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NASA Unveils Incredible Star Trek-style Warp Drive Space Ship: PHOTOS

NASA

This week, NASA engineer Harold White and digital artist Mark Rademaker unveiled the IXS Enterprise - a years-in-the-making CGI design concept for a potential warp drive space ship of the future. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto sadly not included. 

The Washington Post reports:

“We wanted to have a decent image of a theory conforming Warp ship to motivate young people to pursue a STEM career,” Rademaker said in an e-mail interview. “It does have some Sci-Fi features that might never transfer to a possible final design, unless we really want to.”

A warp ship such as the IXS Enterprise could allow travel to interstellar space in a matter of weeks rather than, say, centuries. And the science behind why it might be possible is truly mind-boggling.

An over-simplified explanation is that the concept seeks to exploit a “loophole” in Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity that allows travel faster than the speed of light by expanding space-time behind the object and contracting space-time front of it.

When asked the question on all our minds – “When can I get one of these?” White said that proving that the math behind the model is the first and most important step in the process. 

For now, we'll just have to make do with the awesome photos of the design, which you can check out AFTER THE JUMP...

[photos via Flickr]

Continue reading "NASA Unveils Incredible Star Trek-style Warp Drive Space Ship: PHOTOS" »


Hubble Telescope Takes Most Colorful Photo Ever of The Evolving Universe

Hubble photograph

And it's full of stars; the picture above is just a segment of the whole thing. The photo, called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014 image, is a composite of exposures taken by the Hubble Telescope from 2003 to 2012.

The scope of the photograph is simply gargantuan in scale. It captures over 10,000 galaxies, some of which are billions of light years away, extends back to within a few hundred millions of years of the big bang, and is presently regarded as "among the most colorful deep space images ever captured by the 24-year-old telescope."

Plus it makes for a great iPad parallax wallpaper.


SpaceX Unveils Reusable ISS 'Taxi' for 7 Astronauts: VIDEO

Musk

Elon Musk last night revealed the new SpaceX reusable craft for seven astronauts which he hopes will ferry them back and forth to the International Space Station one day.

Dragonv2Private companies are vying for contracts from NASA for the taxis, which will hopefully reduce our reliance on Russia's space program.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

TechCrunch writes:

The reason that this is really import,” said Musk, “is that it allows rapid reusability of the spacecraft. You just refill the propellant, and go again… Imagine if aircrafts were thrown away after each flight; no one could afford to fly.””

2_dragonv2SpaceX had previously shown Dragon V1, a smaller, unmanned version of this craft meant primarily for testing and, in a few cases, sending cargo back and forth to the International Space Station. Dragon V2 also has an improved heat shield, allowing it to better protect passengers on their return flight through the atmosphere.

The biggest single change to the design, though, is in the engines: where each of Dragon V1′s engines (the “Draco” engine) could produce about 100 pounds of thrust, each of the Dragon V2′s engines (the aptly dubbed “Super Draco” engines) can produce about 16,000 pounds of thrust. The particularly cool part? SpaceX says they’re actually 3d printing the engines out of a specialized metal alloy (called inconel), as opposed to more traditional manufacturing methods like milling.

Continue reading "SpaceX Unveils Reusable ISS 'Taxi' for 7 Astronauts: VIDEO" »


New 'Earthrise' Image from NASA: PHOTO

Earthrise

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera released a stunning new shot of the Earthrise yesterday. In the photo, the Earth is a color composite very close to what a person would see from the same perspective, and the brightness contrast of the Earth and moon is also very accurate.

They write:

LRO experiences twelve earthrises every day, however LROC is almost always busy imaging the lunar surface so only rarely does an opportunity arise such that LROC can capture a view of the Earth. On the first of February of this year LRO pitched forward while approaching the north pole allowing the LROC WAC to capture the Earth rising above Rozhdestvenskiy crater (180-km diameter).

The LROC Wide Angle Camera (WAC) is very different than most digital cameras. Typically resolution is reported as the number pixels in a single image, a cell phone camera today has more than 5 million pixels (5 megapixels). A single WAC frame has only 9856 pixels, however the WAC builds up a much larger image by exposing a series of images (or frames) as LRO progresses in its orbit; this type of imaging is called "push-frame". Over a full month as the LRO orbit track progresses around the Moon the WAC builds up a collection of images that covers the entire globe.


Funny or Die’s ‘Creationist Cosmos’ Explains How God Created Everything – Except the Gays: VIDEO

 Cosmos

"Satan put these fossils on Earth to trick you."

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 9.27.01 AMTo pacify those creationists complaining about the lack of screentime in Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s new series Cosmos, the folks over at Funny or Die have put together ‘Creationist Cosmos’ – a show for those who prefer a little more Jesus and a little less science in their space education.

It turns out most questions about life and our universe have a simple answer – “God did it.” In fact, the only thing God didn’t have a hand in creating was the gays. "They chose that for themselves."

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "Funny or Die’s ‘Creationist Cosmos’ Explains How God Created Everything – Except the Gays: VIDEO" »


Astronomers Find 'Earth Twin' in Nearby Star System

Quintana

NASA scientists announced today the discovery of a planet that is the most like our own than any they havediscovered, the NYT reports:

The planet, known as Kepler 186f, named after NASA’s Kepler planet-finding misison, which found it, has a diameter of 8,700 miles, 10 percent wider than Earth, and its orbit lies within the “Goldilocks zone” of its star, Kepler 186 — not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life.

“It’s Earth size,” said Elisa V. Quintana of the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. “It’s in the habitable zone. So we now know these planets do exist.”

Business Insider adds:

Scientists don't yet know the mass or composition of Kepler-186f, but think it could have a rocky surface based on planets of similar size — like Earth.

"There's a very excellent chance that it does have a rocky surface like the Earth," co-author Stephen Kane, of San Francisco State University, said in a statement.

The discovery was also published in the journal Science.

Keplersystem


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