NASA has devised a clever way to educate the public about their risky landing on Mars with the Curiosity rover: translate the entire experience to Xbox Kinect, and make it a free download. [Read more…]
Geeky visuals alert! Check out these ten giant images made of hundreds (or thousands) of smaller images, aka photo mosaics.
We are truly living in the age of tomorrow. Making leaps from the Internet, touch screens and human computing, human civilization is moving on to the next phase of technology — defying the laws of physics even more. As technology gets even better, science fiction such as Star Trek serve as pegs for the reality. The tricorder is today’s smartphone, voice commands are in computers and mobile phones, touch screens are everywhere … so now it’s time to look at the more astounding “macro” uses of technology.
Last week we were made aware that levitation is now possible (hello hover bikes, hover boards and gravitational plates). It’s possible because of a little thing called quantum physics. This week, we’re seeing another stab into epic science: tractor beams. And they’re being made possible by taking a second look at lasers and how they behave in conjunction with other particles.
With around USD $100,000 in funding, NASA explores making the tractor beam a reality (actually this is sad — if this was the case Kim Kardashian’s failed wedding could have funded this and perhaps warp gate technology).
NASA scientists Barry Coyle, Paul Stysley and Demetrios Poulios of the Goddard Space Flight are in charge of this project. It seems that a laser light can be manipulated to carry an object towards a destination in the same way a vacuum cleaner pulls an object by creating “empty” space between it and whatever it’s pulling.
Note that this isn’t the first time something like this has been attempted. In 2010, a team of Australian scientists were also able to move an object more than a meter into the air. The laser attempts to move small objects through changes in air pressure and heat (I would assume that this is because hot air rises while cold air falls).
These two methods have one thing in common — the use of air and vacuums to create a pull like effect. In science fiction, we see tractor beams working outside space and perhaps this is still a long way off. Yet NASA seems want the tractor beam to be used precisely for space — cleaning up debris outside our atmosphere.
NASA recently posted the “Rovers Eye View” video on its website gallery, explaining the Mars trek took the vehicle from Victoria crater to Endeavour crater between September, 2008, and August, 2011. In the course of the trip, 309 “horizon photographs” were captured and later edited together for the slide show. NASA adjusted audio data recorded by the rover so it could be heard and applied it to the video as a captivating soundtrack. [Read more…]
The LEGO Group has created special (and you bet that they’re special!) LEGO minifigs which are going to be the companions of the rocket Atlas V. This spacecraft is also going to carry a space probe named Juno. The destination? The fifth rock from the Sun: Jupiter. Wondering who the LEGO gods are? Take a look.
Here’s a closer look at each of the LEGO gods.
This one’s Jupiter – the connection being as obvious as the sun at noon. The King of the gods. The King of the sky and thunder, hence a lightning bolt in his hand. I love his beard the most! And in case you prefer Greek mythology, Jupiter is the counterpart of Zeus.
This one’s Jupiter’s sister/wife Juno. The Queen of the gods. The goddess of marriage. In her hand is a magnifying glass, which is supposed to stand for her search for truth. In Greek mythology, her counterpart is Hera.
Last, but not the least, is Galileo. Oh, wait! He is not a Roman god! Then again, if you think about it, he has god-like status anyway. And I am pretty sure that he’ll be right in his element with the two Roman gods as they embark on the five-year trip to Jupiter. I don’t need to tell you what he’s holding in his hands, do I?
The space probe Juno will be leaving the Earth on Friday and will reach its destination in 2016. The LEGO gods are coming along for the ride upon the request of NASA scientists. Obviously, they love LEGO as much as the next person. The guys at LEGO loved the request so much that they decided to take on the project and to foot the bill as well. Five freaking thousand dollars ($5,000) for EACH of the LEGO gods. Why so expensive? Well they’re made of aluminum. The manufacturing process was also ultra special in order to meet the requirements of NASA.
I bet that if LEGO had made more than one unit of Jupiter, Juno, and Galileo, they would have collectors scrambling to get their hands on at least one minifig.
FAIL: Doing Your Homework
…which is precisely what the Department of Homeland Security failed to do when it yanked some 84,000 sites offline during a massive Internet raid for child pornography and counterfeit goods. To be fair, they got it right with a whopping 10 sites which deserved that increasingly infamous DHS seizure image. But the 84,000 which did not have received little to no acknowledgment of the fairly substantial “oopsy”. The problem came when DHS seized the entire domain of DNS provider FreeDNS. For the most part the problem has been fixed, so all is once again well. Except for the lack of a simple “our bad” for the inconvenience. [Read more…]
Who says #13 is unlucky? This week has given us a plethora of wins and fails to gleefully dissect, from mass firings at MySpace to social networking space robots to sex on Mars. Hey, at least somebody’s getting lucky with that last one. Let’s dig in.
FAIL: Job Security
Again. This seems to be a recurring theme in our weekly updates. Perhaps, given the economy and the fickle nature of the Internet, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see 47% of MySpace’s employees sacked this week. It’s even less of a surprise since, at least to me, MySpace’s decline has been fairly evident for some time. 500 employees lost their jobs, but MySpace CEO Mike Jones was quick to assure the media the firings “were purely driven by issues related to our legacy business, and in no way reflect the performance of the new product”. Those who made the cut? Mostly developers. According to survivors, virtually every other role was axed. [Read more…]