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Tag: Space (1-10 of 21)

Some dudes sent Walter White into space, just 'cause

What do you get when you give the guys at this second-screen app a Walter White bobblehead, a powerful balloon, and an eensy-weensy camera? Why, this video, which is both totally ridiculous and surprisingly moving. (Thank mood-setting music by The National Parks and Megafaun, which make “Walter White in Space” sort of like Robot Chicken crossed with Planet Earth.)

You want to watch this thing? You’re goddamn right.

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'Cosmos' then and now: The 'personal voyage' of Carl Sagan, the Hollywood cool of Neil deGrasse Tyson

Like reboots of most anything, be it the Star Trek film franchise or the Hannibal television series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (premiering Sunday, March 9 on Fox) does not require familiarity with its original incarnation to be appreciated and enjoyed. Yet comparing the two shows, and their first episodes, is instructive. The first Cosmos, broadcast on PBS in 1980, had a different subtitle: “A personal voyage.” The person implied was the viewer — all of humanity. It was also the creative intelligence behind the series, astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan, who died in 1996. His widely watched series explored all of creation, and expressed all of himself — his mind, his heart, his hopes, his fears. Sagan wanted to use popular culture to evangelize science, exploration, and a worldview that was infinitely bigger than the world itself.

Inspiration for the series sprung from disappointment. In 1976, Sagan, then a member of the Viking Lander Imaging Team at NASA surveying Mars with robots, was dismayed by the lack of attention given to their historic, important work by the news media. At the time, the cultural narratives about space focused on the question of alien life and hospitable planets, and Team Viking couldn’t support reductive storylines about little green men or interplanetary manifest destiny. But Sagan was convinced the public was hungrier for knowledge — and more capable of appreciating complexity — than the press assumed. In the companion book to Cosmos, Sagan wrote: “I was positive from my own experience that an enormous global interest exists in the exploration of the planets and in many kindred scientific topics — the origin of life, the earth, and the Cosmos, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, our connection with universe. And I was certain that this interest could be excited through that most powerful communications medium, television.”

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NBC News will air Richard Branson's maiden space voyage live -- VIDEO

Next August, NBC viewers will be able to watch one eccentric billionaire launch himself and his children into the final frontier — provided everything goes according to plan.

Matt Lauer announced on Today this morning that NBC plans to broadcast Virgin Galactic’s very first passenger spaceflight live. As of now, the company is on track to send the world’s inaugural space tourists — Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson and his children, Holly and Sam — up through the atmosphere in August 2014, though Peacock Productions president Sharon Scott cautions that there’s a chance that goal may not be met. “They are hoping for August, but it’s completely engineering-driven,” Scott told NBC News before today’s big announcement. “There’s no guarantee for that. August is the desire.”

Branson, of course, betrayed no hint of uncertainty on Today, bearing only excitement and a big, wolfish grin: “[It’s] eight years in the making,” he told Matt Lauer, sounding like a proud dad at his kid’s college graduation. “It’s going to be a beautiful baby when it’s finally finished.” Nearly 700 members of the one percent have already signed up to take Virgin spaceflights, he said — including both Leonardo DiCaprio and Stephen Hawking.

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'In Saturn's Rings' trailer: What space looks like in our dreams -- VIDEO

In-Saturns-Rings.jpg

Maybe you’ve always wanted to go to space but you’re not an astronaut/ Richard Branson. Well, good news: Now you can get a rare look at our universe beyond the confines of earth. Filmmaker Simon van Vuuren is currently working on his 2014 IMAX masterpiece In Saturn’s Rings. Using over a million images from 26 different sources, van Vuuren has been painfully animating real photographs from space, turning them into a moving spectacle. It’s an amazingly beautiful result, and it just might be enough to fill theaters come next year.

Check out the trailer here and sound off on your thoughts below: READ FULL STORY

'Space Oddity' done right: Astronaut Chris Hadfield sings Bowie's hit in actual Space Station -- VIDEO

In space, no one can hear you sing. Well, unless you record yourself singing there, then post that video on YouTube.

Case in point: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield‘s incredible, anti-gravity rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” an awesome song made even more awesome by the fact that this dude is actually singing it in space. The commander, who’s currently wrapping up a five-month stay in the International Space Station, uploaded the clip yesterday; it’s already racked up over 1 million views. READ FULL STORY

Astronauts wanted for Mars settlement reality show -- No, really!

We all know that climate change and increasingly severe weather here on earth have us all in a bit of a pickle. So the logical solution is to pick up and bounce on out of here, right? Maybe even set up shop on Mars.

We’re being a little flippant, but that’s the mission of Mars One, a legit organization with real funding and NASA astronauts as consultant, and you could be a part of it – if you are “at least 18 years of age, have a deep sense of purpose, willingness to build and maintain healthy relationships, the capacity for self-reflection and ability to trust,” that is. READ FULL STORY

'Mars Needs Moms' is the best 3-D movie since 'Avatar,' says Robert Zemeckis

How badly did Mars Needs Moms flop? Badly enough to earn the number four spot on EW’s list of the biggest bombs in Hollywood history. The $150 million film earned just $39 million, making it Disney’s worst performer of all time. The box office was so poor that it inspired Disney execs to shorten John Carter of Mars‘ title, changing it to just John Carter. (Spoiler alert: Their gambit didn’t work.)

But even though critics and audiences around the globe shunned this animated film, Mars Needs Moms did have at least one champion. EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum gave the move an A-, calling it “visually magnificent” and favorably comparing it to James Cameron’s Avatar. And apparently, Mars producer Robert Zemeckis agrees with her sentiment. READ FULL STORY

Singer Sarah Brightman is headed to outer space

She may be losing her heart to a starship trooper once again.

Sarah Brightman, the world-famous soprano best known for originating the role of Christine in Phantom of the Opera, is going intergalactic. The British singer announced today that she has booked a trip to the International Space Station.

Prior to departure, she’ll spend six months at Russia’s Star City cosmonaut training center. She said she’s heading to outer space in part to promote the U.N. agency’s message (Brightman is a UNESCO ambassador), in particular by encouraging women’s education in the sciences and environmental awareness.

If she succeeds, she’ll be the first recording artist in space. Former *NSYNCer Lance Bass famously tried in 2002, but his plans never got off the ground.

Read more:
Jimmy Fallon gets Sir Ben Kingsley aboard the Space Train
The Killers rock the cosmos in ‘Runaways’ video: Watch it here
Who would better protect the nation from aliens? Obama or Romney?

The Curiosity rover's descent to Mars, now in HD! -- VIDEO

Spoiler alert: Up close, the Red Planet looks more like the Beige Planet. Nevertheless, the following video — a 50-second HD thrill ride, captured by the MARDI descent imager as NASA’s Curiosity rover barrelled toward the surface of Mars on August 6 — is, for lack of a better phrase, insanely cool. The only thing that’s missing is a bombastic soundtrack; can someone please make a remix scored by “Space Oddity”? Or maybe “Major Tom,” in honor of the late, great Gale Boetticher? Click on to watch the descent in all its glory.*

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Mars rover celebration is way better than most movies about Mars

If you need a minute-long Monday morning pick-me-up, you can’t do much better than this video of NASA employees totally flipping out. They’ve got good reason to be excited: Early this morning, their rover Curiosity successfully touched down on Mars after a dramatic landing involving a supersonic parachute, a sky crane, and an incredibly cool space jetpack (I know, redundant). If Curiosity hadn’t stuck it like McKayla Maroney, a cash-strapped NASA would have been dealt a devastating blow. Instead, the agency is on track to potentially discover whether the Red Planet ever supported life.

So yeah, the video’s pretty awesome… especially compared to recent high-profile Hollywood failures set on our celestial neighbor. This clip might even be the first step toward fixing Mars’ reputation as box-office poison. Think about it: The Curiosity landing has “Future Ron Howard Movie” written all over it. Add in, say, Robert Downey Jr. as a brilliant but prickly engineer and Emma Stone as his tart-tongued protegee, and this could be bigger than Prometheus — not to mention several times more intelligible. Watch the video below — then take to the comments to discuss who you’d like to see in Curiosity: The Movie.

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