This week’s Science Friday is full of goodies from a new Cassini exhibit, how the full moon just got stranger, a rough ride on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, regenerative medicine, and a very interesting gadget of the week: Keyboard infused pants. Yes, you read that correctly. More after the break.
Cassini Watch: Views of Saturn at Natural History Museum
Visitors to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City will soon behold the wonders of Saturn in a new exhibition of images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Entitled “Saturn: Images from the Cassini-Huygens Mission,” the exhibit features more than 50 outstanding vista witnessed by Cassini in its first four years touring Saturn. The exhibition opens Saturday, April 26, 2008 and will be on display in the museum through March 29, 2009. Carolyn Porco, leader of the imaging team (and a science advisor for JJ Abrams Star Trek), is slated to speak about the exhibit images and the scientific and historic significance of Cassini’s exploration of Saturn on September 15, 2008. See CICLOPS.org.
Just one of the stunning views taken by the Cassini spacecraft
Strange Things Happen During a Fool Moon
Full moons are said to be behind many strange things, but here’s one you may not have heard: During a full moon, our favorite natural satellite is whipped by Earth’s magnetotail, causing lunar dust storms and discharges of static electricity. According to an agency statement, astronauts on the lunar surface may find themselves, “crackling with electricity like a sock pulled out of a hot dryer.” At full moon, the moon passes through a huge “plasma sheet” — hot charged particles trapped in the tail, and electrons charge the surface. On the moon’s dayside this effect is counteracted somewhat by sunlight, but the effect is prevalent on the dark side. For more see SPACE.com.
The Earth’s magnetotail whippin’ the full moon
Rough Return from Space For Russian Soyuz
Saturday’s safe return of the latest international space station crew occurred during an anxiety-filled half-hour of official silence that was later attributed to carelessness at Moscow Mission Control. After the US Space Shuttle’s retirement, the Russian Soyuz will be the only craft to carry astronauts to the ISS before the inauguration of the Crew Exploration Vehicle, and it’s safety issues are becoming a cause for concern.
Regenerative Medicine Could Repair Wounded Soldiers
The Defense Department has launched a five-year, Army-led cooperative effort to develop new ways to assist servicemembers who’ve suffered severe, disfiguring wounds during their wartime service. A key component of the initiative is to harness stem cell research and technology in finding innovative ways to use a patient’s natural cellular structure to reconstruct new skin, muscles and tendons, and even ears, noses and fingers. U.S. Army Surgeon General Schoomaker cited animals like salamanders that can regrow lost tails or limbs. "Why can’t a mammal do the same thing?" he asked.
A new reconstructive surgery technique
Gadget of the Week: Keyboard infused pants: TM asks, “Why?”
Integrating technology into our day to day is a popular trend with new gadgets these days, but this one seems to take it just one step too far. Dreamed up and designed by Erik De Nijs, these über-geeky pants boast a built-in keyboard that’s apparently Bluetooth-enabled. Beyond that, you’ll also find sewn in speakers, a pocket made especially for travel mice, and a “joystick controller” strategically located just behind the front zipper (saywha?).
It takes the right kind of geek to rock these jeans
Here’s a warp-speed look at science tid-bits that didn’t quite make the cut, but nonetheless merit mention.
- Hawking Quotes TOS in Washington DC (Thanks to David aka Commodore Redshirt for the tip!)
- Robot Aliens? BSG Gets it Right!
- Hubble’s 18th Birdthay Party Favors!
- Shoulder Motor Balks On Opportunity Rover’s Robotic Arm
SCIENCE FRIDAY YOOHOO!!!!
finally I can use my mind CASSINI ROCKS!
Keyboard pants, hum?
Will people wonder what you are really doing down there????
Oh my God almighty! I am not gunna touch that keyboard pants thing! I mean… awwww…. makes easy acces when browsing the internet… for…
No, won’t do it!
Very lovely pics of Saturn. Wow. So soothing… the queen o’ the system thar’. And rings are such a worthy staple of planetary detail and delight in the vast arrays of sci-fi.
Hey- when me Soyuz spirals outta control and plunks me down recklessly so I lose me legs (and me lunch), then that thar’ General guy will grow me some new legs, right? Sign me up, mates!
Uh, oh… full moon… feel strange…suddenly want keyboard pants…
Oh yea … uhm…. Decloaking ….
I take a splash down or a runway over a thump down anyday.
“Cap’tin dat vus wery bumpy beam down.”
Hey BND are you typing over there or are you just glad to see me???
“Hey little girl. There’s a party in my pants.”
Nope. Her boyfriend would still rip me in two.
Thank you, Prof. Stephen Hawking, world’s smartest man, for putting impact ahead of grammar and saying we must “boldly go.” Bless you , sir.
“Hey, little girl, wanna play a game with my joystick?”
I don’t think this will become a popular item.
Keyboard pants. You are kidding me! If you’re doing some typing in a Cyber Cafe you may get arrested before the cops know it’s a new invention. Bizarre, man.
Tell someone to play Frets on Fire while you’re wearing the pants…
Those pants have got to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.
demon — Those pants have got to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.
So, I guess you won’t be buying my newest invention:
The Jock-Rapper, strap with super woofer feature. It raps your b***z off.
is there a mouse? and if so where do you scroll with it?
So, we’re using capsules from the 60’s…
No wonder the joystick interface is in the pants.
Will the regenerative meds make you see pretty color patterns?
I GGGcan GGGGjustGGGG seeGGGGG someoneGGG typingG certain GGGkeysG overGGGG and GGover againGGGG becauseGGG it’s hittingGGG the GGGGright GGGGGGGspot.
(Phew, that’s better! Time for a cigarette!)
#15. You’re right. The current Soyuz is essentially the same design (with upgrading and modifications) from the 1960s. And it is more reliable (if a bit more of a bumpy and scary ride) than the space shuttle. I sincerely hope the proposed Orion capsule (which my cousin saw first hand; a prototype dummy model) will usher in a new era of capsule-based flight. It’s cheaper, safer and judging by the tough little Soyuz (Russian for “Union”) more reliable. Four fatalities in 40 years; compared to the shuttles’ 14. We don’t NEED a space SUV; we need a space Prius! You can rendezvous with your cargo in orbit! No need to truck it all with you. And my oh my, those Cassini pictures were stunning! Please keep the Science Friday columns. Reminds me why I became a sci-fi fan in the first place!
As for that “joystick controller” location?? Well, they know where the fan boys live, don’t they? I hear a little Butt-head over my shoulder saying, “it’s in his pants…huh, huh, huh.”
Just what we need – a legion of college geeks, sitting under the campus tower and playing with themselves. As a salaried, career computer tech, (WARNING: SHAMELESS, UNPAID PRODUCT PLUG AHEAD!) allow me introduce you to a somewhat lower-tech tool I’ve found to be very useful in the field – I call it the ‘MacGyver Pen’:
Much more functional – and tasteful – than toggling your joystick in public. LOL
I have many pairs of werid and cool pants, but those pretty much take the cake. I now want them. I would also like to be able to type on my computer without it freezing up every two seconds. This is the life of someone who has 256 MBs of RAM in a 1024 MB world…
RE: Sebastian – April 25, 2008
“#15. You’re right. The current Soyuz is essentially the same design (with upgrading and modifications) from the 1960s. And it is more reliable (if a bit more of a bumpy and scary ride) than the space shuttle. I sincerely hope the proposed Orion capsule (which my cousin saw first hand; a prototype dummy model) will usher in a new era of capsule-based flight. It’s cheaper, safer and judging by the tough little Soyuz (Russian for “Union”) more reliable. Four fatalities in 40 years; compared to the shuttles’ 14. We don’t NEED a space SUV; we need a space Prius! You can rendezvous with your cargo in orbit! No need to truck it all with you. And my oh my, those Cassini pictures were stunning! Please keep the Science Friday columns. Reminds me why I became a sci-fi fan in the first place!”
Well stated, Sebastian. The Soyuz spacecraft has been the most reliable manned space vehicle to date, imho. The overall exterior design has not changed much over the years because the design works just as a well designed airframe works; the F-16, for example. Update the internal tech but do not fix that which is not broken. :)
I always look forward to Science Friday as well, many thanks to the staff of TrekMovie – keep it coming!
Keyboard pants, huh? Very “Rainbow’s End”.
Is that a keyboard in your pants or are you just happy to see me ?
Naw, too easy, far too easy, let’s not GO there, EVER….
Well, it certainly would give a whole new meaning to that phrase….
MOVING RIGHT ALONG…..
Keyboard pants? And we’re paying people to think this stuff up? No wonder the World is in the state it’s in…….
Here’s a question…why doesn’t he just use the keyboard that is INSTALLED IN THE LAPTOP SITTING THREE FEET IN FRONT OF HIM?!?
Talk about redundant, useless “technology”…when are we ever going to see a cure for cancer, or a better spacecraft? You know, something USEFUL that will actually BENEFIT humankind…
Whew! Close call for that Soyuz (TMA-11)! However, Space.com mentioned that a construction flaw in the module separation mechanism has been corrected in the latest Soyuz docked at the ISS (TMA-12) and subsequent craft. The flaw was identified after TMA-11 was already docked at the ISS. Astronauts would have had to EVA and tear off the insulation to check the mechanism; NASA and RK concluded that this was more dangerous than taking the risk of re-entering in TMA-11.
One thing which bothers me is how the media keeps whining about how we’ll have to rely on the Russians to reach the ISS once the Shuttle is retired. By then, I guarantee, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will be making regular flights to and from ISS in both passenger and cargo modes. Dragon’s first orbital test flight is scheduled for late this year. Apparently, this fact isn’t being publicized enough to the media. Am I paranoid, or is this on purpose?
It’s a shame NASA, as usual, is going with their typical “cost plus” government contract with an uber-aerospace corporation (Lockheed-Martin) for the CEV. If they had contracted with so-called NewSpace companies, like SpaceX or tSpace, a better vehicle could have been built for 1/20 the price, and on-schedule!
If anyone hasn’t already checked it out, see Encyclopedia Astronautica’s article on the competing designs for the CEV. Prepare yourself by having some anti-nausea medication handy.
I have a love/hate relationship with NASA; often I find myself thinking that it’s one of the biggest obstacles to humanity developing a space-faring civilization!
As for the keyboard pants – isn’t it a little late for an “April Fool’s” joke?
Soyuz will not be the only ship that can carry personnel to the station once the shuttle retires. SpaceX is working on Dragon, a capsule that will carry personnel or cargo, under the Commercial Orbital Transportation System contract for NASA to fill the gap. More information at http://www.spacex.com . The rocket to lift Dragon – which bears a strong resemblance to Orion and is far ahead of that program, by the way – is also being built by SpaceX.
Okay, I didn’t spot Commodore Wesley’s comments until after I posted the same thing – whoops! But I actually think that SpaceX, with its Falcon rockets, is doing something else right that NASA isn’t – using liquid fuel. The Ares rockets are based on the solid boosters the space shuttle uses, and once they’re lit, like a bottle rocket, they can’t be turned off. Dunno why NASA thinks they’re the way to go, give me a rocket I can turn off on command any day. Apparently what was good enough to get Apollo to the moon isn’t good enough now, but hey, I’m not a rocket scientist…