* SpaceX did a test of the Dragon crew module pad abort last Monday:
* Blue Origin flew the New Shepard suborbital vehicle to the edge of space last week:
* Back in April SpaceX attempted to land the first stage of a Falcon 9 onto a floating platform in the Atlantic. A balky valve disrupted the control just above the platform, causing it to touchdown at a tilt. They will try again to land the first stage for a flight in June and in other launches later in the year.
“Kerbal Space Program” is the kind of game one’s never finished playing. Its ends always feel open to negotiation. It is a purer form of game play. Rather than a ritualistic capitulation to an unchanging condition, it creates a system of wonderment within an ever-expanding boundary of possibilities. Even the game’s susceptibility to bugs and its ungainly interfaces belie a wild expansiveness, technical byproducts of a thing attempting to do things no one planned for it to do.
Despite the hugely complicated theories underpinning your creations much of the game’s design decisions remain surprisingly intuitive. You don’t need to have studied applied physics to make reasonable decisions on rocket design: a paper plane and an understanding that the heavier something is the more thrust it needs to take off will do.
There is an element of edutainment to Kerbal Space Program (it’s endorsed by both NASA and Elon Musk) but it still works extremely well as a straight video game, to the point where its closest comparison is probably Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. It still needs better tutorials and a more accessible introduction to sandbox mode, where the real fun is to be had, but clearly this is a game that is going to continue to evolve, and will probably never be truly ‘finished’.
Kerbal Space Program provides something for everyone: players who will never see a return voyage from “the Mun,” and those who delve into special resource gathering, landing, docking, and crew-out-of-ship activities. If you are a creative type who loves to fool around with physics, you’ll probably love Kerbal Space Program. If you’re just looking to create unbelievable, ridiculous rockets with an impractical number of fuel pods, you can still have plenty of fun. Whatever your level of engagement, you can enjoy shooting these little green Smurfs into space – or into the nearby scenery.
Here is a collection of recent TMRO.tv Space Pod video reports. Note that
TMRO Space Pods are crowd funded shows. If you like [these episodes] consider contributing to help us to continue to improve. Head over to http://www.patreon.com/spacepod for information, goals and reward levels. Don’t forget to check out our weekly live show campaign as well over at http://www.patreon.com/tmro
* Why is there no cold beer in space!? – Space Pod 05/06/15
From wet burps to breaking the rules, Lisa Stojanovski talks about the different fridges on the International Space Station and why none of them are stocked with beer.
* NASA is STILL Doing Amazing Things – Space Pod 05/05/15
NASA is still doing some amazing things, both in space and on Earth, and in this episode, Space Mike discusses some awesome stuff that just happened in the last week.
* A Symphony of Satellites – Space Pod 05/03/15
What if you could hear the satellites that are over your head? This week, Ariel Waldman showcases a really cool space hack that translates Earth-orbiting robots into rhythm.
* The Cosmic Yardstick: Light Years – Space Pod 05/01/15
TMRO Astronomer Jared Head goes over what a light year is, and why astronomers use them.
* EMERGENCY Russia’s Progress Cargo Vessel Fails! – Space Pod 04/30/15
Russia’s Progress 27M Cargo Vessel failed to deploy it’s antenna’s so that ground controllers could successfully dock the spacecraft to the International Space Station. In this video Space Mike discusses why it failed and what we are going to do about it.
Last week on the International Space Station, astronauts swabbed their noses in search of allergy-causing microorganisms and played with synthetic muscle that could make robots perform more like humans. Lisa Stojanovski also talks about her favourite International Space Station crew member – Robonaut-2.
Spacevidcast Robonaut-2 Coverage
NASA’s Journey to Mars program is offering prizes for solutions submitted from the public for three problems that need solving to help make it feasible to send humans to the Red Planet: NASA Announces Journey to Mars Challenge – NASA
The challenges are listed in the NASA Innovation Pavilion:
- Space Pioneering – Achieving Earth Independence – Award: $15,000 USD | Deadline: 7/06/15
- Reducing Exposure to Galactic Cosmic Rays through Active and Passive Shielding – Award: $29,000 USD Deadline: 6/29/15
- Flexible Sealing Device. A Device to Reversibly Join and Form an Airtight Seal Between the Edges of Fabric Materials – Award: $15,000 USD | Deadline: 6/17/15
The Moon Arts Project at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has partnered with the CMU Planetary Robotics Team and Astrobotic Technology team in the Google Lunar XPRIZE to open the Moon Drawings project. It is
an initiative at Carnegie Mellon University to extend the reach of artistic expression to the Moon. Using this web site, you can contribute a drawing—which will be micro-etched on a sapphire disc, sent to the Moon aboard a robotic lander/rover, and potentially traced by the rover into the Moon’s soil. The disc of drawings, contained in a sculpture called the Moon Arts Ark, and generously conveyed to the Moon by our partners at Astrobotic Technology and the CMU Planetary Robotics Team, will be shuttled to the Moon from Cape Kennedy in 2016 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It will remain there for potentially millions of years.
Go to Make a Moon Drawing where you can try your hand at drawing something compelling with a continuous line of no more than 1000 points.
A recent announcement set to me from The Philip K. Dick Film Festival:
The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival Now
Accepting Submissions for Fourth Annual Event
(New York City, N.Y.) April 9, 2015 – And so it begins. The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival has opened its call for submissions for its fourth spectacular year honoring the literary world’s most visionary author Philip K. Dick. The highly-anticipated five-day event will touch down on The Big Apple from January 14-17, 2016 and will screen at the superb Tribeca Cinemas for a second year in a row. The festival returns after a maximum sold out 2015 event and major recognition from high-profile news media including a prime segment on NBC New York/COZI TV’s News 4 New York at 7 and articles and listings in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Time Out New York and Metro New York. With many more exciting announcements in the months ahead, 2016 will surely be #PKDFestNYC’s biggest and brightest year yet!
To submit the coolest, most original and exciting science fiction and fantastic films, please visit the festival’s website at www.thephilipkdickfilmfestival.com or the Withoutabox page at www.withoutabox.com/login/9016. Deadlines include June 15, 2015 (Early Bird Deadline), September 15, 2015 (Regular Deadline), December 1, 2015 (Late Deadline) and December 7, 2015 (WAB Extended Deadline).
The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival has thrilled its attendees with entertaining and visually captivating themes which have made the event a favorable and continued success. For more information, please visit the festival’s Twitter page at twitter.com/PhilipKDickFest (tweet the hashtag #PKDFestNYC) and the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ThePhilipKDickFilmFestival. Check out the festival’s NBC New York/COZI TV’s News 4 New York at 7 segment appearance at www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/288485941.html.
About The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival:
The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival is New York City’s first and only festival of its kind and is organized by individuals and filmmakers who understand the difficulties and challenges of telling a unique story in a corporate environment. With extremely successful 2012-2015 festivals, a 2013 international event in Lille, France and endless screening events the festival is only beginning its vision of honoring the legacy of the great Philip K. Dick. With the presence of accomplished directors, writers, producers and industry leaders who best represent the goals of the festival and original voices and enhanced visions in works submitted, this is a festival created by filmmakers for filmmakers.
About Philip K. Dick:
“Reality is whatever refuses to go away when I stop believing in it.” – Philip K. Dick Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was one of the 20th century’s most profound novelists and writers within the science fiction community. His exploration, analysis and beliefs led to the publishings of 44 novels and 121 short stories. Dick’s enormous library of works led to several successful film developments including Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (1990), Minority Report (2002), Paycheck (2003), A Scanner Darkly (2006), 2012 Festival “Best Science Fiction Feature” Award winner Radio Free Albemuth (2010), The Adjustment Bureau (2011) and Total Recall (2012). Dick’s enormously effective views comprised of technological advancements, fictional universes, virtual realities and human mutation foresaw an exaggerated version of the current state of government and contemporary life. Though he is gone in the physical form his philosophies live on in the techniques applied to modern stories and films and generate large displays of appreciation and understanding.
For more information please contact:
Daniel Abella, Festival Director
Program Office: 917-362-9337
Festival Websites/Social Media
Official Website: www.thephilipkdickfilmfestival.com
International Website: www.philipkdickfilmfestival-europe.com
Fractured Atlas Donation Page: www.fracturedatlas.org/site/contribute/donate/6853
A short film shown today at the Humans to Mars Summit 2015 in Washington D.C.:
Winning entry of the Lockheed Martin / NM Film Foundation filmmaker grant. A science-fiction short film about the first human born on Mars, told from the perspective of a Navajo family living in Gallup, New Mexico.
The H2M is hosted by the Explore Mars organization.
The Summit presentations can be seen live via the webcast here.
Update: Before we see anyone having babies on Mars, lots of research needs to be done on a facility like G-Lab that will investigate the effects of fractional G on the birth and growth of mammals.
One other note, the Orion capsule the young boy is carrying probably costs $20000 dollars if it is priced on a scale comparable to that between a real Orion and a SpaceX Dragon.
Charles Pooley has passed away. He was well known in the NewSpace rocket world for his fervent advocacy of Microlaunchers. These would be relatively small rockets for putting very small payloads into orbit. He believe they would provide
“… a way to make launches become
more available by a factor of thousands…”
Here is a note distributed by David Livingston, host of The Space Show:
May 4, 2015: The Space Show Has Lost A Good Friend
Dear Listeners and Friends: I am very sorry to announce that we lost a very good Space Show friend and a good personal friend of mine, Charles Pooley. Charles passed away before he could make it to the Space Access Society conference this past weekend. I have no further details at this time. All Space Show programs this week will be in his memory. Next Tuesday, May 12 on Open Lines, we will reserve time for those of you who want to remember Charles by calling or emailing us. Charles will be missed on The Space Show and I for one will miss him very much as a friend.
Dr. David Livingston, Host
A sampling of comments:
- GeorgeWilliamHerbert on Twitter:
- Old acquaintance and space enthusiast Charles Pooley aka @Microlaunchers passed away recently; we are sad to see him go. He kept pushing.
- Jason Carr on Twitter:
- Sad news. I interviewed Charles back in 2012 for my blog. He was truly a visionary and will be missed.
- Paul Breed on Twitter:
- RIP Charles Pooley. He was a friend and talented engineer that contributed in a big way to my llc efforts. I know no additional details.
- Ben Brockert on Twitter:
- Got word that Charles Pooley died. He was an interesting and persistent character with big ideas for small space launch.
- Jonathan A. Goff on Twitter:
- He helped me with the electronics for an experiment for my Master’s Thesis (had to finish it while at Masten). He’ll be missed.
1. Monday, May 4,, 2015: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT; 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back BRUCE PITTMAN to discuss the upcoming ISDC 2015 Conference and event in Toronto, Canada.
2. Tuesday, May 5, 2015:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome student DARREN CHARRIER to the show to discuss his innovative space projects.
3. Friday, May 8, 2015; 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT): We welcome HANNAH KERNER to discuss the upcoming NewSpace 2015 Conference.
4. Sunday, May 10, 2015: 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): Mothers Day. No show today. Happy Mothers Day to all the Space Show Moms!
The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.
The AP reports on the Mars Society‘s Mars Desert Research Station in Utah: Remote Utah outpost serves as stand-in for surface of Mars – AP
VAXHeadroom (Emory Stagmer) joins us in-studio to talk about the old Saturn V competitor: Sea Dragon. Capable of lofting 1 million LBS to Low Earth Orbit, this 1/2 submarine 1/2 rocket system would dwarf anything humans have ever built to date. What is it and how did it work? Check out this live episode of TMRO to get an idea!
Kerbal Space Program is about building and flying rockets into space. Chances are you already knew that, because it was first released, in alpha, back in 2011. Thanks to the strength of the core sandbox concept, its potential was evident from the start. The added tools and features of subsequent patches have only strengthened the game’s ability to deliver on that initial promise of full space program management and execution. Kerbal Space Program was one of the few Early Access games that I felt comfortable giving an unreserved recommendation. It was brilliant then, and it remains brilliant now that it’s updated to version 1.0 for an official release.
These two videos highlight the launch of KSP 1.o:
An interesting photo from Rosetta of Comet 67P/C-G: CometWatch 26 April | Rosetta – ESA’s comet chaser
Comet 67P/C-G on 26 April 2015 from a distance of 98 km. The image has been processed to bring out details of the comet’s activity. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO
The latest report from ESO (European Southern Observatory):
The Pillars of Creation Revealed in 3D
New study suggests that iconic structures more aptly
named the Pillars of Destruction
Using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have produced the first complete three-dimensional view of the famous Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula, Messier 16. The new observations demonstrate how the different dusty pillars of this iconic object are distributed in space and reveal many new details — including a previously unseen jet from a young star. Intense radiation and stellar winds from the cluster’s brilliant stars have sculpted the dusty Pillars of Creation over time and should fully evaporate them in about three million years.
This visualisation of the three-dimensional structure of the Pillars of Creation within the star formation region Messier 16 (also called the Eagle Nebula) is based on new observations of the object using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. The pillars actually consist of several distinct pieces on either side of the star cluster NGC 6611. In this illustration, the relative distance between the pillars along the line of sight is not to scale. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser
The original NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the famous Pillars of Creation was taken two decades ago and immediately became one of its most famous and evocative pictures. Since then, these billowing clouds, which extend over a few light-years , have awed scientists and the public alike.
The jutting structures, along with the nearby star cluster, NGC 6611, are parts of a star formation region called the Eagle Nebula, also known as Messier 16 or M16. The nebula and its associated objects are located about 7000 light-years away in the constellation of Serpens (The Serpent).
This view shows how the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope has created a three-dimensional view of the iconic Pillars of Creation in the star-forming region Messier 16. Each pixel in the data corresponds to a spectrum that reveals a host of information about the motions and physical conditions of the gas at that point. The slices of the data corresponding to some of the different chemical elements present are highlighted. Credit: ESO
The Pillars of Creation are a classic example of the column-like shapes that develop in the giant clouds of gas and dust that are the birthplaces of new stars. The columns arise when immense, freshly formed blue–white O and B stars give off intense ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds that blow away less dense materials from their vicinity.
Denser pockets of gas and dust, however, can resist this erosion for longer. Behind such thicker dust pockets, material is shielded from the harsh, withering glare of O and B stars. This shielding creates dark “tails” or “elephant trunks”, which we see as the dusky body of a pillar, that point away from the brilliant stars.
MUSE has shown that the tip of the left pillar is facing us, atop a pillar that is is actually situated behind NGC 6611, unlike the other pillars. This tip is bearing the brunt of the radiation from NGC 6611’s stars, and as a result looks brighter to our eyes than the bottom left, middle and right pillars, whose tips are all pointed away from our view.
Astronomers hope to better understand how young O and B stars like those in NGC 6611 influence the formation of subsequent stars. Numerous studies have identified protostars forming in these clouds — they are indeed Pillars of Creation. The new study also reports fresh evidence for two gestating stars in the left and middle pillars as well as a jet from a young star that had escaped attention up to now.
For more stars to form in environments like the Pillars of Creation, it is a race against time as intense radiation from the powerful stars that are already shining continues to grind away at the pillars.
By measuring the Pillars of Creation’s rate of evaporation, MUSE has given astronomers a time frame for when the pillars will be no more. They shed about 70 times the mass of the Sun every million years or so. Based on the their present mass of about 200 times that of the Sun, the Pillars of Creation have an expected lifetime of perhaps three million more years — an eyeblink in cosmic time. It seems that an equally apt name for these iconic cosmic columns might be the Pillars of Destruction.
The ESA Rosetta mission released nearly 1300 images today of Comet 67P/C-G as the probe approached the object last summer: Major release of NAVCAM images: 800 to 30 km | Rosetta – ESA’s comet chaser
Today marks a major release from the Rosetta downlink and archive groups of detailed images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken by Rosetta’s Navigation Camera, or NAVCAM. The 1297 images, which can be accessed via the Archive Image Browser, were acquired between 1 August and 23 September. This corresponds to the final approach of Rosetta to the comet, its arrival at a distance of 100 km on 6 August and its transition to a global mapping phase at 30 km (click here for an animation describing the spacecraft’s trajectories at this time). It was during these two months that mapping and characterisation of the comet’s surface began, and Philae’s candidate landing sites were proposed, analysed and finally selected.
Here the images are presented a video clips:
Emily Lakdawalla comments on the images and provides thumbnails for them: More than 1000 Rosetta NavCam images released! – The Planetary Society.
Pluto starting to come into focus as New Horizons gets closer:
For the first time, images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft are revealing bright and dark regions on the surface of faraway Pluto – the primary target of the New Horizons close flyby in mid-July.
The images were captured in early to mid-April from within 70 million miles (113 million kilometers), using the telescopic Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) camera on New Horizons. A technique called image deconvolution sharpens the raw, unprocessed images beamed back to Earth. New Horizons scientists interpreted the data to reveal the dwarf planet has broad surface markings – some bright, some dark – including a bright area at one pole that may be a polar cap.
“As we approach the Pluto system we are starting to see intriguing features such as a bright region near Pluto’s visible pole, starting the great scientific adventure to understand this enigmatic celestial object,” says John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “As we get closer, the excitement is building in our quest to unravel the mysteries of Pluto using data from New Horizons.”
Also captured in the images is Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, rotating in its 6.4-day long orbit. The exposure times used to create this image set – a tenth of a second – were too short for the camera to detect Pluto’s four much smaller and fainter moons.
Since it was discovered in 1930, Pluto has remained an enigma. It orbits our sun more than 3 billion miles (about 5 billion kilometers) from Earth, and researchers have struggled to discern any details about its surface. These latest New Horizons images allow the mission science team to detect clear differences in brightness across Pluto’s surface as it rotates.
“After traveling more than nine years through space, it’s stunning to see Pluto, literally a dot of light as seen from Earth, becoming a real place right before our eyes,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “These incredible images are the first in which we can begin to see detail on Pluto, and they are already showing us that Pluto has a complex surface.”
The images the spacecraft returns will dramatically improve as New Horizons speeds closer to its July rendezvous with Pluto,
“We can only imagine what surprises will be revealed when New Horizons passes approximately 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) above Pluto’s surface this summer,” said Hal Weaver, the mission’s project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland.
APL designed, built, and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. SwRI leads the science team, payload operations and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
These two “movies” show a series of LORRI images of Pluto and Charon taken at 13 different times spanning 6.5 days, from April 12 to April 18, 2015. During that time, the spacecraft’s distance from Pluto decreased from about 69 million miles (111 million kilometers) to 64 million miles (104 million kilometers).
Pluto and Charon rotate around a center-of-mass (also called the “barycenter”) once every 6.4 Earth days, and these LORRI images capture one complete rotation of the system. The direction of the rotation axis is shown in the figure. In one of these movies, the center of Pluto is kept fixed in the frame, while the other movie is fixed on the center of mass (accounting for the “wobble” in the system as Charon orbits Pluto).
The 3x-magnified view of Pluto highlights the changing brightness across the disk of Pluto as it rotates. Because Pluto is tipped on its side (like Uranus), when observing Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft, one primarily sees one pole of Pluto, which appears to be brighter than the rest of the disk in all the images. Scientists suggest this brightening in Pluto’s polar region might be caused by a “cap” of highly reflective snow on the surface. The “snow” in this case is likely to be frozen molecular nitrogen ice. New Horizons observations in July will determine definitively whether or not this hypothesis is correct.
In addition to the polar cap, these images reveal changing brightness patterns from place to place as Pluto rotates, presumably caused by large-scale dark and bright patches at different longitudes on Pluto’s surface. In all of these images, a mathematical technique called “deconvolution” is used to improve the resolution of the raw LORRI images, restoring nearly the full resolution allowed by the camera’s optics and detector.
(Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)