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Fantastic tour of the International Space Station

Sunita Williams was in charge of the International Space Station for six months. On her last day in space, she made this 25-minute video — a much more in-depth tour of the ISS than I've personally ever seen before. This is the first time I've actually been able to get a sense of the whole interior layout of the ISS, rather than just seeing one place and then another with no understanding of how they connect. What's more, you really get a sense of the unearthly weirdness of moving through this space where walls are never just walls and "up" and "down" are essentially meaningless.

The video includes a detailed (but safe for work) demonstration of how to use the ISS bathroom; a behind-the-scenes peek of the pantry (with separate pantries for Russian and Japanese food); a visit to the Soyuz craft waiting to take Williams home; and the vertigo-inducing horror pod where all the really great pictures of Earth get taken.

Money quote: "I haven't sat down for 6 months now."

Also, for some reason, it bothers me that she refers to the "left" and "right" side of the Space Station, instead of port and starboard.

Inside a British Cold War bunker

If Britain had been attacked by a nuclear bomb during the Cold War, its government would have survived by retreating to a massive, 35-acre complex buried beneath the county of Wiltshire. I call it a bunker in the headline, but it was more like a small town—large rooms linked by roads, built on the site of an abandoned quarry. Known as Burlington, it could house 4000 people and feed them all for 3 months. It was also home a broadcasting studio and hospital.

The whole thing was kept secret up until its decommissioning in 2004. You can take a tour in the BBC news clip above, or check out the photo galleries and interactive maps on the BBC's Burlington site. With few upgrades since the 1960s, the place looks like a time capsule. An awesome, gigantic time capsule. It's easy to understand why the news presenter in the video is rubbing his hands together gleefully as he's about to get on the elevator to go down. I'd be excited, too!

Thanks to grosmarcel for Submitterating, and to Retronaut for posting pictures from the BBC galleries!

Video Link

New science in the ruins of Biosphere 2

BoingBoing reader davidsongray visited Biosphere 2 recently, and took some photos of the site. Today, Biosphere 2 is owned by the University of Arizona. It's also being used for scientific research projects, including the Landscape Evolution Observatory, which will study the natural cycles of carbon, water, and energy, and how those cycles are affected by climate change and by natural systems like vegetation and microbes. The LEO experiments are being constructed in Biosphere 2 right now. That picture above shows the construction site set up in Biosphere 2's old agricultural area.

Some of the niftiest shots davidsongray took are from the living areas of Biosphere 2, which I don't remember having ever seen before.

Oh, and this isn't something where you need to know a guy to get in. Tours are $20 a ticket.

Via Submitterator

Sunset on the Tevatron: Photos and memories from a Fermilab physicist

For more than 20 years, the Tevatron reigned as the gold standard in particle accelerators. Under a berm outside Batavia, Illinois, the machine pushed protons and antiprotons to high energies around circular tracks before crashing them into each other.

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Inside Alvin: Scientists as Makers

There are things you can’t buy at Radioshack. There is not always an App for that. Sometimes, the only way to make something work is to build it yourself.

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