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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


NASA Explains Tonight’s ‘Blood Moon’ Lunar Eclipse: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 5.18.14 PM

To help prepare you for tonight’s ‘total lunar eclipse, the folks over at NASA have prepared a handy video to fill you in on the science behind the ‘blood moon.’

I think the eclipse probably something to do with vampires, but Texas pastor and televangelist John Hagee is claiming it’s a sign of the End Times. No word yet if he’s blaming it on the gays like he did with Hurricane Katrina though...

Check out the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

FYI: The eclipse begins around 12:53 am ET and will reach totality around 3am ET

Continue reading "NASA Explains Tonight’s ‘Blood Moon’ Lunar Eclipse: VIDEO" »


Scientists Get First Historic ‘Glimpse’ Of The Big Bang

BicepScientists today announced they have found evidence of strong “gravitational waves” that emerged in the aftermath of the Big Bang that could provide clues into the birth of the universe. Though the research presented requires further verification, many are optimistic that the results put forth today are accurate. The New Scientist reports: 

"No experiment should be taken too seriously until there's more than one that can vouch for it," says Alan Guth at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "But it does seem to me that this is a very reliable group and what they've seen is very definitive.

Marc Kamionkowski at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, is even more effusive. "This is the greatest discovery of the century," he says. "If it sticks, which I think it will, it's Nobel-prize material.”

The signal at the heart of the new research was detected by a special telescope set-up in the South Pole known as Bicep (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) that, as The Guardian points out, “scans the sky at microwave frequencies, where it picks up the fossil energy from the big bang.” 

EinsteinThe discovery is also significant in that if gravitational waves are found to exist it would prove “the last untested prediction of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity”:

"[Gravitational waves] are minuscule ripples in the fabric of the universe that carry energy across space, somewhat similar to waves crossing an ocean.

For decades, cosmologists have thought that the signature of primordial gravitational waves could be imprinted on this radiation. "It's been called the Holy Grail of cosmology," says Peiris, "It would be a real major, major, major discovery.” […]

According to theory, the primordial gravitational waves will tell us about the first, infinitessimal moment of the universe's history. Cosmologists believe that 10-34 seconds after the big bang (a decimal point followed by 33 zeros and a one) the universe was driven to expand hugely.

Known as inflation, the theory was dreamed up to explain why the universe is so remarkably uniform from place to place. But it has always lacked some credibility because no one can find a convincing physical explanation for why it happened."

Check out the full results from the scientists’ findings HERE. Warning: strong scientific language and graphic charts.


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