Fans of Merlin may still be reeling after the show's abrupt cancellation (I don't want to talk about it), but we now know the show that will be taking its place, in the BBC's lineup if not in our hearts: Atlantis, a Greek mythology-themed fantasy drama.
That… that might manage to take Merlin's place in my heart too, actually. I'll have to see how good it is, but... Greek mythology-themed fantasy, guys. Greek mythology-themed fantasy.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis, which launched July 8th, has returned to Earth. Atlantis' safe return marks the end of an era, as it is the official conclusion to the entire space shuttle program. Atlantis and her four person crew commenced their landing at night, and touched down at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at an official full wheel stop time of 5:57am. It was NASA's 25th night landing, the 78th landing at Kennedy Space Center, and the 133rd landing in overall shuttle history.
During this mission, STS 135, Atlantis orbited Earth 200 times and flew 5,284,862 miles. STS 135 was Atlantis' 33rd and final mission. In the course of shuttle's history, Atlantis spent 307 days in space, orbited the Earth 4,848 times, and flew 125,935,769 miles. The space shuttle program is now officially over and the future of NASA and American space exploration, though sure to continue, is uncertain.
You've seen the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle as they transit across the sun, and you may have seen them from a soyuz spaceship, but you probably haven't seen them from Earth in broad daylight. Using only an eight-inch telescope and a video camera, astronomer Scott Ferguson was able to capture images of the ISS with the docked Atlantis orbiter over an hour after sunrise. His only trick, besides experience in astrophotograpy, was specialized software to predict the position of the space station -- important when the subject of your photograph is orbiting 210 miles above you.
Though Ferguson's video is certainly impressive, the Bad Astronomy blog claims that because of the space station's 300 foot span it can be spotted with binoculars. You won't see any detail, just an elongated point that, clearly, is not a star or a planet.
But that aside, kudos to Ferguson for his incredible video. See it for yourself, after the break.
Space Shuttle Atlantis is set to launch not too long from now on the last-ever Shuttle mission of the 30-year-old American program. The launch is currently scheduled for 11:26 a.m. EST, taking off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at Kennedy Space Center. You can watch the stream above, or over on NASA TV.
NASA is prepping for the very last flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which will mark the end of the entire Space Shuttle program this week. The crew of Atlantis will conduct a range of scientific experiments, among them (and most notable for the ew-factor) is a baggie-based urine recycling system that may make pee drinkable. Yes, that refreshing beverage, pee.
But before you become completely repulsed, rest assured the astronauts themselves will not be drinking urine. At least not these astronauts, not yet. The test will be conducted with an experimental fluid, to test the ability of established pee recycling systems to work in space. The military already uses a similar technology to filter parasites, bacteria, and viruses out of dirty fluids (including urine) for sanitary reasons.
Early this morning, Space Shuttle Endeavour completed its final flight, thus ending NASA's second-to-last shuttle mission. Atlantis' final flight next month will be the last of the STS missions, thus ending the 30-year Space Shuttle program.
Endeavour has had quite a history:
Endeavour landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center after 248 orbits around Earth and a journey of 6,510,221 miles. The STS-134 mission was the 25th and final flight for Endeavour, which spent a total of 299 days in space, orbited Earth 4,671 times and traveled 122,883,151 miles.