Science Art: Skylab Artist Concept, 1972

Scientific Illustration of NASA's Skylab Click to embiggen

A house in space, with a big carport. Spaceport. You get the idea.

From NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center:

This illustration Skylab shows the Apollo capsule, which was launched on a Saturn 1B rocket to ferry crews to space, docked to the multiple docking adapter, which was designed and built at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

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Science Art: Plate XIV (Cosmarium species from Desmids of the United States....

Scientific illustration of desmids (algae)

Single-celled algae, magnified 500 times.

They float in ponds and stream banks. I found them in the Biodiversity Heritage Library, in the Rev. Francis Wolle’s 1884 book Desmids of the United States and list of American pediastrums : with eleven hundred illustrations on fifty-three colored plates .

They look a lot better up close, don’t they?

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SONG: Facing North

SONG: “Facing North”.

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Science News, 18 Mar 2019, “People can sense Earth’s magnetic field, brain waves suggest,” as used in the post “People can sense the Earth’s magnetic field.”

ABSTRACT: I don’t know if this song is from March or from April; I think this might be the first time I’ve double-blown a monthly deadline for an original. At least I got a decent cover out of it.

This song is sort of built out of competing choruses, or stacked refrains. I don’t kno…

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Science Art: Rufus Porter’s “Travelling Balloon,” later renamed the “aeroport,” from Mechanics magazine, Nov. 8, 1834

Scientific illustration of Rufus Porter's airship, dubbed the "aeroport"

This airship is a kind of ancestor of the blimp or dirigible, designed by 19th-century American artist and inventor Rufus Porter, who’s perhaps best remembered today not for his drawings nor inventions, but for founding the magazine Scientific American.

From the Linda Hall Library’s “Scientist of the Day” entry (where I found this illustration):

He envisioned filling up a 500-foot-long balloon with hydrogen gas, which he calculated would provide enough lift to carry one hundred passe…

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Science Art: Perspective Cutaway View of a Rotary Hammering Sample Acquisition Section (Fig. 5) from NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 20150003208

Scientific Illustration of a Single-Piezo-Actuator Rotary-Hammering Drill patent from NASA, used for samples.Click to embiggen

A way NASA plans to get core samples from Mars, the Jovian moon Europa, and beyond – a drill designed to cut bedrock.

From the NASA Technical Report on the device:

Using an average power of 50-Watts, the drill basalt is expected to cut basalt at a rate of 0.2 cm/min down to depth of 10-cm and create cuttings and an intact core. The drill is expected to operate under different environments including Martian ambient (6 Torr and down to -50 degree C), and liquid nitrogen …

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Science Art: Sinocalliopteryx gigas as a stealth hunter feeding on the primitive bird Confuciusornis, by Cheung Chungtat

Scientific illustration by Cheung Chungtat of Chinese feathered dinosaur Sinocalliopteryx gigasClick to embiggen

An Easter Sunday lunch is served: an early bird!

This is the Chinese feathered dinosaur Sinocalliopteryx gigas, chomping the bird Confuciusornis – something we know happened because we’ve actually found a fossil with the bones of one inside the stomach of the other. That discovery was the subject of this PLOS One article, which is where the illustration came from. I like the way the illustrator made it look both like a scientific illustration and a classical Chinese draw…

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One word: Plastics.

19 December 2007 grant b 1

PopSci reports on why one man thinks the petroleum industry wants him dead. Frank Pringle has figured out a way to turn plastics back into […]

Go well, Voyager.

18 December 2007 grant b 0

Welcome to interstellar space. Nature reports that Voyager 2 has left the solar system. And, as NASA emphasizes, it did so while discovering our solar […]

Be nice. It’s in your DNA.

17 December 2007 grant b 0

Israeli researchers believe they’ve found a genetic basis for generosity, according to Through an online task involving making a choice whether or not to […]

The Thummer

15 December 2007 grant b 0

Video game controllers are compact and efficient little things (although I always find the button-heavy X-box ones a little confusing to use). They’re also the […]

Endangered words.

12 December 2007 grant b 0

Natural History magazine sounds a warning for words. University of Michigan linguist Sarah Grey Thomason, a specialist in the Salish–Pend d’Oreille language of Montana’s Native […]

Dinosaur meat.

11 December 2007 grant b 0

Palaeontologists in North Dakota have found a first-of-a-kind duck-billed dinosaur fossil, the BBC reports, containing not just hadrosaur bones, but the remains of skin, ligaments […]

One chimp, two chimp.

10 December 2007 grant b 0

Science Daily continues to make me feel inadequate by pointing out that even chimpanzees are better at math: “There are still many people, including many […]

Making a brain.

6 December 2007 grant b 0

For a few years now, computer engineers have been building a virtual brain – using computers to replicate every neural connection in a mammal’s gray […]

Invisible? Or just empty?

5 December 2007 grant b 0

Nature recently revealed research that will please the nihilists among us, from astrophysicist Teppo Mattsson, who says that dark energy, the stuff that keeps the […]