tech e blog

Asteroid Skyscraper

Why bother with space elevators, when you could be staying in a skyscraper that is suspended from an orbiting asteroid? Clouds Architecture Office's latest project, called "Analemma," is a skyscraper powered by space-based solar panels, and is capable of capturing water in a semi-closed loop system that draws from the moisture in clouds and rainwater. How does it work? Well, a large orbiting asteroid is first set on a figure-eight geosynchronous path that moves between the north / south hemispheres on a predictable daily loop. The skyscraper would then suspended from the asteroid using a high-strength cable, enabling residents to parachute down to work when the orbit slows, and gets closest to midtown Manhattan. Continue reading for more pictures and information.

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Mars HiRISE

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment is basically a 143-pound camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. It consists of a 0.5 m (19.7 in) aperture reflecting telescope, the largest so far of any deep space mission, which allows it to take pictures of Mars with resolutions of 0.3 m/pixel (about 1 foot), resolving objects below a meter across. This false-color subimage shows the north polar layered deposits at top and darker materials at bottom exposed in a scarp at the head of Chasma Boreale, a large canyon eroded into the layered deposits. Jan Frojdman wanted to see animated versions of these images, so he created a 3D conversion to make it a reality. Continue reading for another video and more information.

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Voyager Spacecraft Message

The Voyager 1 probe is currently the farthest human made object from Earth. Voyager 1 has reached interstellar space, the region between stars where the galactic plasma is present. Like their predecessors Pioneer 10 and 11, which featured a simple plaque, both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched by NASA with a message aboard - a kind of time capsule, intended to communicate to extraterrestrials a story of the world of humans on Earth. "This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours," signed President Jimmy Carter. Continue reading for more interesting historical images.

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Black Hole Event Horizon

A team of scientists are working on the "Event Horizon Telescope," which is comprised of 9 radio telescopes spanning world that will be pointed at Sagittarius A*, a black hole located 25,000-light-years away in the center of the Milky Way galaxy. "There are quite a few challenges that need to be overcome to take a picture of a black hole - it's something that's extremely small in the sky. But what we're hoping for is a full array observation in early 2017," said EHT scientist Feryal Ozel. This black hole has an event horizon with a 14.9-million-mile diameter, and it may look something like the scene above from Interstellar. Click here to view the first image in this week's things that look like other things gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of an unexpected rainbow during a NASA engine test.

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3D-Printed Solar System

London-based artist George Ioannidis grew up watching shows like Carl Sagan's Cosmos, so it's only fitting that he found a company called "Little Planet Factory". Thanks to 3D printers costing less than many smartphones, this technology was used to manufacture a host of miniature planets, moons, and suns that are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Planets range from 2.5-inches in size, and can be printed in sizes up to 7.8-inches in diameter for added detail. You can even order the entire solar system in a tiny bottle. Continue reading for another video, more pictures and information. Click here for a few bonus images.

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SpaceX Moon

Elon Musk told reporters at a press conference today that SpaceX will be sending two paying passengers around the Moon next year. The unnamed persons reportedly paid a 'significant deposit' for the trip, which will be conducted using SpaceX's existing launch vehicles and spacecraft. "This is a really thing that's happened. We've been approached to do a crewed mission beyond the Moon...[and these passengers] are very serious about it. We plan to do that probably Dragon 2 spacecraft with the Falcon Heavy rocket," said Musk. When all is said and done, the trip will last approximately 1-week, as it will take mostly the same course as you're familiar with from Apollo 13: out to the Moon, slingshot around, and return. Click here to view the first image in this week's geek life gallery. Continue reading for a viral video that takes you inside WETA's Ghost in the Shell studio.

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NASA Earth-Like Planets

NASA scientists working with telescopes at the European Southern Observatory announced today that an entire system of Earth-like planets exists just 40-light-years away. Of these seven, three lie in the star's habitable "Goldilocks" zone, meaning that all may have entire oceans of liquid water, increasing the possibility of life. "The energy output from dwarf stars like TRAPPIST-1 is much weaker than that of our Sun. Planets would need to be in far closer orbits than we see in the Solar System if there is to be surface water. Fortunately, it seems that this kind of compact configuration is just what we see around TRAPPIST-1," said researcher Amaury Triaud. Continue reading for two more videos, including one explaining how long it would take for humans to get there.

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Blue Lightning Space

Astronaut Andreas Mogensen was floating 250-miles above the surface of Earth when he captured a mysterious blue light, or what looks like upside-down lightning. They're officially called "blue jets," and its color is believed to be due to a set of blue and near-ultraviolet emission lines from neutral and ionized molecular nitrogen. In addition, whereas red sprites tend to be associated with significant lightning strikes, blue jets do not appear to be directly triggered by lightning (they do, however, appear to relate to strong hail activity in thunderstorms). Click here to view the first image in this week's geek life gallery. Continue reading for a viral video showing how not to crack an 80-foot whip.

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Saturn Moon Titan

On Jan. 14, 2005, the European Space Agency's Huygens probe successfully descended through the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, after a seven-year journey through the Solar System on board the Cassini spacecraft. The probe was designed to gather data for a few hours in the atmosphere, and possibly a short time at the surface. It continued to send data for about 90 minutes after touchdown. It remains the most distant landing of any human-made craft. At the landing site there were indications of pebbles of water ice scattered over an orange surface, the majority of which is covered by a thin haze of methane. Early aerial imaging of Titan from Huygens was consistent with the presence of large bodies of liquid on the surface. Click here to view the first image in this week's art of trolling gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of a homemade machine that sorts candy by color.

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Holographic Universe

Theoretical physicists and astrophysicists from the U.K., Canada and Italy purport what we could all be living in a giant holographic projection. The team made the discovery while researching irregularities in the "afterglow" of the Big Bang. This theory claims the information that makes up our 3D reality, time included, is contained within a two-dimensional surface, on its boundaries. "Imagine that everything you see, feel and hear in three dimensions [and your perception of time] in fact emanates from a flat two-dimensional field. The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card. However, this time, the entire universe is encoded," said Kostas Skenderis, Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton. Click here to view the first image in this week's funny autocorrect texts gallery. Continue reading for a viral video about someone who biohacked a dog.

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