This is kind of a Friday video, in that it is silly and involves (read: consists entirely of) moments that could be soundtracked with a loud cartoony "BONK!", but this week has been a little bit long already and it feels like maybe by watching this video we can usher Friday in a little faster. So! This is a video of astronauts falling down, on the moon. Enjoy!
Robert Bigelow is not a small name in the space world. His company Bigelow Aerospace is a pioneer of inflatable spacecraft, and the company has made waves with its plans for an inflatable, orbiting space hotel (not coincidentally, Bigelow's fortunes come from his ownership of the Budget Suites motel chain). So when he says something about the future of space travel, we listen. On the other hand, when he says that China is planning to take over the moon circa 2025, we listen, but with skepticism.
Let's face it, sometime within the next century or so, overpopulation, the exhaustion of natural resources, an alien invasion -- or perhaps the optimistic spirit of adventure -- will force us to leave Earth in search of a new habitat. Earlier this week, NASA and DARPA announced a preliminary "Hundred-Year Starship" program for sending pioneers on permanent missions to Mars. To many, relocation from Earth sounds like a glorified exile, but some retro-futuristic eye candy from the Popular Sciencearchives will surely change their minds.
It’s been a great day for interplanetary H2O. First we hear that Mars was once covered in a massive, deep ocean. Now scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory are reporting that the moon may harbor 100 times more water than previously thought.
It turns out that the astronomical fame achieved by such popular modern artists as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Rauschenberg might not be strictly hyperbolic. An interesting story picked up by USA Today suggests six popular ‘60s artists may have snuck a tiny catalog of their work on board the Apollo 12 lunar lander, which still rests on the surface of the moon. If it’s indeed there, it’s the first permanent art collection in space; how very avant-garde.
"If an asteroid hits the moon, it will just get another crater," says Gareth Wynn-Williams, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii. It would take a moon-size object to move the moon, says Clark Chapman, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, and most likely the moon wouldn't survive. Hitting it with a much larger, denser object would be like whacking an egg with a golf club.
Possibly the single most influential event in the public's interest in science and technology (not to mention one of humankind's greatest adventures), the Apollo 11 mission touched the collective dreams of millions, while pushing science and technology swiftly forward at an unprecedented pace.
But in the decades since man first walked on the moon, science has advanced so rapidly that technology which even a few years ago might have been considered magic has become commonplace. Even so, it would be naïve to assume that Apollo 11 ever represented science and technology's pinnacle, and that nothing forthcoming will similarly explode the world's collective dreams and perceptions of what it means to be human.
So what's next? What will be the next worldwide event or discovery that fundamentally changes the way we look at ourselves and the universe we live in?
Earthlings can celebrate 40 years since the first lunar landing by planting their virtual boots back on the moon in Google Earth. Or they can just swoop over the 3-D lunar landscape, Superman-style.
Google unveiled the new "Moon in Google Earth" feature today during a press conference in Washington, D.C. Those in attendance included female space tourist Anousheh Ansari, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and NASA officials.
If you haven't yet noticed, today we're celebrating the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, and the first humans to step foot on the moon, which happened at around 4:15 pm EST, July 20, 1969. And in perhaps the world's most fitting use of this particular cliché, Things Have Never Been the Same.