Star Trek Starfleet insignia found on Mars

The high resolution imaging science experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this image in the Red Planet's Hellas Planitia region. According to the University of Arizona researchers who operate the HiRISE camera for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, shapes like this "are the result of a complex story of dunes, lava, and wind." But they also note that "enterprising viewers will make the discovery that these features look conspicuously like a famous logo."

They add that it's a coincidence, but we know better.

"Dune Footprints in Hellas" (University of Arizona)

Full image below depicts area 5 km across:

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Circling the USS Enterprise in 'Star Trek The Motion Picture'

Who needs V'ger? This scene of Kirk and Scotty made the entire movie for me. Read the rest

Watch this strange laundry detergent commercial parodying Star Trek (1969)

To boldly go where no pitchman has gone before.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

First trailer for 'Star Trek: Picard'

Enjoy. Read the rest

Watch: Lieutenant Uhura's NASA recruitment film from 1977

After Star Trek was cancelled, Nichelle Nichols, aka Lieutenant Uhura, volunteered her time to help NASA recruit women and minorities to join the space agency. The 1977 video above is from that era. Nichols' impact can't be overstated. From Wikipedia:

Among those recruited (by Nichols' NASA special project) were Dr. Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, and United States Air Force Colonel Guion Bluford, the first African-American astronaut, as well as Dr. Judith Resnik and Dr. Ronald McNair, who both flew successful missions during the Space Shuttle program before their deaths in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. Recruits also included Charles Bolden, the former NASA administrator and veteran of four shuttle missions, Frederick D. Gregory, former deputy administrator and a veteran of three shuttle missions and Lori Garver, former deputy administrator.

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Jonathan Frakes telling you you're wrong for 47 seconds

Jonathan Frakes, the actor and director associated most strongly with his Star Trek role as bearded lothario William Riker but with many other feathers in his cap, here informs you that you are wrong for a solid 47 seconds. Read the rest

On Adam Savage's Tested: "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and the Voyager Golden Record

In 1979, the USS Enterprise flew onto the big screen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Without giving away too much of the plot, NASA's Voyager program that began in 1977 featured prominently in the film. Of course, the real twin Voyager probes carry the Voyager Golden Record, the iconic message for extraterrestrials that my friends Timothy Daly, Lawrence Azerrad, and I released on vinyl for the first time as a lavish box set.

While the Voyager Record isn't mentioned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, I was still delighted when my old pal Ariel Waldman invited me on to her wonderful talk show Offworld, on Adam Savage's Tested channel, to talk about Voyager, the Golden Record, and the heady, awkward, and pretty great Star Trek: The Motion Picture! Even more exciting is that the other guest was Frank Drake, father of the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence and the technical director of the original Voyager Golden Record! Far out.

The Voyager Golden Record 3xLP Vinyl Box Set and 2xCD-Book edition is available from Ozma Records.

Below: Frank and I scrying with his original copy of the Voyager Record cover.

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Deep Space 9 remastered with deep learning

Star Trek's original series and TNG were shot on film, allowing them to be rescanned for high-definition broadcast. Star Trek: Deep Space 9, however, depended much moreso on sprawling CGI space battles and other special effects sequences that were mastered on standard-definition video. This creates an enormous challenge for remastering: machine learning to the rescue! CaptRobau writes:

I will go into greater detail about my process in a future blog post, but it took me about two days to get everything extracted, upscaled and put it back together in a way that was pleasing. This resulted only in the first five minutes of the episode being done (the episode recap, the opening scene, and the intro). Still pretty good time for a mid-to-high end PC with software that isn't just available to professionals.

The result left me pretty awestruck. It looked better than I had hoped. No weird issues or anything. It looked pretty much like an HD version of DS9. Since (moving) pictures are worth more than a thousand words, here are two comparison videos that show off the improvement I was able to get with this machine learning based upscaling technique.

Below, the intro at 4K. CBS, hire this man! (Or license his code!) "Imagine what a real team could do, with more powerful equipment, custom trained neural networks ... and access to the original SD files instead of a DVDRip like me."

CORRECTION: I originally suggested that DS9 was entirely shot on video, which is incorrect. Read the rest

A massive victory for fair use in the longrunning Dr Seuss vs Star Trek parody lawsuit

Back in 2016, the Dr Seuss estate won a preliminary court action against "Oh, The Places You'll Boldly Go!" a crowdfunded parody of Dr Seuss's "Oh the Places You'll Go!" and Star Trek, written by veteran Star Trek creator David "Tribble" Gerrold and illustrated by the comics giant Ty Templeton. Read the rest

A new line of heavy denim Starfleet jackets: the Star Trek: Discovery edition

Volante Design (previously) scored a huge win last November with a line of licensed heavy denim, cosplay-adjacent Starfleet jackets that could be worn like Star Trek: TNG uniforms or like motorcyle jackets, depending on how you zipped them. Read the rest

On Star Trek: TNG, those aren't Captain Picard's hands holding his flute

Sir Patrick Stewart doesn't play the Reskian flute, or any flute for that matter. The trick worked on me at least, because I hadn't noticed even after seeing this episode several times over the last 26 (!) years. From Wikipedia:

...As neither Stewart nor Hughes could play their instruments, it required a number of camera techniques to be used in order to disguise the musicians playing just off screen. Husband and wife duo Natalie and Bryce Martin played the piano and tin whistle respectively to portray Daren and Picard's abilities. Bryce had played his instrument to represent Picard's Ressikan flute since it first appeared in "The Inner Light". However, while Stewart did the majority of his flute fingering, he was doubled in several scenes by Noel Webb and John Mayham. Webb also doubled for Brent Spiner early in the episode when Data was playing Frédéric Chopin's trio in G minor.

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Why you definitely want to be on Star Trek: The Cruise IV

I've just returned home from Star Trek: The Cruise, a truly extraordinary fan event for lovers of Science, Science Fiction, and the future.

You really want to be on the next one.

Longtime Boing Boing friend Wil Wheaton headlined the third annual cruise, which this year featured stars from every series of Star Trek from The Next Generation onwards. They, along with thousands of die-hard Star Trek fans took over an entire cruise ship for a week (flying the flag of the United Federated of Planets no less), Taking part in everything from photo and autograph sessions, Science Lectures from experts in the fields of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Game Shows, Q&A sessions, and even a narrated performance of the Scopes Monkey Trial transcript.

But the real reason you should go isn't one of those events.

There's a unique culture behind Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry's optimistic vision of a utopian future attracts a certain type of fan, and there's something special about putting thousands of like-minded people and the actors who portrayed their most beloved Star Trek characters on a ship for a week. Wil Wheaton put it best in his initial address during our sendoff:

"I have been a fan of Star Trek my entire life. [...] I learned everything that was important to me from the values that Star Trek taught me: I learned to be honest, I learned to be honourable, I learned to be kind. My whole life I've wanted to live in that world that we imagined when we worked on Next Generation, and that I loved to watch when I was a little boy.
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NASA makes cool space mission posters that reference pop culture

So, get this. For many years now, NASA has been putting out some really fun posters to bring awareness to their space missions. They reference everything from Star Trek to Star Wars and lots in-between.

Bored Panda writes:

Since the very first International Space Station mission in 2000, NASA has been creating expedition posters usually featuring a group photo of the crew. These posters were used to advertise expeditions and were also hung in NASA facilities and other government organizations. However, when astronauts got bored of the standard group photos they decided to spice things up a bit.

They call them "cringy" but I love them. I think they're fun and creative.

Here's a few of them (more here):

images via NASA, lead image cropped to fit Read the rest

Heavy denim "Starfleet" jackets

I love the clothes from Volante Design ("Superhuman Streetwear"); their latest is the "Starfleet 2364" line of men's and women's jackets inspired by Star Trek: The Next Generation uniforms. Read the rest

CBS smashes fans' virtual, noncommercial recreation of the USS Enterprise

For two years, a group of die-hard Star Trek fans labored to create Stage 9, a totally noncommercial virtual replica of the USS Enterprise built with Unreal Engine; they assumed that when CBS Vice President for Product Development John Van Citters was serious in 2016, when he publicly acknowledged the debt that Star Trek owes to its fans and assured people creating fan media that "They’re not going to hear from us. They’re not going to get a phone call, they’re not going to get an email. They’re not going to get anything that’s going to ruin their day one way or another and make them feel bad, like they’ve done something wrong." Read the rest

Listen to William Shatner and Henry Rollins's duet of "Jingle Bells"

William Shatner is unleashing a Christmas album next month. Titled "Shatner Claus," it features guest performances by Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Iggy Pop, Rick Wakeman (Yes), Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), and many more. Released by Cleopatra Records, "Shatner Claus" is just the latest in ol' Bill's lengthy recording career that includes "Ponder the Mystery" (2013), "Seeking Major Tom" (2011), "Has Been" (2004), "William Shatner Live" (1977), and, of course, "The Transformed Man" (1968).

Below, Shatner and Rollins "sing" Jingle Bells:

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Marina Sirtis shares a dinner photo with pals from Star Trek: The Next Generation

Dinner with pals! Read the rest

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