Ian McDonald's "Luna: New Moon" - the moon is a much, much harsher mistress

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We've projected our political and spiritual longings on the Moon since antiquity, and it's been a talismanic home to science fiction's most ambitious dreams for generations. But no one writes like Ian McDonald, and no one's Moon is nearly so beautiful and terrible as Luna: New Moon.

Scale model of the solar system in Nevada's Black Rock Desert

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“On a dry lakebed in Nevada, a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits: a true illustration of our place in the universe.” A film by Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh [HT: Mark Day]

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What happens to an astronaut's body during a year in space

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NASA astronaut and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are halfway through the year they are spending in space. Above is a NASA chart with some fun facts about what Kelly will experience.

“I think the legacy of this mission will be based on the science of having us in space for a year,” Kelly said. “The great data we collected, what we learned about being in space for this long and how that will help our journey to Mars someday.”

Below, NASA's mini-documentary "A Year In Space" narrated by Lando, er, Billy Dee Williams:

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Stunning oil paintings of astronauts and rockets

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Brooklyn-based artist Michael Kagan creates oil paintings of astronauts and other space-themed subjects. They are indeed out of this world. Read the rest

A better solution for astronauts who drink their own piss

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Aquaporin A/S made this new small and lightweight filter that uses aquaporins, membrane proteins, to turn urine, sweat, and wastewater into drinkable water. Read the rest

Mars colony planned

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Space sailor Buzz Aldrin and the Florida Institute of Technology are planning to colonize Mars within 25 years.

More specifically, he’s shooting for 2039, the 70th anniversary of his own Apollo 11 moon landing, although he admits the schedule is “adjustable”.

He envisions using Mars’ moons, Phobos and Deimos, as preliminary stepping stones for astronauts. He said he dislikes the label “one-way” and imagines tours of duty lasting 10 years.

“The Pilgrims on the Mayflower came here to live and stay. They didn’t wait around Plymouth Rock for the return trip, and neither will people building up a population and a settlement” on Mars.

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Hubble captures shimmering, luminous Twin Jet Nebula

Bipolar planetary nebulae occur when a twin star system lies at the center, forming beautiful wing-like symmetrical lobes. The Hubble team estimates this translucent beauty occurred only 1200 years ago. Read the rest

Yet another Martian UFO found, say UFO enthusiasts

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Mars Curiosity Rover has spotted many interesting things on its mission, like this UFO, a tiny Millennium Falcon type star freighter, heavily modded for use on Mars. Read the rest

Fantastic video of Pluto fly-by made from still images

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Astronomical artist Björn Jónsson stitched together still images captured by the New Horizons spacecraft as it flew past the dwarf planet Pluto last month. Read the rest

Podcast: Ian McDonald talks about Luna: New Moon (also coming to CBS!)

Science fiction titan Ian McDonald's forthcoming novel Luna: New Moon is the subject of the latest installment of the always-great Coode Street podcast (MP3). Read the rest

WATCH: NASA JPL tests gecko-inspired grippers in zero gravity

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NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory just released a video of their latest adhesion technologies designed for use in space. Read the rest

The design story of NASA's "worm" logo, sadly retired

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Over at Display, Graphic designer Richard Danne tells the story of the fantastic "worm" logo he and partner Bruce Blackburn created for NASA in 1974. It was used for almost twenty years until the NASA administrator Dan Goldin unfortunately reinstated the previous "meatball" logo, developed in 1959. Read the rest

Photo of ancient wheels and axle found on Mars

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Earlier this morning David posted a photo of a woman on Mars. We now know why she's there. Her 4-wheeled pareidoliaopede broke down and she is walking home. This is a photo of the axle and two wheels that broke off.

Here's the original photo at NASA's site. Read the rest

Humanoid figure photographed on Mars

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This mysterious humanoid figure was photographed on the red planet by the Mars Curiosity Rover. Read the rest

Coming soon: Space Wars. Really.

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China, Russia, and the United Sates are developing new weapons to wage war in space. It starts by knocking out satellites using missiles, lasers, microwave interference, or spacecraft that "could simply approach a satellite and spray paint over its optics, or manually snap off its communications antennas, or destabilize its orbit," writes Lee Billings in Scientific American. Read the rest

Astronaut/musician Chris Hadfield's album recorded in space

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Chris Hadfield, astronaut, author, and musician, will release the first album partially recorded in space. Read the rest

Greens grown in space are now on Space Station astronaut menu

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Crew members on Expedition 44, including NASA's one-year astronaut Scott Kelly, harvested some "Outredgeous" red romaine lettuce Monday, Aug. 10, from the Veggie plant growth system on the nation’s orbiting laboratory.

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