Following Miles O'Brien's Twitter reminded me that today is the anniversary of the destruction of the Challenger space shuttle, which blew up shortly after liftoff on January 28, 1986. You can read O'Brien's memories of covering the aftermath as a young reporter in Florida.
Me, I was 4 when this happened. My memories aren't so interesting. What really sticks out for me is finding out, years later, about the mechanical malfunctions that caused the explosion, the bureaucratic mismanagement that lead known to malfunctions being ignored—and the good, honest people at NASA and contractor Morton Thiokol who tried to make their bosses fix the problem and, after the disaster happened, brought their stories to the public.
This clip from National Geographic's documentary "Challenger: The Untold Story" introduces Robert Boisjoly, an engineer at Morton Thiokol who spotted problems with the space shuttle's O-Rings in 1985, tried to stop the fatal Challenger launch and later testified before the presidential committee. His efforts earned him a Prize for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
A new study on polar ice sheet melt warns that global sea levels could rise by almost six feet by the year 2100, an estimate twice as high as previously predicted.
Next year, NASA’s Artemis 1 mission will carry a baker’s dozen of small cubesats to space, including one that’s home to a colony of yeast cells. That cubesat, BioSentinel, will orbit the sun to help scientists understand how space radiation affects living organisms outside of Low Earth Orbit. NASA hasn’t purposely sent any lifeforms beyond […]
A new definition of kilogram went into effect today. No longer is the kilogram defined by Le Grand K, a 140-year-old weight under glass in a secret location near Paris. Now it’s determined by the Planck constant, based on physicist Max Planck’s theory that “electromagnetic energy at a given frequency could only be emitted in […]
Raspberry Pi is one of the world’s most versatile open-source computers. Alexa is a home automation hub with limitless potential. Together, they’re a dream team for ambitious makers, opening the door to everything from automatic lights to voice-controlled robots. Learning Raspberry Pi is meant to be relatively easy for newbies, but its applications with Alexa […]
Heads up: The clock is winding down on a free-entry contest to win not only one of the best smartphones on the market but a handy pair of earbuds. A simple sign-up is all you need to be eligible to win a 256 GB iPhone XS Max, along with AirPods. And while “free” is tough […]
Kudos to those of us who have chosen a less wasteful third option to “paper or plastic” at the supermarket or club stores. Tote bags are reusable, but they can be a pain to tote around. Here’s an upgrade to that planet-saving measure. The Club Cart Lotus Trolley Bag is that rare tote you’ll want […]