From the NASA archive

I love this 1965 image from NASA’s archive. The caption reads: Gemini Water Egress Training. Astronauts John Young and Gus Grissom are pictured during water egress training in a large indoor pool at Ellington Air Force Base, Texas. Young is seated on top of the Gemini capsule while Grissom is in the water with a… Continue reading From the NASA archive

Three new planets: astrologers not bothered

Of course it turns out that the planetary scientists opted not to demote one planet but to promote three new ones. Brilliant. I can see Michael Hanlon’s Daily Mail story already: “Dumbing down is out of control: now even frozen lumps of rock qualify as planets. What next: asteroids?”. Remarkably, it looks like the new… Continue reading Three new planets: astrologers not bothered

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Space Brother

Switching between Big Brother Live (this has to be the best ever, right?) and NASA TV is entertaining. NASA’s 24/7 output is mind-blowing – a sort of hyper-purposeful parody of reality confinement shows like BB. I can’t wait for week 10’s Big Brother Task, which is called ‘Crew Swap’. For 48 hours, Anthony, Craig, Makosi,… Continue reading Space Brother

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Sounds from another world

No point taking a microphone to space. No sound in a vacuum. In thirty years of increasingly hyper-real media coverage of space exploration we’ve never, ever heard space. Just those crackly radio transmissions across the void (and all those made up noises in Sci-Fi movies). That’s what makes these sounds, the first ever recorded on… Continue reading Sounds from another world

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Podcasting Saturn

You’ve got to love Radio 4’s brilliant Cassini-Huygens total immersion radio experience. Listen to this lot and you’ll know about as much as a grown-up with a day job should reasonably know about Saturn and the extraordinary Cassini-Huygens mission . There’s a Real stream of an excellent half hour documentary called Running Rings Around Saturn… Continue reading Podcasting Saturn

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Cassini-who?

It’s midnight GMT. What are you watching? On Channel 4, Jackie Stalone is out of the house. On BBC 2 Cassini’s baby Huygens (after a 3 billion kilometre flight) has arrived on Titan’s surface. I learn from the Open University’s terrifically enthusiastic coverage that that surface is hard – perhaps clay or frozen snow. Photos… Continue reading Cassini-who?

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To space…

Why is this video from SpaceShipOne’s Winning X Prize Mission so impressive (I mean, apart from the fact that this guy just flew an aeroplane about the size of a double bed to space and back)? Is it because of the team’s unlimited American self-confidence? Or because of the acres of competence and sophistication on… Continue reading To space…

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The great glass elevator

As usual, the space scientists leave me open-mouthed with wonder. Latest preposterous challenge: getting stuff into space is expensive – rockets and space-suits and beef stroganoff in a tube and all that – so why not forget the big bang and winch your satellite up a long cable ‘anchored’ 100,000 km up there in an… Continue reading The great glass elevator

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