A new website called the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction is taking us back through the words that have made sci-fi what it is and showing how much this genre has shaped popular culture. Plus: meet a planet that's barely orbiting a brown dwarf, some 450 light years from earth, a spot in the actual universe that seems more like science fiction.
The next Mars rover is set to land next month, and it's equipped with microphones to make the first audio recordings on another planet. So how does sound work on Mars, which has about 1 percent of the atmosphere Earth does? Plus: Saturn's ringed moon Rhea is getting a chemical coating that likely started on another moon.
On this day in 1973, something happened aboard the Skylab space station. Depending on who you talk to, it was somewhere between a "sensitivity session" between astronauts and ground crew, and a full-on space mutiny. Plus: Japanese Lego artist Jumpei Mitsui just created an all-brick version of Hokusai's famous print "The Great Wave off Kanagawa."
Today in 1969 Apollo 12 returned to earth after visiting the moon, and if the stories are true, it brought with it a tiny tile containing line drawings by six Earth artists. Plus: since most of us aren't likely to visit the art installation on the lunar surface, maybe we can visit this museum in the Florida Keys that goes below the surface of the water.
If you're an astronaut, way up there in space, chances are you started the day with a song. Why? It's a NASA tradition. Plus: an artist in California has turned "Star Trek" into a widescreen format, so it fits on modern TVs.
Earth makes lots of seismic noise, but there's one that's mysterious - a slight pulse every 26 seconds called a microseism off the coast of West Africa. What causes it? We don't know! Plus: NASA has completed its transmitter upgrades and now it can talk with Voyager 2 again!
We’ve known for some time that at least a few exoplanets could support liquid water, making them potentially habitable. But a paper from Washington State University suggests some of those planets may be super-habitable - as in, they may be more appropriate for life than Earth is! Plus: a new map fills Mars with water, so we can see what the Red Planet would look like if it wasn't red.
When A Giant Safe Showed Up In His Yard, A New York Farmer Decided To Embraced The Mystery (Cool Weird Awesome 364)
A farmer in Barre, NY found a massive old safe in his fields, with a note on the side saying whoever could open it could have what was inside. But he decided maybe it would be better not to spoil the surprise. Plus: scientists studying satellite photos of Antarctica were able to spot new colonies of Emperor penguins! From space!
Today in 1969 was the first day off for the Apollo 11 astronauts in more than a month. Yes, they'd finished their moon landing weeks earlier, but they had to go into quarantine in case they'd picked up some "moon germs" that could lead to a plague on Earth. (Fortunately, they hadn't.) Plus: there's a new augmented reality tour of a church in Florence, Italy that was deconstructed in 1784.
Today we download video games online all the time. Back in the 1980s, gamers without the Internet (such as it was) had to buy or borrow their games. But a few could download programs off the radio. Plus: there's a comet headed Earth's way, and it might make for some great viewing this month, or 6,000 years from now. Either one.