The World

The helicopter on Mars

I’m taking a minute to appreciate that, despite all the challenges we currently face here on Earth, we’re flying a helicopter around on another planet. 🀯 We can still do incredible things.

This image goes with my continued fascination that we’re invading Mars instead of the them invading us. If there were really such as thing as Martians, then they surely would have blown this helicopter to smithereens and sent us an ultimatum by now. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

(Also: NASA, can I use this as an album cover? Some stylish text would fit nicely against the pale Martian sky.)

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“Skycrane maneuver has started…”

We Earthlings have a history of fearing Martians invading our planet πŸ‘½, so it’s always amusing to watch a video of us invading them. πŸ§‘πŸ»β€πŸš€

I used to be obsessed with 7 Minutes of Terror: Curiosity Rover’s Risky Mars Landing, which shows how NASA gets a rover from hurtling 10,000 mph through space to softly kissing the surface of Mars — all within a few short minutes. It’s still an amazing video if you haven’t seen it and are interested in, well… anything cool.

My favorite part is the skycrane maneuver, which is hard to explain but looks insane. And it seems to work quite well.

β€œIf you’re landing a rover on Mars, there’s no doubt this is the right way.”

In fact, this skycrane show-off maneuver works so well that NASA keeps doing it. Check out a video of the latest invasion — I mean landing — in the name of Perseverance.

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Apollo 11 Source Code πŸš€

In the coolest news ever, the source code for the freakin’ Apollo 11 space modules was recently revealed on GitHub. 🀩

Specifically, this is the source code for the guidance systems of the Lunar module (the thingy that landed on the surface of the moon) and the Command Module (the can that orbited the moon during the mission).

πŸ‘‰ Apollo-11 on GitHub

A few cool points:

  • The code submission date is March 28, 1969.
  • The programmer is one Margaret H. Hamilton, Colossus Programming Leader Apollo Guidance and Navigation. If anyone is still saying “girls” can’t code, then you can seriously stop now.
  • There are two literal modules in the project: Comanche055 (Colossus 2A, the Command Module), Luminary099 (Luminary 1A, the Lunar Module). So much for thinking of “modules” as just a programming concept. These were two physical components literally flying around the moon.
  • These nerds were funny too. The master ignition routine is called BURN_BABY_BURN. πŸ˜‚
  • The code seems to be written in some sort of assembler language, as in 1969 basically no modern languages were yet invented.
  • The code comments are currently being translated to other spoken languages as part of this open source project. For all mankind, mothers! 🌎
The World

The Dyson Sphere Theory

Okay, I’m not huge on wild conspiracy theories. But I like that some scientists think it is at least plausible that highly advanced aliens are building  megastructures around stars to capture their energy like a battery. 🀯 The cool thing is there would actually be a good reason for aliens to do this if they were capable enough. πŸŒŸπŸ”‹

I’m not saying I believe it, but I love that this is a theoretical possibility. And it’s influencing SETI.

πŸ‘‰ Missing stars could point to alien civilizations, scientists say

The idea here is that a very advanced alien civilization may be able to construct a hypothetical megastructure called a Dyson sphere that completely encompasses a star in order to capture a large portion of its energy. Think of it as converting a star into a gargantuan battery.