Sunday, September 29, 2013

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus Captured by ISS

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft has successfully docked with the International Space Station as of  Sunday September 29 at around 7 a.m. EDT.. Cygnus was launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va., on Sept. 18, and it was grabbed by the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm controlled by European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, with NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg acting as his backup.

Orbital signed a $1.8 billion contract with NASA that will run through 2016. During that time, Orbital  will conduct eight resupply missions to the ISS, sending 44,093 pounds of net cargo.   NASA is also aiming at its commercial partners to deliver personnel as well, drastically reducing operational costs.

This now doubles the commercial delivery systems being used on the ISS.  Elton Musk's Space X

full article at International Business Times


BMU # 379 is Now Online

After a short rant on what I consider real spaceflight, I start the program proper with the opening theme from the anime series Gunslinger Girls, Karma sung my Kokia. 

From there I take out my trusty Star Trek quiz book for more questions about one of the best episodes of the series.  Minagerie.

From the BMU blog:

I review the movie Iron Man 3 which in my book far surpassed IM2.
Next, what I would call a truly bionic leg is being tested and this thing looks good!  Curiosity find H2O!!! But no luck on methane.  Comet Ison is generating a great deal of interest. 

Finally part 3 of Dave by Dean Gills.

Thats about it.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Truly Bionic Leg!

After a motorcycle accident that left Zac Vawter minus a leg, he will be able to walk with a normal gait and climb stairs in a truly normal manner thanks to revolutionary new hardware and software advances. A veritable "Bionic" limb. The video gives you a bit of an idea on how the prosthetic limb operates. Plenty more information on the Topless Robot site HERE

Friday, September 27, 2013

Gravity: Behind the Frame a Short Film

Here is a breath taking behind the scene look at not so much how the movie Gravity was made but the driving force from director Alfonso CuarĂ³n and NASA consultant astronaut Cady Coleman as they discuss the intense experience of Gravity and the preparation that went into delivering a true-to-life space exploration.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Curiosity Rover Finds Martian H2O

NASA's Curiosity Martian rover has found water in the Martian soil.  Not freely available perhaps
but LOTS of it, on average, two pints per cubic foot of soil, that works out to be about two percent.  Water it seems will not be a big concern on future manned Martian missions.   

Among other tests that were present in the recent test was sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and oxygen.  This level of detail in determining soil composition has also turned up some unsettling information.  

From the article:
  • Laurie Leshin dean of science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute said: "analysis of the soil has also shown the presence of a type of chemical called a perchlorate, which is can be toxic to people. "It's only there at a 0.5% level in the soil but it impedes thyroid function," Leshin  said. "If humans are there and are coming into contact with fine-grained dust, we have to think about how we live with that hazard. 
More from the Guardian article HERE

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3

Starring Robert Downey Jr. Gwyneth Paltrow Don Cheadle Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley

In Iron Man 3 we are introduced to a much more complex Stark.  Unlike in two where he was basically a self destructing drunk, in 3 we have a person who suffers from panic attacks, insomnia and good ole angst on numerous points.

In this installment we are introduced to one of Iron Man's regular nemesis,  The Mandrin.   Though I have to say the false leads and miss directions really detracted from the character played brilliantly by Ben Kingsley.  We see a hand full of rings and a hooded cape, but if you were not somewhat familiar with the Iron Man universe then these minor flashes are so much wasted screen time.

If you are not a comic fan than some of the references in the film are going to fall flat.  Case in point is Extremis.  Up to this point, I had never heard of the “drug”, so you find yourself a bit distracted as you try and pick up  the where and when of Extremis.  When you first see some of the 'patients' who had taken extremis, you have to skip back to the beginning of the film to get  an inkling of what it is capable of and why the vice-president would do the things he finally does.

The plot is pretty straight forward, but it is the little asides that will have you jumping for the player remote. In my mind, IM3 is more a fan movie that either of the first two.  That doesn't mean that it is not watchable, far from it.  There is plenty of iron man on iron man action and things get blown up at an astonishing pace.

There are a couple of real good surprises in this outing and I don't plan on being a spoiler.

You can rent the movie if you like, I get the impression that the BR disk has a lot more entertainment on it.   The DVD on the otherhand has pretty much the movie not much else.  Spring for the Blu-Ray if at all possible. 

I watched the dvd, so I can give the movie a 9 for action lovers and comic fans.  This one is for you.
As far as extras....sneak peeks and one short on making of of the more spectacular stunts that is it.  So for the dvd version at least 14 or a 7 which is rediculous because the move is an 8 at least, that's why I say at least RENT the blu-ray, it would be so much more worth it. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Curiosity can not Find Methane

NASA's Curiosity rover, after extensive sample runs, has reported that the Martian atmosphere contains no methane. This is a bit disconcerting, because previous data from the U.S. and international scientists had found positive results for methane. 

From the article:
  • "This important result will help direct our efforts to examine the possibility of life on Mars.  It reduces the probability of current methane-producing Martian microbes, but this addresses only one type of microbial metabolism. As we know, there are many types of terrestrial microbes that don't generate methane." said Michael Meyer, NASA's lead scientist for Mars exploration. 
This was not the first time Curiosity  had looked for the gas - the rover has tested the atmosphere six times previously.  None were positive. 

There is more in the Science Daily article HERE

Readying For Comet ISON

 Out in deep space some 6 billion miles from the sun lies an area containing billions of icy bodies.   Every so often one of theses bodies falls out of this area and hurtles sunward. 

In September of 2012 just such an object was discovered by  Artyom Novichonok and Vitali Nevski using a 40 cm-diameter telescope.  Designated comet ISON its  path  will bring it within over 6 hundred thousand miles above the Sun’s  surface on 28 November of 2013.

Both ESA and NASA have  missions that are now planning to observe ISON.  ESA’s Mars Express will be taking photos and analyzing the composition of the comet’s coma for a two week period.   

SOHO, a  joint ESA/NASA mission will observe the comet as it swings around the Sun in November,  to see if the comet survives its close encounter with the sun.

ESA’s Venus Express and Proba-2 will also target ISON during November and December.

December 26 is the best time to observe the comet during its' closest pass to Earth.  Its brightness will be very much reduced however as its close encounter will have burned off substantial amounts of ice and other gasses

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bmu 378 now online

Beam Me Up episode 378 for September 21 2013.  This week I invited Steve Tuttle to join me.  Steve is a comic enthusiast and I haven’t really followed comics since the 60s.  Steve gives us a short history run down as to what he feels is really exciting in today’s comic venue and some things to look forward to in the near future.

After a short music interlude, I slide over to the Beam Me Up blog ( It would seem now that the Voyager 1 controversy can at last be put to bed.  It would seem that on a recent NASA launch there was a most unlikely passenger…well maybe passenger is too strong a word.

A group of present and former students from University of Maine are planning on making history in the near future.

Then it is off to part 2 of Dean Giles’ story Dave.

Have fun, Enjoy

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Short Film: You Only Live Twice

Yeah, I know, You Only Live Twice was a feature length Bond film, but this 3 minute jewel is far far shorter, just a hair over 3 minutes.  This time around we still have Nancy Sinatra singing the iconic tune, but the story is of an astronaut who has crash landed on an alien world and only has a photograph to remind him of his previous life.

This emotion packed short comes from  Wildlife, which is the  Friedman team of Jake  and Scott.  As you might remember,  they were responsible for the Terry Crews "Old Spice Muscle Music" video a while back.

Anyway, hit the play button on this short film, you won't be disappointed.

You Only Live Twice - Nancy Sinatra from Wildlife on Vimeo.

Thanks to IO9 for this article which can be read in it's entirety HERE 

Iran to Space a Cat.....

Yep, Iran wants a space cat....Persian if you please.

What am I babbling about?  Well the word from IRNA (Iran's news agency) is that Iran is planning on sending a Persian cat into space.

Honest!  Oh and it is not like Iran doesn't have a track record for these type of launches, they claim to have sent a monkey into space already, although there is quite a lot of controversy surrounding that claim because the picture of the monkey that Iran says they launched is a different breed of monkey that came back....(it was aliens.....i seen em).

It would seem that Iran's Persian will be in rarefied company as only France in 1963 sent a cat on a 15 minute space flight.

Well anyway, Iran plans the cat launch for Mach of 2014. 

The complete article is at this address

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mars One nets over 200,000 Applicants

Remember the Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp and his  Mars One project?  Where Lansdorp announced that he was taking applications for berths on his Mars bound project.  Lansdorp promises to get you to Mars, but not to bring you back.  You see Mars One is a colonization mission. 

But it would seem that it is an incredibly popular idea because Lansdorp has received 200,000+ applications for the purposed 24 individuals who will be selected to become Mars One astronauts.

If all goes well, Lansdorp has set 2023 as the year when the first Mars settlers step out onto their new home world. 

Complete article here

Current & Former UoM Set to Make Rocket Science History

A group of seven current and former students are set travel to Nevada where they hope to launch a 500 lb 18 ft. tall rocket of their own design, 35 miles into the upper atmosphere.  

This first flight of "Team Ursa's" rocket will be a test flight to prove that their design is hardy enough to withstand the rigors of space flight, re-entry and landing.  If all goes well,   Team Ursa's design will be used by high school student groups  to build countless  other smaller versions and to inspire
the next generation of interested young people in hopes that they will take up rockets and other engineering persuasions.   

Ultimately Team Ursa's endeavors will hopefully fill a huge void that was vacated by NASA when budget cuts were put into place, that of high altitude atmosphere testing and sampling.  

Earth's atmosphere is apx. 60 miles deep.  Planes and balloons can only reach a small fraction of   the air column.  The highest flying planes top out at about 16 miles and research balloons can reach maybe 25, but above that is a virtual scientific frontier.  Researchers have only rudimentary idea of what kind of spores and other lifeforms that might exist in the higher reaches of the atmosphere.    

It is hoped by groups such as Mavericks which support efforts  of a younger generation of engineers, that Team Ursa's will help fill the research void. 

Read the complete article HERE     

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Star Trek's "Neutron Cream" Gag

A must see, for Star Trek fans.  Simon Pegg and Chris Pine prank some of the Star Trek actors into....well you will see.   I can tell you that it is pretty damn funny.....

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Beam Me Up episode 377 Now online

Wow, Beam Me Up episode 377, that is what three in a row without self-destructing again!  Hey I am on a roll here!

Sooooooo couple of stories on tap this week as well as Star Trek trivia and news from the blog.

The first story for the afternoon is Kevin Phyland's 'Long Shot'

I follow that up directly with Star Trek Trivia.  This week, part one of  'Menagerie'

Finally getting caught up on the news articles, so from the blog:  First Kallamus does his weekly rundown with some really good news,  life may have come from Mars to Earth..., I post a short video of a add for a tv screen, but how they show how good the screen's resolution really is.....well you can't help but laugh and I think only Japan could get away with this,  one of the largest shield volcanos in the solar system has been discovered and it is right here on Earth!

Finally for the afternoon...Part 1 of Dean Giles “Dave”

Friday, September 13, 2013

Unexpected Passenger on Recent NASA Launch

In a recent NASA "LADEE" launch, (LADEE stands for Lunar Atmosphere & Dust Environment Explorer.  The craft is on a 100 day mission in orbit around the moon.  From the ABC article The purpose of the mission is to gather measurements and explore the moon's atmosphere, sending information back to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.) employees discovered that the Minotaur launch rocket had an unexpected stow-away. 

Chris Perry was in charge of setting up cameras to catch still photos of the launch.  In one frame there is the unmistakable outline of a frog.   Perry said that the frog was more than likely about 150 feet away from the rocket when it fired.    

Frogs and toads are common around the Wallops Flight Facility with hundreds  living in the acres of marsh lands surrounding the launch pad.  Quite likely the frogs are attracted to the area by the flies and other insects that proliferate in the area. 

However as NASA employee Keith Koehler stated, "We've never seen this at Wallops before. I've been here 30 years,"

As you can see, the frog's outline shows up clearly in the upper left of the photo.

Read the complete ABC News HERE

Great Transporter Illusion

Recently in a mall in the UK, a couple of illusionists performed a transporter illusion.  The act was to help promote the new Star Trek movie, "Into Darkness"

When you watch the video, you may be able to catch onto the initial illusion, but I would like to know where the initial subject went to?

Check it out...great demo for a non existent tech!

Young Wonder - A Short Film by Director James Wilkes

In this totally imaginitive short film young brothers play in the woods, their imaginations running wild. Without giving to much away, director Wilkes gives us thrilling visual effects and creative storytelling which makes for an unforgettable trip into the mind of a young boy.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Confirmed: Voyager 1 Has Left the Solar System!!

Professor of physics at the University of Iowa, Donald A. Gurnett, confirmed Thursday that Voyager 1, launched in 1977, has left the solar system.

At present, Voyager 1 is 11.7 billion miles from Earth and traveling at 38,000 miles per hour which makes it one of the fastest spacecraft ever flown.

But the point of contention has been has it or will it soon break through the heliosphere which is made up of particles from the sun that surround the whole solar system.  However Gurnett's paper in the journal Science states categorically that the event happened Aug. 25, 2012.

Read the complete NewYork Times article HERE   and a Multimedia file HERE

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Film of Virgin Galactic's Space Ship 2's Second Test Flight

On Sept. 5 at 8am, Virgin's White Knight 2 took off carrying Space Ship 2 for it's second powered test flight.

At 46,000 feet, pilots Mark Stucky and Clint Nichols released Space Ship 2 and fired their rocket engine, for a 20 second burn, a short time later.

During the burn they climbed to 69000 feet and attained a speed of 1.43 mach.

This flight was to test the engine of course but another facet of the unusual craft they wanted to put through it's paces was the movable tail section, which can be moved through 65 degrees of motion.  The purpose of which is to allow the ship to reenter the denser atmosphere and give the pilots a much easier controlled vehicle as it descends.   Where the tail can be rotated back to it's launch position for landing.

Virgin is still looking towards 2014 to begin flying passenger using a fleet of five Spaceship 2 type vehicles. 

NASA Has an Instagram Site!

Hey, I was just reading Kim Komando's site for some quick news and found this neat link.

Seems NASA has started an Instagram account and is letting the general public have access. 

I have taken a quick look and there are some really nice photos over there.  I would have to admit they seem to be as good as any you would find on any of NASA's own sites, but if Instagram is your thing or if it is easier just to go to the Instagram site, then you are golden here. 

Check it out - HERE

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Largest Earth Volcano Discovered

Carole sent this wonderful  National Geographic article.

It tells about the recent studies of a super volcano like other, well except the monster on Mars Olympus Mons.  

The area, now designated Tamu Massif was until very recently considered to be a collection of smaller structures.  It was very much like the proverbial group of blind people asked to touch different areas on an elephant and then describe the animal from that one localized examination.   Tamu Massif is so huge that many researchers could not see the complete structure.

And Tamu Massif is indeed huge.  From the NG article:
  • (Tamu Massif is ) A volcano the size of New Mexico or the British Isles has been identified under the Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 miles east of Japan, making it the biggest volcano on Earth and one of the biggest in the solar system.
  • Tamu Massif is a rounded dome that measures about 280 by 400 miles or more than 100,000 square miles. Its top lies about 6,500 feet below the ocean surface, while the base extends down to about 4 miles deep. Tamu Massif dwarfs the largest active volcano on Earth....
Yep you read that right, A 100 thousand mile ACTIVE volcano!

Tamu Massif is a volcanic type known as a shield volcano, like Mar's massive Olympus Mons.  This makes Tamu Massif the largest volcano on Earth and one of the LARGEST in the solar system. 

Read the complete National Geographic article written by Brian Clark Howard, HERE 

***Error update***  reader Dennis just brought an error to my attention.  For some reason I read the article to say "active"  when that is not the case.  

BMU episode 376 now online!

In this weeks program episode 376, I start with a discussion on science and a note from listener Nelson concerning how computers have changed since we were in high school and working on the
"trash" 80s from Tandy.  Boy I used to hang out in Radio Shack just to see the computers...and maybe touch one! lol anyway this leads me into my first "review" of the afternoon.

I watched "Escape From New York" again this weekend mostly to see some of the special effects and just to see what tech Carpenter thought might endure towards the closing years of the 20th century.  The movie is certainly a time capsule on so many levels, plus it gave me an excuse to play the theme song of the movie.

I try my hand at some Star Trek Trivia, some interesting facts from "The Corbomite Maneuver"

And in an effort to catch up with some of the material I just couldn't get to last week, I play the newest offering from Symphony of Science which features Morgan Freeman and of course Neal DeGrasse know you want to hear Monsters of the Cosmos!

From the BMU Blog Kallamus memoans the loss of the Kepler Space Telescope and the overall reaction to the loss of a great platform.  Next, new findings show that Voyager may have in fact
left the solar sytem....NASA says no, but others say yes....

Finally a new chapter in the Trathh series....Against the Empire.

That's about it!  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

End of the World?

Oh this is wrong in so many ways!  Watch these people react to ....well, the end of the world!

Monday, September 02, 2013

!# Worst SF / Horror Movie Titles

Xnewsman sent me in this hilarious article from Time / Entertainment that concerns some less than thought out or just wrong movie titles from SF & Horror. 

Here are the titles, but you really should read the copy and the poster pics.--

From the article here :
  • Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
  • The Astro-Zombies (1968)
  • The Incredibly Strange CreatureWho Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?
  • The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1959)
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
  • Orgy of the Dead (1965)
  • Frankenstein Conquers the World (1966)
  • Robot Monster (1953)
  • Sssssss (1973)
  • Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)
  • I Dismember Mama (1974)
  • Attack of the Puppet People (1958)
  • House II: The Second Story (1987)
You just have to say, "What were these people thinking?"  Really, read the copy from Time, it is just
a hoot!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Episode 375 of Beam Me Up is now Online!

Welcome to episode 375 of Beam Me Up.  That’s right, NEW Episode!

This week I start with Plain White T-s singing their Pet Cemetery which is the theme song for Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie.  I do have to break over and review Burton’s stop motion treatment of the Frankenstein’s monster theme.  To be honest, I enjoyed the film.  I like Burton’s stop motion offerings and he didn’t cheap out.

From the blog:

NASA scrubs an eva for a most unusual reason.  How to train Your Dragon number two is due to be released.  3D printing is really taking off in a great way….NASA is experimenting printing various parts in critical areas of space craft (at present engine parts)  that might make in flight repairs possible on more complicated systems.

Newly discovered moon around Neptune?  Transcript from Apollo 10 finally available.  Asteroids the movie?  Should the Apollo / Moon sites be protected like national parks….?

1 year on Mars for Curiosity!  Neil Arstrong’s birthday in August….  Along with Mr. Schrodinger….here kitty kitty…..

Computers that think like humans……not software but completely new hardware…  T anyone?  T1000 that is.

Is the universe truly expanding?

Why Russian astronauts dread preflight….

NASA wants to auction off the MLPs…..honest!

Our story is Star Bright by Tsana Dolichva…..a great piece of flash fiction from Antipodean online magazine.

Plenty of thought provoking news and a great story too boot!  Enjoy!