It is widely (although not unanimously) accepted that our natural satellite, the Moon, is the result of a collision between Earth and an object the size of Mars 4.5 billion years ago. The fragments from this cataclysmic crash then amalgamated to form the Moon. But what if the debris had eventually spread into rings? Our planet would then have this aesthetic "ornament" which makes Saturn a pleasure to view through a telescope. But what would the sky look like for us earthbound creatures? This is what Ron Miller, the talented illustrator specialising in scientific and astronomical subjects has imagined. Click on the image below which shows the U.S. Congress in Washington against the backdrop of a sky with rings to discover Ron Miller's website and more pictures exploring this idea.
Canadian Chris Hadfield is not the only astronaut to like the guitar! Luca Parmitano from the European Space Agency explains in the video below that playing this instrument helps him to relax after a day’s work. He is lucky: there is already one aboard the International Space Station which is where he will be blasting off to on 28 May 2013 (Soyuz TMA-09M flight). The guitar belonging to the ISS is a Larrivée Parlor (made in Canada). It was delivered there in 2001 by space shuttle Discovery as part of space shuttle mission STS-105.
Angry Birds is a video game designed by the Finnish company, Rovio Mobile. Launched on iPhone and iPad, this fight of the birds against the pigs that steal their eggs met with great success and was then adapted for other smartphones and graphics tablets before being released in a variety of interpretations including a so-called “Space” version with which NASA is associated. The American Space Agency’s astronaut Don Pettit even recorded a video on board the International Space Station when the Angry Birds Space game was launched.
Angry Birds is now a themed attraction at the Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex in Florida. Below, two videos (one produced by NASA, the other by Orlando Attractions Magazine) that present this Angry Birds Space Encounter. It is worthy of note that astronaut Don Pettit attended the inauguration.
To promote its new range of men’s toiletries dubbed Axe Apollo, the multi-national company Unilever is organising a 5-game competition (in order to have 5 winners) from January to August 2013. The first phase (you have to sign up and get a maximum of votes) ends on 24 February 2013.
The five prize-winners (of the 5 games) will win a trip to Orlando, Florida, and be admitted into the Axe Apollo Space Academy where they will undergo training (zero-g flights, flights aboard jet airplanes, etc.) to prepare for a space mission! A “panel of experts” (with no further details) will then select the male or female candidate who will actually go into space aboard the Lynx rocket plane belonging to the American company X-COR Technologies (an aircraft which is currently being developed). The competition rules expressly stipulate that the winner has to “to enter into a “Founder Astronaut” agreement confirming the winner's voluntary acceptance of the risks of commercial space flights”.
In the United States, the White House has to provide an official reply to any petition correctly filed in line with legal requirements that obtains more than 25,000 signatures. A recent petition championed the building of a gigantic space station similar to the famous Death Star from the famous Star Wars saga by 2016 (we would reiterate that the Death Star is destroyed in episode 4 - the first film to be released in 1977, a second in film no. 6 and the origin of its plans shown in film no. 2). However, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House, provided a humorous reply. He estimated that the budget would be 850 million billion and that it was, therefore, inappropriate as the government is trying to reduce the USA’s deficit, that the Obama administration would not back the exploding of planets (we would reiterate that this was what the original “Death Star” did) and that it was out of the question to waste tax payers’ money by building this station which obviously had a design fault as it could be destroyed by a spacecraft piloted by just one man (this is, in fact, what happened in episode 4, even if Luke had help from his pilot colleagues.. and the Force!). This spirited reasoning that in no way makes fun of the petitioners also refers to what NASA is accomplishing with the rover Curiosity on Mars, to the international co-operation agreement involved in the ISS as well as the progress made by the Agency’s commercial programme. This extremely official reply has evidently hit the nail on the head as numerous media, notably on the Internet, have picked up on it and paid tribute to the humour contained therein (see notably the article on Gizmodo).
The South Korean singer PSY has the entire planet dancing to his tube, Gangnam Style. It is now NASA’s turn, or to be more exact NASA’s students’ turn who, as part of a communication project, made a clip that uses PSY’s visual and musical codes as a means of celebrating the American Space Agency’s human space flight. Dubbed “NASA Johnson Style”, this video was filmed at the Johnson Center in Houston and worthy of note is the involvement of 3 astronauts (in blue jumpsuits): Tracy Caldwell Dyson, Mike Massimino and Clay Anderson.
From satellites that monitor our planet to probes that explore the solar system, not forgetting human space flights or orbiting observatories, these great space adventures require numerous professions. Engineer, lawyer, project leader, etc., it is sometimes difficult for students to get to grips with it all. What line of work to choose? What course of education to take? Conducted under the aegis of the secondary school for the space industry (lycée Pierre-Paul Riquet, Saint-Orens, Toulouse Education Authority), in partnership with ONISEP, Toulouse Education Authority, GIFAS, the EADS Foundation, Astrium, Thalès and the CNES, the French “Métier de l’Espace” (Space Industry Professions) Internet website answers these questions and contains a host of information useful to those wanting to take a professional part in humankind’s flight to the stars.
On Monday 6 August the Mars rover Curiosity should land on the red planet. From today Enjoy Space and Cité de l’Espace are offering you the chance to follow this event on Twitter, and then by video, direct from the NASA JPL in California!