Like most visitors to Hawaii, David Wettergreen spent his two-week trip there in the sand. But instead of sunbathing, he was busy putting Scarab, his robotic moon rover, through rigorous test drives in the lunar-like volcanic ash-filled crater at Mauna Kea.
Charles Simonyi, a computer software executive most famous for leading the development of Microsoft Word and Excel in the 1980s, announced in September 2008 that he had booked a second flight with Space Adventures, currently the only company providing orbital space tourist flights to the International Space Station (ISS). Simonyi is currently training for the upcoming flight, which is scheduled to launch on March 25, 2009. He will join Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and NASA astronaut Mike Barratt, both members of Expedition 19 to the space station. The crew will ride to the ISS in the Russian spacecraft Soyuz TMA-14.
I caught up with Charles in between his training for a little chat about his upcoming trip.
There’s a little bit of water inside each kernel of popcorn, and if you can heat the kernel above 212°F, that water should boil, turn into high-pressure steam, and pop the kernel. But in orbit, things aren’t so simple. First off, the cold vacuum of space would suck all the water out of the kernel before it could pop the corn. So any ordinary kernels would drop, not pop. But let’s say we figured out a way to keep the kernel watertight. In that case, it all depends.
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin is not playing nice with the Obama transition team, according to a post by Robert Block of the Orlando Sentinel. He reports that Griffin is resisting efforts by former NASA associate administrator Lori Garver, who heads Obama's space transition team, to "look under the hood" of the space program.
Beneath the central Antarctic ice sheet lies Lake Vostok -- a frozen freshwater lake about the size of Lake Ontario, with depths up to 650 feet. Now, scientists believe that Saturn's icy moon Enceladus may harbor a similar underground reservoir.
If you've ever fantasized about going to Mars, you've no doubt thought about how you'd get there, how long it would take, and how you'd survive the planet's frigid temperatures. But you probably never considered things like how to invest your money on Mars, how to have a social life, and where to get a job there. In his new book, How to Live on Mars, Dr. Robert Zubrin moves beyond the idea of humans taking a brief exploratory mission to Mars, and considers what it would take to actually live there. Zubrin is the founder and president of the Mars Society and president of Pioneer Astronautics, an aerospace research and development company in Colorado. Popular Science correspondent Laurie Schmidt recently sat down with Zubrin to discuss his new book and his philosophy about the prospect of humans settling Mars.
In the first video we see footage of a fireball generated by a large meteor recently sighted careening over the skies of western Canada. Impressively bright! Since we get only a brief glimpse of the action we've also included another amazing video, below, of a meteor streaking over Guadalajara. It's a common misconception that the heat generated from meteors impacting the atmosphere is due to friction. In fact it's due to a thermodynamic process known as adiabatic compression. Let's see how this works.