spaceborne

Ensign Sariel Rager was a 24th century Starfleet command division officer and helmsman.

In 2367, Ensign Rager was at the conn of the USS Enterprise-D when the ship encountered a swarm of a spaceborne species, of which Junior was a member. (TNG: “Galaxy’s Child”)

She was at the conn when the ship became trapped in a Tyken’s Rift. Lack of dreams caused her to forget how to operate the conn, so she was ordered to sickbay by Commander Riker and replaced by Kenny Lin. (TNG: “Night Terrors”)

In 2369, Rager was serving aboard the Galaxy-class starship Enterprise-D when the ship discovered a Dyson sphere. She piloted the ship out of the sphere by executing a 90-degree roll to slip out of the quickly closing bay doors. (TNG: “Relics”)

Following disturbing behavior at the conn, Rager was abducted by Solanogen-based lifeforms and was experimented on in their laboratory. Fortunately, she was saved by Commander Riker. (TNG: “Schisms”)

-Memory Alpha

afairlypudgycat  asked:

How often do warp horrors occur? Do we have bored yet exasperated astra militarum going "Emperor Damnit the walls are bleeding again someone get a mop."?

To be honest that’s probably not even so far off. Almost everyone experiences any range of discomfort during warp travel - sickness, fevers, waking visions, nightmares, migraines, nosebleeds, the works. Bleeding walls would be pretty far along the scale though.

You’ve really got to love 40k and warp travel - it’s the equivalent of tens of thousands of people locked in a spaceborne cathedral which suddenly becomes very haunted, not knowing if they’re going to emerge in the future, past or present, or even in an alternate dimension. 

Earth Science on the Space Station Continues to Grow

The number of instruments on the International Space Station dedicated to observing Earth to increase our understanding of our home planet continues to grow.

Two new instruments are scheduled to make their way to the station Feb. 18 on the SpaceX Dragon capsule.

The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III instrument will monitor the condition of the ozone layer, which covers an area in the stratosphere 10 to 30 miles (16 to 48 kilometers) above Earth and protects the planet from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Its predecessors, SAGE I and SAGE II, which were mounted to satellites, helped scientists understand the causes and effects of the Antarctic ozone hole. The Montreal Protocol of 1987 led to an eventual ban on ozone-destroying gases and to the ozone layer’s recovery; SAGE III, designed to operate for no less than three years, will allow scientists to continue monitoring its recovery.

The Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS), first launched as an instrument on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission in 1997, records the time, energy output and location of lightning events around the world, day and night. From its perch on the ISS, the new LIS will improve coverage of lightning events over the oceans and also in the Northern Hemisphere during its summer months. Because lightning is both a factor and a gauge for a number of atmospheric processes, NASA as well as other agencies will use the new LIS lightning data for many applications, from weather forecasting to climate modeling and air quality studies.
While SAGE III and LIS are the latest Earth science instruments slated for operation aboard the ISS, they are not the first or the last.

For two years, beginning in September 2014, the Rapid Scatterometer, or RapidScat, collected near-real-time data on ocean wind speed and direction. The instrument, built and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, was designed as a low-cost replacement for JPL’s Quick Scatterometer, or QuikScat satellite, which experienced an age-related failure in 2009. In addition to addressing such questions as how changing winds affect sea surface temperatures during an El Niño season, RapidScat data were used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Navy for improved tracking of marine weather, leading to more optimal ship routing and hazard avoidance.

The Cloud Aerosol Transport System (CATS) was mounted to the exterior of the space station in Jan. 2015 and is in the midst of a three-year mission to measure aerosols, such as dust plumes, wildfires and volcanic ash, around the world. Built to demonstrate a low-cost, streamlined approach to ISS science payloads, the laser instrument is providing data for air quality studies, climate models and hazard warning capabilities.

Over the next several years, NASA is planning to send to the space station several more instruments trained toward Earth.

The Total and Spectral solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1) will measure total solar irradiance and spectral solar irradiance, or the total solar radiation at the top of Earth’s atmosphere and the spectral distribution of that solar radiation, respectively. The data are critical for climate modeling and atmospheric studies. TSIS-1 will continue the work of NASA’s Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment satellite, which has been taking those measurements since 2003.

NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder program is supporting the following instruments that are currently in development. The program is managed by NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

The JPL-built and managed Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3) instrument will monitor carbon dioxide distribution around the globe.

Assembled with spare parts from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite, also built and managed by JPL, OCO-3 will provide insights into the role of carbon dioxide as it relates to growing urban areas and changes in fossil fuel combustion. The instrument will also measure the “glow” from growing plants (known as solar-induced fluorescence).

Homing in on tropical and temperate forests is the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI). The lidar instrument will provide the first high-resolution observations of forest vertical structure in an effort to answer how much carbon is stored in these ecosystems and also what impacts deforestation and reforestation have on habitat diversity, the global carbon cycle and climate change.

The JPL-built and managed ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment (ECOSTRESS) will also focus on vegetation by providing high-frequency, high-resolution measurements of plant temperature and plant water use. Among the data’s numerous uses will be to indicate regions of plant heat and water stress and also improve drought forecasting for the benefit of farmers and water managers. Researchers will also use ECOSTRESS in concert with other data to calculate water use efficiency among plants and identify drought-resistant species and varieties.

Also on the horizon is the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) Pathfinder mission comprising two instruments for measuring solar irradiance: a reflected solar spectrometer and an infrared spectrometer. CLARREO will collect highly accurate climate records to test climate projections in order to improve models.

I think an oft overlooked aspect of spaceborne interplanetary economies is the scale of industry you need to support rocket or mass driver based transportation of goods… like, chemical fueled rockets consume an absolutely massive quantity of fuel to hop from planet to planet, translunar, interasteroidal distances etc compared to a shipping truck, train or oceanic freighter, and if you’re planning on large-scale interplanetary trade then you’re going to need to scale up production of volatiles accordingly, which means massive refineries, which demands metals and minerals to construct them, as well as necessitating the existence of factories to manufacture building materials and specialized parts, which necessitates more volatiles to carry out metallurgy and industrial processes, and so on… you can see where I’m going with this.

If we don’t use chemfuel rockets in the rocket case, and go with - say - electric propulsion, the delta-V between worlds still necessitates large quantities of volatiles. Nuclear rockets add even more complication as you now have to make massive investments into uranium mining (which is only viable on rocky worlds with volcanism and ideally hydrology), as well as centrifuging and machining reactor components. Mass drivers might not technically need fuel - but you need to manufacture a metal casing for each payload launched by your coilgun, and that gun will need repairs, upkeep, oversight… plus, how do the payloads slow down at their destination?

Fusion also requires massive supporting infradtructure, unless we manage to master plain hydrogen-hydrogen fusion in the next centuries. Helium-3 can only be viably mined from gas giants. Getting stuff on and off of gas giants is hard, and you’ll need a lot of supporting infrastructure. Tritium needs to be manufactured (slowly) by irradiating deuterium or lithium. And deuterium is extracted from heavy water, which has extremely low natural abundance, so you need to churn through a LOT of water. If you have torchships, your fuel consumption will be massive - the fusion energy required to propel reasonably large spacecraft in the near future starts on the order of gigawatts, and depending on how much thrust power you want, or how much interplanetary trade there is, your fuel requirements can quickly eclipse the power needs of Earth

In general the picture I’m building for myself here is that any significant presence in interplanetary space will necessitate the construction of a large industrial base if our spacers want to do much mass scale trade with each other, or interact much at all, besides beinf a bunch of very disparate islands. This might look like colossal “water refinery” operations, largely at icy asteroids and comets beyond the snow line of the solar system - and these refineries will demand metal mining, factories, and plentiful power. Unlike on Earth, all the water you need is locked in ice and mixed with nasty chemicals like ammonia, which means melting or boiling it before purification. Imagine if all the fresh water used by humans today were produced by melting down blocks of ice at the polar caps, and then shipped home by tanker (or maybe airplane would be closer?). The notion of water refineries also dovetails nicely with the idea brought up by my friend Abby @raingiant that long-lasting, large habitats demand plentiful water to create stable ecosystems where nutrients and waste products can be cycled effectively through a relatively small system, resulting in something not unlike a spaceborne analogue of the Pacific Northwest or New Zealand forests, fens, wetlands

This among other thoughts I’ve been mulling over for a while contribute to my thinking that space economics are anything but the simple, one-and-done affairs that you’d get the impression of from looking at lofty NASA or SpaceX proposals… There is plenty of room for conflict and intrigue in the establishment of society in space, on the material level. Far from being a simple matter of “can we haul mining equipment here? If yes, then we can expand exponentially to the stars without any issue,” or “space travel is costly and therefore impossible,” you’re working with a huge and complex system with many interdependencies, as with any other society that’s ever existed

8814 AD, when the restored alt-right shi’a nazbol caliphate ascends to the cosmos and becomes a spaceborne civilization, rest assured that this bot will be in control of the mothership and pilot us all towards green gf

On December 25, 2000, by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this false-color image of the Ugab River in Namibia.

Space Alphabet !

(The info is under the  pics, but you can ignore them for the sake of beauty, for a moment.) 

A - Utah’s Green River doubling back on itsels a feature known as Bowknot Bend, taken from the International Space Station

B - the Arkansas River and the Holla Bend Wildlife Refuge. In the winter, it is common for the refuge to host 100,000 ducks and geese at once

C - an artificial island at the southern end of Bahrain Island. The beach sand on tropical islands is mostly made up of calcium carbonate from the shells and skeletons of marine organisms

D - the Enhanced Thematic Mapper on Landsat 7 acquired this image of Akimiski Island in James Bay

E - a phytoplankton bloom off the coast of New Zealand, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite

F - the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this false-colour image of valleys and snow-covered mountain ranges in southeastern Tibet. Firn is a granular type of snow often found on the surface of a glacier before it has been compressed into ice

G - Pinaki Island, a small atoll of the Tuamotu group in French Polynesia

H - rivers running through colourful ridges in southwestern Kyrgyzstan, taken by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8

I - the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of the Andaman Islands, which form an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal between India, to the west. The thin, bright rings surrounding several of the islands are coral reefs that were lifted up by a massive earthquake near Sumatra in 2004

J - Trunk Reef near Townsville, Australia, taken by the Operational Land Imager

K - glaciers at the Sirmilik National Park Pond Inlet in Mittimatalik, Canada

L - the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite, captured this image of snow across the northeastern United States

M - the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this image of glaciers in the Tian Shan mountains in northeastern Kyrgyzstan. The trail of brown sediment in the middle of the uppermost glacier is a medial moraine, a term glaciologists use to describe sediment that accumulates in the middle of merging glaciers

N - the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite, captured this image of ship tracks over the Pacific. Ship emissions contain small particles that cause the clouds to form

O - the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on the Terra satellite, captured this image of Tenoumer meteorite crater in Mauritania. The meteorite struck Earth between 10,000 and 30,000 years ago

P - the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) sensor on the Terra satellite, captured this false-color image of the Mackenzie River Delta in Canada

Q - the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite, acquired this image of Lonar Crater in India. Shocked quartz minerals with an unusual structure that can only form under intense pressure, offering a clue that the lake was formed by a large meteorite

R - the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8, captured this image of Lago Menendez in Argentina

S - the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite, acquired this image of clouds swirling over the Atlantic Ocean

T - the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8, captured this image of development along two roads in the United Arab Emirates

U - the Ikonos satellite captured this image of Gooseneck State Park in Utah

V - the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8, acquired this image of ash on the snow around Shiveluch- one of the largest and most active volcanoes on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula

W - the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, captured this image of dust blowing over the Red Sea

X - the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite, captured this false-colour image of the northwest corner of Leidy Glacier in Greenland

Y - the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s. Terra satellite captured this false-colour image of the Ugab River in Namibia

Z - the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, captured this image of wildfire smoke over Canada 

Earth Observatory has tracked down images resembling all 26 letters of the English alphabet using only NASA satellite imagery and astronaut photography. Science writer for the Nasa Earth Observatory, Adam Voiland, said: “A few years ago, while working on a story about wildfires, a V appeared to me in a satellite image of a smoke plume over Canada. That image made me wonder: could I track down all 26 letters of the English alphabet using only NASA satellite imagery and astronaut photography?” "With the help of readers and colleagues, I started to collect images of ephemeral features like clouds, phytoplankton blooms, and dust clouds that formed shapes reminiscent of letters. Some letters, like O and C, were easy to find. Others-A, B, and R-were maddeningly difficult. Note that the A above is cursive. And if you can find a better example of any letter (in NASA imagery), send us an email with the date, latitude, and longitude.“ 

Adam Voiland explains that when he finally tracked down all the letters and it was time write captions, he had just become a new dad & deep into a Dr. Seuss reading phase with my son. 

"The Seuss-inspired ABC gallery above is the result. To add some education to the fun.”

Here’s the playlist that I made that I’ve been listening to on repeat while drawing Dan and the Mothman, but it also serves as a playlist for late night monster or UFO hunts

Tracklist

Legend Of The Spaceborne Killer- Crobot / The Mothman Cometh- Impaler / Monster- The Automatic Automatics / Cryptozoology!- Gatornate And The Gladezmen / Men In Black- Frank Black / Motorway To Roswell- Pixies / The Creature From Outer Space- Sonny Day / The Devil Was In my Yard- The Sleepy Jackson / Nowhere Man- The Beatles / Aliens- Fleece / Soul Systems Burn- King Black Acid / Bad Moon Rising- Rasputina / Red Eyes- J. T. Woodruff / CIA- Fleece/ Ahool- Omniverse / Howl- Junip / Cryptozoology- Paper Bird / Concerning UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois- Surfjan Stevens / Incoming Mr. Indrid Cold 1967- Undead Anna / Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Spacecraft- Klaatu / Half Light- Low With Tomandandy

Scope Dogg’s Mecha Showcase: Aim for the Top: Gunbuster

This is part of a series of reviews I plan on doing on various mecha franchises. The only rule is that I’m not touching the three franchises I think are the most well known (Gurren Lagann, Evangelion, Gundam) in an effort to spread the love towards some series that I feel fly somewhat under the radar for non-mecha fans. Any spoilers will only be very minor and will typically only concern the very beginning of the story.

Why you should watch it, in brief:

Exciting action and emotional drama delivered through excellent animation. A short but very sweet classic series.

The setting:

Humanity is starting to extend its reach towards the stars, when one of its fleets is suddenly and violentally attacked by a species of massive spaceborne lifeforms called Space Monsters, leaving very few survivors. Amongst ththe slain is Admiral Takaya. His daughter Noriko enlists at a training school as a trainee Machine Weapon pilot, as humanity begins to gear up to fight back. Noriko seems like an unlikely heroine, as she is clumsy and not as capable as many of her schoolmates, especially her supremely talented idol, Kazumi Amano. However, Coach Ohta, who is on the lookout for recruits to take into space, believes that Noriko has hidden talent, and selects her and Kazumi as candidates for the Top squadron, humanity’s most elite unit of Machine Weapon pilots. Noriko must overcome physical and emotional hurdles in order to live up to the expectations of the Coach and her comrades - and in so doing, become worthy of piloting humanity’s newest secret weapon, the Gunbuster.

Why you should watch it, in full:

Director Hidetaki Anno is most noted for the famed Evangelion series. However, it wasn’t the first impact that he made on the mecha genre. That honour belongs to his debut work Aim for the Top, more colloquially known to mecha fans as Gunbuster, published by Gainax between 1987 and 1988. It’s a very different animal to Evangelion in a lot of ways, being a much more straightforward story, and lacking the many layers of symbolism and striking imagery that Anno’s later work would go on to become acclaimed for, but for devoted fans of this genre, Gunbuster is no less memorable, and is a landmark entry both to the fledgling Gainax studio that published it and to the genre as a whole. More after the break.

Keep reading

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TP-82 “The Cosmonaut Gun”

In March 1965, following a troublesome re-entry Pavel Belyayev and Alexey Leonov - the crew of Voskhod 2 - touched down 386 km from their intended landing zone in the inhospitable forests of the Upper Kama Upland. Although aircraft quickly located the cosmonauts, the area was so heavily forested that helicopters could not land. Leonov and Belyayev were forced to spend the night in the Taigun, waiting for a rescue party to arrive. Alone in the forest, the cosmonauts drove off curious bears or wolves - the story varies by source - with their issued pistol.

Leonov and Belyayev’s experience in the Siberian wilderness led to the development of the TP-82 pistol, a triple-barreled gun capable of firing rifle and shotgun rounds. The detachable butt doubled as a machete. TP-82s were carried on Soyuz flights between 1986 and 2006 as part of the NAZ cosmonaut survival kit.

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First Global Maps from Orbiting Carbon Observatory

The first global maps of atmospheric carbon dioxide from NASA’s new Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission show elevated carbon dioxide concentrations across the Southern Hemisphere from springtime biomass burning and hint at potential surprises to come.

At a media briefing at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California; Colorado State University (CSU), Fort Collins; and the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, presented the maps of carbon dioxide and a related phenomenon known as solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence and discussed their potential implications.

A global map covering Oct. 1 through Nov. 17 shows elevated carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere above northern Australia, southern Africa and eastern Brazil.

“Preliminary analysis shows these signals are largely driven by the seasonal burning of savannas and forests,” said OCO-2 Deputy Project Scientist Annmarie Eldering, of JPL. The team is comparing these measurements with data from other satellites to clarify how much of the observed concentration is likely due to biomass burning.

The time period covered by the new maps is spring in the Southern Hemisphere, when agricultural fires and land clearing are widespread. The impact of these activities on global carbon dioxide has not been well quantified. As OCO-2 acquires more data, Eldering said, its Southern Hemisphere measurements could lead to an improved understanding of the relative importance in these regions of photosynthesis in tropical plants, which removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and biomass burning, which releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

The early OCO-2 data hint at some potential surprises to come. “The agreement between OCO-2 and models based on existing carbon dioxide data is remarkably good, but there are some interesting differences,” said Christopher O'Dell, an assistant professor at CSU and member of OCO-2’s science team. “Some of the differences may be due to systematic errors in our measurements, and we are currently in the process of nailing these down. But some of the differences are likely due to gaps in our current knowledge of carbon sources in certain regions – gaps that OCO-2 will help fill in.”

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has no distinguishing features to show what its source was. Elevated carbon dioxide over a region could have a natural cause – for example, a drought that reduces plant growth – or a human cause. At today’s briefing, JPL scientist Christian Frankenberg introduced a map using a new type of data analysis from OCO-2 that can help scientists distinguish the gas’s natural sources.

Through photosynthesis, plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and use sunlight to synthesize the carbon into food. Plants end up re-emitting about one percent of the sunlight at longer wavelengths. Using one of OCO-2’s three spectrometer instruments, scientists can measure the re-emitted light, known as solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF). This measurement complements OCO-2’s carbon dioxide data with information on when and where plants are drawing carbon from the atmosphere.

Auroras Underfoot (signup)“Where OCO-2 really excels is the sheer amount of data being collected within a day, about one million measurements across a narrow swath,” Frankenberg said. “For fluorescence, this enables us, for the first time, to look at features on the five- to 10-kilometer scale on a daily basis.” SIF can be measured even through moderately thick clouds, so it will be especially useful in understanding regions like the Amazon where cloud cover thwarts most spaceborne observations.

The changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide that OCO-2 seeks to measure are so small that the mission must take unusual precautions to ensure the instrument is free of errors. For that reason, the spacecraft was designed so that it can make an extra maneuver. In addition to gathering a straight line of data like a lawnmower swath, the instrument can point at a single target on the ground for a total of seven minutes as it passes overhead. That requires the spacecraft to turn sideways and make a half cartwheel to keep the target in its sights.

The targets OCO-2 uses are stations in the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON), a collaborative effort of multiple international institutions. TCCON has been collecting carbon dioxide data for about five years, and its measurements are fully calibrated and extremely accurate. At the same time that OCO-2 targets a TCCON site, a ground-based instrument at the site makes the same measurement. The extent to which the two measurements agree indicates how well calibrated the OCO-2 sensors are.

Additional maps released today showed the results of these targeting maneuvers over two TCCON sites in California and one in Australia. “Early results are very promising,” said Paul Wennberg, a professor at Caltech and head of the TCCON network. “Over the next few months, the team will refine the OCO-2 data, and we anticipate that these comparisons will continue to improve.”

TOP IMAGE…Global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations from Oct. 1 through Nov. 11, as recorded by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2. Carbon dioxide concentrations are highest above northern Australia, southern Africa and eastern Brazil. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

LOWER IMAGE…This map shows solar-induced fluorescence, a plant process that occurs during photosynthesis, from Aug. through Oct. 2014 as measured by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2. This period is springtime in the Southern Hemisphere and fall in the Northern Hemisphere. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Trek for Newbies, Part Two: Star Trek Aliens and Where to Find Them

(The other Trek for Newbies posts can be found here.)

The Star Trek universe is home to hundreds of known species of intelligent aliens, and there are countless others who have yet to be discovered, as only a small portion of the Milky Way Galaxy has been explored by the Federation. One of Starfleet’s primary missions is to discover new life forms on previously unexplored planets - or, as you may have heard, “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

In this post, I’ll briefly describe the broad categories of aliens in Trek, explain the basic territorial boundaries of the galaxy, and then get into specifics about the most important dozen or so alien races, including humans, Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans, Borg, Ferengi, Cardassians, Bajorans, Q, Betazoids, and Trill. (Most of this info is under the cut, because good lord this post got long.)

Categories of Aliens in Star Trek

Broadly speaking, aliens in the Star Trek universe can be sorted into two categories - humanoids and non-humanoids.

Humanoids

Almost all of the main characters in Trek are either humans or humanoids, meaning aliens who look pretty much like humans with latex glued to their faces. The real-world explanation for this is, obviously, that they ARE humans with latex glued to their faces, but there’s an in-universe explanation, too: all humanoid species have a common ancestor, the Ancient Humanoids, who seeded the galaxy with their DNA millennia ago. As a result of this, interbreeding is possible between some humanoid species, and there are several mixed-species characters in the various series.

Humanoid species tend to have distinctive personality traits which set them apart from each other - Vulcans are logical, Klingons are warlike, Ferengi are obsessed with money, etc. However, in the latter series it becomes increasingly clear that these are tendencies and not absolutes.

Non-Humanoids

There are also tons of intelligent non-humanoids, who can look like anything from slugs to chunks of rock to puddles of goo to entire nebulas. Think of any crazy sci-fi idea for a lifeform, and there’s a good chance Trek has done it. (The most important non-humanoid characters on the various shows are able to assume a humanoid form, because, well, it’s television.)

Some of these non-humanoids are spaceborne species which live in outer space rather than on planets, like the giant space butterflies, or the giant space jellyfish, or the giant space amoebas.

There are also a bunch of non-corporeal species made of, like, pure energy or magnetic fields or something else handwavey. The most important of these are the Q and the Prophets, both of whom have godlike powers. (The Q are kind of dicks about it.)

Artificial Intelligences

In addition to biological lifeforms, the Trek universe also has artificial intelligences. The main types we know of are holograms and androids.

Holograms are made of light particles and force fields, meaning that they can interact with the physical world. Most holograms are not self-aware, but several of them develop self-awareness throughout the various series; basically, the longer a hologram’s program is left running, the more likely it is to develop self-awareness. The most important hologram characters are The Doctor, Vic Fontaine, and Professor Moriarty. Yes, that Professor Moriarty. He is a recurring villain on The Next Generation. God I love Star Trek.

Androids are humanoid robots. Most androids are also not self-aware; the main self-aware intelligent androids we know of are the handful of ‘Soong-type’ androids, invented by Dr. Soong, who have advanced positronic brains. Data is the main android character on Star Trek, and is a Soong-type.

Now let’s get into specifics! 

In this post, I’ll focus on the species which occur most frequently in Star Trek. But before I get into that, we need to have a quick look at a map…

Keep reading

Emerson NASA Knife

In 1999, NASA contracted Emerson to build a knife for use on Space Shuttle missions and the International Space Station. Rather than design a new model from scratch, NASA chose an existing model which already met their specifications, with one additional design requirement. The model is a folding version of the Specwar knife that Emerson had designed for Timberline with the addition of a guthook cut into the tantō point of the blade with which astronauts could open their freeze dried food packages.

(Source: Wikipedia)