Category: Misc.

10 of the Most Dangerous Space Walks Ever

In honor of the release of Gravity, Popular Mechanics posted 10 of the Most Dangerous Space Walks Ever Done.  Here are just a three of tidbits…

#10. Hubble Repair: …Had anything gone wrong, the astronauts would have had no refuge or hope of rescue…

#9.  Gonna Need a Bigger Door:  In the early days of the space race, no one knew for sure what was required for space walks beyond a spacesuit. One thing that’s nice to have: a hatch that’s big enough to accommodate a suit that expands when no longer being squeezed by outside air pressure. In 1965, Soviet cosmonaut Alexey Leonov almost paid for that oversight with his life when he couldn’t get back inside his Voskhod spacecraft after his historic first space walk…

#7: Sasha, I Don’t Think…: Decompression is a space station astronaut’s worst nightmare. The nightmare came true in 1997 when an out-of-control Progress cargo ship slammed into space station Mir, punching a hole in the module it struck. With alarms blaring, cosmonauts Michael Foale and Sasha Lazutkin had to use the only tool they had at hand—a kitchen knife…

Time Travel to the FUTURE is Possible

According to particle physicist Brian Cox time travel is possible, but only to the future.  

“Can you build a time machine?” said Professor Cox. “The answer is yes.”

There’s just one, tiny problem, Professor Cox says – if you can build a machine capable of time-travel, you can only travel into the future. You can’t come back.

Professor Cox explains how building a time machine to travel to the future is possible here and here.

Thanks to Brian Michael Bendis for the original link.

Behind the Scenes: Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Ride

If you’ve ever been to any of the Disney Theme Parks, odds are your favorite ride is Pirates of the Caribbean.

Even if Pirates of the Caribbean is not your favorite, you probably liked the ride enough to really get a kick out of this behind-the-scenes making of video for Pirates of the Caribbean video.  It features interviews with the original artists, sculptors and animatronics-makers.

For those who want even more behind-the-scenes goodies for Pirates of the Caribbean, here’s part two!

Thanks and a hearty, Hi-Ho to Miss Cellania for the link.

One of the Most Terrifying Survival Stories of All Time

Explorers are a different breed. Their desire to go “where no man has gone before,” no matter the cost, sometimes has them pay the ultimate price.

In November 1912, they had started as a crew of 24.  Before the expedition was over Douglas Mawson was alone in the Antarctic fighting time and the elements to get back to the base camp before their ship left…

“What followed was one of the most terrifying survival stories of all time.”

Into the Unknown by David Roberts [Photo by Frank Hurley] for The National Geographic told the tale.   Here’s a taste…

Mawson was now in a race against time, as well as miles. The expedition’s relief ship Aurora was scheduled to arrive at Commonwealth Bay on January 15 to pick up the men and steam toward home in Australia. But as the days ticked by, Mawson was still more than 80 miles from the hut, and he was growing weaker by the hour.

One day, plowing through deep snow, he broke through a snowbridge covering a hidden crevasse. Suddenly he was falling unchecked through space. Then a fierce jolt halted his plunge. The 14-foot harness rope attaching him to the sledge had held, but now Mawson was sure that his weight would pull the sledge in on top of him. He thought, So this is the end.

Miraculously, the sledge stuck fast in the deep snow, anchoring him. But as his eyes adjusted to the semidarkness, Mawson saw how hopeless his predicament was. He dangled free in space, the crevasse walls too far away to reach even with the wild swing of a boot. His first thought came as a searing regret that he had not had the chance to eat the last ounces of his food before he died.

His only chance to escape was to pull himself hand over hand up the harness rope. Providentially, he had tied knots in the rope at regular intervals. He seized the first knot and pulled himself upward, then lunged for the next. Even for a fit, healthy man, such a feat would have been barely possible; yet Mawson pulled, rested, and lunged again. He reached the lip of the crevasse and tried to roll onto the surface above.

That effort broke loose the overhanging lip. Mawson fell all the way to the end of his harness rope. Despair overwhelmed him. He pondered slipping out of the harness to plunge to the bottom of the crevasse, ending things at once rather than by strangling or slowly freezing. At that moment, a verse from his favorite poet, Robert Service, flashed through his mind: “Just have one more try—it’s dead easy to die, / It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.”

The words spurred him to “one last tremendous effort.”…