Bad news for NASA from the Augustine Commission. Under the current budget through 2015, we can’t even get out of Low-Earth Orbit. What that means is we can only go to the ISS. We can’t even get back to the moon, let alone send people to Mars or beyond. The commission’s recommendations are best summarized in a cool graphic that I found on Universe Today yesterday. See below.

Image via Universe Today

Image via Universe Today

Obviously Obama has to allocate more money to NASA if we are to even think about achieving the current set of goals. (Those being: retiring the space shuttle, developing the new Ares rockets, Orion Crew Module, and Antares Moon Lander, and getting back to the Moon around 2020.) In these times that will be tough, and sadly NASA could get put on the backburner for a few years until we have more economic stability. Let’s hope for the best, though.

In some much better NASA news, the newly refurbished Hubble Space Telescope is working like a charm and is taking better pictures than ever before. Check out some of the gorgeous new images at NASA’s website. You can even download super hi-res versions. Eye. Gasm.

Who knew that we’d be able to build an actual, real-life antigravity device so soon? Scientists have found a way to levitate small creatures as big as mice. We’ve all seen the classroom science experiment where they use a superconductor in liquid nitrogen to levitate a tiny disc. But you can actually do that with almost anything. They key is getting the magnetic field to the right strength. AND there’s a practical goal of this research other than “Holy Shit! We made a mouse float in mid-air! Cool!” The practical goal is to study long-term effects of microgravity on the mice’s bodies, the results of which can be applied to astronauts in space and help NASA plan for missions to Mars and beyond. (Via LiveScience)

Here’s one of those awesome Hubble images:

Image via NASA

Image via NASA

Wow. I’ve only been doing this for about a month and I’m already getting requests from a promotions company to review an album. Look for some mp3’s and my take on the new local band Blue Eyed Blacks, and their first album “Black Eyed Soul” soon.

If you know me at all, you know that I’m a huge sci fi nerd, and that I’ve been an avid fan of both Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis for many years now. SG-1 was the longest running sci fi television series ever, lasting a whopping 10 years. They started Atlantis as a spinoff in 2005, and even had some interesting interplay between the two series while they overlapped. While I was sad to see SG-1 come to an end in 2007, I knew it was time, and quite frankly, the new SG-1 team just wasn’t quite the same without Richard Dean Anderson’s character, Colonel Jack O’Neil. I was heartbroken initially upon hearing that this current season of Atlantis will be its last, which prompted me to do a little research as to the reasoning for this, and in the process I discovered that executive producers Brad Wright and Robert Cooper are up to something new: another spinoff series called Stargate Universe. There’s not much info about it yet, but according to the press release, it will be set on a ship rather than earth or a remote base, and the crew will be a group of earth explorers who get stuck on this ship and have to fend for themselves as the ship carries out its unalterable mission of exploring the entire universe. Yes, not just one galaxy… the whole universe. I’m cautiously excited about this new direction for the franchise. I really hope the writers keep the same level of character development of the other two and keep using the layers and layers of mythology developed in the SG-1 series. Read the full press release to get the details if you’re interested.

I’m not a sports fanatic by any means, but I have been following my hometown team, the Tennessee Titans, for several years now, and of course I’m quite happy to see them leading the NFL at 10-0. Their veteran quarterback Kerry Collins apparently has an unlikely side-hobby: songwriting. Only in Nashville.

And now for some debunking. I came across this video on Oddee.com and couldn’t resist posting it because of the astonishing absurdity.

Because the show on which this guy Ramana is performing is in Dutch I really don’t know how seriously they’re taking him, but how can anyone not see that big wooden post (and base) to which he’s attached? Are people completely blind?!?!? I have much respect for the needle and thread trick he does, and for any tricks that require real skill and years of practice. I also think his performance art installations of hanging on the sides of buildings are interesting in a purely artistic sense, but this particular levitation stunt is just silly. “Illusions” that are obviously the result of specialized props just piss me off.

Random interesting tidbit: Scientists have created microscopic Obamas out of carbon nanotubes.