Tag Archives: space

NASA Releases Trove of Over 8,000 HD Photos from the Apollo Moon Missions

Astronaut John L. Swigert, Jr., Apollo 13 Command Module Pilot, holds the “mailbox,” a makeshift device used to purge carbon dioxide from the Lunar Module that played a significant role in saving the doomed astronauts lives. Apollo 13 Hasselblad image from film magazine.

During the course of the Apollo space program astronauts were charged with enduring unknown perils, conducting science experiments, piloting spacecraft, walking on the surface of the moon, and comprehending sights, sounds, and physical stresses never before experienced by humans. All the while, they were also asked to snap a couple thousands photographs of practically every moment with a modified Hasselblad camera.

Last Friday, for the first time ever, NASA uploaded the entire catalogue of 8,400 Apollo mission photos to Flickr spanning Apollo 7 (the first manned test flight in 1968) through Apollo 17, the final lunar mission in 1972. The effort to bring the photos online was lead by Kipp Teague of the Project Apollo Archive who first began scanning camera film magazines on behalf of the Johnson Space Center in 2004.

While we’re all used to seeing the more iconic photos like Blue Marble, the Apollo 11 bootprint, or this image of Buzz Aldrin, this random assortment of mundane moments and blurry horizons seems to highlight the humanity of the entire endeavor. Collected here are a few of our favorite shots, and you can see thousands more organized by mission on Flickr. Digg and PetaPixel also have collections of their favorites.














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Luna: A Lantern That Looks Like a Moon








Taiwanese design firm Acorn Studio recently announced a new lighting system that mimics the color and shape of a moon. Luna is a dimmable halogen light housed inside a glass fiber and non-toxic latex housing that comes in 7 different sizes ranging from 3.2″ to 23.6″ in diameter. Learn more over on Indiegogo. (via Laughing Squid, The Awesomer)

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Starting With the Earth as a Marble, This Is the First Timelapse of the Solar System to Scale


When looking in a science textbook or a toy mobile of the solar system, it’s easy to depict the sun, planets and moon to scale in comparison to each other. What’s not so easy to visually comprehend the staggering distance that separates each planet on its individual orbit around the sun. Filmmakers Alex Gorosh and Wylie Overstreet challenged themselves to build such a model and the result is this fascinating short film To Scale.

Starting with the Earth as the size of a marble, it turns out you need an area about 7 miles (11.2km) to squeeze in the orbit of the outermost planet, Neptune. The team used glass spheres lit by LEDs and some GPS calculations to map out the solar system on the dry bed of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Once nighttime arrived they shot a timelapse from a nearby mountain that accurately reflects the distance of each orbital path at a scale of roughly 1:847,638,000. Amazing.

If you have more questions about how they did it, here’s a brief making of clip. (via Colossal Submissions)



When standing next to the Earth in the scale model, the orb representing the sun appears exactly the same size as the actual sun.

This Giant Abandoned Soviet Spaceship Made of Wood Looks Like the Ultimate Children’s Playground Feature


While exploring an abandoned corner of the Zhukovsky airfield (Ramenskoye Airport) in Moscow two years ago, aviation photographer Aleksander Markin stumbled onto a forgotten relic of Russia’s Buran Space Program. This decaying wooden spacecraft was used as a wind tunnel model in the 1980s for the VKK Space Orbiter, the largest and most expensive Soviet space exploration program conceived as a response to the United States’ Space Shuttle. Despite its scientific purposes the wooden ship has the appearance of a fantastic children’s playground feature.

According to Urban Ghosts, this 1:3 scale replica was just one of 85 wind tunnel models used to test various aerodynamic properties of the orbiter. The testing would eventually reveal that NASA’s prototype for the Enterprise was ideal for spaceflight and the VKK Space Orbiter would take a similar design as a result.

Despite the ambitious size and scale of the Buran Space Program, the final craft would fly only a single unmanned mission in 1988 before being scrapped completely in 1993 due to lack of funding and political instability (and yet only modern Russia retains the ability to send people to the ISS today). Markin mentions in comments along with his photographs that this particular wind tunnel model has since been destroyed and no longer exists. (via Urban Ghosts)







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Michael Kagan’s Space-Based Paintings Explore the Fatalistic Power of Manmade Machinery

Contact Light, 2014, Oil and linen, 60 x 45 inches

Contact Light, 2014, Oil and linen, 60 x 45 inches

Heavily tinted blue paintings form space stations, spacesuits, and rockets just after blast. Michael Kagan paints these large-scale works to celebrate the man-made object—machinery that both protects and holds the possibility of instantly killing those that operate the equipment from the inside. To paint the large works, Kagan utilizes an impasto technique with thick strokes that are deliberate and unique, showing an aggression in his application of oil paint on linen.

The New York-based artist focuses on iconic images in his practice, switching back and forth between abstract and representational styles. “The painting is finished when it can fall apart and come back together depending on how it is read and the closeness to the work,” said Kagan about his work. “Each painting is an image, a snapshot, a flash moment, a quick read that is locked into memory by the iconic silhouettes.”

Kagan exhibited this series of space-based paintings last year at Joshua Liner Gallery in an exhibition titled Thunder in the Distance. He was also recently commissioned by The Smithsonian to create three large paintings inspired by their air and space archives. You can see more of his work on his Instagram here. (via Fubiz)

One Day This Will All Be Yours, 2014, Oil and linen, 60 x 80 inches

One Day This Will All Be Yours, 2014, Oil and linen, 60 x 80 inches

Reflector, 2014, Oil and linen, 36 x 36 inches

Reflector, 2014, Oil and linen, 36 x 36 inches

We Live On In The Thoughts Of Others, 2014, Oil and linen, 36 x 36 inches

We Live On In The Thoughts Of Others, 2014, Oil and linen, 36 x 36 inches

Apollo, 2010, Oil and linen, 60 x 34 inches

Apollo, 2010, Oil and linen, 60 x 34 inches

Supersonic, 2014, Oil and linen, 72 x 54 inches

Supersonic, 2014, Oil and linen, 72 x 54 inches

Mankind, 2014, Oil and linen, 96 x 54 inches

Mankind, 2014, Oil and linen, 96 x 54 inches

With All The F*cking Force, 2011, Oil and linen, 60 x 80 inches

With All The Fucking Force, 2011, Oil and linen, 60 x 80 inches

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Pluto Through the Years: A GIF Showing Gradually Improved Views of Pluto from 1930-2015


You’ve probably had your fill of Pluto news for the week, but this is still worth a quick glance. NASA released this fun 17-frame GIF showing the best images of Pluto obtained at the time, spanning Clyde Tombaugh’s first shot of the [dwarf] planet at the Lowell Observatory in 1930, up through a series of shots obtained by New Horizons over the last decade. You can see a full listing of image credits here. (via Explore)

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The Visually Stunning ‘Tesseract’ Scene in Interstellar was Filmed on a Physically Constructed Set


Spoiler alert. One of the most jaw-dropping moments of Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar is the climactic moment when Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) enters a visually stunning environment that allows him to physically communicate through time using gravity. In the movie, the scene is manifested as a small library in his home that appears to infinitely repeat with versions of every moment that has ever occurred there. Essentially it’s a cube in four dimensions. Here’s a pretty good explanation of how it works:

The Tesseract is a means of communication for the bulk beings to express action through gravity with NASA. The bulk beings can perceive five dimensions as opposed to four, able to see every moment in the past, present, and future as well as influence gravity within any of those time frames. […] The tesseract allowed Cooper to communicate with Murphy Cooper [his daughter] in various time periods, presenting time itself as a dimension rather than linear. Everything is linked by the strings of time, which Cooper can manipulate. The beings made this comprehensible to Cooper by allowing him to physically interact with the Tesseract.

The idea of the tesseract scene alone was so daunting to the filmmakers, Nolan and his special effects team procrastinated for months before trying to tackle how it might work. After months of concepting and model building the team opted for the unusual approach of using minimal digital effects in favor of fabricating a massive set which the actors could physically manipulate. A remarkable feat considering not only the complexity of the concepts depicted, but the cost and labor of building something so large.

Included here are some shots of the set, a behind-the-scenes interview with Nolan and a number of people from the visual effects team explaining how it was done, and lastly the scene itself. You can watch even more of it here. (via Fubiz)





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