Archive for the ‘NASA’ Category

MARS ONE: Mars-Bound Candidate Walks Away – Pulls Back the Curtain Revealing a Mess or is it?

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

Since the first announcement of the Mars One program, people have either picked up the story and hailed it with headlines trumpeting our colonization of the red planet or they’ve been standing there with confused looks slapped on their faces. Media outlets have just accepted that Mars One is taking us to Mars and we should all be excited.

Now the curtain has been lifted on Mars One…

By an actual finalist who’s basically packed his bags and walked away from it all.

Joseph Roche, one of the final candidates for the one-way trip to Mars, has walked away from the program recently and is revealing everything that he’s experienced during his time with Mars One.

Originally media and Mars One reported that 300,000 potential one-way ticket holders had applied.

Roche claims it’s less than 3,000 applicants.

Mars One boasted of the lengthy interview process.

Roche says it came down to a 10 minute Skype interview.

Mars One claims that there are billions behind this whole program.

Roche revealed that applicants contribute financially by spending money on Mars One merchandise to earn points.

Mars One’s selection process sounds more like a cross between filling out a Jelly of the Month Club application, joining Amway and learning that QVC is going to launch one in every ten callers to the moon if they also purchase the bonus steel cutlery set.

Roche’s revelations came about because he’s worried just how badly this entire “program” could affect the popularity that space exploration is currently enjoying:

“My nightmare about it is that people continue to support it and give it money and attention, and it then gets to the point where it inevitably falls on its face. If, as a result, people lose faith in NASA and possibly even in scientists, then that’s the polar opposite of what I’m about. If I was somehow linked to something that could do damage to the public perception of science, that is my nightmare scenario.”

In response to Roche’s claims and the interviewer, Elmo Keep, the man behind Mars One, Bas Lansdorp responded to the allegations that Mars One is quickly falling apart:

So what is actually happening at Mars One? Who knows. But even with the two year delay Lansdorp announced? The first Mars One unmanned mission is only five years away.

In 12 years we’re either going to look back and laugh at Mars One…

Or we’re going to be crossing our fingers and holding our breath when those first four astronauts are sitting in a rocket aimed at the sky.


Opportunity Rover Celebrates 11 Years on Mars

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

What was supposed to be a hopeful three month mission has quietly stretched into an unbelievable journey.

Opportunity bounced onto Mars back in 2004. During that time the little rover has traveled twenty six miles and transmitted a lot of data back to help us understand the ancient history of that planet and it’s make up.

The video above will let you relive the excitement of the crew that put “Oppy” up there and you’ll probably smile and hi-five your nearest coworker when you those first transmitted photos, from Oppy’s eyes to ours, pop up on the screen.

It’s a pretty awesome moment in the history of space exploration.


NASA Developing Printed Food for Astronauts!

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

3D printng is the ‘it’ thing right now. It seems like nothing can’t be printed. We can print plastic toys, metal parts and even cell tissues using additive manufacturing. So what’s next?

Food…3D-printed food.

A Texas company is partnering with NASA to explore the idea of printing food during long, deep space missions. Systems and Materials Research and
Consultancy, a company in Austin, was recently awarded a Small Business Innovation Research Phase 1 contract concerning printing
food for astronauts. Currently astronauts eat foods that lose their micronutrients during the process they go through to become official space-food.

Eventually the prepackaged, off-the-shelf, single-servings the astronauts nom on now will make way for customizable recipes.

Anyone else excited to witness the first live-stream of a 3D-printed Thanksgiving dinner…in space? Us too.

NASA Budgets for Asteroid Rendition

Friday, March 29th, 2013

NASA plans to put a line for $100 million in an upcoming budget for an asteroid snatching mission with a total expected cost of $2.6 billion. The goal is to grab an asteroid and move it into a lunar orbit so we can get a closer look.

What do you think? At a starting cost of $2.6 billion (and that’s the floor) would we be better off with an X-Prize style initiative? Given the success of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, is there something to the idea of getting commercial enterprise to offset the costs?

via Bold asteroid-snatching plans to appear in NASA 2014 budget | Ars Technica.

Awesome 1970’s NASA Film on Space Colonization

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Dream big kids as you check out this retrotastic video from NASA on building colonies in space. Besides the awesome music, my favorite part is NASA’s recommendation for getting a better growing season from your crops on the space station – just increase the amount of CO2. Oh, the 70’s!

Interactive Look Inside Space X’s Dragon Capsule!

Friday, October 19th, 2012

If you’ve been following WeirdThings for any length of time now, you know that every time space exploration is mentioned we grab our big, pointy-fingered, foam hand and start fist-pumping toward the heavens.

Most of us are never going to get the chance to hop inside any of Space X’s amazing space vehicles and just sit there like little kids in the coolest toy store ever.

Everyone make a sad face.

But now you can give a big hug to our old buddy the Internet for helping Space X provide us with a panoramic view of what it’s like inside the Dragon capsule!

Go visit, take a look around and linger (images will transistion revealing airlocks, storage lockers opening and more) over the interior of a vehicle which is heralding one amazing future.

[Space X]

Meteorites Reveal More Water on Mars Than Thought!

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Science can’t seem to make up its mind about Mars.

Over one hundred years ago, scientists thought that Mars ran wild with water. Many decades later, scientists discovered they were wrong and that the planet may have once had water but was now completely dry. Only a few decades after that scientists learned that there is a small amount of water but only hanging delicately in the atmosphere.

Which brings us up to speed with the latest speculation…

That just below the surface of the planet there might actually be reservoirs of that refreshing martian water.

What’s strange about the discovery is that we didn’t even have to travel to the planet’s surface to get the information. We had the answers to our questions about Mars’ water situation right here on Earth for over a century.

Two meteorites, ejected from Mars almost 2.5 million years ago and which are right here on earth, contained the potential answers to just how ‘wet’ the planet may be all along.

A research team has recently looked at the amount of water molecules locked inside of minerals within both meteorites and used their finding to determine how much water was in the original rock on Mars that produced them.

Their findings so far? That Mars contains an amount of water eerily similar to Earth’s own mantle.

This could be huge for possible colonization of the planet (let’s face it…it’s going to happen).

Mars will begin revealing more of its secrets when, and if, NASA’s Curiosity rover begins playing in the dirt up there when it touches down in August.


Revealed: NASA Plan to Land Humans on Asteroid

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

asteroid landing mission nasa.jpg

It’s asteroid fever! Catch it.

Folks are trying to mine ’em and now NASA is talking about landing on one. The Telegraph reveals today that the US space agency will reveal their plan next month. The mission will including the first British astronaut Major Tim Peake.

A manned mission will aim to rendezvous with an asteroid up to three million miles from the Earth, taking around a year to make the entire round trip. The astronauts could stay on the asteroid for up to 30 days.

The officials will say that such missions to asteroids could help test technology for future human missions to other planets including Mars.

Nasa hopes that such missions will provide new scientific information about the early universe while also providing valuable information for ways of defending Earth from collisions with asteroids.

The paper says a mission could happen by the next decade. Twenty years to land on a tiny rock? Really NASA? JFK is frowning.


As Private Space Exploration Dawns, NASA Launches Online Radio Station

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

NASA has officially launched Third Rock: America’s Space Station. It’s also happy to report that they’re only slightly over their $400,000 budget to play a Kings of Leon rock block in the three o’ clock hour.

The second part isn’t true.

But the first is.

Third Rock Radio.jpg

Third Rock is on the air, bringing you “a mission of New Rock discovery”. While listening we heard songs by Bloc Party, Arcade Fire and Codeine Velvet Club. So it’s obviously titled toward a hipster sensibility.

And it might not actually be the worst idea in the world. First, it’s ad supported, SpaceX, who is in the process of taking of the heavy lifting rocket-wise for NASA is among the first sponsors. Second, rock radio is dying, for example from where I am writing the last local rock station was killed last week.

The station will also pump information about NASA projects between the songs.

Is hipster love for NASA enough to tune into a pre-programmed radio station… with a DJ… that doesn’t allow you to skip songs? Even if it’s a horrifying failure it’ll cost way less than pretty much everything else that NASA has ever done.

[Third Rock]

Google Founders Offer to Save Historic Hangar One if They Can Store Private Jets Fleet There

Monday, December 12th, 2011
Google founders offer _100 percent_ funding to save Hangar One, NASA considering offer - San Jose Mercury News.jpg

As of now NASA’s historic Hangar One will be destroyed. Victim of a budget cut. One of the largest free standing structures in the world and historic landmark in the aviation history of this country will be completely demolished and lost to the sands of times.

Unless Google’s Larry Paige, Sergy Brin and Eric Schmitt are allowed to foot the full bill for refurbishment, roughly $33 million. In exchange they ask for rights to house their private jet fleet, eight in total. The government will retain the ability to lease out the rest of Hangar One for whatever they please.

As of now, NASA’s response is: maybe.

Bob Jacobs, a NASA spokesman, said in an email Saturday that “it would be premature to discuss the merits of the proposal until we have had time to review the details.

“It has not yet been completely vetted,” he added. “We understand the interest and historic nature of the facility and we have to weigh that against the reality of constrained resources and use. We are giving all options thoughtful consideration as we prepare our funding proposal for the Fiscal Year 2013 budget.”


Hangar One was built in 1933 and occupies roughly six football fields worth of land spanning eight acres. The Navy is currently in the process of removing contaminated skin from the structure, which means reapplication would have to take place in 2012.

Page, Brin and Schmidt first submitted their proposal in September.

Below, check out a more recent use of Hangar One. The Mythbusters attempt to fold a football field sized piece of paper more than seven times. SAVE OUR BASIC CABLE HISTORY!

[Mercury News]

Electric Plane Awarded $1.35 Million NASA Prize

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
Green Flight Challenge (201109260016HQ) | Flickr - Photo Sharing!.jpg

Inspired by the Ansari X Prize for private space travel, NASA decided to put $1.35 million on the table to push forward the progress of election aviation. Their challenge? Fly 200 miles at a speed of at least 100 mph with four passengers using only slightly less than a gallon of gas per passenger.

It was a task that even optimistic researchers initially thought was science fiction. Until two teams beat those benchmarks this weekend.

Team took home the big money with their Taurus G4 aircraft which used less than a half gallon of gas per passenger. Team E-Genius also completed the trial and was awarded $12,000.

Check out this awesome Flickr set from the event and hear all about the specs of the winner in the video below.

[Cosmic Log]

NASA Considers Moving Space Debris With Lasers

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Remember all those pieces of space debris just floating around the Earth with nowhere to go and all day to get there? Remember when we were introduced to the term Zombiesat? Well now NASA is researching new ideas for using lasers to prevent space debris from colliding and making even more space debris. Unlike previous plans that involved military grade lasers for vaporizing debris, this new idea focuses on using commercially available industrial lasers to slightly move debris pieces that are about to impact. While this will not work on the biggest pieces of debris, it is estimated that it could eliminate up to half of all collisions.

“There’s not a lot of argument that this is going to screw us if we don’t do something,” said NASA engineer Creon Levit. “Right now it’s at the tipping point… and it just keeps getting worse.”



Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at

*probably not

But still, they did release this totally ominous press advisory:

NASA Sets News Conference on Astrobiology Discovery; Science Journal Has Embargoed Details Until 2 p.m. EST On Dec. 2

WASHINGTON — NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

I, for one, welcome our new overlords!

Ever See A Galaxy On Edge?

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

In this amazing photograph offered up by NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day you can see the edge of the NGC 4452 galaxy. It was taken by the revered Hubble telescope and gives we land-dwellers a rare glimpse into the long view of the cosmos.


NASA Contemplates System To Chuck Shuttles Into Space Horizontally

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010


Launching gigantic shuttles into orbit (although awesome) is costly. So what if we just threw that bad boy as hard as we could like a paper airplane and then fitted it with some super sweet rockets to blast that sucker into the cosmos?

An early proposal calls for a wedge-shaped aircraft with scramjets to be launched horizontally on an electrified (magnetic levitation) track or gas-powered sled. The aircraft would fly up to Mach 10, using the scramjets and wings to lift it to the upper reaches of the atmosphere, where a small payload canister or capsule similar to a rocket’s second stage would fire off the back of the aircraft and into orbit.

Engineers also contend the system, with its advanced technologies, will benefit the nation’s high-tech industry by perfecting technologies that would make more efficient commuter rail systems, better batteries for cars and trucks, and numerous other spinoffs.

So we get a reusable solution for shuttle launches and the latest monorail technology? Well that’s good enough for me to link this song!


Twitter’s Latest Star… A Robot?

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Before he boards the international space station in November, NASA’s latest robotic creation Robonaut 2 is spending his time mastering social networking. Using the Twitter handle @AstroRobonaut, the robot is answering questions from the public about his upcoming trip from more than 14,000 Twitter followers.

Robonaut 2 was designed to mimic basic human task and serve as a futuristic helper monkey on the Space Station. Many famous Twitterers have taken notice of the newest Twitter phenom, with even Conan O’Brian chiming in:

The NASA robot doing chores on the space station has its own Twitter account. I’m glad to see NASA is still shooting for the stars.

Robonaut 2 was a bit snarky in his reply:

@ConanOBrien Astronauts are excited to have me @ station because they’ve programmed me to always laugh at their jokes. Jealous?

No word on if the tweets will continue from the Space Station.