“The Right Stuff” oral history + The “Ascension” mini-series

The movie The Right Stuff, based on Tom Wolfe’s novel about the Mercury 7 astronauts and the test pilot culture from which they emerged, was not a huge box office success when it was released in 1983. However, it was well reviewed and got many film award nominations and wins and subsequently it has become quite a cult favorite.

Here is an extensive collection of memories about the making of the film from those who helped to make it : An Oral History of the Epic Space Film The Right Stuff – WIRED.


Scott Lowther has posted a gallery of images and videos about the three-night miniseries called Ascension that will broadcast on the Syfy channel starting December 15th:  The “Ascension” Orion – The Unwanted Blog.

The plot goes as follows:

in 1963, with JFK freaking out that nuclear war was soon going to wipe out mankind, the US secretly launched a starship on a 100-year mission to another system.

Here’s one of the trailers:

“Away” a year from earth [Update]

David Granger at Esquire Magazine sent me a copy of the nicely written article Away (payment required) by Chris Jones that is in the December print issue. It’s about astronaut Scott Kelly and his upcoming one year mission on the International Space Station. All previous stays by US astronauts have been for six months or less.

The goal of the mission is to study effects on the human body in weightlessness for a mission of a length similar to that of a trip to Mars. After Scott returns to earth, his condition will be compared to that of his twin brother Mark Kelly, a former astronaut himself.

Find more about the program at

[ Update: Here is another article about the 1 year: With An Eye To Mars, NASA is Testing its Astronaut Twins: Scott and Mark Kelly, the only twins to have traveled in space, are embarking on a mission to help NASA prepare for Mars – Smithsonian. ]

Here is an interview with Scott Kelly about the mission:

Great new image of Europa plus a video

NASA releases the photo below of Europa, the Jupiter moon with at ice crust and what is believed to be an ocean of liquid water below it:  Europa’s Stunning Surface – NASA JPL

The puzzling, fascinating surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa looms large in this newly-reprocessed color view, made from images taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s. This is the color view of Europa from Galileo that shows the largest portion of the moon’s surface at the highest resolution.

PIA19048_ip[1]Newly enhanced image of Europa (Large version)


NASA JPL also released this video to promote Europa exploration:

Astronomer Phil Plait suggests there is a campaign underway to win a mission to Europa to investigate what is in that ocean : Europa: Remastered image may be prelude to a mission campaign – Slate.com