton rocket stages, are hurtling through Earth’s orbit at 5 miles per second — about 10 times as fast as a speeding bullet. And the junk is multiplying, Asteroids-like, as large objects break apart into smaller ones. (China’s recent anti-satellite test has hastened the process.) Scientists warn of an approaching Kessler syndrome: the point at which flotsam from collisions makes future space ventures dangerous. How can we clean up the mess? The trick is to either grab shrapnel or coax it toward the planet, where it will burn up in the atmosphere. Several methods of trash collection have been floated. Some are cleverly low tech; others seem like fodder for the Sci Fi Channel.


Posted in News, Science, Space September 27th, 2010 by ceejaydp
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