Win a DVD/BluRay Combo Pack of “Star Trek Into Darkness”

After its theatre debut in May of this year, Star Trek Into Darkness has blasted its way to the small screen with its release today on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand. The new release features not only a high-definition version of the movie but the “extras” include behind-the-scenes footage, “making-of” details, and other special features.

“I’m excited for viewers at home to check out Star Trek Into Darkness on Blu-ray and DVD,” said the film’s director J.J. Abrams. “They did a great job and I’m thrilled with how everything looks and sounds. … I hope fans enjoy seeing the process that went into making the movie and the truly amazing work of our most spectacular cast and crew.”

Excitingly, Universe Today has three DVD/Blu-ray combo packs available to give away to our readers!

In order to be entered into the giveaway drawing, just put your email address into the box at the bottom of this post (where it says “Enter the Giveaway”) before Friday, September 13, 2013. We’ll send you a confirmation email, so you’ll need to click that to be entered into the drawing.

And then, we’re going to do something new and fun: Fraser will choose the winners and announce it on the Weekly Space Hangout on Friday the 13th (!) at Noon Pacific, 3 pm Eastern. You can watch here on Universe Today (we’ll be posting a live feed), over on our YouTube account, or on Google+.

Here are just some of the great features on this combo pack:

• Creating the Red Planet – Experience the creation of a never-before-seen alien world, as featured in the action-packed opening sequence of the film.

• Attack on Starfleet – Go behind the scenes with the cast and filmmakers and witness the creation of the shocking attack on Starfleet Headquarters.

• The Klingon Home World – Discover the stunning world of Kronos, and see how the filmmakers reinvented the Klingons for a new generation.

• The Enemy of My Enemy – Find out how, and why, the identity of the film’s true villain was kept a mystery to the very end.

• Ship to Ship – An in-depth and thrilling look at the filming of the iconic space jump sequence, which both defied the laws of physics and pushed the limits of visual effects.

• Brawl by the Bay – Sit in with Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch as they revisit their intense preparation for the film’s breathtaking climax.

• Continuing the Mission – An inspiring look at the partnership between the film’s crew and the organization that assists returning veterans to find meaningful ways to contribute on the home front.

And yes, you’ll even get JJ Abrams’ trademark lens flares.

If you’d like to purchase Star Trek Into Darkness, check out Paramount Home Media or Amazon.

Check out our “spoiler-free” review of the movie here.

This is the new ‘We Are the Explorers’ Video You’ll See at ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness”

Have you seen Star Trek: Into Darkness yet? If so, did you see the NASA-themed trailer, too? A crowd-funded 30-second video called “We Are the Explorers” is debuting at theaters this week, shown before the new Trek film begins. It highlights America’s future in space and is narrated by actor Peter Cullen, the voice of head Transformer Optimus Prime.
Continue reading “This is the new ‘We Are the Explorers’ Video You’ll See at ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness””

‘Star Trek’ Spaceship Model Soars Into Stratosphere

It was billed as the U.S. S. Enterprise’s first “real” flight in space, but the spaceship didn’t get quite that far.

A group of Star Trek fans launched a model of the famed fictional vessel to an altitude of 95,568 feet (29,129 meters) above Canada, or about 18.1 miles (29.1 kilometers), they told media.

The Karman line — a commonly accepted threshold for the edge of space — is at about 62 miles, or 100 kilometers, above sea level.

Still, the high-flying feat made the Canadian group quite happy, even though the ship made a suicidal crash landing at the end of its flight.

“We lost our engines,” said Steve Schnier, a member of the group that set Enterprise aloft with a weather balloon from Stayner, Ontario, in an interview with Canada AM.

“It wasn’t a smooth ride,” Schnier added concerning the ship’s final minutes. “It was moving, at one point, at 117 kilometres [72.7 miles] an hour.”

Enterprise smashed into the water near a Georgian Bay island in an area roughly 2.5 hours’ drive north of Canada’s largest city of Toronto. Searchers found it using a GPS signal.

The launch at the end of April came just weeks before Star Trek: Into Darkness, the next installment of the nearly 50-year-old franchise, zoomed into theaters in Canada and the United States this week. (Read our full review here.)

Weather balloon flights are used in science to collect information about the upper atmosphere. Other amateur groups have had fun using the idea, flying tokens ranging from teddy bears to Lego figurines.

‘Star Trek into Darkness’ & NASA Station Crews Join Forces at Live NASA Webcast

Science Fact and Science Fiction join forces in space today for a one of a kind meeting turning science fiction into reality – and you can participate courtesy of NASA and Hollywood!

Fictional astronauts and crews from the newest Star Trek incarnation; “Star Trek into Darkness” and real life astronauts taking part from outer space and Earth get connected today (May 16) via a live ‘space bridge’ webcast hosted by NASA. The movies premieres today – May 16.

NASA Television broadcasts the face-to-face meeting as a Google+ Hangout from noon to 12:45 p.m. EDT, May 16. Watch live below!

The webcast includes “Captain Kirk” – played by actor Chris Pine, and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy – fresh off from his real life ‘emergency spacewalk’ this past weekend that saved the critically important cooling system aboard the International Space Station (ISS). “Into Darkness” features dramatic life and death spacewalks.

Astronaut Chris Cassidy during the May 11, 2013 emergency spacewalk at the ISS. Credit: NASA
Astronaut Chris Cassidy during the May 11, 2013 emergency spacewalk at the ISS. Credit: NASA

Also participating in the live NASA webcast are ‘Star Trek’ director J.J. Abrams, screenwriter and producer Damon Lindelof; and actors Alice Eve (Dr. Carol Marcus) and John Cho (Sulu) and astronauts Michael Fincke and Kjell Lindgren at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Fincke flew on the Space Shuttle and the ISS and made a guest appearance on the finale of the TV series – “Star Trek: Enterprise”. See photo below.

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ movie still image. Credit: Star Trek
‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ movie still image. Credit: Star Trek

The ISS is a sort of early forerunner for the fictional ‘Federation’ in the ‘Star Trek’ Universe – constructed in low Earth orbit by the combined genius and talents of 5 space agencies and 16 nations of Earth to forge a united path forward for the peaceful exploration of Outer Space.

Cassidy will provide insights about everyday life aboard the real space station – like eating, sleeping, exercising and fun ( think Chris Hadfield’s guitar strumming ‘Space Oddity’ -watch the YouTube video below) – as well as the myriad of over 300 biological, chemical and astronomical science experiments performed by himself and the six person station crews during their six-month stints in zero gravity.

Astronaut Terry Virts, left, Actor Scott Bakula and Astronaut Mike Fincke, right, beam on the set of Star Trek's final Enterprise voyage. Credit: NASA
Astronaut Terry Virts, left, Actor Scott Bakula and Astronaut Mike Fincke, right, beam on the set of Star Trek’s final Enterprise voyage. Credit: NASA

The participants will ask questions of each other and take questions from the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City (home of the space shuttle Enterprise), the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and social media followers, says NASA.

Social media followers were allowed to submit 30 sec video questions until early this morning.

And you can submit questions today and during the live broadcast using the hashtag #askNASA on YouTube, Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’. Credit: Star Trek
Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’. Credit: Star Trek

Watch the hangout live on NASA’s Google+ page, the NASA Television YouTube channel, or NASA TV starting at Noon EDT, May 16.

As a long time Star Trek fan (since TOS) I can’t wait to see ‘Into Darkness’

Ken Kremer

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Learn more about NASA missions, Mars, Curiosity and more at Ken’s upcoming lecture presentation:

June 12: “Send your Name to Mars” and “LADEE Lunar & Antares ISS Rocket Launches from Virginia”; Franklin Institute and Rittenhouse Astronomical Society, Philadelphia, PA, 8 PM.

NASA’s real life Space Shuttle Enterprise transits the NYC Skyline at Dusk on a barge on June 3, 2012 during a two stage seagoing  journey to her permanent  new home at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Enterprise is bracketed by the Empire State Building, The Freedom Tower (still under construction) and the torch lit Statue of Liberty. Credit: Ken Kremer
NASA’s real life Space Shuttle Enterprise transits the NYC Skyline at Dusk on a barge on June 3, 2012 during a two stage seagoing journey to her permanent new home at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Enterprise is bracketed by the Empire State Building, The Freedom Tower (still under construction) and the torch lit Statue of Liberty. Credit: Ken Kremer

Our Spoiler-Free Review of Star Trek: Into Darkness

If you’re a fan of the rebooted 2009 Star Trek film, we think you’ll love the second edition. You’ll find similar whip-cracking dialog, inside jokes and action-filled storyline in the sequel, Star Trek: Into Darkness, which opens in theaters in the United States and several other countries today.

While the first movie introduced us to the characters, this movie is all about choices… moral choices, and when it is best to help somebody, as opposed to letting things be. That’s where things can get uncomfortable, though.

The film’s start portrays a moral dilemma in the first few minutes, with choices that bring upon punishment for the players involved. The consequences are quite logical — Spock would point that out — but when more dilemmas pile up at the end of the film, many decisions go unquestioned.

Yes, this is an action film and yes, the Star Trek franchise is one that never lets itself get slowed down by plot holes and inconsistencies. (The plot isn’t that groundbreaking, either.) Still, the movie could have benefitted from an extra five or 10 minutes to show the reasoning behind the final few choices. Thinking over what happened, there could be problems with what the crew decided to do.

Nyota Uhura as seen in Star Trek: Into Darkness. Credit: StarTrekMovie.com
Nyota Uhura as seen in Star Trek: Into Darkness. Credit: StarTrekMovie.com

Enough Tribble-like quibbling, though. Star Trek: Into Darkness pulls you in with an action sequence in the first few minutes, and the pace never lets up. Spock (Zachary Quinto)’s straightforward nature gets him into trouble — as usual — with James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), leading to quotable insults that generated audience guffaws in an advance screening Universe Today saw in Ottawa, Canada.

There’s enough time and, well, space for other characters to shine as well. While Nyota Uhura (Zoë Saldana) spends ample screen time mooning about her boyfriend, she proves to be an excellent and forceful translator. Scotty (Simon Pegg) also has a wonderful back-and-forth sequence late in the movie, breaking up some intense moments with his slapstick humor.

Also: Another character comes along and — with a presence that commands attention on the big screen — threatens to steal the show from our heroes. You don’t want to like them, but as you get to know them you realize they have reasons behind their actions.

What did you think of the film? Please share your thoughts in the comments

Spock Vs. Spock: New Commercial Full of ‘Star Trek’ Gems

We guarantee you’ll go out of your Vulcan mind watching this new car commercial starring Spock … and Spock.

The Audi ad shows Leonard Nimoy (Spock from Star Trek‘s original series) and Zachary Quinto (Spock from Star Trek: Into Darkness, which premieres May 17) looking for new challenges after Nimoy wins a chess match.

“You want to play a round of golf in the club and get some lunch? Whoever gets to the club last buys lunch,” Quinto says to his predecessor.

“Stand by to have your wallet emptied by a tractor beam,” responds Nimoy.

Continue reading “Spock Vs. Spock: New Commercial Full of ‘Star Trek’ Gems”

Tiny Bubbles: Star Trek Gets An Atomic Look

Add IBM to the list of entities eagerly counting down to Star Trek: Into Darkness, the next installment of the famed franchise, which opens up in theaters May 17. Researchers at the computing giant are so excited that they created atomic images of Star Trek symbols.

Users of the Star Trek: Into Darkness app available on iOS and Android can see images of the USS Enterprise, a Vulcan hand salute and, of course, the logo for the movie itself — spelled out in individual atoms.

“These images were made by precisely moving hundreds of atoms with a two-ton microscope, operating at a temperature of -268 Celsius and magnified 100 million times,” IBM stated.

To show off just how good they think they are at this, IBM also released “the world’s smallest movie”, called A Boy and His Atom, where they play a stop-motion movie using the same moving-atoms technique. Check out the results below:

“Moving atoms is one thing; you can do that with the wave of your hand. Capturing, positioning and shaping atoms to create an original motion picture on the atomic-level is a precise science and entirely novel,” stated Andreas Heinrich, IBM Research’s principal investigator.

“This movie is a fun way to share the atomic-scale world and show everyday people the challenges and fun science can create.”

As a quick science reminder, an atom is a unit of matter with a nucleus that is surrounded by electrons. That’s the simple explanation, but there’s a lot to explore even within that basic concept: electron transitions, subatomic particles and what happens if a piece of matter encounters a piece of antimatter.

Atomic physics is important to help astronomers understand how the sun shines, for example. Engineers also are trying to figure out how to develop antimatter engines for future space exploration.

Source: IBM – World’s Smallest Movie