popular mechanics

Supernova remnants are impossibly stunning. Exploding stars fling a ridiculous amount of energy out across the cosmos, giving us killer images like the one above.

But supernovae also send out extremely energetic charged particles, which can strike and damage cells. Ol’ Mother Earth protects us with a luscious atmosphere and powerful magnetic field, but deep space explorers aren’t so lucky. Astronauts traveling beyond Earth’s orbit are exposed to these powerful, star-born cosmic rays. So how do we protect them and evaluate the risks?

Well, clearly you can’t just send a person out into space and see how long it takes them to develop cancer. So what we work with at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory are many experiments with different cell types that we expose to this type of radiation here on Earth—and then we use a lot of mathematical manipulations to extrapolate our data into the health risks for people.

That’s molecular biologist Peter Guida in a great Popular Mechanics (popmechinterview on the threat to Mars explorers. Guida works at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory here at Brookhaven Lab, using our accelerators to safely simulate the ion beams blazing through deep space. Go read the whole thing.


“Over the course of more than 1,000 covers, the Foss future gradually gained recognizable themes regardless of whose book they adorned. Massive tanks and robots commonly scavenged through decaying piles of machinery on brutalist alien planets. Bulbous, colorful starships floated through the hyper-industrialized society of Foss’s imagination. A scene might feature a high-tech Atlantis or reveal the alien origins of Easter Island statues, but some form of well-worn, battle-scarred hardware was omnipresent. His signature, a capital F encapsulated in a shapeless figure, was always nestled around the bottom.”

Want to learn about the biggest name in 70s sci-fi art? Read the rest of this profile: Chris Foss, The Man Who Defined the Look of Sci-Fi


LEGO Star Wars Alphabet

via Popular Mechanics:

On the eve of Toy Fair in New York City, LEGO is promising over 32 new Star Wars sets in 2015. With less than a year until J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters, the brick company is beginning its big push, though there’s no new info yet on what the new sets will be.


1957 … William Beckett - Cooper residence- Beverly Hills by James Vaughan
Via Flickr:
photo: Julius Shulman


Ever wanted to put Netflix on your NES? It’s possible!

All the menu options are there, and the darNES project—from Guy Cirino, Alex Wolfe, and Carenina Motion—can play the video stream in the unmodified Nintendo Entertainment System.

One of the coolest hacks i’ve ever seen. What kind of modern day wizardry is this? What’s next, DOOM on a Tiger handheld? A toaster that can run Kinect?

As cool as it is, I’ll stick to my PC for Netflix.

Watch the video at Popular Mechanics.