Views Of A Dark World: Illuminating Unseen Infrastructure

For a global society highly dependent on complex technical, economic and political systems, we manage to carry on our daily routines largely unaware of the hard and soft infrastructure — from pipes to policies — on which these systems rest. That is, until unexpected events, so-called black swans, illuminate the previously hidden pieces and surprise or unsettle us by their presence and function.

Listen To John Frusciante's Latest Album Right Now Via Satellite

With the traditional music industry floundering, some acts have embraced the rapidly changing musical landscape more than others. While the Wu-Tang Clan is hawking just a single copy of its upcoming double album, John Frusciante is letting anyone on Earth listen to his for free — at least for as long as the satellite it’s riding stays aloft.

Feast Your Eyes On These Early Soviet Spacecraft

Rob Ketcherside, a hardware and software program manager in Seattle, has a truly amazing photo series hiding on his Flickr page. The photographs I am talking about were taken by his grandfather, David C. Cook, in Pavilion No. 32 — called “Kosmos” — at the All-Russia Exhibition Center in Moscow. And I am very glad that I found them and got permission to share them, because those shiny Soviet spacecraft are simply lovely.

Why It's Taking Satellites So Long To Find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Today, we’re hearing yet another report about a satellite that has spotted “potential objects,” which might be floating wreckage from the vanished Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Today, those images come from France. Yesterday, the images came from China . Last week it was an Australian bird making discoveries.

The Experimental Satellite That Gave Us Live International Television

Throughout the 1950s, broadcast television was limited to domestic transmissions simply because we didn’t have a means to relay signals far enough to span the vast expanse of the oceans around us. It wasn’t until NASA shot Telstar, an unproven, newfangled “active” communications satellite into orbit in 1963, that mass media truly become an international phenomenon.

Monster Machines: A New Defense Department Satellite Shoots Out Smaller Sats

The unfolding drama between Russia and the Ukraine along the Crimean peninsula is developing, rapidly and unpredictably — certainly not in-sync with the orbits of our overhead surveillance assets. But if we could somehow get a few purpose-built (and presumably rapidly-prototyped) cube sats up there, the US Air Force could place extra eyes in the sky on-demand, and keep a closer watch on what’s happening on the ground. And that’s where Northrop Grumman’s new Modular Space Bus comes in.

Watching Planes Land From Space Is Like A Video Game Brought To Life

Ever wanted to watch the world — in real-time HD — from space? Well prepare to experience what it’d be life if the world was your very own video game and check out a few planes landing at Beijing airport. It will be the coolest planespotting you’ve ever done.

The Ultimate Whale Watching Vessel Isn't A Boat -- It's A Satellite

Whale watching: you’re out there on the water with salt spray in your face and wind in your hair, waiting for a gigantic sea mammal to surface and do something splashy. It seems like a touristy thing to do, but scientists actually track whale populations from that very same vantage point. Sea level’s cool and all, but wouldn’t it be awesome to monitor whales — FROM SPACE?? You’re damn right it would, and now it’s actually happening.

This Insanely Loud Sound System Simulates The Roar Of A Rocket Launch

Being shot into space puts spacecraft under extreme stress — but did you know that the sound of the rocket launch can damage a craft? Inside the Large European Acoustic Facility, engineers recreate the incredible noise of a launch to make sure satellites can survive it. According to the ESA, “no human could survive” the sound.

This Gravity-Sensing Satellite Peeks Beneath The Earth's Surface

The European Space Agency’s GOCE satellite has been on a quest to study the Earth’s interior, from space. Now the results are in, and a pioneering effort to map the Earth’s gravitational field in high detail, has just been published in the journal Nature Geoscience. It’s giving researchers an unprecedented look at our planet’s mantle.