Archive for the ‘space’ tag
The “Hexagon” spy satellite, deployed via Titan rocket in 1971. According to this fascinating article in Wired this morning, the satellite was to return high-resolution film. When the parachute failed to open, the module crashed into the Pacific Ocean and sunk 16,000 feet. After a year-long recovery effort, the film succumbed to the elements and disintegrated when it reached the surface.
As I’ve posted before, I’m fascinated by the geometry and design of space equipment (and I think “Secret Hexagon” would be a great band name).
Following with more desparately lonely media from the Mars rover Curiosity, this image is from the rover’s rear-facing Hazard Avoidance camera looking back at a crater rim.
High resolution: NASA
This 11-minute animation from NASA shows the Curiosity rover landing on and traversing across Mars. It is nearly silent, save some realistic but oddly empty foley sound, making the rover seem very much alone.
According to The Physics Factbook, there are approximately 5 atoms per cubic centimeter, though various estimates range from 0.1 – 1000 atoms.
Full citation: Cutnell, John D. & Johnson, Kenneth W. Physics, 3rd Edition. New York: Wiley, 1995: 441.
While considering again the CubeSat program as a means to get art into space, it turns out there’s been plenty of examples in the past.
By far my favorite are these tiny drawings are made by Robert Rauschenberg (a straight line, love it), Andy Warhol (a penis, of course), and Claus Oldenberg (Mickey Mouse) amongst others. Etched into an iridium-plated ceramic wafer at the famous Bell Labs, they were then sent into space as a “Moon Museum” and left there. According to the unfortunately named “Space Place“:
The Moon Museum 1969 a small ceramic tile carried on Apollo 12 on which American artists Robert Rauschenberg drew a straight line; Andy Warhol drew a penis; Claus Oldenberg drew the image of Mickey Mouse; and John Chamberlain, Forrest Myers and David Novros all drew geometric designs. The Moon Museum was delivered to the Moon by the crew of Apollo 12 on board a Saturn V rocket (Earth Launch Date: November 14, 1969. Moon Landing Date: November 24, 1969).
However, a little more digging found a great post on Greg.org explaining that “the Moon Museum was secretly installed on a hatch on a leg of the Intrepid landing module with the help of an unnamed engineer at the Grumman Corporation after attempts to move the project forward through NASA’s official channels were unsuccessful.”
A November 22,1969 New York Times article by Gracie Glueck (excellently) titled “New York Sculptor Says Intrepid Put Art On Moon” revealed the story/incident. My favorite is the last line, in which a NASA official is quoted saying “Now I know that there’s a soulful piece of art up there – a piece of software among all that hardware and junk”. A surprisingly thoughtful, though sentimental, reaction.