There's a moment, 30 seconds into the original trailer for Alfonso Cuarón's movie "Gravity," when the light piano music sharply drops off and you watch in a mixture of awe and utter terror as Sandra Bullock's character is sent head over heels, away from the image of Earth, strapped to a disintegrating arm of metal and flying toward the blackness of space.
"My first reaction was that the cinematography was of spectacular realism," said Mark Uhran, who retired last year from NASA as a director in the International Space Station (ISS) … Read more
Last week, the latest IPCC report on climate change said it's "extremely likely" that humans are to blame for our warming planet, which has been playing host to increasingly freaky and extreme weather in recent years.
The evidence in the report is convincing, but doesn't answer the next logical question: specifically, which humans are to blame?
Before you go shouting about coal-fired power plants and the Americans and the Indians and the Chinese, let me clarify the question even further. Who are the actual individual people that set into motion a chain of events that has led to melting permafrost, epic hurricanes, and the past really disturbing year here in the Rocky Mountains, where we've been plagued by wildfires followed by floods.
I mean seriously, WTF?! Who's responsible here? I want names!… Read more
Build a tiny plane, cover it in fluorescent oil, and use the results to improve the design of future air-based transport.
That's what researchers at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., hope to achieve with a toy-size model of a hybrid plane. The image above shows a 5.8 percent scale model of a futuristic hybrid wing body, coated in fluorescent oil before being blasted with air. … Read more
NASA has its eyes on lassoing and then studying a captive orbiting asteroid, but what happens to such a space rock when the space agency is all done with it?
"Once you're finished with it and you have no further need of it, send it in to impact the moon," Paul Chodas, scientist with the Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said at the recent Space 2013 conference, according to Space.com. "That makes sense to me."… Read more
Ready for some -- literally -- out of this world plastic? A chemical commonly used to make everything from food-storage containers to car bumpers has been detected on one of Saturn's moons.
NASA revealed Monday that the Cassini spacecraft detected propylene, a chemical ingredient of plastic, on Saturn's moon Titan. This is the first definitive detection of the chemical on any planet or moon, other than Earth, NASA said.… Read more
After examining fine-grained soil particles extracted by the Curiosity rover from beneath the surface of Mars, scientists have concluded that roughly 2 percent of the Martian surface soil is made up of water. While showing no indication of organic material besides Earth-transported microbes, the results bode well for future manned missions to Mars, wherein astronauts could mine the soil for water, and advance scientists' understanding of Mars' history.
The findings, published Thursday in the journal Science, are part of one article in a five-paper special section on the Curiosity mission that began in August 2012. "One of the most … Read more
When a disaster strikes, there's a very short window of time in which to locate and free survivors trapped under rubble. The Finder portable radar system, developed through a collaboration between NASA and the US Department of Homeland Security, could make it much easier for emergency responders to find victims.
"Finder" is short for "Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response." The device works by sending a low-power microwave radar signal through the rubble. The signals that bounce back are analyzed for patterns that indicate a person's breathing or heartbeat.… Read more
The European Space Agency and gravity are about to make it rain... pieces of a sporty-looking spacecraft all over the atmosphere and perhaps even on the surface of the Earth.
The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer, or GOCE, has been orbiting our planet since March 2009 at a relatively low altitude to map variations in Earth's gravity in great detail. But the satellite, nicknamed the "Ferrari of Space" for its sleek, atmospheric drag-reducing structure, is about to run out of fuel and make a 130-mile descent towards Earth.… Read more