There’s a lot of everything to know. And we cannot possibly understand it with our eyes closed, our minds narrowed, our heads tilted down.
So look up! Because when we do, even for a moment, our view increases from here to infinity.
Yves Rossy: A Modern-Day Daedalus
Ovid’s legendary tale of Daedalus and Icarus and their wings of feather and wax shows how flying has intrigued humans for as long as we have existed. Now, Swiss pilot Yves Rossy has achieved the first human winged flight. With a long career as a pilot behind him, Rossy is practiced in aerobatics, hang gliding, paragliding, skydiving—but his dream was to fly without being enclosed in an aircraft. After years of dedicated development and with the help of sponsors, he succeeded in building prototype wings, but they’re not made of wax. They are constructed from light, strong carbon fibre and fitted with four kerosene-fuelled jet engines, but they won’t allow him to take off from the ground. Rather, Rossy is flown up several kilometres, then drops out of the plane with the wings strapped to his back—and after a short freefall, the rigid 2.5 metre wings unfold and the flying begins. The jet turbines allow Rossy to accelerate to speeds of over 300 km/h, and uses his body to change position and control his flight—performing stunts such as dives, figure-eights, and 360-degree barrel rolls. In 2006 he became the first man in the history of aviation to fly with jet-propelled wings, and his subsequent flights took him over the Swiss Alps and the English Channel. But considering that his sponsors poured over $200,000 into his prototype, it’s safe to say his design won’t be commercially available any time soon.
A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks — and all without violating Einstein’s law of relativity.
The top image, BTW, is a Vulcan ship first seen on Star Trek: Enterprise.
LOOKER A mosaic of images from the Curiosity rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager on Oct. 31 shows the rover’s camera mast and deck. The pictures were taken during operations at a Martian sampling site known as Rocknest. (Photo: NASA / CalTech / JPL via NBC News)
more supercool scienceart
Zachary Copfer has producing a series images from radiation and bacteria in a petri dish, portraits of famous scientists and artists:
As a former microbiologist recently turned visual artist, I seek to create work that is less of an intersection of art and science and more of a genuine fusion of the two. During my graduate research I invented a new medium that combines photographic process with microbiological practices. The process is very similar to darkroom photography only the enlarger has been replaced by a radiation source and instead of photographic paper this process uses a petri dish coated with a living bacterial emulsion. I believe that great beauty and poetry reside within the theories woven by scientists. And that it is through the unification of art and science that these treasures can be fully explored and made accessible to the world at large.
“I believe that great beauty and poetry reside within the theories woven by scientists.”
The Carl Sagan-inspired surrealist GIFs of Ignacio Torres, featuring humans as star stuff.
(images by Ignacio Torres, full gallery at The Morning News)
Revisiting my favorite GIFs ever made, I just stumbled upon this interview with Co.Design where photographer Ignacio Torres discusses how he makes these stereoscopic stardust super-shots. Step inside the star-stuff lab!
Curiosity Has Landed, the 2m24s definitive edit from NASA Television:
Get a behind the scenes look a the tension, anticipation and exhilaration experienced by scientists and engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. during the Curiosity rover’s harrowing descent through the Martian atmosphere — known as “Seven Minutes of Terror.” News of Curiosity’s safe touchdown following the 13-thousand-to-zero-mile-an-hour descent to the Red Planet’s surface brought elation and high-fives all around. Curiosity begins a two-year investigation of whether Mars is or ever was capable of supporting microbial life.
Researchers say they have “sonified” the data from the Atlas experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland, making it possible to “hear” the newly discovered Higgs Boson-like particle, dubbed the “God particle” by Nobel-prize winning physicist Leon Lederman.
Photo: Score of the sonification. The bump corresponding to the new particle is represented by a F note which is two octaves above the preceding F note, a C which is the most acute note in the music, representing the peak of the Higgs, and a E note. Credit: Domenico Vicinanza
— tanya b.