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This 6-Year-Old Wants to Be an Astronaut, So He's Petitioning the White House to Save NASA

December 10, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow For half of his life, Connor Johnson has dreamed of being an astronaut. And not just for the adventure of it. Not just for the romance, or the celebrity, or the outfits ... but for the giddy newness of it. Johnson wants to be a sailor of stars, he says, ...

How Do We Welcome Astronauts Back to Earth? By Making Them Go Through Customs

December 6, 2013 In a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) Thursday afternoon, the now-retired astronaut-cum-social-media-phenomenon Chris Hadfield answered a series of redditors' questions about space travel. One of them: "Did you have to pass through Customs or some other international checkpoint when you landed in Kazakhstan?" Hadfield's answer? Yes! As the Canadian explains ...

Another Problem for Amazon's Delivery Drones? Angry Birds

December 6, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow We can talk about regulatory hurdles. We can talk about delivery zone issues. We can talk about cost and weight and range and reliability, about lawsuits and criminality. We should, when we're talking about Amazon's Prime Air, talk about all of those things. You know what we should also be ...

Irradiated Turkey, Thermostabilized Yams: Thanksgiving Dinner in Space

November 27, 2013 There are many wonderful things about being in space. The views. The floating. The many delightful things you can do with water drops. Etc. You know what's less awesome, though? The food. Sure, you can do a lot of things to space food to make it less space-food-y: You can ...

In the World Series of 1918, the Military Flyover Was Done by Pigeons

October 29, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A newspaper summary of the baseball pigeons, 1918 (Boston Globe via Yoni Appelbaum) The 1918 World Series, the Boston Red Sox versus the Chicago Cubs, was notable for several reasons. It was played, for one thing, as World War I raged, and was, as a result of a battle-shortened ball ...

Why NASA Launched Jellyfish Into Space

October 18, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Since the early 1990s, we humans have been doing something both odd and eminently sensible: We've been launching jellyfish into space. And we have been doing so for science. During NASA's first Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS-1) missionin 1991, NASA began conducting an experiment: "The Effects of Microgravity-Induced Weightlessness on Aurelia ...

Your iPhone: A Cutting-Edge Earthquake Detector?

October 2, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow When you grow up in California, "earthquake drills" are as common as fire drills. A teacher announces the presence of a quake. She may simulate, unconvincingly, the shaking of walls and windows and shelves. At that point, and as quickly as possible, you crawl under your desk, crouching and collecting ...

PandaCam, the Star of the Shutdown

October 1, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Government shutdown is upon us. Again. And so, again, we'll read stories of the effects of history repeating itself: explainers both extensive and brief, analyses both indignant and less so, straightforward news stories that dutifully describe what happens when a massive bureaucracy suddenly, if only partially, shuts down. Many of ...

Obama Scooped by Iranian President's Tweet

September 27, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow President Obama and the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani had a phone call on Friday. The discussion was, it seems, substantial: Among its topics was Iran's nuclear program. But the content of the conversation was only one thing that made the call a big deal; even more significant was the fact ...

Take a Digital Joyride Through the Large Hadron Collider

September 27, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Back in 1989, working from a computer at CERN, Tim Berners-Lee put into the place the ideas and the infrastructure that would become the World Wide Web. In 1990, he released a formal proposal to build a "hypertext project": a "web" of "hypertext documents" that would be accessible via "browsers." ...