The Mighty If!

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These photographs were shot in 1975, so… they’re not super new. But I periodically get blown away by them again. Folks, that’s the SURFACE OF VENUS. Actual photos, shot by the Soviet Venera 9 probe. (Well, they’re composite images, perspective-corrected, from amazing work done by Don P. Mitchell and posted on this site here.) I’ve seen them dozens of times — I kind of have a Venus thing — but for some reason I find them just as completely mind-exploding as the first time I saw them, each time. 
One other amazing thing: These were actually the first images ever returned of the surface of another planet shot from said surface. We got these before we got our first surface images of Mars!
Venera 9 lasted a whopping 53 minutes before Venus destroyed it. That’s not even sarcastic — that’s an amazing feat for 1975 engineering.These were shot 39 years ago. I love the probe program, so that’s not really an indictment or anything. But I really hope that we return sometime soon. VeSpR made a sub-orbital pass late last year, and there’s a concept on the books for the Venus Mobile Explorer (to collect atmospheric-change-related data), but I don’t see anything else coming up from NASA right now. Maybe someone else will go?A funny story about the Venera missions, for anyone who read this far: Venera 14 included a tool to measure a bunch of data about the soil. However, when the lens cap popped off the camera after landing, it landed *right* where the soil probe was pointed, and there was no way to move it or the probe. So the probe measured the compressibility of the lens cap instead of the soil. (Some of the other data it was supposed to get, they were able to get via other means.) I’m actually kind of surprised that that story doesn’t end with scientist-on-engineer homicide.

These photographs were shot in 1975, so… they’re not super new. But I periodically get blown away by them again. Folks, that’s the SURFACE OF VENUS. Actual photos, shot by the Soviet Venera 9 probe. (Well, they’re composite images, perspective-corrected, from amazing work done by Don P. Mitchell and posted on this site here.) I’ve seen them dozens of times — I kind of have a Venus thing — but for some reason I find them just as completely mind-exploding as the first time I saw them, each time. 

One other amazing thing: These were actually the first images ever returned of the surface of another planet shot from said surface. We got these before we got our first surface images of Mars!

Venera 9 lasted a whopping 53 minutes before Venus destroyed it. That’s not even sarcastic — that’s an amazing feat for 1975 engineering.

These were shot 39 years ago. I love the probe program, so that’s not really an indictment or anything. But I really hope that we return sometime soon. VeSpR made a sub-orbital pass late last year, and there’s a concept on the books for the Venus Mobile Explorer (to collect atmospheric-change-related data), but I don’t see anything else coming up from NASA right now. Maybe someone else will go?

A funny story about the Venera missions, for anyone who read this far: Venera 14 included a tool to measure a bunch of data about the soil. However, when the lens cap popped off the camera after landing, it landed *right* where the soil probe was pointed, and there was no way to move it or the probe. So the probe measured the compressibility of the lens cap instead of the soil. (Some of the other data it was supposed to get, they were able to get via other means.) I’m actually kind of surprised that that story doesn’t end with scientist-on-engineer homicide.

Filed under venus science photography awesome space

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Researchers Create Muscle Fibers Using Fishing Line and Sewing Thread

Well, if you thought the crazy world of mad-science superheroes was forever in the future, you might soon be wrong! Scientists have created artificial muscle fibres that can lift 100x the weight a regular human muscle fibre can in a single contraction, and which has a higher power output for its weight than a combustion engine. They’re also much more affordable than previous artificial muscle fibres. I feel like “top-secret super soldier program” is the next obvious step.

Filed under science artificial muscles supersoldier comic book science nifty

445,466 notes

bad-w0lff:

freudian-slipped:

if you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out.

if you put a frog in warm water and gradually turn up the heat until the water is boiling, the frog will remain there until it dies.

and that is an abusive relationship.

Holy shit.

I won’t debate its merits as a metaphor — it’s certainly illustrative and eye-opening — but I feel that for the sake of science it’s worth pointing out that the actual frog behaviour described above is mythical. There were some experiments that suggested the above performed in the 1800s (some of which involved first removing the frog’s brain), but modern science generally disputes their conclusions. The general modern consensus seems to be that if you put a frog in boiling water, it will generally die before it has a chance to react, but if you put it in cold water and gradually heat it up, it will jump out. 

(via shadowcon)