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Tag Archives: Space

Mesoloft Sends Your Ashes to Infinity and Beyond

Mesoloft  Ash

Some people choose to have their ashes scattered out into the ocean, while others prefer to stay close to their loved ones in an urn. For those who want to take things one step farther, there’s Mesoloft.

The company offers out-of-this-world services for your final departure by dropping your cremated remains 90,000 feet from the ground.

Mesoloft co-founder Chris Winfield explains: “We know that the ashes will likely travel for months and possibly years as they get carried by the currents in the upper atmosphere. The ashes will eventually descend and settle all around the globe. Moisture adheres to ashes that pass through clouds and the ash will form the nucleus of a raindrop or snowflake.”

Now isn’t tht something else? Unsurprisingly, Mesoloft’s services come at hefty prices, starting at $2,800.

VIA [ C|NET ]

Death Star Birdhouse: There is Life in Death

Death Star Birdhouse

The design of this birdhouse is inspired by the infamous Death Star from Star Wars. It looks just like the evil empire’s battle station, only it’s a much smaller version of it. It doesn’t have the power to nuke planets from a distance, but it will provide a relatively comfortable home for birds who are seeking shelter.

The Death Star birdhouse is made from high-quality ceramic and it comes with one wire hanger so you can put it up wherever you want to, right out of the box. The diameter of the birdhouse measures 13.5 centimeters, which makes it just about right for the birds that might be visiting and frolicking around your garden.

The Death Star birdhouse retails for £24.99 (or about $40) and is available online from the Fowndry.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ InStash ]

Some Perspective: This Pale Dot Is Us. All Of Us.

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Every little kid born to royalty, every man sitting in a cafe writing the next great American novel, every river full of bear food, every cat, every single thing that makes up humanity… is crammed in those few pixels you see above. That tiny dot, that’s Earth. That’s the picture Cassini took on July 19th, some 900 million miles away, while orbiting Saturn. And it’s sobering. It’s a sobering picture because it gives you a tiny bit of perspective about our great blue planet. How tiny it looks next to the unimaginable interplanetary distances. And yet everything that ever was, anything that ever happened, happened on that dot.

It isn’t particularly easy to picture the Earth from Saturn because it’s often too close to the sun to point sensitive optical instruments at it. But Cassini got lucky here, and took the pic just as the sun was hiding away behind Saturn. And the shot “also marked the first time people on Earth had advance notice their planet’s portrait was being taken from interplanetary distances. NASA invited the public to celebrate by finding Saturn in their part of the sky, waving at the ringed planet and sharing pictures over the Internet. More than 20,000 people around the world participated.”

So yeah, that’s our science break. The picture below? That’s another one, of the Earth next to its moon. Nifty, eh?

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VIA [ NASA ]

Prepare to Blast Off! ‘Doctor Who’ Fans Fund Campaign to Send TARDIS to Space

TARDIS Orbit

Doctor Who’s TARDIS is a space and time traveling machine, and now it’s finally headed to outer space. TARDIS is no stranger to actual space travel in the fictional world, but it’s just a decorated blue telephone box with a very notable look here on Earth. Legions of Doctor Who fans want to change that, though, as they have raised enough funds to send a TARDIS-shaped satellite into Earth’s orbit.

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Name That Space Rock

Name-That-Space-Rock

With the news that a meteor caused around 1,000 injuries in Russia last Friday and in an extremely rare occurrence, the planet dodged a near-miss from a much larger rock on the very same day, everyone’s lips are on the topic of space rocks. So, is it an asteroid? A meteor? A meteorite? It turns out that words have precise meanings, and the above diagram should help you get your facts straight so you can pedantically correct your friends.

VIA [ LikeCool ]

Own A Tiny Speck Of Mars

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There are a few ways you could get your hands on Martian soil. Wait until we develop space travel enough to bring back samples, then steal those, for one. Or wait until we develop it even further and become the first Martian tourist. But let’s face it, that’s not happening anytime soon. Until then, it turns out there’s already some Martian rock right here one Earth, and you can buy some. How? Like this: when a meteorite hits the red planet, a lot of rock is ejected into the atmosphere. A small amount escapes the planet’s gravitational pull and an even smaller amount still ends up as a meteorite right here on Earth. Martian soil, right here on our blue pebble. The specimen you see above is Martian shergottite, NWA 4930, recovered in the Sahara desert. It’s been examined and certified to come from the same place where the Curiosity rover is currently digging some holes. $25 will buy you… a 2mg speck. But hey, how much do you actually need?

It’s packaged in a protective shell with a card describing its history, and is being sold by ThinkGeek, so we don’t doubt its authenticity.

[ Product Page ]

We Have A Rover On Mars! And Here’s Two Nerdy Facts About It You May Not Know Yet

It never ceases to amaze us that what is essentially a species of really successful primates is able to launch a rocket into space, have it travel around 350 million miles and land on Mars, pretty much right where it wants it. The logistics, engineering, science and all around awesomeness required to do this is just mind boggling. Even more amazing is that the descent of this rover on an otherworldly land is then captured in images by a satellite this same species of primates placed there a few years prior! The above picture, in case you haven’t seen it yet, is just that: NASA’s Curiosity rover descending towards Mars’ surface as captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the red planet since 2006.

The touchdown, as you surely know, was flawless; news of this has been pretty hard to miss. But there are two (pretty geeky) factoids about the mission you may not have heard in the media yet: what’s Curiosity’s brain and what does it have to do with Apple, and what’s the image file type it’s transmitting in? For the answer to these questions, hit the jump.

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Virgin Galactic’s SS2 And WK2 Unveiled, Will Make Commercial Space Flights In 2011

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By Evan Ackerman

We saw renderings of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip2 and its mothership, White Knight 2, back in January. This week, the finish craft were both officially unveiled at the future location of the as yet unfinished Spaceport America in New Mexico, and Virgin Galactic says they’ll be heading to space several times a day as early as 2011.

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Each spaceflight will last about 2.5 hours round trip. White Knight 2 carries SpaceShip2 up to an altitude of 52,000 feet, at which point SS2 separates and fires its rocket to accelerate at mach 3 to an altitude of about 70 miles. 5 minutes of glorious views and weightlessness ensues, after which the passengers hopefully survive the crushing g-forces (maxing out at 6 gs for 20 seconds) and glide back to a safe landing. The cost of all this? $200,000.

Oh, and here’s a little nugget of awesome for you: the first two spacecraft are reportedly named Enterprise and Voyager.

[ Virgin Galactic ]

Google Earth Now Includes Moon, Lunar Landing Happening 40 Years Ago Today

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By Evan Ackerman

Today is the 40th anniversary of the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon, and Google has added a new moon feature to Google Earth, allowing you to zoom around the moon and take tours of the landing sites narrated by the astronauts themselves. If you have Google Earth 5.0 installed, you can get to the moon by clicking the planet button on the top toolbar and selecting the moon. If not, you can download Google Earth for free, here.

If you weren’t lucky enough to be alive on July 20, 1969, you can experience the landing in real time at http://wechoosethemoon.org/. The site takes a little while to load, but it’s streaming live radio transmissions from Apollo 11, timeshifted by 40 years. It’s awesome… And not just the “wow, that’s awesome” sort of awesome. It’s the sort of awesome where the “awe” really means something.

Apollo 11 lands in 45 minutes.