Index / Science

What I Found in Carl Sagan’s Journals

Excerpts from the Sagan Journals: 1969-1979   By Heather D’Angelo The first time I heard the name “Carl Sagan” was somewhere along the FDR—I was around six years old, and sitting beside my dad during our usual Friday night drive from my grandmother’s house in Staten Island. The special edition of Cosmos had just […]

Excerpts From the Journals of Carl Sagan: 1969-1979

December 14, 1969 The caudal bone is near the genitals. I bet the musculature for wagging a tail involves some of the muscles in sexual activity. Are dogs and cats sexually turned on when they wag their tails? Note how nicely this correlates with the nature of the […]

There’s Life on Mars: Behind the Scenes At a Simulated Martian Colony

There are many ways to visit outer space. One way is to pretend you’re already there. Right now six research volunteers are doing just that, in a small dome perched on the side of the Mauna Loa volcano on the big island of Hawaii. From October of last year until this June, the third mission […]

From an Abandoned McDonald’s, Space Pirates Hijack a Satellite

by William Rauscher In the spring of 2014, former NASA employee Keith Cowing and a crew of volunteers successfully hijacked the ISEE-3, a NASA spacecraft in solar orbit launched in 1978. Operating independently from NASA, the “citizen scientist” crew adopted a “spacecraft for all” approach, carrying out a space mission that was entirely crowd-funded and […]

Mars for Everyone: The HiRise Imaging Project

For ages, our stereotypical image of Mars has been a red desert: both the ancient Egyptian and Indian names, for example, refer to the planet’s red coloring, which stems from a extremely thin veneer of surface dust. An ongoing project of NASA and the University of Arizona, The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRise) reveals […]

Vincent Fournier: Space Project

For his Space Project series, French photographer Vincent Fournier explores the hidden technological worlds of space exploration across the globe, unveiling uncanny moments in places like the French Guiana Space Centre, a Norwegian radar array, the cosmonaut training center in Star City, Russia, and the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. Fournier’s photographs traverse the […]

Space Junk: Souvenirs From the Final Frontier

These days obtaining your own special piece of space history is no sweat: you can find second-hand space junk in resale venues like auctions, eBay listings and garage sales. A Russian spacesuit, a bit of Astro-food, a mixtape from Apollo, or an incomprehensible grey box with an LCD screen, all are up on the chopping […]

Eye in the Sky: Live Stream of Planet Earth

On April 18th, 2014, a new experiment called the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) was installed in the International Space Station, after being delivered by the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. HDEV consists of four commercial HD video cameras that provide uninterrupted streaming footage of planet Earth viewed from stationary orbit. This real-time eye in the sky […]

The Voyager Golden Record: Postcards From Planet Earth

A message in a bottle. The first cosmic mixtape. A letter from home that may never reach its destination. Compiled for NASA by a Cornell University committee led by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan in 1977, copies of the Golden Record are currently carried aboard both Voyager I and Voyager II spacecraft as they plunge […]

Cassini Orbiter: Rings of Saturn

In 2013, NASA’s unmanned Cassini orbiter probe sent back to Earth some of the most precise images of the planet Saturn and its rings ever taken, so precise that they achieved a distinctly abstract quality. Captured with a scientific eye, the Cassini images convey a minimalist sensibility, like National Geographic photos art-directed by Peter Saville. […]

Frontier Music: How Brian Eno Pioneered “Space Country”

by John Moeller and William Rauscher Early in the film Trainspotting, junkie protagonist Renton dives into ‘The Worst Toilet in Scotland’ to retrieve some opium suppositories. Sliding down the toilet bowl, he passes through a rabbit hole, emerging on the other side in a dreamlike ocean world. The soundtrack to the scene is a drifting melange of […]

NASAgram: Space Goes Social

The cosmos is a busy place: thanks to the public-relations efforts of NASA’s social media department we can participate in NASA’s efforts to explore, utilize and colonize space more than ever before, encountering otherworldly images of space in feeds more known for selfies, dinner pics, and photo bombs. At the same time, the NASA Instagram […]