Gravitational lenses – or ‘space warps’
– are created when massive galaxies cause
light to bend around them such that they
act rather like giant lenses in space.
By looking through data that has never
been seen by human eyes, our new Space
Warps project is asking citizen scientists
to help discover some of these incredibly
rare objects. We need your help to spot
these chance-alignments of galaxies in
a huge survey of the night sky. To take
part visit www.spacewarps.org.
Gravitational lenses help us to answer
all kinds of questions about galaxies,
including how many very low mass stars
such as brown dwarfs – which aren’t bright
enough to detect directly in many observations
– are lurking in distant galaxies. The
Zooniverse has always been about connecting
people with the biggest questions and
now, with Space Warps, we’re taking our
first trip to the early Universe. We’re
excited to let people be the first to
see some of the rarest astronomical objects
The Virtual SpaceTV 3D shows are created by BINARY
with story content from HobbySpace.com.
These videos are intended as demonstrations of an experimental
technique for generating animated presentations. The
show was generated autonomously by software according
to a text script. The project is described in the Virtual
Producer whitepaper (pdf). For further information
Here are the preceding two shows in the Virtual SpaceTV
As mentioned in the January
NewSpace Spotlight, the company SpaceX
is developing a fully and rapidly reusable
launch vehicle based on its Falcon 9 rocket.
If successful, such a reusable system would
drastically lower the cost of getting to
Last fall they began testing a prototype
first stage reusable booster called Grasshopper.
It takes off and lands vertically. In the
past few months the 10 story-tall Grasshopper
has made brief hover flights. Here are two
videos of a flight on March
7th when it reached 80.1 meters (262.8
feet) and stayed in the air for about 34
Here is a fixed angle view:
They aim to increase the altitude and speed
with each flight until they demonstrate
the capability to reach the staging altitude
and velocity needed to release the upper
stage and return to the launch pad.
They will also work backwards from real
launches to test recovery of the first stage.
During a press briefing after the recent
Dragon cargo delivery mission to the
International Space Station, Elon
Musk stated that in a satellite launch
this summer with the new Falcon 9 v1.1,
the first stage booster after separation
will do a burn to slow itself down and then
a second burn just before it reaches the
In subsequent flights they will continue
these over-water tests. He repeatedly emphasized
that he expects several failures before
they learn how to do it right. If all goes
well with the over-water tests, they will
fly back to the launch site and land propulsively.
He expects this could happen by mid-2014.
Since they don't know how many tests they
will need, they don't know exactly which
flight this would be. This is a very accelerated
schedule from what most people expected.
If they succeed at flying back and landing
the first stage, that would be a real revolution
in space transport.
The goal is eventually for both the first
and second stages and the Dragon to return
to the pad where they will be reattached
and flown again within a short time. Here
is an animation of such a system:
Run the Satellite
Tracking Tool from BINARY
SPACE right here at HobbySpace
in your browser. The program allows you to track a large
set of satellites in both low earth and geostationary
orbits. (Note: the program requires Microsoft
Silverlight, Version 5 or higher, as well as the latest
version of your browser. Currently the program works on
the Microsoft® Windows® platform only.) The Satellite
Observing section provides additional information
and web resources about the hobby of satellite tracking
Weather maps, remote sensing
and spysat images.