Dropping Science: The Entire Known Universe in One Video

I love these kind of films and this one is truly breathtaking. It’s a combination of The American Museum of Natural History’s “Known Universe” video and the music of Hans Zimmer. The video takes us from the Himalayas to the very edge of the known universe and includes every single object ever observed at the scale and in the location that it should be. It does this by drawing on the museum’s Digital Universe Atlas, which is the most complex four dimensional map of the cosmos in the world.



(We’re down at the MCM Expo this weekend and we’ll have news about when Moon #2 is out and when our next Moon Launch party will be. If you’re down at the con then come find us in the Comic Village to learn more!)

Dropping Science: What Would Happen if You Fired a Gun in Space?


Two of our favourite youtube channels are vsauce and minutephysics so when those two channels team up to give us a pair of videos about shooting guns at space and digging holes through the earth, we take notice. I’ve only thrown up the first video because you can jump directly to the next one by clicking the link at the end unless of course you’re viewing on an ipad in which case the second video is here. Either way you’re about to get enough physics trivia to keep your drinking buddies enthralled for the rest of the month. You’ll also learn how to go about destroying the sun and ending all life on earth so if you’re a super villain or trouble youth with access to several solar masses of water, please don’t watch it.


Dropping Science: Neil Armstrong 1930 – 2012

Like every one of us will one day do, Neil Armstrong today departed the Earth. Yet unlike almost all of us, it wasn’t for the first time. Only a few times in a generation does an individual pass into legend, I think we can all safely say that such a moment has occurred today.

You can read the BBC’s full obituary here but we shall simply say, Rest in Peace, Neil Armstrong and thank you.


Carl Sagan’s Message to Mars

A few months before he died, Carl Sagan recorded a message which he dedicated to future explorers to Mars. Since early Monday morning, in the wake of the Curiosity Lander arriving on the surface of Mars it has begun to do the rounds throughout the internet. Sagan’s passion for the future of space travel is clear in this piece, which is heavily truncated in most of the common versions available online. Happily, I09.com hunted down the extended version of it and what is revealed is a thoughtful and emotional message from an inspirational man, passing a message he hopes will be heard by those that will fulfil his dreams.

Whatever you might think of Sagan, or of the Mars landing and little Curosity making it’s lonely way across it’s surface – he speaks for most of us on some level. Sagan’s passion for the breaking down of environmental boundaries and conquering of new worlds is more profound than most of us but millions huddled around TV sets to watch the first Moon landing, and quietly or not – without the fanfare affording Apollo Astronauts, Curiosity carries a little bit of Sagan across that distant, desolate landscape – and fills it with the potential of dreams. That is the border between science fiction and fact, where wheel or foot fall on previously imagined earth and spark a new generation of Sagan’s to wonder ‘what next?’

Dropping Science: We Stopped Dreaming


Physicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson returns with another stirring piece of rhetoric about the importance of scientific research. In this video, Neil looks at the global initiatives that occurred in the wake of the 1969 Moon landings and argues that it is the unique vision of a planet without borders that drives us forwards.

Inspiring stuff.



Dropping Science: 121-Megapixel Earth


I just got back from the Eagle Awards. I’ll write a proper report up about it at a later date but for now it should suffice to say that they were a lot of fun and there was a lot of free beer. With that in mind, I’ll refrain from going into anything too complex on this week’s DS.

Here is a super high res image of our planet looking all sexy and stuff. That’s pretty much all you need to know about it other than it’s Russian.

Yeah, science.


Dropping Science: Compilation of Real Space Footage


This week’s video falls into the inspirational category. I’ve posted quite a few vids that combine music with incredible CGI images of the solar system and those kind of films still stir something in me. That said there is, as they say, no substitute for the real thing and that’s exactly what Sander van den Berg  has done here.

By taking images from the Casini space mission and painstakingly editing them together he has created a haunting vision of our own solar system. To look at these images and know that you are looking through the lens of something that was actually there, that this is exactly what our planets look like and not what they imagine them to be, is simply breathtaking.


Starbearians Have Landed!

Harry Partridge is probably best known for his Saturday Morning Watchmen spoof but he’s been happily producing cartoon parodies for years now. His latest video tells the story of a pair of loveable space bears, who fly around in a ship shaped like a T-Rex with massive breasts and kill people with swords.

It’s completely NSFW and absolutely essential viewing for anyone who has ever read a Conan book.


(We’re down at Demoncon in Maidstone today. If you fancy a day out in Kent, come say hi!)

Dropping Science: Last Flight Of Space Shuttle Discovery

On Tuesday of this week The Space Shuttle Discovery took its final flight, piggybacking on top of a specially modified Boeing 747, en route to its final resting place at The National Air & Space Museum near Washington DC.

Since 1969, NASA has maintained two specially modified 747s (known as NASA 911 and 905 respectively) for the specific purpose of transporting the shuttles within Earth’s atmosphere. The planes were originally built as commercial airliners, but have since had almost all of their internal fittings stripped out and been modified for their very specific new job. Over the years the two workhorses have ferried spacecraft all over the globe but the end of the shuttle program means the end for these two workhorses as well. NASA 911 flew it’s final mission earlier this year, but NASA 905 still has a few very important final errands to run as it ferries the retired shuttles to their new homes around the US.

NASA was kind enough to publish several pictures of Discovery and NASA 905 getting ready for their final flight together, so I thought I’d share a few of them here.

Discovery is prepped for its final flight.

Discovery approaches the rig that will lift it onto the back of the Boeing 747.

In position.

NASA 905 and Discovery together.

Crews work long into the night to lift Discovery safely into the air.

The interior of NASA 905. All non-essential fittings have been stripped out to reduce the weight of the craft but even with this, 905 still requires twice as much fuel as a normal 747 just to stay airborne.

Manoeuvring NASA 905 into position.

Preparing to "mate" the two craft.

Both craft in position.

Notice the pointed cap that has been fitted over the shuttle's rear end. This is to reduce drag while in flight and prevent damage to the engines.

After hours of painstaking work, the 747 and shuttle are finally joined.

Godspeed, Discovery. Enjoy your retirement!

I was lucky enough to catch the take off of NASA 905 and Discovery on the NASA live feed earlier this week. It was genuinely breathtaking.

If you’d like more images of the operation, you can get them from the NASA website.


Dropping Science: What Would Earth Look Like With Rings?


We’re very much used to looking at Saturn’s rings from the outside but we rarely think about what it would be like to look up at them from below. In this animation, Roy Prol, shows us what it would look like if our own Earth had a set of rings. By working out the angles, Roy was able to show us how the rings would appear differently depending on where on Earth you were standing. The results are predictably beautiful.