On September 11th, 2001, there was only one American on the International Space Station: Expedition Three Commander Frank L. Culbertson. That morning, after a physical examination of the other astronauts, command on the ground told Culbertson what had happened. Culbertson grabbed a camera as the ISS passed over North America and took the photo above, from two or three hundred miles up. NASA has the letters Culbertson wrote about his feelings--check them out here. [via The Atlantic]
It was both a high drama rescue and a defining moment for implements of oral hygiene. During a hastily scheduled six-and-a-half hour spacewalk yesterday, a NASA astronaut and her Japanese counterpart fixed the broken $150 billion dollar International Space Station. Key to their success: a toothbrush.
We’ve covered some pretty amazing coronal mass ejections (CMEs) here on PopSci, but we might have to crown this one the best yet. Blasting forth from the solar surface at 900 miles per second on August 31, it was captured in all of its tendril-esque glory by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
If the image doesn’t look real, rest assured that it is. But the SDO clearly doesn’t capture imagery of the sun in the same way the human eye does.
Some 30,000 light-years away near the chaotic, gaseous region near our galactic center, a team of Japanese researchers has found the strange cosmic feature you see above: a helical molecular cloud twisting across some 60 light years.
As we enter the high season of electoral politics, you’re going to hear things about global warming that may seem a bit dubious--that it doesn’t exist, that it exists and George W. Bush invented it, that cataclysmic climate change has already occurred and we are all doomed, that climate change is the result of the failed stimulus, etc. But an astrophysicist working on one of the cosmos greatest mysteries has another theory that might sound equally implausible on its face, but actually makes some sense: that we can measure future global warming based on the number of exploding stars we see in the sky.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.