Virgin Galactic pilot Peter Siebold defied incredible odds to survive deadly crash

Peter Siebold, the Virgin Galactic pilot who survived a fall from more than 10 miles high, is described as 'pretty banged up' but has been released from the hospital.

Harvard's crowdsourcing a century of astronomical logbook transcription

Simon writes, "I recently got a chance to interview and profile the people behind a collaboration between Smithsonian and the Harvard College Observatory who are crowdsourcing the transcription of logbooks for thousands of photographic plates. It's a massive undertaking that will give scientists access to a hundred years of astronomical data." Read the rest

Planet formation around HL Tau, 450 light years from Earth

"In a vast disc of dust and gas, dark rings are clearly visible," reports the BBC's Jonathan Webb. "Gaps in the cloud, swept clear by brand new planets in orbit. Read the rest

Sushi in spaaace!

The National Sushi and Space Administration's @Spacesushipic account is your best source for keeping track of the stirring imagery of our program to launch delicious raw fish into space. (via IO9) Read the rest

Bootstrapping an offworld civilization

Can we "bootstrap" a solar system civilization by making what we need in space from stuff we find in space? BB pal Tom Kalil in the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, interviewed former NASA research physicist Dr Phillip Metzger about this very idea. From the White House blog:

In a recent article, you and your co-authors called for “affordable, rapid bootstrapping of a solar system civilization.” What do you mean by “bootstrapping” in this context?

If we want to want to create a robust civilization in our solar system, more of the energy, raw materials, and equipment that we use in space has to come from space. Launching everything we need from Earth is too expensive. It would also be too expensive to send all of the factories required to manufacture everything necessary to support a solar system civilization.

Ultimately what we need to do is to evolve a complete supply chain in space, utilizing the energy and resources of space along the way. We are calling this approach “bootstrapping” because of the old saying that you have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Industry in space can start small then pull itself up to more advanced levels through its own productivity, minimizing the cost of launching things from Earth in the meantime. Obviously, this isn’t going to happen overnight, but I think that it is the right long-term goal.

"Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization" Read the rest

Weird things human sent into the stratosphere (mostly as marketing)

Including: bacon (video above), beer, Lego Minifigures, a toy robot, an armchair... the list goes on, over at Smithsonian. Read the rest

This one U.S. hotspot produces the largest concentration of the greenhouse gas methane. Why?

The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher).Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan

A new study of satellite data by scientists at NASA and University of Michigan One shows that one small “hot spot” in the American Southwest produces the greatest concentration of the greenhouse gas methane in the United States.

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Second skin spacesuit

MIT researchers are developing a "second skin" space suit lined with tiny coils that contract when switched on, tightening the garment around the body. Read the rest

Vintage Soviet space program cigarette packages

The Soviet space program inspired some of the great space-themed tchotchkes of the 20th century, including a whole line of cigarette packs from Russia and surrounding nations. Read the rest

Space-themed latte art

NASA knows how to celebrate National Coffee Day in style!

(via IO9) Read the rest

Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars books to be adapted for TV

The books, which are among the best science fiction ever written, have been picked up by Game of Thrones co-producer Vince Gerardis, which bodes very well for the adaptation. Read the rest

Indian space program workers celebrate Mars orbit

(photographer unknown): India's Mangalyaan satellite attained Martian orbit on Wednesday; at $74m, it's "staggeringly cheap" for an orbiter.

Martian spacecraft staffers at Indian space control, September 2014 Read the rest

Moon night lights

Moon, Galaxy and Earth: $7.68 each -- lots of good reviews, too! (via Canopy) Read the rest

Tour the solar system by walking around a huge, dilapidated building

Becky writes, "Shrinking Space productions have transformed the vast and dilapidated market building at Circus St in Brighton, UK into an audiosphere representing the entire solar system."

When you enter "Mind's Eye" you are given headphones and a ready-tuned hand-held radio. Then, as you drift around the building, you are pulled into the orbit of the various interviews being broadcast in different parts of it, each featuring a scientist or space explorer whose knowledge of the planet or star they are describing often represents a lifetime's work. The effect is bewitching, like floating through space itself, with only the occasional transmission back to earth for company. I went to see it last Saturday and loved it."

Mind’s Eye: Tour the solar system at home and in Brighton, courtesy of Little Atoms and Shrinking Space

(Thanks, Becky!)

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Graphics chip commercial debunks moon landing conspiracies

NVIDIA made an interesting video to market their graphics processing tech by showing how it can be used to debunk conspiracy claims that the 1969 lunar landing was faked. (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest

Steven Gould's "Exo," a Jumper novel by way of Heinlein's "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel"

Steven Gould's 1993 YA novel Jumper was a spectacular success (even if the film "adaptation" stank on ice), and each of the (all-too-infrequent) sequels have raised both the stakes and the bar for a must-read series. But with Exo, published today, Gould takes his game into orbit -- literally.

Excerpt from Cory's story "The Man Who Sold the Moon"

Medium have published an excerpt from "The Man Who Sold the Moon, my 36,000 word novella in Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, a project to inspire optimism and ambition about the future and technology that Neal Stephenson kicked off (see also What Will it Take to Get Us Back to the Moon?).

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