Category Archives: Just for Fun

This is What it Would Look Like to Fight Flying Dragons on Titan

Obviously this is a totally-for-fun sci-fi video, but what a video! Created by Oscar-nominated Irish filmmaker Ruairi Robinson, it shows fleets of very industrial-looking fighter skiffs hunting giant flying eels through the skies of some very cloudy planet… the first thought that came to my mind was Titan! (Although Titan is more hazy than cloudy but that’s just getting nitpicky.) Check out the video above… if this ever becomes a feature-length film I know I’ll be buying a ticket for sure.

HT to my Facebook friend and fantasy artist Bob Eggleton.

Credit: Ruairi Robinson. Developed with the assistance of the Irish Film Board.

UPDATE 3/23: This proof-of-concept short may become a feature length movie, thanks to District 9 director Neill Blomkamp and X-Men: Days of Future Past producer Simon Kinberg… and also to all the people on the ‘net who have been raving about it! Read more on The Verge here.

The Force is Strong With This ISS Crew!

The Expedition 45 team poster has astronauts and cosmonauts trading flight suits for Jedi robes.

The Expedition 45 team poster has astronauts and cosmonauts trading flight suits for Jedi robes.

The Expedition 45 crew has gone full Jedi for their team poster! (The mission patch is kinda shaped like a Star Destroyer…)

Entitled “International Space Station Expedition XLV: The Science Continues,” the poster features Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko (first and second on the right), NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren (left, front), Russian cosmonauts Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko (top right and top left) and Kimiya Yui with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

On March 27 Kelly and Kornienko will launch to the ISS (along with Exp. 44 commander Gennady Padalka) to begin the first year-long residence aboard the Station.

Just remember guys: fly casual! (And watch out with those lightsabers up there.)

Read more on collectSPACE here.

The Galaxy’s First Glimpse at Star Wars: The Force Awakens

So if you haven’t seen it yet, here it is – the first official trailer and the world’s first look at actual scenes from J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, coming to theaters next December. Some really interesting stuff here, including what looks to be exceptional aerial footage of X-wings and the Millennium Falcon, some new droid designs, and a curiously claymore-ish fiery lightsaber. Will the Force finally be strong with this one? Let’s “a new hope” so! (No really, I couldn’t take another let-down like “The Phantom Menace.”)

What do you think?

The Desert Dishes of Apollo Valley

Panorama of the Deep Space Network's Apollo Valley in Goldstone, CA (© Jason Major) CLICK FOR FULL SIZE

Panorama of the Deep Space Network’s Apollo Valley in Goldstone, CA (© Jason Major) CLICK FOR FULL SIZE

Deep in the Mojave desert of central California, scattered among the scrub-covered hills and rugged, rock-strewn fields, are enormous white radar dishes pointed at the sky — NASA’s “ears” for listening to the faint calls coming from its many spacecraft out exploring our solar system. I recently had the opportunity to pay a visit to the Deep Space Network complex in Goldstone (read my full account here) and while there took some photos of one of DSN’s most impressive sites: “Apollo Valley,” the home of DSS-24, -25, and -26, three giant 34-meter high-gain “Beam Waveguide” antennas (the first two of which are seen above) as well as the original Apollo dish that once received messages from Apollo 11 as it made its historic Moon landing.

With the spring desert flowers in bloom and the antennas gleaming white against the blue sky, it was an impressive sight! Click the image above for a full-sized version.

Learn more about Apollo Valley here.

“It’s Like The Universe Was Talkin’ To Me” – Neil Tyson’s First Visit To The Hayden Planetarium

“It’s as though you were locked in a room your whole life and then somebody opens a window.”
– Neil deGrasse Tyson

11-year-old Neil deGrasse Tyson with his first telescope (NOVA)

11-year-old Neil deGrasse Tyson with his first telescope (NOVA)

Do you remember your first telescope? Your first trip to a planetarium or observatory? Astrophysicist and Cosmos: a Spacetime Odyssey host Neil deGrasse Tyson does, and in this installment of NOVA’s Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers he shares his memories of seeing the Universe on the Hayden Planetarium’s big screens for the first time, and then receiving his own first telescope a couple of years later.

Obviously, they made quite the impression on young Neil.

“Saturn has rings! Oh my gosh the Moon has craters! Things you’ve heard about and read about, but to experience them yourself becomes a singular moment in your life. You are there in the Universe.”

Read the rest of this entry

50 Amazing Facts About the Moon

There's a lot of fascinating things to learn about our Moon, and here are 50 of them!

There are a lot of fascinating things to learn about our Moon, and here are 50 of them!

How fast does the Moon rotate? How far is it (on average) to the Moon? How long did it take to build a lunar rover for the Apollo missions? And what did one cost? You could Google all of these answers for yourself, of course, but it’ll be a lot quicker — not to mention a lot more fun — to find out in the newest space-themed infographic from Neomammalian Studios, 50 Amazing Facts About the Moon! Check it out below. There may be some things you didn’t know about our planet’s partner in space.

(And here’s a little tip: don’t ever tell Buzz Aldrin he didn’t go to the Moon…)

Read the rest of this entry

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