Curiosity’s ”Grand Entrance”
Wil Wheaton narrates the journey of NASA’s latest rover
Ladies and gentlemen, we are just over FIVE days away from the landing of the Curiosity rover at Gale Crater!! Are you planning a party? We need to have a party. Check the countdown here.
Veteran of intergalactic travel (and Star Trek star) Wil Wheaton narrates this intro video to tell you all about the mission and what we hope to learn. He also reminds us how completely insane that landing sequence is (for more on that, check out "Seven Minutes of Terror"). If you’re more of an old-school Star Trek fan, here’s William Shatner reading the same script.
Yesterday we took a look at the chemistry and geology instruments onboard the rover and what they can tell us about past conditions for life. And here’s all my past posts about the mission.
Are you excited yet?
A Vision For Tomorrow - To Boldly Go
What if we could build a ship that could take hundreds of people to the moon in just three days? How about Mars in 90 days? What if we had a telescope more powerful than the Hubble, that could be moved wherever we wanted? How about being able to deliver probes, science equipment and landers to the entire near solar system within a few years?
This guy thinks it can be done. More specifically, not only can it be done, it should be done. BuildTheEnterprise.org (an extremely deeply detailed website, btw) is a 20 year plan to build a $1 trillion space cruiser. It could have ion drives, a rotating gravity disk, crew quarters for hundreds of scientists and tourists. It would probably have one of those machines where you could call order any food you wanted and it would materialize in front of you. And it would look exactly like the Enterprise from Star Trek.
Of course, it doesn’t have to look like the ship from the sci-fi series. Why not make it look like something else? Maybe something more … traditional? Think about this: if that world and those adventures have been able to capture the imaginations of the world, young and old, for decades … what better inspiration could we ask for? The schematics and build schedules call for $50 billion a year over 20 years, which is a drop in the bucket of our national budget. It would transform economies and unite the world’s innovators to create this ship - the pinnacle of human achievement.
But most of all, it would serve as a bridge between our dreams and reality, and a seed for the scientific dreamers of tomorrow.
It’s part thought experiment, part pipe dream, part social statement and part why don’t we just give this a shot already??? The project has a funding plan, complete conceptual designs, and ship specs. More than you can say for a lot of Kickstarter projects.
It’s nice to dream a dream like this, based in a vision of the future that’s not as far off as your first glance makes it seem.
Bonus: The time that they almost built a life-sizeEnterprise in Las Vegas. Morons. YOU SHOULD HAVE.
(via BuildTheEnterprise; This artwork was done by me, and is proof that I shouldn’t be given access to Illustrator and booze after dark)
Trekkies and We Know It
I’ll just leave this here.
Nerdgasms commence. "KHAAAAAAN!
Is there no end to the wonderfulness of the Enterprise's trip to NYC today? I mean, you couldn't plan a picture like this.
Nimoy was on hand to welcome the shuttle to NYC, where he recounted that Star Trek fans convinced President Gerald Ford to change the then-Constitution's name to Enterprise.
(via Scientific American, photo by Tariq Malik - Space.com)
If you’ve been to Las Vegas, NV and had time to venture away from the strip, you’ve probably seen the Fremont Street Experience. It’s the revitalized downtown project that hosts a 1,500-foot long overhead video tunnel. But in 1992, that project almost became a life-sized Starship Enterprise.
Gary Goddard and his designers had spent months developing, engineering and pitching the concept of a life-sized Enterprise as a new 8th Wonder of the World. It would have a tour, a Star Fleet restaurant, and immerse fans in the world of Star Trek. They had Las Vegas officials on board and Paramount Studios licensing reps were ready for the millions in revenue. It came down to a meeting with studio CEO Stanley Jaffe.
And Stanley Jaffe single-handedly killed the idea. Maybe they’ll never know exactly why, but it seemed like he was afraid it would be a flop forever attached to his name. Which, of course, would have been impossible.
Read the full, riveting tale at the Goddard Group blog.
Damn It, Jim!
Qualcomm has announced the Tricorder X PRIZE, a $10 million prize for the invention of a Star Trek-style medical tricorder, capable of diagnosing a patient on the fly.
Of course, Bones would be happy to hear that it might already be around the corner … in the iPhone 5.