What will it take to get us back to the Moon?

It took 40 years for us to get back to the surface of the Moon. The adventures of China’s late Jade Rabbit rover ended an absence that would have been unthinkable to families clustered around their TV sets in the 1960s, watching the incredible achievements of the Apollo Program. Where did we get off track? Jekan Thanga from ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, explains the science and politics behind Cory Doctorow’s new novella, “The Man Who Sold the Moon.”

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Astronomical bedclothes


Chinese Etsy seller Cbedroom makes digitally printed, two-sided, long-wearing satin bedsets bearing astronomical images, with a variety of tints and colors to match different decor, $148 for duvet cover, two pillowcases, and a sheet (top- or fitted). (via IO9)

Asteroid belt (buckle)


Jason Ruane bought a chunk of meteoric ore from the 1947 Sikhote-Alin impact (which originated in the asteroid belt) and welded it to a belt buckle, creating a genuine "asteroid belt."

Man-made Asteroid Belt

(via Evil Mad Scientist Labs)

Breathtaking aurora snapshot from the Space Station

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Astronaut Reid Wiseman tweets from the International Space Station: "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this. 10 minutes ago on the #ISS #aurora." Another shot below.

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Hello Kitty in space

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Hello Kitty is aboard Japan's Hodoyoshi-3 satellite orbiting the Earth.

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Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?

Brian Fies‘s 2012 graphic novel Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? expresses a beautiful, melancholic and hopeful longing for (and suspicion of) the futuristic optimism of America’s 20th century, starting with the 1939 World’s Fair. Cory Doctorow finally got caught up with the future and read it.

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The face on Comet 67P captured by Rosetta probe

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It was inevitable: The face on Comet 67P revealed itself to the Rosetta spacecraft and the world.

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Orbiting a comet

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Today, ESA's Rosetta spacecraft became the first probe to orbit a comet. Later this year, Rosetta's Philae lander is expected to touch down on the surface.

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Bill Nye: We May Discover Life on Europa

Bill Nye on why we may be decades away from discovering life on Jupiter's moon Europa.

NASA's Mars Opportunity rover sets a new driving record, beats an old Soviet one

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The NASA Opportunity Mars rover landed on Mars ten years ago, and was not expected to be trucking along in the dust an entire decade later. But truck along it has, and NASA this week announced that Opportunity now "holds the off-Earth roving distance record after accruing 25 miles (40 kilometers) of driving." The previous record was held by the Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 rover.

"Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "This is so remarkable considering Opportunity was intended to drive about one kilometer and was never designed for distance. But what is really important is not how many miles the rover has racked up, but how much exploration and discovery we have accomplished over that distance."

A drive of 157 feet (48 meters) on July 27 put Opportunity's total odometry at 25.01 miles (40.25 kilometers). This month's driving brought the rover southward along the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover had driven more than 20 miles (32 kilometers) before arriving at Endeavour Crater in 2011, where it has examined outcrops on the crater's rim containing clay and sulfate-bearing minerals. The sites are yielding evidence of ancient environments with less acidic water than those examined at Opportunity's landing site.

More at NASA JPL website.

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Apollo 11's Michael Collins on the view from space

From a classic FAQ by Michael Collins, command module pilot for Apollo 11, which splashed down 45 years ago today after carrying the first human beings to the moon:

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Icons of animals in space

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Wonderful illustrations of "Animal Space Travellers" by Budapest designer/artist Norbert Mayer. (via Ariel Waldman)

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Tempering hype around 3D printing in space

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In a new report on "3D Printing In Space," the US's National Research Council says, “For in-space use, the technology may provide new capabilities, but it will serve as one more tool in the toolbox, not a magic solution to tough space operations and manufacturing problems.”

Apollo 11-inspired sneakers from GE

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General Electric and Jack Threads are releasing a super-limited edition of Apollo 11-inspired sneakers, called "The Missions," designed by Android Homme.

The company, which is perhaps publicly better known for its consumer appliances and lighting products, provided in 1969 the silicone rubber that was used to create the now-iconic tread that lined the bottom of the Apollo moon boot. GE also produced the Lexan polycarbonate plastic used in forming the astronauts' bubble helmets....

The redesigned moon boots have components made from the same lightweight carbon fiber used for jet engine components and they sport a hydrophobic coating similar to the materials that are used to prevent ice from forming on wind turbine blades.

The Missions sneakers (via CollectSPACE)