One of the best motivators to solve a problem is to experience it yourself. Dr. Bonnie Dunbar happened to have just such an experience. She is a former NASA astronaut and is now a professor of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M. While she was in the astronaut corps, she realized that some of her fellow astronauts couldn’t fit in an Extra Vehicular Activity suit – more commonly known as a spacesuit. So she decided not only to create one for the individuals with the original problem but to create a process by which any other astronaut launched on any future mission can have a spacesuit tailored to their own specific body. And now, her former employer (NASA) is funding her and her lab to complete a feasibility study of this customization process as part of the recently announced NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program.Continue reading “Future Astronauts Might be Able to 3D Print Their own Spacesuits and Parts as Needed”
What’s better than a full 180-degree digital theater experience that takes you into the heart of our Sun to see how solar storms form? Why, all of that accompanied by a rumbling narration by Benedict Cumberbatch, of course.
The video above is a trailer for “Solar Superstorms,” a digital planetarium presentation distributed by Fulldome Film Society and co-produced by Spitz Creative Media, NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Lab, and Thomas Lucas Productions. It uses the monster Blue Waters supercomputers at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois to visualize the complex processes occurring in, on, and around the Sun. It might look a little weird in the flat 2D format above, but I can only imagine what it will be like to see it from inside a digital dome (and have the disembodied voice of Smaug/Sherlock/Khan thundering through the room!)
The film itself is still in production so I couldn’t find an official release date. But keep an eye out for it at your nearest planetarium and visit the FulldomeFilm.org catalog page for other films from the same distributor.
You can find a database of fulldome theaters and digital planetariums around the world here.
Video credit: Spitz Creative Media