As Hurricane Sandy approached over the weekend, we were all glued to our media sources, watching satellite maps, minute-by-minute updated predictions of where and how hard she will strike, and protocols for survival.
But what if we hadn't known a storm was coming? The next one might take us by surprise.
There's only one it's-the-future-why-don't-we-have-x trope that rivals the flying car, and that's the space elevator. (First proposed in 1895, it might even predate it.) The idea of a giant tower that can carry us from Earth to outer space is legend, and it probably will be for a long time.
The big rockets of our day get all of the fanfare during a launch, but often they're accompanied by tiny stowaways known as CubeSats, which hitch a ride and drop into orbit. They're convenient and able to get us into space cheaply, roughly the size of a Rubik's Cube and weigh only three pounds.
South Korean artist Song Ho-jun has spent years working on his very own DIY sputnik, a homemade satellite cobbled together from electronics store parts. It might be the first satellite completely built by an individual. Now, later this year, it'll launch.
Song started the "Open Satellite Initiative," an idea he came up with as an intern at a satellite company, and sought experts and information he'd need for the launch. Meanwhile, he ran a small electronics business and got help from his parents.