Archaeologist Dot Moore, right, and historian Roz Foster, in hat, excavate the Elliott Plantation site. Photo: National Park Service
Space Florida, the aerospace economic development agency for the state of Florida, plans to construct a commercial spaceport next to Kennedy Space Center. Local business, government officials, and laid-off Space Coast aerospace workers who lost their jobs when the shuttle program ended love the idea.
But the past sometimes reaches out to trip the future. The property along the Volusia-Brevard county line where Space Florida wants to build its spaceport turns out to be already occupied. It contains the ruins of an 18th century English plantation, complete with slave villages, a sugar factory and a rum distillery. National Park Service officials have declared it "one of the most significant properties in North America."
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Image: Orange smoke in Kazakhstan, resulting from today's rocket crash. kloop.kg.
[AP Video Link]
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome today, the most notable spaceflight accident in some time: a Russian Proton-M rocket crashed shortly after takeoff. The rocket was hauling three GLONASS navigation satellites for a navigation system that Russia is in the process of building. The resulting fiery, toxic orange smoke stretched into a cloud that hovered over the nearby city of Baikonur, where some 70,000 people live. Residents were told to shelter in place to avoid exposure.
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Space educator Sawyer “@thenasaman” Rosenstein, 19, is a hardcore space fan. His enthusiasm for space flight was captured in a 2011 Boing Boing special feature, and shines weekly in his “Talking Space” podcast. He traveled to Florida for the opening of the new permanent exhibit of Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center, and shared photos with us. All images in this review are Sawyer’s. —Xeni Jardin.
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Space educator Sawyer "@thenasaman" Rosenstein, 19, might also be described as a space fan. His enthusiasm for space flight was captured in this Boing Boing feature, and shines weekly in his "Talking Space" podcast. He traveled to Florida this weekend for the opening of the new permanent exhibit of Shuttle Atlantis at KSC, and shares these photos with us back home. All images in this post are Sawyer's so ask before you re-use them. —Xeni Jardin.
The Atlantis exhibit: 90,000 square feet, $100 million, and one precious piece of American space history. Give that to any organization and they'll come up with something pretty cool. Give it to Delaware North, the company that runs the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex, and you get one of the most impressive displays I've ever seen.
Atlantis is displayed with quotes from the people who worked on her. There are more than 60 interactive exhibits. The orbiter steals the show. These pictures do not do the experience justice, but I hope it'll give you, Boing Boing readers, a glimpse into what was done at Kennedy. And I hope it inspires you to go and see it yourself.
A view from underneath the model external tank and solid rocket boosters. They are impressive in size and visible for miles.
Space history is a beautiful thing.
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The Atlantic has a fantastic piece on the work on space artist Ron Miller, showing pictures of the night sky on Earth with other planets swapped in where the Moon should be. Jupiter is my favorite
— if that were hovering over us every night, we'd all have deep inferiority complexes.
These print-resolution stills were created for the
cover of the February 8, 2013 issue of Science. They show the
free-air gravity map developed by the Gravity Recovery and Interior
Laboratory (GRAIL) mission.
If the Moon were a perfectly smooth sphere of uniform density, the
gravity map would be a single, featureless color, indicating that
the force of gravity at a given elevation was the same everywhere.
But like other rocky bodies in the solar system, including Earth,
the Moon has both a bumpy surface and a lumpy interior. Spacecraft
in orbit around the Moon experience slight variations in gravity
caused by both of these irregularities.
The free-air gravity map shows deviations from the mean, the
gravity that a cueball Moon would have. The deviations are measured
in milliGals, a unit of acceleration. On the map, dark purple is at
the low end of the range, at around -400 mGals, and red is at the
high end near +400 mGals. Yellow denotes the mean.
These views show a part of the Moon's surface that's never visible
GRAIL Free-Air Gravity Map for the Cover of Science
Kate Greene is on a mission to Hawaii. For the last 65 days, she has lived in a mostly windowless dome on the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano, only venturing outside occasionally — and then through an airlock while dressed in a head-to-toe safety suit. She's part of HI-SEAS, a project aimed at studying the way humans might eat, cook, and stay healthy on a long-term Mars mission.
Greene's adventure will last another 53 days. In this video, she walks you through a typical day in a simulated Martian environment — which involves (surprisingly) P-90x workouts and (unsurprisingly) powdered eggs.
Keep up with Kate Green's updates at Discover's "Field Notes" blog
China held its first classroom lecture from its orbiting space module as part of efforts to promote an interest in science and space flight to young people. Astronaut Wang Yaping answered questions live from 330 elementary and middle school students at a Beijing high school from on board the Tiangong-1 lab Thursday morning. BBC News has video
Reduced version of panorama from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity with 1.3 billion pixels in the full-resolution version. Image shows Curiosity at the "Rocknest" site where the rover scooped up samples of windblown dust and sand. Explore here. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
NASA JPL sends word today that image processing lab specialists have assembled a billion-pixel view from the surface of Mars, from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. The 1.3-billion-pixel image is offered with pan and zoom tools here.
It's the first NASA-produced view from the surface of Mars at this resolution, and is stitched together from close to 900 exposures taken by cameras onboard Curiosity, revealing details of the landscape along the rover's route.
Here's a "manageable" download of the full image. More from the JPL news release, below.
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More than 6000 people applied, eight were chosen
. And, for the first time, NASA has an astronaut class with gender parity — four men, and four women.
At the BBC: "New details have emerged about the air crash on 27 March 1968 that killed Yuri Gagarin
- the first man in space."
According to Buzz Aldrin though, "Tang sucks." (NBC News)
I don't know if I can fully define human nature, but I'm pretty sure it includes a prurient and/or practical interest in how one uses the bathroom under strange circumstances. Thus, the various videos you've seen over the years explaining how astronauts use the toilet on board the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. Until a recent visit to Seattle's Museum of Flight, however, I'd never seen how cosmonauts do their business — an issue with increasingly broad reach, now that Americans and other international space voyagers are being ferried into the heavens aboard Soyuz.
The Soyuz toilet does not look much like the ones on board the Shuttle or the ISS. Those are recognizably toilets, for one thing. The Soyuz sanitary unit is more akin to peeing into a soda bottle in the back seat of the family station wagon — if that soda bottle were hooked up to a vacuum cleaner.
This video — kindly shared with us by The Museum of Flight — was filmed in 2009 by NASA astronaut Michael Barratt. It features the urination demonstration talents of spaceflight adventurer Charles Simonyi and Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka. Please note that this video only demonstrates how the "part Number 1" works — and even that really only seems to apply to gentlemen cosmonauts. As best I can tell, women apparently just pee into something akin to a compact diaper or sanitary pad. (Fun!) As for "part Number 2", here is how it was described in a 2007 NASA publication written by James Lee Broyan, Jr.:
For fecal collection, a porous bag is placed in the receptacle. Once defecation is complete, the bag is removed, placed sequentially in three bags, and then placed in a wet trash compartment. Based on personal conversations with АСУ trainers, urine collection is acceptable but fecal use is avoided if at all possible with the crew using diet restrictions and preventive measures prior to flight.
• Read the 2007 NASA publication comparing different space toilet systems. Apparently, part Number 2 has also been used by female cosmonauts to dispose of menstrual waste.
• Read a description on the RuSpace site, which gives a little more detail on part Number 2.
• Watch the video at YouTube
Thanks to Ted Huetter at The Museum of Flight!
In the Boing Boing Flickr Pool, reader JMV shares this wonderful scan of a 1952 feature from the Vancouver Sun's "Weekend Picture Magazine" on the coming age of travel to Mars.
Illustration by Edgar Ainsworth.
"It will probably be some 50 years before any safe space flight from Earth to another planet and back is made, but there seems now to be very little doubt that the dreams of Roger Bacon in AD 1249 and Albertus Magnus in 1280 have left the realm of Wellsian imaginings and become a practical proposition."
Here's a larger size. Guess they didn't think of Rovers!
Later this month, scientists will start sending the first continuous mass hailing beacon into outer space
— a sort of "Hey, you! Yeah, you! Here we are!" message that researchers hope will attract the attention of any intelligent life that happens to exist in the Universe. They're aiming it at the Gliese 526 system, about 17.6 light years away. It's worth noting that this is different than Gliese 581
, a system you probably remember hearing about from the search for Earth-like planets. The two systems aren't even closely related. The name comes from a 1957 survey
of (relatively) nearby stars.