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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

EXOSQUAD... I miss this show. It was awesome. Cool robotic suits. Cool characters. Kick-ass intro music. I remember getting up early in the morning each day to watch Exosquad back in the summer of ’95 (between my freshman and sophomore years in high school. Haha— Dweeby, I know). Ironically, if Hollywood ever decided to do a live-action film based on this cartoon, and they f**ked it up royally (like they did with G.I. Joe and um, Speed Racer), I’d be TRULY pissed. That’s how nostalgic I am for this series. Even more so than with Transformers. ("They added a mouth on Optimus Prime? Meh— Oh well. Phaeton will be played by Eddie Murphy in Exosquad: The Movie??? The Neosapiens will all have dreadlocks or ponytails??? And McG is directing the film??? DAMN YOU, HOLLYWOOD!! DAMN YOU TO HELL!!!" That’s what I would say if Hollywood bastardized the movie version of this kick-ass cartoon.)

Here’s a YouTube clip of Exosquad's Season 2 intro. Did I mention that the music rocked?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

ONE MONTH FROM NOW, the Ares I-X rocket will be launched on a flight test from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I don’t care what the naysayers say, I’m stoked.

An artist's concept of the Ares I-X rocket at Launch Pad 39B in Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
Courtesy of nasa1fan/MSFC

Today also marks two years since the Dawn spacecraft launched for the Asteroid Belt.

An artist's concept showing Dawn flying away from Earth following launch.
NASA / UCLA

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"A PERSON often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it..."

(NOW you tell me.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

WATER! WATER EVERYWHERE! Click on this page to read more on the discovery that water is widespread across the Moon’s landscape...

Two photos showing the lunar surface, and where water is located beneath it.
ISRO / NASA / JPL - Caltech / USGS / Brown Univ.

...and check out this article to read about water ice being found in several Martian craters.

Two photos showing water ice inside a Martian crater, before the ice sublimates (vaporizes) into gas.
NASA / JPL - Caltech / University of Arizona

Does this mean future astronauts won’t have to rely solely on ‘yesterday’s coffee’ (RE: recycled urine) to hydrate themselves when we finally go back to the Moon, and eventually land on Mars? We shall see.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"AMERICANISM: Using money you haven't earned to buy things you don't need to impress people you don't like."

God Bless America.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

GO F**K YOURSELF... This crappy image was posted on Photobucket...along with many others.

Meh.

Monday, September 21, 2009

THIS MEME is getting old, I know. But just thought I’d share one more pic...since the quip below is actually true. Otherwise, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles would be starting its 3rd season on FOX pretty soon, and Summer Glau would still be looking hot kicking people’s asses as the T-800 named Cameron. Or is she a T-600? Or neither? I dunno, I forgot.

Kanye West is trying to piss off a Terminator.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The International Space Station, as of September 8, 2009.
NASA

PHOTOS OF THE DAY... With the scheduled retirement of the space shuttle taking place less than a year from now, just thought I’d share pics of the vehicles that will be taking up the slack of transporting crews and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) once the shuttle is gone. Now in operation are Russia’s Soyuz and Progress spacecraft, Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (or ATV) and Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle (or HTV). The images of the spacecraft are in the order that they are listed above:

A manned Russian Soyuz spacecraft, as seen by a crewmember onboard the International Space Station.
NASA

An unmanned Russian Progress spacecraft, as seen by a crewmember onboard the International Space Station.
NASA

A European ATV spacecraft, as seen by a crewmember onboard the International Space Station.
NASA

A Japanese HTV spacecraft (lower left), as seen by a crewmember onboard the International Space Station.
NASA

Future spacecraft that will ferry crews and cargo to the ISS are SpaceX’s Dragon vehicle, Orbital Sciences Corporation's Cygnus cargo ship and NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Dragon and Cygnus are set to make their maiden flights sometime next year, while Orion won’t be operational till at least 2017. Better late than never.

An artist's concept of the Dragon spacecraft in Earth orbit.
SpaceX

An artist's concept of the Cygnus spacecraft approaching the International Space Station.
Orbital Sciences Corporation

An artist's concept of the Orion spacecraft approaching the International Space Station.
NASA

Thursday, September 17, 2009

PHOTOS OF THE DAY... Buzz Lightyear is back on terra firma after his 468-day stay onboard the International Space Station. He returned to Earth onboard the space shuttle Discovery last Friday...and will now be given a ticker-tape parade at Walt Disney World in Florida on October 2. I'm serious. Lucky lil’ plastic dude.

Buzz Lightyear poses proudly in front of the space shuttle Discovery, which took him home on September 11, 2009.

Buzz Lightyear gazes at the spacecraft that took him home on September 11, 2009.

Both images courtesy of NASA

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

PHOTOS OF THE DAY... Can Kanye West and Republican Joe Wilson be related? It's possible... Dick Cheney and President Obama are eighth cousins, after all. Haha.

Can Kanye West and Joe Wilson be related?  Hmmm....

One more for the road...

Does Kanye have respect for the dead?  Hmmm....

Monday, September 14, 2009

REST IN PEACE Patrick Swayze (1952-2009). In case you guys needed a reminder, Swayze starred in such movies as Dirty Dancing, Ghost and Point Break, as well as the now-defunct TV show, The Beast, on A&E Network. All I can say is, the Academy Awards is gonna have a lot of actors and actresses (Farrah Fawcett, David Carradine, etc..) to honor during the "In Remembrance Of" segment of its Oscar telecast next year. That is all.

Patrick Swayze in a screenshot from the now-defunct TV show, THE BEAST.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rapper Kanye West grabs the mic from Taylor Swift after storming the stage at the 2009 MTV VMAs.

The 2009 MTV Video Music Awards... I didn’t watch tonight’s show, nor do I watch any show on MTV, period, but wow— I was pretty annoyed when I read about this incident. I’ll leave this Blog brief... There are two reasons why Kanye West pisses me off: 1.) His songs suck and he’s overrated. And 2.) HOW DARE he embarrasses a hottie like Taylor Swift like that! If anyone should defend Beyonce for her snub at the VMAs, it would be her husband/rapper, Jay-Z...not this whack-job. You suck, Kanye. That is all.

Beyonce watches as Taylor Swift completes her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV VMAs.

Beyonce and Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs.

Beyonce and Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs.

Here's a video of the outburst. Is that Megan Fox sitting in the row behind Beyonce? Looks like.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Space shuttle Discovery lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California, on September 11, 2009.
Danny Moloshok / Reuters

YESTERDAY, one of my coworkers and I went down to Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert to watch the landing of space shuttle Discovery (which concluded mission STS-128). Overlooking the fact we were like, 5 miles from the runway and didn’t actually see the shuttle touch down because it was obscured by hills by the time it reached the ground, the viewing was awesome. On the other hand, this made me realize that I totally need to replace my piece of s*** digital camera because it just couldn’t zoom in enough to get a decent shot of the homebound orbiter. At least my coworker got better shots (and videos) of Discovery...but that’s because his camera is 8 megapixels (mine is 7.3 megapixels) and has a good optical zoom.

A photo I took of space shuttle Endeavour landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California, on May 16, 1992.

This was the second time I watched a space shuttle landing in person. The first time was in May of 1992, when Endeavour touched down at Edwards (above) after concluding its maiden flight, STS-49. As you can see from the pic I posted, I had a much better vantage point of Endeavour’s arrival than I did for Discovery. That’s an understatement when all I captured was a friggin’ black dot in the sky (below). This makes me want to go to another shuttle landing in the Mojave Desert...just to view it from the same spot I was at 17 years ago, and to take pictures with a much better camera. I have till September of next year (which is when the shuttle is currently scheduled to retire; that may be pushed back to 2011) to do so.

A photo I took of, um, space shuttle Discovery landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California, on September 11, 2009.

One last thing... I guess I should be very fond of Discovery. I saw it on the launch pad (back in February of this year), saw it up in the night sky (while it was in space for mission STS-119), and saw it land. How many people get the opportunity to see a space shuttle in all three phases of flight (though seeing it on the pad doesn't really count...unless I actually saw it launch)? Apart from the astronauts and other die-hard space nerds, that is.

Posing for a pic after space shuttle Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, on September 11, 2009.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

An artist's concept of the Gliese 581 star system.

HELLO FROM EARTH Update... As of 7 PM California time tonight (12 PM Sydney time on Friday, September 11), it has been two weeks since a radio signal containing 25,880 goodwill text messages—including one by me—was transmitted to the exoplanet Gliese 581d from a giant NASA antenna in Australia. The signal is now 225 billion miles (362 billion kilometers) from Earth.

Recently, the Hello From Earth website updated with this cool display (on the right side of the screenshot below) counting down to the day the signal arrives at Gliese 581d, as well as the signal’s current distance from that planet and certain regions in our solar system. Nice. Though it seems like COSMOS Magazine will be spending a fortune on its webhost if it actually plans to keep this site up for the next 20 years.


A screenshot of the updated 'HELLO FROM EARTH' website.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

STAR WARS RECUT TO THE STAR TREK TRAILER... J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, that is. It’s kinda funny how much of the dialogue from the latest Trek film would fit with scenes in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, which either attests to milarc’s (the person who posted this video) shrewd selection of Star Wars moments to go with this trailer...or Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (who also wrote the scripts for the Transformers live-action films) not being very original with the screenplay to last May’s blockbuster. I’ll be nice and say it’s the former.

The link to this YouTube video was saved in my Favorites folder since last June. I have more YouTube links saved on my browser, so come back soon to check them out.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

RANDOM BABE BLOG #14... Remember that TV show, Punky Brewster? Well, you would if you were as old as I was (I'm hittin' the big 3-0 next month. Yikes). Anyways, just thought I’d devote this entry to the actress who played the title character: Soleil Moon Frye. Ms. Frye—err, Mrs. Goldberg (she’s been married since 1998) was only 7-years-old when she did that show. Frye's lookin’ quite good now...to state the obvious. This is overlooking the breast reduction surgery she got when she was 15, because of a disorder called Gigantomastia. Google that.

Oh and FYI, there's a good reason why I brought Punky Brewster up. It involves getting the sudden idea to do so (kinda like seeing how the girl who played Winnie Cooper in the nicely nostalgic The Wonder Years is doing long after that show ended 16 years ago) after someone referred to my screenname as "Punky" on a Hollywood movie message board (trying sayin' that 5 times in a row) yesterday. Punk. That is all.

Soleil Moon Frye.

Monday, September 07, 2009

ACCORDING TO online, um, news reports last night, Los Angeles Lakers star Lamar Odom is now dating Khloe Kardashian...the sister of Disaster Movie (Ugh) actress Kim Kardashian.

...

Now— We won’t be seeing a sequel to that 2007 ‘home video’ made by Kim Kardashian and ex-BF Ray J, are we? I don’t mind seeing Khloe in the buff (she has a nice booty like her sibling), but let’s just leave it to Ron Artest being the only (former) non-Lakers person to publicly see a Lakers player nude, okay? Look up ‘Ron Artest shower incident’ on Google if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Here’s hoping that the high coming from gettin’ wild with a Kardashian will help Odom play more consistent next season (which starts on October 27 against the Los Angeles Clippers). That way, Odom can lay off the candy. Still glad that he re-signed with the Lakers, though.

The Los Angeles Lakers' Lamar Odom with Khloe Kardashian.
Aguilera / BuzzFoto / FilmMagic

Sunday, September 06, 2009

FOBOS-GRUNT... Next month, the Russian Federal Space Agency (or RKA...don’t ask) is planning to launch a spacecraft that will head towards Mars and land on the surface of Phobos, one of its two asteroid moons (the other one being Deimos). If everything goes as planned, Fobos-Grunt will dig up soil from the asteroid and successfully send it back to Earth in 2012...somewhat making this the first sample return mission from Mars. Check out the YouTube clip below for more details. (This video is in Russian; so unless you speak the language, turn the speakers off and you can get the gist of the mission by viewing the imagery.)



Is it just me, or this mission looks a bit complicated...for the Russian Space Agency, that is? The last time RKA tried to send a spacecraft to Mars was in 1996, when the flight ended in failure. A rocket stage onboard the launch vehicle carrying the Mars ’96 probe didn't ignite during the ascent into space, causing Mars ’96 to plummet back to Earth and crash in the Pacific Ocean instead. (Lost with the spacecraft were a "microdot" bearing the names of 100,000 people—including Yours Truly—and a CD-ROM that was a precursor to The Planetary Society’s "Visions of Mars" DVD...which would successfully touch down on the Red Planet 12 years later onboard NASA’s Phoenix lander.)

A full-scale mockup of the Fobos-Grunt lander.
CNES

As of today, the only thing the RKA has been good at (fortunately) is sending astronauts and cargo up to the International Space Station. Other than that, I can’t recall the last time it tried to send a spacecraft to another world. Well... Here’s hoping Fobos-Grunt makes up for that crappy failure back in 1996. If not, then RKA—unlike NASA after its Mars Odyssey probe flawlessly enterd orbit around the Red Planet in October of 2001—will still be plagued by the "Great Galactic Ghoul" (click here) that has struck all but 19 space missions that succeeded in reaching Mars since 1960. Godspeed, Fobos-Grunt.

Mars and Phobos.
NASA / JPL / Malin Space Sciences System / RichTPar

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark and Iron Man in...IRON MAN 2.

IRON MAN 2... Yes I know, these pics are soooo three months ago. Or somewhere around that time. Just thought I’d share them now. Robert Downey Jr. rocks as Iron Man. Mickey Rourke looks like he’ll kick ass as Whiplash...

Mickey Rourke sets aside his wrestler outfit to play Whiplash in IRON MAN 2.

...and Scarlett Johansson will be awesome as...my wife. I wish. Damn you, Ryan Reynolds. Seriously though, Johansson looks pretty cool as the Black Widow. Saying that she looks sexy too is a given. Might as well point out that she has red hair in these pics. Hah. Iron Man 2 comes out in theaters (here in the U.S.) on May 7, 2010.

Scarlett Johansson gets all leathery and redheaded as the Black Widow in IRON MAN 2.

Images courtesy of Marvel Characters, Inc. / Paramount

Thursday, September 03, 2009

THE ARGO MISSION... I could’ve sworn I already posted a Blog on this, but oh well. Back in November of last year, an article was posted on The Planetary Society’s website about a NASA mission that was being proposed by scientists to fly past the planet Neptune by 2029 and then head onwards to the Kuiper Belt. Known as Argo, this mission would be similar to that of New Horizons in that the Argo spacecraft would pretty much utilize the same design as the Pluto-bound probe, use Jupiter (and Saturn) for a gravity assist, head towards Neptune to study it, its (captured) moon Triton and other Neptunian satellites before flying past a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) or two and then departing our solar system.

An artist's concept showing the New Horizons spacecraft soaring past Pluto.
NASA / APL

Like New Horizons, Argo would be classed as a ‘New Frontiers’ mission if approved during NASA’s fourth Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for the program in 2013. The Argo project could’ve been submitted this year (for NASA’s third AO; New Horizons was selected in the first AO in 2001, and a mission called Juno was picked during the second AO in 2005), but the flight relies on being powered by a nuclear generator using plutonium-238 fuel...which is on low supply right now and would not be available again till maybe 2014 (when funding on Argo would start if it was greenlit). The U.S. Department of Energy is now restarting its program to make plutonium-238 for future NASA deep space missions. In terms of NASA’s third AO, the winning finalist will be selected in Fall of 2010, with the mission launching no earlier than 2015 and no later than 2018. Juno is the next New Frontiers mission that is officially scheduled for lift-off in August of 2011, and will arrive at Jupiter in 2016.

An artist's concept showing the Juno spacecraft approaching Jupiter.
NASA / JPL

If Argo was approved by NASA, its first launch window would come in February of 2019...with it flying past Jupiter in June of 2020 and Saturn in February of 2022 for gravity assists, reaching Neptune in June of 2028 and heading towards its first KBO (speaking of which, Triton may be one that was captured by Neptune's immense gravity earlier in its past) in May of 2032. Another option involves Argo launching in February of 2019, flying past Jupiter in June of 2020 and Saturn in April of 2022, reaching Neptune in April of 2029 and approaching a KBO in March of 2034. Do the math, and you’ll see that the first launch option involves a 9.3-year flight, while the second option involves a 10.2-year flight. I think you can guess which travel time the project’s scientists would prefer.

An artist's concept of the Neptunian system.
Craig Agnor, Steve Albers, Jerry Gardner, James Hastings-Trew, Constantine Thomas, and NOAA's Science on a
Sphere
project


With all that background information aside, I think you can also guess why I typed this Blog about Argo. Not to sound like a broken record (again and again and again...), but this is INDEED my next chance to have my name fly out of the solar system onboard an unmanned space probe. I really shouldn’t get my hopes up for this flight to be selected in 2013...since I was hoping like hell that NASA would move forward with the New Horizons 2 mission a few years ago. NH 2 would’ve been launched between 2008 and 2009, and arrive at Uranus by 2017. Unfortunately, a lack of plutonium fuel and low priority placed on the mission by scientists was what prevented NH2 from ever taking off. I would TOTALLY be ecstatic if Argo was given a ‘Go’ by NASA. Of course, if you clicked on that last link that was provided in this paragraph, you'd already assume that.

The Argo spacecraft flies past Neptune and its moon Triton, which may be a captured Kuiper Belt Object.
NASA / APL & JPL / McParno

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

CHECK OUT this YouTube clip featuring music that combines the classic theme song from the 1980’s Transformers cartoon with the Steve Jablonsky score from the live-action films. Good stuff. What are the chances Jablonsky will finally get to include the theme in a track for Transformers 3? Assuming he does do the score for TF3... Which I hope he does. Yup.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

THE FINAL DESTINATION... I saw the movie (for free) last Saturday, and all I have to say is... Horror movies = Epic Fail. It’s not a surprise that this film was given the 3-D treatment, seeing as how there was absolutely nothing in this movie, other than this gimmick, worth watching for a second time. Hollywood needs to lay off this 3-D craze, especially for horror flicks (since some of the death scenes in The Final Destination were pretty idiotic and unrealistic due to the fact those scenes were obviously catered to the 3-D effect...an example of this being what happens to that auto mechanic in the movie. Oh pleeeaase), and just stick with showing gratuitous nudity. Just kidding. However, The Final Destination didn’t even have enough boob scenes (just one) in it. Can it suck even more? One last thing about this film: I’m pretty sure NASCAR, Formula 1 or the Indy Racing League would be shut down if a car crash as, *smirk*, horrendous as the one in The Final Destination occurred on any of its tracks. RI-DICULOUS.

Now...about that other horror flick that came out last weekend (Halloween II), is it just me but the theatrical trailer for it pretty much showed everyone who dies in the movie? Can you say... ‘Thanks for spoiling the film, a**holes?’ Not that I myself care, since I obviously don't intend on watching it. Friggin’ Rob Zombie. And Sorority Row better have lots of topless chicks in it as well, since this movie looks like yet another badly-acted piece of trash that will fail to scare.

Shantel VanSanten's character tries to save a friend, and give a cheap thrill, in THE FINAL DESTINATION.