A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks — and all without violating Einstein’s law of relativity.
"Why? Because we’re rapidly approaching the last time we can ever watch Cosmos as just “Cosmos.”
Fox’s new series begins sometime early next year, starring the ever-so-excellent Neil deGrasse Tyson in the main role.
I’m excited about it, but once it airs, there will be two Cosmos series. Our brains will inevitably make comparisons between the staging, special effects, themes, music, etc. Think of how the Star Wars trilogy changed after Episode One.”
This image of Neptune was taken on 11 August 2006 with the Palomar Observatory’s 200-inch (5-meter) Hale Telescope and its Adaptive Optics system. The Adaptive Optics system removes the blurring effects of Earth’s atmosphere to produce very high resolution images.
Don Banfield of Cornell University collected and processed the data to produce this false color image. The image was recorded in three near-infrared wavelengths: “J” centered at 1.250 microns, “H” at 1.635 microns, and “Ks” at 2.150. The images were combined as red, green, and blue to create this false-color image. A wide assortment of clouds can be seen at Neptune’s atmosphere.
"No one was more stunned than I over the media attention given to my flurry of tweets posted this past Sunday, each commenting on some aspect of the Bullock-Clooney film Gravity. Hundreds of references followed in blogs and news sources, including television’s Inside Edition the Today Show, and Brian Williams’s NBC Nightly News.
What few people recognize is that science experts don’t line up to critique Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs or Man of Steel or Transformers or The Avengers. These films offer no premise of portraying a physical reality. Imagine the absurdity of me critiquing the Lion King: “Lions can’t talk. And if they could, they wouldn’t be speaking English. And Simba would have simply eaten Pumba early in the film.”
The converse is also true. If a film happens to portray an awesome bit of science when there’s otherwise no premise of scientific accuracy, then I’m first in line to notice. In Chicken Little, for example, the hexagonal sky tiles, each mirroring what lies beneath them, was brilliant. So too are the factory-made doors in Monsters, Inc. As portrayed, they’re, functional wormholes through the fabric of space-time. In A Bugs Life the surface tension of water, which makes it ball up in small volumes was accurately captured at the Bug Bar, and for the little fella’s makeshift telescope.
To “earn” the right to be criticized on a scientific level is a high compliment indeed. So when I saw a headline proclaim, based on my dozen or so tweets, “Astrophysicist says the film Gravity is Riddled with Errors”, I came to regret not first tweeting the hundred things the movie got right: 1) the 90 minute orbital time for objects at that altitude; 2) the re-entry trails of disintegrated satellites, hauntingly reminiscent of the Columbia Shuttle tragedy; 3) Clooney’s calm-under-stress character (I know dozens of astronauts like that); 4) the stunning images from orbit transitioning from day to twilight to nighttime; 5) the Aurorae (northern lights) visible in the distance over the polar regions; 6) the thinness of Earth’s atmosphere relative to Earth’s size; 7) the persistent conservation of angular and linear momentum; 8) the starry sky, though a bit trumped up, captured the range and balance of an actual night sky; 9) the speed of oncoming debris, if in fact it were to collide at orbital velocity; 10) the transition from silence to sound between an unpressurized and a pressurized airlock; … and 100) the brilliantly portrayed tears of Bullock, leaving her eyes, drifting afloat in the capsule.
So I will continue to offer observations of science in film — not as an expression of distaste or disgust but as a celebration of artists attempting to embrace all the forces of nature that surround us.”
Russiaâs Security Council is reportedly considering a ban on supplying the US with powerful RD-180 rocket engines for military communications satellites as Russia focuses on building its own new space launch center, Vostochny, in the Far East.
'Reportedly, when the Energia booster with the Buran space shuttle was launched in November 1988, the massive concrete bays paving the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan were flying around like dry leaves, due to the immense power coming from the four RD-170 engines, which blasted the 2,400-ton rocket booster into space. '