Ardbeg, makers of extremely peaty Scotch whisky, has launched samples of its product into space. Not as a gift from Earth to extraterrestrial races, nor even as a refreshment for human astronauts -- no, the idea is to study how whisky ages in zero-gravity conditions.
The best space images are the ones that put our humble place in perspective, whether it's an image from the moon or a particularly stunning nebula. This one accomplishes the task brilliantly, giving a glimpse of the arm of our galaxy hovering over the limb of our little planet. Watch a timelapse video below.
This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 30 on board the International Space Station, over a 15-minute period Dec. 29. The space station is passing over central Africa, near southeastern Niger, toward the south Indian Ocean and Madagascar.
Space shuttle Atlantis, which only five months ago flew the final mission of NASA's 30-year shuttle program, is now being prepared for its public display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. That means, sadly, that Atlantis is scheduled to be powered down for the very last time this week. Its insides are being shamelessly pulled out to ensure it's safe for exhibit--it's important to lighten the shuttle's weight, since it'll be displayed on a steep angle at Kennedy.
collectSPACE.com had the rare opportunity recently to tour Atlantis and photograph its preparation for display. This is one of the last times anyone will be able to capture Atlantis's glass cockpit all lit up like this--and you're privy to the pictures.
An ongoing experiment tests the mettle of glass and other materials
By Kaitlin MillerPosted 12.07.2011 at 10:05 am 2 Comments
High-energy radiation and atomic oxygen wreak havoc on satellite parts. To evaluate the durability of materials being developed for future satellites, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is running samples through a space-based torture test called MISSE-8. Astronauts bolted a platform full of one-inch samples of mirror coatings, laser-tuning crystals, structural foam and other materials to the outside of the International Space Station, where it will remain for just over two years.
By Sean KanePosted 12.02.2011 at 4:25 pm 8 Comments
The Japanese seem to have the most fun aboard the ISS, making space sushi and taking Twitpics. Now, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa has accomplished what so many only children on Earth have unsuccessfully attempted: playing baseball by himself. In this video, shot aboard the ISS during missions 28 and 29, the JAXA astronaut throws a few pitches, hits them with a tiny bat, and even manages to get himself out.
It might sound a bit brazen to play around with fire in an artificially oxygenated environment, but that hasn’t stopped the crew of the ISS from studying the behavior of flame aboard the orbiting science station. As Space.com shows us, fire behaves very strangely--relative to the way it behaves on Earth, at least--in mircrogravity, and the Flame Extinguishment Experiment (FLEX) has conducted more than 200 tests over two years to try and understand why.
Astronauts and cosmonauts are generally chosen based on a balanced blend of desirable traits: mental acuity and psychological stability (it’s isolated up there), physical fitness, physiological durability, willingness to be strapped to a massive controlled explosion and hurled into an environment that is extremely hostile toward life, etc. But it’s no secret: Right Stuff or no Right Stuff, astronauts stink. There’s simply no good way to stay clean in space.
The Russian Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft, carrying three astronauts (Commander Andrei Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyayev, both Russian, and American Ron Garan) safely landed this morning in Kazakhstan, bringing them home after five months on the International Space Station. The landing, about 94 miles southeast of the smallish Kazakh city Zhezkazgan, wasn't entirely flawless--mission control lost contact with the capsule briefly--but the landing itself was very smooth.