NASA releases 'Global Selfie'

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Here's a larger size, and a zoomable 3.2 gigapixel version, which you really have to see to appreciate the whole thing.

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Everday Tyson, a tumblog of greatness

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Everyday Tyson, a tumblr dedicated to the imaginary mundane musings of Neil DeGrasse Tyson, a man better known for his musings on the profound.

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NASA builds flying saucer

A saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars is shown in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kaua‘i, Hawaii. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech


A saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars is shown in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kaua‘i, Hawaii. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's latest experimental test vehicle looks like the classic UFO of science fiction film fame. The Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project, "a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle, has completed final assembly at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii."

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UPDATED Bowie's takedown of Hadfield's ISS "Space Oddity" highlights copyright's absurdity

Update: The Ottawa Citizen has retracted its article about the takedown of Hadfield's video. The article incorrectly said that Bowie had not renewed the license for this work. The truth is that Bowie had sold the right to this song, and the owner of that right was the intransigent party. The more important point of the article, though, is that none of this would matter if Hadfield had recorded the song and put it out on CD instead of on Youtube, because we have a relatively sane system of compulsory licenses for sound-only recordings; the law has not made the obvious step of expanding to cover Youtube covers, and that means that wonderful work like Hadfield's is at the mercy of capricious rightsholders in a way that it would not be if it were made in older media.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's cover of Bowie's Space Oddity was a worldwide hit, and now it has been disappeared from the Internet, thanks to a copyright claim from David Bowie. Ironically, if Hadfield had recorded the song and sold it on CD or as an MP3, there would have been no need for him to get a license from Bowie, and no way for Bowie to remove it, because there's a compulsory license for cover songs that sets out how much the performer has to pay the songwriter for each copy sold, but does not give the songwriter the power to veto individual covers (that's why Sid Vicious was able to record "My Way").

As Blayne Haggart's Ottawa Citizen editorial points out, it's hard to make a utilitarian argument for copyright that lets musicians determine who can make Youtube videos from their songs, given that covers are such an accepted part of musical practice. As Haggart writes, "Is the world a better place now that this piece of art has officially been scrubbed from existence?"

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Apollo spacesuit replica

The $2250 Deluxe Apollo Astronaut Full Space Suit Replica from Spacetoys is made from nylon-denim twill, and features faithful recreations of the fittings and apparatus. However, unlike Kip's storied suit in Have Spacesuit Will Travel, this one appears unlikely to be spaceworthy no matter how much work you put into it. Not even the $9500 Apollo 11 model fits that bill.

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A huge slice of the Moon

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Steve Jurvetson, VC and space/aviation collector, shares this wonderful photo of a new acquisition that now resides at the Draper Fisher Jurvetson offices. He explains:

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1970s original space art by Robert McCall on eBay

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Three beautiful early 1970s oil paintings by legendary NASA artist Robert McCall are up for auction on eBay in the $40-$60,000 range. McCall is also known for his concept and promotional art for 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Funding available for makerspaces' open anti-asteroid initiatives


Alex sez, "Spacegambit is a hackerspace space program that funds cool space projects around the world. We're now working with NASA on the Asteroid Grand Challenge, with the aim of getting more makers involved in detecting asteroid threats to human populations and figuring out what to do about them. We're running our open call at the moment (closing on 20 May) and looking to fund open-source projects linked with hackerspaces/makerspaces/fablabs/etc."

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Cassini revisited

Boing Boing Science Editor Maggie Koerth-Baker recaps the latest news from the far-flung probe, whose journey to the outer solar system yields more beautiful images.

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Space-age refrigeration, 1968


Frigidaire's commitment to modernism waned in the product-development phase, as can be seen from the wood-grain on this "space-age refrigerator."

Aurora Award nominees, including a performance from actual outer space

Brooke Abbey writes, "The 2014 Prix Aurora Award nominees have been announced! [Ed: this is the Canadian popular science fiction prize]. I am one of the nominees, in the fan music category, which this year also includes A MOTHERFUCKING ASTRONAUT - Chris Hadfield's awesome Space Oddity cover IN ACTUAL SPACE is nominated. Canadian SF fans, please take a moment to look smug about how cool we all are. Canadians with $10 can join CSFFA to get the voter package with delicious literature & more, coming out soon, and to, y'know, vote." Cory 2

Satellite launch debris found in Brazillian Amazon

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A fisher on northern Brazil's remote Uriandeua river stumbled on a huge chunk of detritus dropped from a UK Space Agency satellite launch. "It is the launch vehicle payload shroud from the Alphasat launch last year," a UK Space Agency spokesperson told the BBC. "It probably landed in the Atlantic and then floated inland." Brazil has asked the UK to come collect their space garbage.

Watch this awesome time-lapse video of the total lunar eclipse

Video: Gorgeous time-lapse of the recent total lunar eclipse (April, 2014) by Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona.

An explanation, from NASA's Astronomy Pic of the Day:

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The Space Project: contemporary space music infused with Voyager recordings

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The Space Project is true space music, a lovely new compilation of songs made in part from samples culled from electromagnetic radiation fluctuations recorded by the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes, launched in 1977. The tracks by contemporary artists like Spiritualized, Beach House, Youth Lagoon, and The Holydrug Couple range from ambient soundscapes to modern prog to noisy space pop. The Space Project is available in multiple formats, including 12" vinyl and a beautiful 7" box set that was released on Record Store Day this past weekend by Lefse Records/Fat Possum. Seek out your preferred format at your local indie record shop! Sadly for me, I couldn't locate the 7" box set in my orbit.

The Space Project (Lefse Records)

Stream the whole album at NPR Music: First Listen: "The Space Project"

'Blood moon' lunar eclipse may or may not signal end times; watch it online with NASA tonight


Image: mreclipse.com, via NASA.gov

Stay up tonight online to watch an awesome lunar eclipse with our astronomer pals at NASA:

Spring is here and ready to capture the world's attention with a total lunar eclipse. The eclipse will begin early on the morning of April 15 at approximately 2 a.m. EDT. If you have questions about the eclipse, this will be your chance! NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams and astrophysicist Alphonse Sterling will also answer questions in a live web chat, beginning on April 15 at 1 a.m. EDT and continuing through the end of the eclipse (approximately 5 a.m. EDT). The chat module will go live on this page at approximately 12:45 a.m. EDT. Convert to your local time here. A live Ustream view of the lunar eclipse will be streamed on this page on the night of the event, courtesy of Marshall Space Flight Center. The feed will feature a variety of lunar eclipse views from telescopes around the United States.