Category Archives: Space

“Always do the right thing for the right reason at the right time with the right people. [And] you will have no regrets for the rest of your life.”

NPR Obituaries: Remembering Allan McDonald: He Refused To Approve Challenger Launch, Exposed Cover-Up.

“On Jan. 27, 1986, Allan McDonald stood on the cusp of history.

McDonald directed the booster rocket project at NASA contractor Morton Thiokol. He was responsible for the two massive rockets, filled with explosive fuel, that lifted space shuttles skyward. He was at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the launch of the Challenger “to approve or disapprove a launch if something came up,” he told me in 2016, 30 years after Challenger exploded.

His job was to sign and submit an official form. Sign the form, he believed, and he’d risk the lives of the seven astronauts set to board the spacecraft the next morning. Refuse to sign, and he’d risk his job, his career and the good life he’d built for his wife and four children.

“And I made the smartest decision I ever made in my lifetime,” McDonald told me. “I refused to sign it. I just thought we were taking risks we shouldn’t be taking.””

Link via MetaFilter.

Going back to the moon

Smarter Every Day: How NASA Trained Lunar Lander Pilots. (YouTube, 23min)

“We’re going back to the moon, and we’re going to need to train Astronauts how to land. This video is the result of trying to understand that control problem better. In the next video of this series, I’ll show you footage from an actual NASA Lunar Lander software test I participated in many years ago.”

The video includes an interview with C. Wayne Ottinger, NASA Apollo LLRV Project Engineer.

OK GO: Upside down & Inside Out

I posted about this music video twice before, but the links have since broken. Here’s an update:

OK Go: Upside Down & Inside Out music video (YouTube, 3:21min)

Background material, all YouTube links:

Source: OK GO Videos and OK GO YouTube Channel.

“Marzine has gone to the Moon, Travel sickness hasn’t”

Pharmama: Pharmazie auf dem Mond. “Gelegentlich findet man in Kundenretouren von Alt-Medikamenten wirkliche Schätze. Dieses hier zum Beispiel: Marzine war ein Mittel gegen Übelkeit, das ich auch noch kannte. Es ging 2008 – damals habe ich angefangen zu bloggen – in der Schweiz ausser Handel. Es enthält Cyclizin, ist ein altes Antihistaminikum (erste Klasse) und wirkt antiallergisch, antiemetisch (gegen Übelkeit) und beruhigend. Cyclicin gehörte zu den ersten Antihistaminika und wurde von der NASA beim Mondflug als Mittel gegen Übelkeit verwendet. Dabei macht es anscheinend weniger müde als andere Antihistaminika, weshalb es von der WHO 2011 auf die Liste der unentbehrlichen Medikamente für Kinder aufgenommen wurde.”

Space is big.

“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

Harry Evett: Universe Size Comparison 3D (YouTube, 5:07min)

morn1415: Star Size Comparison 2. (YouTube, the interesting part is between 0:41 and 5:53min; the whole video is 6:50min.)

morn1415: Star Size Comparison 3 (Vortex V1). (YouTube, 8:16min)

morn1415: Real Images from the Solar System! (YouTube, 11:22min)