LEGO announced that tomorrow (June 1st) a new 1,087-piece NASA Lunar Lander set will be available, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that touched down in the Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969. It includes two astronaut minifigs (Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin), complete with gold helmet faceplates. Other features include: a detailed ascent stage interior, opening hatch-equipped descent stage ladder, and a lunar baseplate decorated with a crater, moon footprints, and of course the US flag. Read more for a full video review and additional information.
IKEA United Arab Emirates latest ad campaign, called “IKEA Real Life,” recreates three of television’s most iconic living rooms by recreating using solely the company’s furniture and decorations as well as a little help from 3-D design software. They were created by Publicis Spain, and it took about two months to track down all of the right components, which were then compiled and designed using the 3-D software to look as close as possible to their TV counterparts. Read more to see the others.
The Walt Disney Company celebrated the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in a grand ceremony at Disneyland Park with CEO Bob Iger last night. This is now the largest and most technologically advanced single-themed land expansion ever in a Disney park. Featuring various galactic food / beverage offerings, themed merchant shops and of course the most exciting part of the land, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. “With Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney is redefining the theme park experience and setting a new bar for experiential storytelling. From each authentic detail to the land’s jaw-dropping scale, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge exceeds every expectation,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Read more for an in-depth walkthrough and a ride on Smuggler’s Run.
When lightning is captured in plexiglass acrylic, you get these amazing Lichtenberg figures, or the 3D electrical trees you’ve probably seen in paperweights at your local stationary store. These figures are created through electrical discharge via an insulator, or can be formed in smaller objet d’art, the only necessity being a large quantity of electrons being pumped in. When the plexiglass goes through the electron accelerator, it’s loaded with a charge that gets trapped inside, while a quick mechanical shock discharges the acrylic, creating the tree-like figures. Read more for another video and additional information.
Yes, there’s a real pastor who performs baptisms in virtual reality, and YouTuber Syrmor recently documented this phenomenon for internet users to see. DJ Soto, a Christian pastor, wants everyone to be able to experience baptisms regardless of their situation, whether they be in a wheelchair or are recovering drug addicts, and also reach people who may not be able to attend traditional church service. Read more for a video and additional information.
Photo credit: NASA
NASA has just released a stunning new image captured by astronaut Christina Hammock Koch of Earth taken from aboard the International Space Station. She said: “A couple times a year, the International Space Station orbit happens to align over the day/night shadow line on Earth. We are continuously in sunlight, never passing into Earth’s shadow from the Sun, and the Earth below us is always in dawn or dusk. Beautiful time to cloud watch.” Read more for two videos and additional information.
Joe Barnard, amateur rocketeer and founder of Barnard Propulsion Systems (BPS), specializes in making flight hardware for others in the hobby, and is currently working on mastering propulsive landings for model rockets. This is the same principle that enables SpaceX to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rockets after boosting a payload to orbit. Thrust vectoring allows for control over the direction of a rocket’s engines during flight to change its trajectory and stabilize the vehicle, and Barnard is a pioneer in DIY thrust vectoring. Read more for two more videos (launch and landing).
A mile-wide asteroid that’s shaped like a walnut, and with a moon of its own, is expected to zip by Earth on Saturday, traveling at 48,000 mph. This double asteroid, designated as Asteroid (66391) 1999 KW4, is composed of one large asteroid orbited by a smaller moon, or one that’s about a third of a mile wide and orbits around the larger body about once every 16 hours. The Las Cumbres Observatory describes 1999 KW4 as “slightly squashed at the poles and with a mountain ridge around the equator, which runs all the way around the asteroid. This ridge gives the primary an appearance similar to a walnut or a spinning top.” Read more for two videos and additional information.
The Great Barrier Reef is a highly touted bucket-list destination that stretches more than 1,400 miles off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Home to more than 1,600 species of fish and 600 different types of coral, it’s the perfect vacation spot, and now, scUber offers a new way to explore it. The Queensland government and Uber announced the launch of scUber, the world’s first rideshare submarine. Users can either book a trip through the Uber app from Gladstone starting May 27 or Cairns on June 9 until June 18. Priced at $3,000 AUD (about $2,060 USD), it includes round-trip transfers in a Tesla; a scenic helicopter ride to and from Heron Island or the Quicksilver Cruises pontoon just off the coast of Port Douglas; and an hour-long ride in the scUber for two. Read more for a selection of interesting images from around the web.
NASA’s next mission to the Red Planet will be a special one, and not just for the space agency, as they announced today that boarding passes will display names submitted by internet users etched onto microchips and carried aboard the Mars 2020 rover. It’s scheduled to launch as early as July 2020, with the spacecraft expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021. This 1,000-kg rover is designed to search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate as well as geology, collect samples, and pave the way for human exploration. Read more for another video and additional information.