How to solve world hunger with pizza
The idea of a universal food synthesizer sounds like something straight out of the Jetsons or Star Trek, but thanks to a $125,000 grant from NASA, a 3-D food printer may become a reality.
Anjan Contractor, a senior mechanical engineer at Systems and Materials Research Corporation, is already working on bringing the idea to fruition.
NASA’s interested because storing the various ingredients as a power greatly extends their shelf life for lengthy travel through space, but Contractor wants to keep all of the recipes open source, so the general public could eventually benefit as well.
So how will the pizza be made?
Pizza will be one of the first items printed because of its natural layers of ingredients. First, a layer of dough will be printed and baked at the same time using a heated plate at the bottom of the printer. A layer of tomato base will follow — made of powder, water and oil — then a protein layer will top the pizza.
Read more over at the Daily Dish.
Photo: Cheryl A. Guerrero / Glendale News Press
Brace yourself for another asteroid flyby
To quote science reporter Deborah Netburn:
It’s 1.7 miles long. Its surface is covered in a sticky black substance similar to the gunk at the bottom of a barbecue. If it impacted Earth it would probably result in global extinction. Good thing it is just making a flyby.
At approximately 1:59 p.m. PDT May 31, Asteroid 1998 QE2 will make a close (by galactic standards) pass by our home planet. Coming within just 3.6 million miles of Earth, the asteroid will be so close that many of its features will be visible on radar.
For more details on the asteroid, including its possible origin, at Science Now.
Photo: NASA / JPL / Caltech
Alan Shepard gears up for his flight as the first American in space. May 5, 1961.
This photo from the holdings of the Eisenhower Library shows astronaut Shepard preparing for his record setting flight as the first American man in space.
from the Jacqueline Cochran Papers, Federation Aeronautique International Series. National Archives ID #7065300
Happy 52nd anniversary of Shepard’s flight into space!
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One small step for commercial space travel
Richard Branson’s neverending mission to send tourists into space hit another benchmark today, with the SpaceShipTwo (that’s its real name) breaking the sound barrier and hitting an altitude of 56,000 feet.
For more details on the Virgin Galactic’s mission and today’s flight, head over to Money & Co.
Yep, this is fantastic.
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The photo above, showing Boston the night after the tragic marathon bombing, was tweeted yesterday by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield from the International Space Station in a sigh of solidarity:
Our crew just heard about the horrible events at the Boston Marathon. We all pass our condolences and thoughts to everyone affected.— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield)
This Year’s Largest Solar Flare
On April 11, 2013, at 3:16 a.m. EDT, the sun emitted an M6.5 flare, allowing NASA to capture this vibrant image. It’s not a particularly powerful solar flare, but it is the strongest of 2013 so far, and we’ll have plenty more opportunities to observe solar activity this year.
One of the craziest photos of the year.
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Covering the Space Program
NASA doesn’t need much help selling the idea that space is super-awesome, but these covers for manuals and press conference notes from the golden age of spaceflight sure don’t hurt. They are going up for auction later this month. I wouldn’t mind having one or two of those hanging in my house, eh?
Meanwhile, in awesome space-related news.
test reblogged from jtotheizzoe
via The Atlantic:
[Pictures of earth taken from space] are magical. They are mysterious. They are weird. They suggest, if they don’t fully embody, why we go to the trouble of exploring in the first place… And they often resemble art of a more earthly variety.
Play the game: NASA or MOMA?
16/20 - not bad! A perfect quiz for a Friday afternoon.
test reblogged from sfmoma
It turns out the ancient universe is even more ancient
New findings from the European Space Agency’s Planck space telescope suggest that the universe is an estimated 13.8 billion years old, 100 million years older than previous thought.
Take a look at the picture above - that’s the radiation imprinted on the sky by the Big Bang itself, an observation from Planck that proved pivotal to the new age estimate.
From Science Now:
The map represents the first 15.5 months of observation by the Planck space telescope, which looked at the universe’s cosmic microwave background — that extremely cold, barely noticeable glow left after the Big Bang when the universe was just a cosmic baby — about 380,000 years old.
But don’t worry universe, you don’t look a day over 12 billion.
Photo: ESA, Planck Collaboration, NASA / Associated Press
So…did Voyager 1 leave the solar system or not?
A report from the Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, claimed earlier today that the long-traveling Voyager 1 spacecraft had departed the solar system:
“It appears that V1 has exited the main solar modulation region, revealing Hydrogen and Helium spectra characteristic of those to be expected in the local interstellar medium.”
But NASA disagrees, according to a statement from Edward Stone, a Voyager project scientist based at Caltech:
“It is the consensus of the Voyager science team that Voyager 1 has not yet left the solar system or reached interstellar space.
In December 2012, the Voyager science team reported that Voyager 1 is within a new region called ‘the magnetic highway,’ where energetic particles changed dramatically. A change in the direction of the magnetic field is the last critical indicator of reaching interstellar space, and that change of direction has not yet been observed.”
Our money’s on the folks over at NASA. Read more on the debate over at Science Now.
Life on Mars…Maybe
A sample pulled from Mars just last month has been thoroughly examined by the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, and earlier today scientists declared that they have finally found solid evidence that Mars could have once sustained life.
From mission lead scientist John Grotzinger of Caltech:
“We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and is so supportive of life that probably if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it.”
Read more via Science Now.
Black hole spun: It’s been far too long since we shared some awesome space news. See that artist’s rendition above? That’s a black hole spinning near the speed of light. Even if it’s an interpretation, it’s still pretty darn incredible.
The image was sparked by the joint efforts of NASA’s X-ray telescope NuSTAR and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton space telescope, which examined the black hole anchoring NGC 1365 to determine how quickly it was spinning.
Just how does that work?
To solve the mystery, the XMM-Newton telescope — which studies low-energy X-rays, up to about 10 kiloelectron volts — teamed up with NuSTAR — which looks at very high-energy X-rays. NuSTAR, with a range from 3 to 79 kiloelectron volts, would fill in the rough sketch scientists had of this black hole.