Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Boldly going…

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Astronaut Karen Nyberg gazes the outer space whilst her hair flies inside the new Kibo laboratory in the International Space Station (click for high resolution glory direct from NASA).

The nice shampoo ad hair, the window to the vacuum, the slight curvature of the blue planet as background and a solar panel in the foreground… how cool is that?

A few more space images, including a spectacularly alien one, after the jump.

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The same Nyberg in a bad hair day, just a few days before, still aboard space shuttle Discovery on June 2, 2008. There’s a thin line between beauty and chaos produced by micro-g conditions. More specifically, a thin circular elastic line to hold your long hair.

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The photo above is beautiful, but alas, also sad. Beautiful because there we see two space shuttles being readied for launch, the Columbia and the Discovery, September 1990. Click for the image on NASA.

The sad part is not only that Columbia would 13 years later be lost in a tragic reentry, but that such a view of two sister spaceships being readied to send humans to space is almost impossible nowadays. The Space Shuttle program itself will end in 2010 – and there will be a gap of some years before the United States will be able to send humans to orbit – and beyond, as the Orion is developed.

Finally…

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If you are reading this blog you certainly thought… Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”!

But the spectacular photo is actually from much earlier, and involved no alien music. It was taken on May 5, 1961, Cape Canaveral, as workers were fueling the Mercury-Redstone 3 for the launch of astronaut Alan Shepard aboard Freedom 7.

Human spaceflight represents both our greatest achievements and our deepest hopes. No other feat demonstrates so clearly our understanding of the world we live in. And the chances we survive in the long-term as a species are pretty thin unless we colonize other planets, proving ourselves different from all the species that went extinct before us.

[hat tip Jose Ildefonso]

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Posted in Science | 1 comment

1 Comment so far

  1. Jace January 6th, 2013 9:06 pm

    It won’t be alien worlds that support us. It’ll be the technology developed to maintain ourselves that will do it. But what other initiative is there to develop such self-sufficient human support systems? Oh. That’s right: the destruction of the Earth as a life support system.

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