A band of make-believe space travelers locked in a steel capsule in Moscow is about to "land" on Mars, mission managers said Friday, nearly halfway through their 520-day mission.
The tenacious Mars500 crew has been locked together for 233 days (as of Jan. 21) and are preparing for their mock arrival on Mars as soon as Feb. 12, the AP reports.
There are a few perks to my job as a mad scientist, and one of them, as I recently learned, is being able to tell my colleagues that I can't attend their terribly important meeting because I'm going to set my hand on fire.
In the movies, people on fire stumble out of burning buildings all the time. If you look closely, however, you'll notice that they are almost always fully dressed, and that they tend to keep moving. These are two important factors that make the stunt much easier.
At 18 months old, babies have begun to make conscious delineations between sentient beings and inanimate objects. But as robots get more and more advanced, those decisions may become harder to make. What causes a baby to decide a robot is more than bits of metal? As it turns out, it takes more than humanoid looks--babies rely on social interaction to make that call.
When I first saw this photograph of a man's hand submerged in liquid nitrogen at somewhere below -320° F, my immediate thought was, "That guy must be crazy! One second in that stuff, and you're shopping for new skin!" My shock was tempered only slightly by the fact that it was my hand, and we'd taken the picture just a minute earlier.
Have a good idea that you've been dying to test in zero gravity? NASA is opening up a few spots on the International Space Station for research ideas from private entities, providing some of its prized zero-gravity research real estate to ideas from commercial firms, non-profits, and academic institutions as well as federal, state and local governments.
Sure, the maze gets boring every so often. And yeah, there's not much variety in the food. But compared to the kill or be killed world of the wild, being a lab rat is a pretty good life. So good, in fact, that researchers at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) believe many lab rats are so overfed they distort research results from experiments intended to help cure everything from cancer to Alzheimer's to, you guessed it, obesity.
A fine-mesh kitchen sieve with a candle inside simulates a Davy miner's safety lamp. An explosive mixture of propane gas and air is blown in from the outside. If the mesh is fine enough, the fire will stop at the screen even as the explosive gas flows through it.
If you were a coal miner in the early 1800s, the light you used was an open-flame oil lamp—even though mines were sometimes filled with "fire-damp," a volatile mixture of air and methane gas. Explosions were inevitable, and at times threw bodies from mine shafts like grapeshot from a cannon. Humphry Davy became a national hero when, in 1815, he found a remedy: Surround the lamp flame with mosquito screen.
The explosive C4, a favorite for everything from demolition to terrorism to action movies, is in fact one of the safest explosives. How can an explosive be safe? If it's hard to set off by accident. C4 is so stable that you can light it with a match (it burns but does not explode) or shoot it (it splatters but does not explode). To go bang, it requires a detonator that produces both heat and shock.
At the other end of the spectrum are mixtures that ignite simply from being scratched or knocked. There are obvious challenges in mixing, storing, and handling these substances so that they explode only when intended, yet they're surprisingly common.
Scientists working on behalf of NASA have successfully levitated a mouse using a strong magnetic field. I pay taxes so that stuff like this can happen. I don't hate animals. It's for understanding microgravity better, ok?
Ever wanted to launch your own satellite into low earth orbit, then track it on ham radio for a few weeks before it burns up on re-entry? Well, 52 years after the launch of Sputnik, you can. Interorbital Systems is offering YOU the chance (by the end of 2010) to send up a TubeSat Personal Satellite Kit for the low introductory price of just $8,000.