I have a monster in me…..dont let it come out
My maglev project <3 (Taken with Instagram)

My maglev project <3 (Taken with Instagram)



How an Unknown Grad Student Saved Apollo 13 - and how NASA covered it up.

Either via movies, news reports or by word of mouth, you’ve likely heard of the ill-fated Apollo 13 space mission. Next to Apollo 11, it’s one of NASA’s proudest achievements — returning three men to Earth against insurmountable odds. That return was only possible thanks to the bright idea of a NASA scientist who claimed that slingshotting the craft around the moon was the only way back. Now, a former NASA staffer has revealed that it wasn’t NASA’s idea at all, and the internet is on a quest to find who it was.

The bold claim that NASA didn’t actually save Apollo 13 came from the space agency’s ex-deputy chief of media relations during the time of the Apollo 8 and Apollo 11. He’s 97 years old now and like the good sport he is, took part in a Reddit ask me anything with the aid of his grandson.

He was asked pretty early on in the caper about Apollo 13, and whether or not he thought the crew would make it back to Earth. He said he had no hope for the crew’s survival, but that didn’t stop him and everyone else at NASA from staying awake for 7 days straight to try to bring the astronauts home.

That was before he dropped this bombshell:

All the engineers and everybody else at NASA in Houston were working hard at recovering the moonshot, and they were in real trouble, weren’t sure they could get it back. They got a phone call from a grad student at MIT who said he knew how to get them back. They put engineers on it, tested it out, by God it worked. Slingshotting them around the moon. They successfully did. They wanted to present the grad student to the President and the public, but they found him and he was a real hippy type — long hair and facial hair. NASA was straight-laced, and this was different than they expected, so they withdrew the invitation to the student. I think that is a disgrace.

According to the grandson who was relaying the answers, the 97-year old had been keeping this secret his whole life based on how hard the story was to tell. NASA apparently made a concerted effort to bury the grad student’s involvement in the mission.

History recounts the decision to slingshot around the moon as one that was weighed against what’s known as a “direct abort”. That is, burning every last drop of fuel in the craft to put it into an about face and return it to Earth. Flight Director Gene Kranz reportedly made the decision to slingshot around the moon in a bid to get the astronauts home. No grad student has yet been mentioned in the pages of history.

Redditors called on the ex-NASA member to right the wrong by outing the name of the grad student, but got no response. As a result, the community is now on the hunt for the name of the student.

Read the Reddit IAmA here


Steve McGhee - Last Flight Home


Steve McGhee - Last Flight Home

In which I explain the Higgs Boson to my girlfriend, who is a biologist not a physicist.
Background: My girlfriend asked me to explain why the discovery of the Higgs Boson (Or something very much like it) was such a big deal. This was a facebook chat in which I tried to explain it to her. It's not 100% scientifically accurate, I know, but it should help you understand it a little bit better. I hope.
Alex Wright: ok, so, first I should explain what a Boson is
Krista: ok, coles notes version please
Alex Wright: alright, so, a boson is a field mediating particle, like a photon
are you familiar with the electromagnetic field?
Krista: yes
Alex Wright: ok, so the photon is the boson that mediates the electromagnetic field. the field, and force, doesn't exist without and is made up of photons. If you excite the field to a certain energy, photons are released. and we can observe them
Krista: yes I understand that
Alex Wright: it's like when you slosh around a bucket of water and some of the water at the surface splashes up into a drop separate from the larger body of water
ok, so that's the basics of bosons the Higgs boson is a very special type of boson
You know that atoms are essentially 98% empty space, yes?
Krista: ok
Alex Wright: you've got your nucleus, and the electrons are floating around about as far away as jupiter from the sun, if we're talking scale here.
Krista: yes, I know that
Alex Wright: so most of the universe is about 98% nothing
but this doesn't really make sense, because if it was truly empty, everything would be zooming around at the speed of light, einstein's general relativity tells us that the thing that keeps particles form zooming about at light speed is mass. some particles don't have mass, like photons, which obviously travel at light speed.
Krista: ok
Alex Wright: but what creates mass?
50 years ago, a smart guy named Peter Higgs suggested that that 98% of empty space wasn't empty at all, he hypothesized that this empty space was actually completely saturated with the Higgs Field
the Higgs field acts like a quantum molasses which slows down these particles as they travel through space.
Krista: ooo cool
Alex Wright: o, he proposed this 50 years ago, and described the phenomenon with mathematics, and it made sense, but the problem was, the Higgs field has such high energy, and because of Einstein's E=mc^2 equation, such high mass properties, it takes an immense amount of energy to excite the field enough to observe the particle
and then they did
Krista: ohhh
Ok. wow I actually get it.
Alex Wright: Yay
Krista: you should post that explanation.
because every other one makes no sense.




While at Culvers, my friend and I noticed these feedback cards, so we decided to take some and fill them out. As the Avengers. This is Part One. 

I lost it at HULK LIKE agdfsag



Avengers Assemble! by Melissa Smith
Art Shop / DeviantArt / Flickr

Ferrari Sports (by MM Photo’s)


Ferrari Sports (by MM Photo’s)


The scariest video you have ever watched in the name of science: a climber’s view going up a 540 meters tower. Believe me, this is not for the faint hearted.

The best 3x series&#8230;

The best 3x series…