In the midst of the youthful fireside embrace of the future that is South by Southwest, it's refreshing that someone is thinking of the real future.
This is a future where books, shoes, and vacuum cleaners will be flying toward your house, courtesy of Amazon drones.
It's also a future in which a machine might tell you that you've been a bad boy and punish you on the spot.
The prevalence of loud action movies shows just how much humans enjoy a good explosion. You won't find many bigger than what happened on the moon in September last year. Footage of an 880-pound asteroid smashing onto the lunar surface was just released, showing a bright flash at the impact site.
The evidence was captured by telescopes as part of a moon-impact monitoring project run by astronomers at the University of Huelva in Spain. A paper about the event was published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.… Read more
Dukug Sulcus. Adapa. Lagamal. Wepwawet. Humbaba. They sound like names of places in a lost installment of "Firefly," but they're real. Yes, they're 390,400,000 miles away, but real nonetheless.
These geological features are found on Ganymede, one of Jupiter's gigantic moons. They're detailed in a new map published by the U.S. Geological Survey from a team of scientists led by Wes Patterson of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and Geoffrey Collins of Wheaton College. The map can be downloaded here and measures a generous 58x41 inches. … Read more
A few weeks ago, China's Yutu ("Jade Rabbit") moon rover looked to be in pretty dire straits. The prognosis wasn't good after a "mechanical control abnormality" prevented the rover from working. Now, state news agency ECNS is reporting the rover "could not be restored to full function."
The Chang'e-3 lunar probe's successful soft landing on the moon on December 14 was a major point of pride for China's space program. Only the United States and the former Soviet Union had previously achieved the feat. The rover was supposed to carry out a three-month mission to study the surface geology of the moon and examine natural resources.… Read more
The moon has been worshipped as a god and hailed as a fertility booster, but it's also been credited with driving people insane, and, of course, gotten a bad rap for all those pesky werewolf conversions. So it's only natural that when scientists started observing a strange phenomenon related to the moon, they named it the "full moon curse."
This curse doesn't involve fangs or fertility, however. It has to do with measurements scientists have been taking of the moon's distance from Earth. … Read more
The success of China's historic unmanned mission to the moon may be short-lived, as it appears the country's "Jade Rabbit" lunar rover may be facing terminal technical difficulties.
Yet while the "Made in China" moon robot may not outlast the warranty of a vacuum cleaner probably made in a nearby factory, it has at least served as the inspiration that motivated one of the great geek thespians of our time to don a few cardboard boxes and give one epic farewell performance as Jade Rabbit itself. … Read more
NASA sent 14 handheld cameras along on its manned lunar landings of the late 1960s and early 1970s, but only one of them made it back to Earth -- or at least that's what the Austrian auction house that's putting it up for bid next month is claiming.
Vienna-based WestLicht says that astronaut Jim Irwin took exactly 299 pictures on the moon during the Apollo 15 mission with the Hasselblad 500 "EL Data Camera" that will start with an initial bid of 80,000 euros ($108,136) at auction on March 22.… Read more
Technical malfunctions are the bane of space missions, and China's lunar rover is not immune to these mission-snagging bugaboos. Xinhua, China's official press agency, reports that a current breakdown is a "mechanical control abnormality" caused by the "complicated lunar surface environment."
The successful soft-landing of the Chang'e-3 lunar probe in the Bay of Rainbows on December 14 of last year was a celebratory event in the history of China's space program. The rover, nicknamed "Jade Rabbit," was scheduled to gather data and operate for three months, but the technical problems could put a premature end to the work.… Read more
There is little worse than spoiling a fantasy, especially one that is garlanded with chilly suspicion and a touch of wonder.
But science is now our great dictator, so I have to bring you the cheery news: science says that the dark side of the moon isn't dark.
I know, I know. You always hoped and imagined that it was populated by strange, ironic creatures who would do everything to keep away from the world's corrupt gaze, sheltering in the shade of their own company.
But now along come some scientists from all over the world who say: "Dark side, my bottom. It's turquoise." … Read more