Trump administration is drafting plans for corporate moon mining

Moonward Expansion has always been the inevitable future of the map-making Western world. And now that unsustainable extraction of natural resources is closer than ever to reality. As Reuters reports, the Trump administration has begun drafting the Artemis Accords (named after NASA's moon program and definitely not the kind of thing a comic book supervillain would come up with) to strategize internationals drilling and colonization efforts on our lunar neighbor:

The Trump administration and other spacefaring countries see the moon as a key strategic asset in outer space. The moon also has value for long-term scientific research that could enable future missions to Mars - activities that fall under a regime of international space law widely viewed as outdated.

The Artemis Accords, named after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s new Artemis moon programme, propose “safety zones” that would surround future moon bases to prevent damage or interference from rival countries or companies operating in close proximity.

The pact also aims to provide a framework under international law for companies to own the resources they mine, the sources said.

Once again, the President Who Builds A Space Force And Has Sex With Porn Stars is fulfilling all my 12-year-old fantasies in all the absolute worst ways possible. Speaking of Space Force, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that the creation of that new military department is directly linked to the Artemis Accords, to protect potential future corporate assets once all the oil is sucked out of the Middle East.

I suppose it's worth noting that Reuters' only source for this news is "people familiar with the proposed pact." Read the rest

This NASA joystick used during lunar orbit just sold for $56,000

In 1969, astronaut Richard Gordon used this hand controller to steer the Apollo 12 command and service module Yankee Clipper around the moon while his colleagues frolicked on the lunar surface. The controller, complete with trigger switch, just sold at auction for $56,000. I hope the buyer is using it to mod a vintage Lunar Lander arcade machine. From the RR Auction "Space and Aviation Auction":

...Measuring 2.75″ x 4.75″ x 2.5″ overall, with affixed “Class III, Not For Flight” label and underside of base marked with part numbers: “S/N 16, 10022865-101, 94580.” The controller, with trigger switch, is secured to a walnut 4.75″ x 8″ x 1″ base with upper and lower plaques, “Apollo 12, Nov. 14-24, 1969” and “Rotational Hand Controller,” with handwritten notation to underside: “RG, 93-002b.” This spring-loaded hand controller was used to control pitch, roll, and yaw while Gordon navigated in lunar orbit. In fine condition.

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Fantastic marching band tribute to the Apollo 11 moon landing

In celebration of this year's 50th anniversary of the first humans on the moon, the Ohio State Marching Band staged this wonderful performance on Saturday.

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Watch the CBS broadcast of the moon landing, old school commercials and all

50 years ago this month, our species placed its first footprint on the moon... and we've been leaving space junk there ever since. I mostly kid: the limits of our technology at the time forced us to leave bits and pieces of what NASA's astronauts brought to the moon with them—I like to think of what's up there more as monuments to audacity than litter.

If you're so inclined, CBS is streaming their coverage of Apollo 11's 1969 mission to the moon right now, from soup to nuts. They've even left in the OG commercials that those keeping up with the mission's progress would have watched. It's a great way to grasp a better understanding of the risk, tension and wonder that our venturing beyond our home brought to the world.

Image via The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Read the rest

Here's the trailer for the Apollo 11 documentary

The Apollo 11 documentary is premiering in theaters tomorrow. It makes use of a "newly discovered trove of 65mm footage," which is very crisp, making it look like it was shot yesterday instead of 50 years ago.

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Stunning short film about the Apollo moon landing made from astronauts' photos

Motion designer Christian Stangl and composer Wolfgang Stangl created this gorgeous short film, titled LUNAR, from thousands of NASA photographs taken by astronauts. From the film description:

In the year 1957 the cold war expands to space. The Soviet-Union sends Sputnik as the first manmade object into earth-orbit.

2 years later Yuri Gagarin enters space as the first man in space. The so called "Space Race" seems to be decided.

But in 1961 President Kennedy promised to send American Astronauts to the moon. The Apollo Project was born. A space ship had to be built that is strong enough to escape earth's gravitation, land on the moon and bring the crew safely back to earth.

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Smithsonian launches online Apollo 11 high-res 3D spacecraft model for moon landing's 47th anniversary

One great way to commemorate the 47th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 moon landing, which took place this day in 1969, is to travel to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC (highly recommended!), and see in person the "Columbia" spacecraft that carried astronauts to the moon. But for those of us who can't get to DC and are feeling the O.G. space spirit, starting today you can explore a virtual reality simulation of the capsule's interior, painstakingly digitized by Smithsonian staff. Read the rest

Over 8,400 NASA Apollo moon mission photos just landed online, in high-resolution

Space fans, rejoice: today, just about every image captured by Apollo astronauts on lunar missions is now on the Project Apollo Archive Flickr account. There are some 8,400 photographs in all at a resolution of 1800 dpi, and they're sorted by the roll of film they were on. Read the rest

It's tin foil hats, all the way down

In 2010, scientists published a paper on conspiracist ideation as it applied to both climate change and the moon landing. This year, the published a second paper — about the conspiracy theories that sprung up in response to their previous research. Read the rest