Lawnchairs in Space!

You likely are aware that I’m a fan of the Kerbal Space Program, a very cool and fun way to safely explore the process of designing, building, launching, navigating and landing spacecraft. Yep, cool and safe.

Totally unlike reality. Earlier today I stumbled across this video that, while hosted by a Kerbal Space Program fan, goes into a lot of detail about LESS, the Lunar Escape Systems.

Lawnchairs + Rockets. That’s it! No computer. Navigation handled by the Mark I Eyeball and stopwatches.

Wow.

 

More Gagarin Goodness…

Earth

Earlier today I noticed the Google Doodle pointing to resources about Yuri Gagarin’s (and mankind’s) first orbit of the Earth.

A few moments ago @mynameiskate pointed me at the YouTube logo — modified too — and links to First Orbit a free feature-length movie about Gagarin’s flight:

A real time recreation of Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering first orbit, shot entirely in space from on board the International Space Station. The film combines this new footage with Gagarin’s original mission audio and a new musical score by composer Philip Sheppard.

Here’s a great writeup of the First Orbit project at National Geographic:

Posted on YouTube at midnight GMT on April 12, the roughly 108-minute film blends a few 1960s historic reels with modern shots taken from the International Space Station (ISS) by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli. His video not only retraces Gagarin’s view from orbit, it shows Earth bathed in sunlight at the same angle the cosmonaut would have seen during his 1961 flight.

I guess I know what I’m doing this evening, streaming this video in HD through my Apple TV 🙂

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Damn those are pretty…

Earlier this week NASA release the first series of images from the WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) project…and they are hot!

Since WISE began its scan of the entire sky in infrared light on Jan. 14, the space telescope has beamed back more than a quarter of a million raw, infrared images. Four new, processed pictures illustrate a sampling of the mission’s targets — a wispy comet, a bursting star-forming cloud, the grand Andromeda galaxy and a faraway cluster of hundreds of galaxies.

Check out the full gallery here – and yes, I’ll likely be making a desktop or two from these — stay tuned.

Godspeed Apollo 11

It was 40 years ago today, and the American space program put it all on the line sending three young aviators to land on the moon.

Wow. I don’t think we’d even consider that a risk worth taking now. Somewhere along the line we lost our ability to take risks….and return to the Moon.

I’m lucky to have been alive (barely) during this period, but the space race, for what it was, did make a lasting impression.

And here’s a very cool thing. Over the next few days, you can live (or relive if you’re old enough) through the experience by following the Apollo 11 moonshot through this amazing website: WeChooseTheMoon.org

“This site represents a unique opportunity for viewers to ‘go back in time’ and experience one of mankind’s most amazing achievements,” said Tom Putnam, director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. “From actual mission audio transmissions and archival video to mission factoids and news reels, visitors to WeChooseTheMoon.org will be able to track every step of the Apollo 11 mission, as it happened, 40 years later.

And that’s another really cool thing. You can follow ‘live’ tweets from CapCom, the Eagle lander or the Apollo 11 spacecraft, as they happen(ed).  Simply follow AP11_CAPCOM, AP11_EAGLE, and AP11_SPACECRAFT to (re)live history.