CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 1, 2014 |
Wearing a nitrogen-powered jet pack, Dale Gardner stepped from the space shuttle, alone and untethered, 224 miles above Earth. Armed with a 5-foot probe called a stinger, Gardner drifted toward a wayward satellite, the Westar 6, which was spinning slowly, 35 feet away. When he got close enough Gardner inserted the stinger into the orbiter's spent rocket nozzle and brought it to a halt. "I got it," he exclaimed. The mission to salvage the Westar and another communications satellite, the Palapa B-2, in November 1984 marked a high point of the space shuttle program, feeding a growing sense of NASA's infallibility that would end just a year later, when the Challenger exploded just after launch over Florida.
February 24, 2014 |
For a brief moment last September, a flash on the moon shone about as bright as the North Star, Polaris, giving away the biggest crash from a space rock hitting the lunar surface ever caught on camera, astronomers say. The discovery -- "the brightest and longest confirmed impact flash," according to the study authors -- was detailed in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and reveals that perhaps 10 times as many small rocky bodies...
February 24, 2014 |
The oldest known material on Earth is a tiny bit of zircon crystal that has remained intact for an incredible 4.4 billion years, a study confirms. The ancient remnant of the early Earth may change the way we think about how our planet first formed. The crystal is the size of a small grain of sand, just barely visible to the human eye. It was discovered on a remote sheep farm in western Australia, which happens to sit on one of the most stable parts of our planet. "The Earth's tectonic processes are constantly destroying rocks," said John Valley, a professor of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who discovered and dated the crystal.
February 18, 2014 |
The Voyager 1 spacecraft is the first human-made object to venture into interstellar space. Even if defined only by distance, the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory twin Voyagers are America's greatest space adventure. They've been flying successfully for more than 36 years and are billions of miles from home. What isn't widely known is that they almost never made it out there. The first proposed mission in the late 1960s was for four spacecraft to take advantage of a rare alignment of the four outer planets of the solar system; Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune would all be on the same side of the sun. However, in December 1971, NASA decided it couldn't afford the $1-billion price tag for a 12-year "grand tour" mission with four spacecraft.
February 17, 2014 |
No one can accuse the people at the CW of not giving its audience what they think it wants. "Star-Crossed," which premieres Monday and might easily be reverse-engineered from its title alone - it's "Romeo and Juliet," with aliens - adds another story of cross-cultural, interspecies romance to the network of "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Vampire Diaries" (and "Hart of Dixie," for that matter). For a certain sort of moony viewer, there is no love so true as the impossible love that is meant to be. Created by Meredith Averill (formerly a story editor at "The Good Wife")
February 17, 2014 |
A massive asteroid the length of three football fields will make its closest approach to Earth tonight, and you can watch it fly by live, right here. Beginning at 6 p.m. PST, the astronomy website Slooh.com will provide a live video feed of the asteroid from a telescope in the Canary Islands. The free show will last about an hour and will be visible in the video box above. Asteroid the length of 3 football fields eludes sky-watchers The asteroid is known as 2000 EM26, and although it is big, it poses no threat to Earth.
February 15, 2014 |
A storm warning has been issued for space, where a "cannibal" coronal mass ejection grabbed the attention of space-weather watchers. The sun -- at a peak of activity in the 11-year solar cycle -- hurled a pair of CMEs that reached Earth early Saturday morning, Pacific time. The ejections, as NASA's Alex Young says, "are a huge release of solar material, billions of tons, and magnetic field. " Upon reaching Earth, they can wreak havoc with our power grid -- and, on the bright side, create gorgeous auroras.
February 13, 2014 |
With the American South locked in a deep freeze, you can be sure that plenty of the folks suffering through the snow and ice storms are interpreting the big chill as more proof that global warming is a hoax. “Warming?” they scoff. “How can the planet be warming when it's so darn cold?” People in other parts of the world seem to have no great difficulty understanding the science but, in the good old USA where quite a few people consider science just another political opinion, it is going to take a lot longer to get most people to accept the cold facts about a warmer world.
February 12, 2014 |
Former "Saturday Night Live" performer Will Forte will star in the title role of a new Fox comedy "Last Man on Earth" that will premiere during the middle of the next broadcast season. Forte, who has earned positive notices for his supporting role in the film "Nebraska" created the series, and will be one of the executive producers, along with Phil Lord & Chris Miller, who will also direct the pilot. The show is expected to go into production this summer. The actor-comedian is also known for his "McGruber character," an inept weapons expert he played on "Saturday Night Live.
February 8, 2014 |
BERLIN - They stood an hour or more in four long lines, inching toward the ticket counters with agonizing slowness. This being Germany, they were orderly and polite. And this being the Berlin International Film Festival, they didn't mind the wait. It gave them time to thumb through the program, checking out obscure titles, circling ones that looked promising. A scruffy student searched for movies from the Balkans, while a retired engineer consulted an impressive grid drawn in his notebook of dates and show times, making sure that Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" (which he wanted to see)