Wednesday, 14 December 2022

6x6 (10. 384)

strife wins out: ๆˆฆ (ikusa, tatakau meaning war) is voted kanji of 2022—previously, see also—via Language Log  

dunston checks in: Poseidon’s Underworld reviews the 1996 comedic film starring Jason Alexander, Paul Reubens, Rupert Everett and Faye Dunaway  

hearth and home: more animated Yule Log loops—see previously—via Waxy 

twitterpated: a survey of possible dinosaur vocalisations  

mission highlights: arresting imagery from Artemis I—see also 

diwhy and regretsy: a collection of jargon and slang terms from the crafting community

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

9x9 (10. 381)

deep field: JWST scans the skies  

mar1d: in-game action as our protagonist would experience the Mushroom Kingdom—like Flatland—via Kottke  

ny๐ŸŒณ: the City’s popular tree map updated to include a hundred thousand park residents—via Map Room  

even a cat can look at the queen: an exhibition of fine feline art 

tumbleword: a daily challenge from Jer Thorp—via Waxy  

math and the mechanics: the surprising origin story of the Cura Calculator 

cervoise: brewer informed by ancient herbal and unhopped beer predecessor  

world in motion: New Order’s 1990 World Cup anthem—via Digg  

splash down: Artemis’ Orion capsule (previously) returns after a perfectly executed trial run

Saturday, 10 December 2022

7x7 (10. 376)

symphony № 9 boogie: a one hundred and seventy piece orchestra plays Beethoven on the Matryomin—a theremin inside a Russian nesting doll 

psychopomp: Santa Claus has origins as a magic-mushroom dispensing Sami shaman—see previously

 

your yolo years: Pinterest Predicts for 2023 with their not-yet-trending report—via The Curious Brain 

747: after fifty-four years, the final production model of the Boeing aircraft leaves the factory  

cancel couture: at just under a thousand dollars and designed to filter out noise and air pollution, the Dyson Zone is perfect for the misanthrope on your Christmas list 

dumpster fire: marginal Democrat now declared independent as trash receptacles—via The Everlasting Blรถrt 

dearmoon: billion selects eight artists for first voyage around Earth’s satellite aboard prrivate orbiter

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

blue marble (10. 368)

Photographed by one of the crew, likely Harrison Schmitt or Gene Cernan but ever member took turns taking pictures with the Hasselblad camera, of the Apollo XVII mission on its way to the Moon from a distance of just under thirty thousand kilometers on this day in 1972. Backlit and slightly rounded—gibbous and hence the name—from the astronauts’ perspective and after Earthrise only the second whole planet image captured by a human photographer, the Blue Marble is among the most widely reproduced and circulated images in existence, it was received by the public at a moment of increased environmental activism and awareness and helped focus the movement by framing Earth’s uniqueness and vulnerability set against the endless expanse of space. Although recreated by satellite imagining, there have been no crewed excursions since that taken us high enough aloft—yet—to fit the entire planet in the view-finder.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

7x7 (10. 325)

99.9% of people will never get to experience what you will: NASA's social media guidelines for astronauts—via tmn  

cosmic christmas: an animated short from the studio of Nelvana, contracted to do interstitials for The Star Wars Holiday Special

the kiss: the first filmed act of intimacy by pioneer Eadweard Muybridge—see previously  

all systems go: Orion orbiter begins its loop around the Moon  

photobomb: finalists from the seventh annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards––previously—via the Everlasting Blรถrt  

before there was hope in the galaxy, there was andor: Rogue One prequel presented as a mid-70s television series—spoiler alerts—see previously 

edge of space: a maritime cosmodrome with a carbon neutral balloon for rides into the stratosphere—via tmn

Thursday, 17 November 2022

ะปัƒะฝะพั…ะพะด-1 (10. 311)

 Russian for “Moonwalker I,” the robotic, remote-controlled lunar rover Lunokhod-1 landed in the MareImbrium (Sea of Rains) on this day in 1970 for a mission which far surpassed its designed lifetime of approximately ninety Earth days, three lunar days, to travel over ten kilometres in the course of nearly an Earth year’s time, eleven lunar days. The mission officially concluded after communications ceased and attempts to re-establish contact discontinued on the anniversary of the launch of Sputnik in 1971 after beaming back thousands of images and high-resolution panoramic shots as well as soil sampling and analyses.

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

orion (10. 309)

After a series of delays (see previously here and here) the first uncrewed mission of the Artemis programme took off in a predawn launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying aloft the empty (Snoopy and a cadre of mannequins were on board to gauge for radiation and stress levels) capsule, named after the goddess’ giant hunting partner and cast amongst the stars after his accidentally blinding as the source of the phrase ‘standing on the shoulders of giants,’ on a twenty-five day, two-million kilometre test-flight that will see the craft fly around the Moon and back before splash-down on 11 December. This exercise will prove crucial to later crewed missions scheduled for 2025 with the ultimate goal of establishing a permanent, long-term presence on our satellite and have a staging platform for further exploration.

Sunday, 18 September 2022

earth below us (10. 144)

Launched just two weeks prior—and two weeks after its twin probe Voyager 2—Voyager I was able to look back and capture a composite image of the Earth and the Moon in the same frame on this day in 1977—see also here and here. The craft, though carrying payloads for the ages for some far flung intelligence to discover, were expected to only have active missions for a period of five years yet are still transmitting and even dispatching the occasional tweet over four decades later. 

 

Thursday, 8 September 2022

6x6 (10. 117)

command authorisation code: the timing of the Artemis (previously) launch hinges in part due to its self-destruct system  

best in show: an painting generated by an algorithm won first prize in a competition at a state fair, prompting philosophical questions  

greenday moment: instead of tearing down those out of the loop, bring them up to speed  

cauldron computing: researchers propose liquid crystal machine whose calculations move like ripples through water 

$ape: two American states introduce legislation to tax NFTs  

speculoos: researchers at the University of Liรจge discover (see previously) discover two Super-Earths

sternstaub (10. 116)

Having sold over two billion novellas (Heftroman) worldwide since the publication of its first edition (under the title Unternehmen Stardust) on this day in 1961 and issued weekly with new chapters ever since, the Perry Rhodan franchise is patently the most successful one in the arena of science fiction, originally conceived by authors K H Scheer and Walter Ernsting, expanded into radio dramas, video games and comic books—plus a failed cinematic adaptation considered so poorly done that fandom disavows it. Set a decade in the future (1971) during the first lunar mission, US Space Force Major Rhodan and his crew discover an abandoned extraterrestrial vessel and appropriating alien technology, artificial intelligence (positronic brains) and hyper drives, swiftly are able to unite the people of Earth and make humans a galactic presence. With increasingly complex arcs of narrative undertaken by a team of writers, action takes place in a multiverse of exotic aliens, cosmocrats and god-like beings. By coincidence, another beloved science-fiction franchise had its US premiere on the same day in 1966.

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

7x7 (10. 098)

nerva i: scrapped space programme with nuclear rockets aimed at a crewed Mars mission  

der anschlag: Anglophone retitling of foreign films—see previously  

xenobots: reframing how we think of epigenetics and gene maps–see also

superposition: a handwashing guide posted in a physics laboratory lavatory–see previously

extended orthography: facilitating digital communication in First Nations’ syllabics—see also  

yฤntรกi delenda est: more Chinglish roundups  

artemis i: the inaugural mission to return the Moon—previously

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

cinematography (10. 048)

Everlasting Blรถrt directs our attention to the portfolio of artist Shahin Sepheri through their homage to the history of movies with forty-five iconic visual references, starting with 1922’s Nosferatu and coming full-circle with the Lumiรจre Brothers and Voyage to the Moon from 1902.

 

 

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

the moonwalk (10. 005)

To commemorate the lunar landing on this day in 1969, head barman at the Hotel Savoy’s American Bar Joe Gilmore created a champagne cocktail that ought to be revived, equal parts Grand Marnier and grapefruit juice with a dash of rosewater and topped with champagne. During Gilmore’s long tenure, spanning from when he came in as a trainee at the swanky London establishment in 1940 until his retirement in 1976, he invented many more cocktails for royalty, politicians and other celebrities—including the My Fair Lady to celebrate Julie Andrews’ opening night in the musical (equal parts gin, lemon juice, orange juice and sirop de fraise with a dash of egg white, shaken and strained) and the Link Up for the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975 (Southern Comfort and vodka, tempered with lime juice). More to explore at the links above.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

capricorn one

The 1978 conspiracy thriller by Peter Hyams starring Karen Black, Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Sam Waterston, OJ Simpson, Hal Holbrook and Telly Savalas, considered the most successful independent production of that year, premiered in cinemas on this day and tells the story of an aborted crewed mission to Mars whose members are kidnapped from the launchpad—the life-support systems deemed unfit for purpose—and transported to a film studio, under duress with their families under threat—to complete their journey of exploration in front of the cameras. Fearing another blow to public interest and confidence in the space programme and attendant loss of billions in contracts, NASA administrators force the astronauts to act out their Martian adventure. Unfortunately this plot strengthened and perpetuated the theory that the Moon landing was faked and directed by Stanley Kubrick with The Shining being a veiled confession for his involvement in the deception.

Sunday, 20 February 2022

a boring project

Granted a patent in the US in September of 1972—with the strong intimation that the Soviets built and tested a prototype well before that, the proposal from a team of scientists at Los Alamos Laboratories that a controlled occurrence of the China Syndrome could be used for drilling tunnels under the Earth’s surface, displacing the molten materials through adjacent cracks and forming a vitreous lining in the process, like an insulating glass coating that would also support structural integrity, with a bit powered by a mobile nuclear reactor. Still on the drawing board, the subterrene, as its sci-fi models were called, was a contender for the Chunnel linking Dover and Calais as well as touted as a more efficient mining scout. For colonisation of the lunar surface, a subselene was suggested. More at Weird Universe at the link above.

Monday, 17 January 2022

die sternjรคgerin

Born this day in the City of Gdaล„sk in 1647 (†1693), Elisabeth Catherina Hevelius (nรฉe Koopmann) is considered to be one of the first women astronomers and significantly contributed to observational knowledge of the skies, publishing Prodromus astronomiรฆ in 1690, a catalogue of over fifteen hundred stars. Sharing the same professional passion as her husband, Johannes Hevelius (Jan Heweliusz), the two—both from a wealthy merchant background, moved around the various cities of the Hanseatic League before returning Danzig and constructing a complex of buildings which was at the time among the best observatories in the world (Stellรฆburgum—Star Castle) and garnered quite an international reputation with extensive joint research on sunspots and selenography (charting the features of the lunar surface) and hosting visiting dignitaries and scientists like Edmond Halley—greatly impressed by the couple’s calculations that articulated how comets orbit the Sun in parabolic paths.

Saturday, 11 December 2021

apollo xvii

On this day, in 1972, the Lunar Excursion Module Challenger touched down in the Taurus-Littrow valley with commander Eugene Cernan (see previously) and pilot Harrison Schmitt and five mice, undertaking three moonwalks, conducting several experiments and taking surface samples. Once the two members of the landing party and the mice rendezvoused with Ronald Evans flying the circling command module two days later, they became the last visitors to the Moon (see above) and marked the last time humans had gone beyond low Earth orbit.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

ะทะพะฝะด 5

Despite being taken previously over a communications test conducted in March 1961 with the mannequin Ivan Ivanovich at the helm and despite gaffes and giveaways included in the tape-recording on board the space craft that featured among other mission protocols a military choir performing and a cosmonaut narrating preparing borscht—activities neither suited for the narrow confines of a capsule nor an environment of microgravity intended to signal to any eavesdropping parties that this wasn’t actually a crewed exercise, the Americans once again on this day in 1968 misinterpreted a practical joke by the USSR’s space programme.

While originally slated to carry human members, the Zond 5 mission, authorities fearful of the bad publicity over another accident, carried aloft various biological samples for a lunar flyby, including wildflowers, fruit fly eggs and a pair of tortoises to see if they could survive circling the Moon. As a consolation for the cosmonauts that weren’t able to accompany this living payload, a simple relay was rigged up by the radio engineers to make it appear that they were transmitting from the probe, reading off telemetry and even proposing landing. US intelligence of course intercepted these shenanigans, which caused considerable international consternation and geopolitical turmoil with the Americans afraid that the Soviets would beat them to this final, arbitrary end-goal of the Space Race, to the discount of Russia’s other technical achievements and important firsts—all except the last Apollo missions. Whether meant for a wider audience or not, cosmonauts throwing their voices was characterised as a hoax and may have informed America’s own conspiracy regarding the authenticity of the Moon landing. Concluding after a single orbit, none of the biological specimens were worse off for the trip.

Saturday, 4 September 2021

space: 1999

Though only running for two seasons, the titular BBC programme (renewed the second year by ITC Entertainment) that premiered on this day in 1975 was quite ahead of its time and established among many other tropes the “cold open” scene that preceded the credit sequence, itself boldly a spin-off of a narrative in the Supermarionation production Thunderbirds by the same creative duo Sylvia and Gerry Anderson in non-puppet form. A radioactive waste dump on the far side of the Moon, detected by the research staff at Lunar Base Alpha, experiences a magnetic anomaly, which causes the material to reach critical mass and triggers a thermonuclear explosion 13 September 1999 and propels the Earth’s satellite into deep space. This spaceship Moon wanders into a black hole and several “space warps” to continue its exploration of the Cosmos.

Saturday, 7 August 2021

astrophilately

From the start of the Space Age and ensuing Space Race, adjacent stamp collecting became a serious pursuit with commemorative cover depicting every mission and milestone (see previously) with the bubble inflated to bursting with the scandal surrounding Apollo 15, returned to Earth on this day in 1971 with a payload of four hundred postage stamps sent to the Moon and back.

The astronauts had been compensated, bribed for sneaking the unauthorised souvenirs on board by West Germany dealer Hermann Sieger. The story broke the following year and though the money was returned and most of the remaining covers (the postal term for decorated, signed pre-stamped and cancelled envelops) were retained by the agency, museums or given as gifts, the astronauts were reprimanded for ethics violations and never flew on a mission again, reassigned to other departments within NASA. Such mementos were considered contraband for future missions.