Posts Tagged ‘Science & Tech’

NASA WISE or R2-D2 in Disguise? Team | January 7, 2010

NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has returned its first photograph – a calibration shot of “about 3,000 stars in the Carina constellation.” While the star-filled image was impressive, we couldn’t help but think their explorer sure looks a lot like an encased astromech.

NASA has described the cryostat as resembling “a giant Thermos bottle” or “the Star Wars robot R2-D2″, and being “about the height and weight of a big polar bear, only wider”. The agency’s big polar bear in this case is 2.85 metres tall, 2 metres wide, 1.73 metres deep and weighs 661kg.

Read more about it here:
NASA infrared survey returns first snap

Star Wars Weather Report

Bonnie Burton | December 21, 2009

Whether it’s raining in London, snowing in Nebraska, or sunny in Los Angeles, there’s a Star War planet out there that represents your current climate.

Star Wars fan Tom Scott has made this accurate Star Wars Weather Forecast that searches for your city and gives you the results based on the corresponding Star Wars planet.

How Long Could Luke Survive in a Tauntaun? Team | December 14, 2009

Here’s something to think about the next time you’re complaining about how cold it is outside. At least you’re not stuck inside a tauntaun trying to stay alive.

In a normal environment, a carcass gets cold in 8 to 36 hours losing an average rate of 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit per hour. However, the ice world of Hoth is not an average environment. The Star Wars database lists that Hoth reaches nightly temperatures of -60 F. In a frigid, sub-zero environment, body heat can be lost almost 32 times faster. This means a Tauntaun’s body heat could drop almost 51.2 F every hour. Considering that Han Solo’s Tauntaun died of severe hypothermia even before it was cut open with Luke’s lightsaber, one could assume it’s core body temperature was already well below normal.

The problem for Luke is if the Tauntaun’s body temperature reaches freezing point those once toasty guts, blood, and assorted alien goo, will in fact become a frozen coffin. If the Tauntaun died of cardiac arrest due to hypothermia with an average body temperature of 75 F (23 C), and if Tauntaun blood freezes at 28.4 F (-2 C), then Han has roughly 56 minutes to set up a shelter before Luke once again is in danger of losing his life in the barren wasteland of Hoth.

Read the full article here:
How Long Could Luke Survive in a Tauntaun?

Star Wars at Maker Faire 2009 Team | June 3, 2009

Any convention that mixes R2-D2, Tesla coils, fire-breathing sculptures, a human-size mousetrap, art cars, unusual inventions and crafts is bound to have something for everyone.

Bay Area Maker Faire — May 30-31, 3009 — brought together craftsters, robot wranglers, science geeks, rocket builders, Burning Man artists, steampunks and more.


How does Star Wars end?

Bonnie Burton | March 28, 2009

How well do you think you know the ending of Star Wars compared to what actually happened? Cognitive Daily wondered the same thing and decided to find out what fans would say to that question. Of course, some fans answered about A New Hope, while others thought the question included the whole Star Wars saga.

We asked if respondents knew how it ended, and while 78 percent of respondents said they knew the ending, there was a tremendous range of descriptions of the story’s end.

There were quite a few amusing responses to the “How does Star Wars end” question.

Here’s a selection:

  • Cheering all around the galaxy that they stuck Jar Jar in for no reason.
  • Luke sees Vader in all his Jedi-hologram glory and realizes his father is no longer a part of the dark side.
  • Luke and Leia are brother and sister. Gross!
  • Primitive Ewoks bring down Fascist Galactic Empire. Cuddly improbability.
  • Jedi save the galaxy! Everybody dances around on Endor.
  • Amateur fighter pilot ignores orders, listens to the voices in his head and slaughters thousands.
  • Chewbacca doesn’t get a medal.
  • It doesn’t end!

How does Star Wars end? Depends on how old you are.
(via Cognitive Daily)


How Much Energy Does the Death Star Take?

Bonnie Burton | February 9, 2009

Ever wonder how much energy it takes to run the laser on the Death Star? Now you don’t have to wonder thanks to the eggheads at Science Blog.

For the earth, it works out to around 2.2 x 1032 joules. That’s a preposterously huge amount of energy! It’s a solid week of the sun’s entire power output. Dumping it in about a single second, as required to blow up Alderaan, is a very, very impressive feat. Doubly so when you take into account the fact that the binding energy is just enough to dissociate the planet into a diffuse cloud. If you want to actually blow the thing up into pieces flying out at many times escape velocity, you need much more energy.

Read the full article here:
The Physics of the Death Star (via Science Blog)

SOURCE: Gizmodo

New Mustafar-like Planet Discovered?

Bonnie Burton | February 4, 2009

(Photo credit: CNES)

Astronomers using the COROT space telescope have discovered what may be the smallest extrasolar planet (measuring less than twice the size of Earth) orbiting a sun-like star. The planet (seen as that block dot in the above photo) sounds a little like Mustafar, minus the Jedi duel.

One big difference in the newfound planet compared to Earth: COROT-Exo-7b is located very close to its star, orbiting once every 20 hours. Its temperature is so high, ranging from 1,832 to 2,732 degrees Fahrenheit that the researchers say the exoplanet could be covered in lava or water vapor.

The density of the planet is still under investigation, though scientists say it may be rocky like Earth and covered in liquid lava. COROT-Exo-7b may also belong to a class of planets that are thought to be made up of water and rock in almost equal amounts. Given the high temperatures measured, the planet would likely be a very hot and humid place.

Read the full story here:
Small, Hot Earth-Like Planet Discovered
(via AOL news/


Cancer-fighting Lightsabers? Team | December 3, 2008

Looks like a lightsaber is now more than just “an elegant weapon for a more civilized time.” Professor Kishan Dholakia and Dr. Frank Gunn-Moore from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland have recently developed a “lightsaber-like” tool which can be used to fight cancer cells in the body.

The device — which is only a couple of millimetres square — fires a laser beam so accurately that it can puncture a hole in an individual cell, allowing drugs to enter and do their work much more effectively.

Dr Gunn-Moore says, “You could think of these as tiny lightsabres like they had in Star Wars inside your body. We can use lasers to punch tiny holes exactly where we want them. We can produce a rod of light — sometimes described as a sword — that can even go around objects. It really does sound like science fiction.”

Read the full article here:
Star Wars-style “lightsabre” to fight cancer cells developed
(via Entertainment and Showbiz)

Star Wars Fun at Maker Faire

Bonnie Burton | May 2, 2008

Maker Faire is a two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates the Do-It-Yourself mindset. Maker Faire happens May 3 and 4 at the San Mateo Fairgrounds in California. It’s a fun event for creative people of all ages who love to tinker and make things.

Whether it’s playing with robots (and there’s a lot of them!), checking out huge fire-breathing contraptions from Survival Research Laboratories, gawking at Tesla Coils, drag racing power tools, making all kinds of crafts, or just having fun geeking out, there’s plenty for everyone to do.

Here’s a selection of Makers and Exhibits that Star Wars fans might dig the most:


Could Tatooine Be Closer Than We Think?

Bonnie Burton | April 16, 2008

If you don’t mind lots of sand, high temperatures and well… that’s about it, then you might be excited to hear about the idea that a planet like Tatooine could possibly exist in reality. reports about Ryosuke Kita of Northwestern University, who recently presented at the Astrobiology Science Conference 2008 about the likelihood of a Tatooine-type planet in a nearby solar system.