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Vimeo / Erik Wernquist
Vimeo / Erik Wernquist

Wanderers, a Glimpse of Humanity's Possible Future

Vimeo / Erik Wernquist
Vimeo / Erik Wernquist

Erik Wernquist has released a short film called Wanderers, featuring Carl Sagan's audiobook narration from Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. The film imagines a future in which humans have visited the rest of our solar system. Wernquist writes, "...the idea of the film is primarily to show a glimpse of the fantastic and beautiful nature that surrounds us on our neighboring worlds—and above all, how it might appear to us if we were there." Enjoy:

Wanderers - a short film by Erik Wernquist from Erik Wernquist on Vimeo.

And here's a transcript:

For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us...edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven't forgotten. The open road still softly calls, like a nearly forgotten song of childhood. We invest far-off places with a certain romance. The appeal, I suspect, has been meticulously crafted by natural selection as an essential element in our survival. Long summers, mild winters, rich harvests, plentiful game—none of them lasts forever.

Your own life, or your band's, or even your species' might be owed to a restless few—drawn, by a craving they can hardly articulate or understand, to undiscovered lands and new worlds.

Herman Melville, in Moby Dick, spoke for wanderers in all epochs and meridians. He said, "I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas...."

Maybe it's a little early—maybe the time is not quite yet—but those other worlds, promising untold opportunities, beckon. Silently, they orbit the Sun, waiting.

Wernquist has provided an annotated gallery (click each image for a more thorough description) explaining what's going on in each scene/location.

If you like this stuff, you'll really dig Remembering Carl Sagan, a collection of videos I posted in 2011.

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Space
The Fascinating Device Astronauts Use to Weigh Themselves in Space

Most every scale on Earth, from the kind bakers use to measure ingredients to those doctors use to weigh patients, depends on gravity to function. Weight, after all, is just the mass of an object times the acceleration of gravity that’s pushing it toward Earth. That means astronauts have to use unconventional tools when recording changes to their bodies in space, as SciShow explains in the video below.

While weight as we know it technically doesn’t exist in zero-gravity conditions, mass does. Living in space can have drastic effects on a person’s body, and measuring mass is one way to keep track of these changes.

In place of a scale, NASA astronauts use something called a Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD) to “weigh” themselves. Once they mount the pogo stick-like contraption it moves them a meter using a built-in spring. Heavier passengers take longer to drag, while a SLAMMD with no passenger at all takes the least time to move. Using the amount of time it takes to cover a meter, the machine can calculate the mass of the person riding it.

Measuring weight isn’t the only everyday activity that’s complicated in space. Astronauts have been forced to develop clever ways to brush their teeth, clip their nails, and even sleep without gravity.

[h/t SciShow]

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fun
Watch Astronauts Assemble Pizza in Space
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Most everyone enjoys a good pizza party: Even astronauts living aboard the International Space Station.

As this video from NASA shows, assembling pizza in zero gravity is not only possible, it also has delicious results. The inspiration for the pizza feast came from Paolo Nespoli, an Italian astronaut who was craving one of his home country’s national dishes while working on the ISS. NASA’s program manager for the space station, Kirk Shireman, sympathized with his colleague and ordered pizzas to be delivered to the station.

NASA took a little longer responding to the request than your typical corner pizzeria might. The pizzas were delivered via the Orbital ATK capsule, and once they arrived, the ingredients had to be assembled by hand. The components didn’t differ too much from regular pizzas on Earth: Flatbread, tomato sauce, and cheese served as the base, and pepperoni, pesto, olives, and anchovy paste made up the toppings. Before heating them up, the astronauts had some fun with their creations, twirling them around like "flying saucers of the edible kind,” according to astronaut Randy Bresnik.

In case the pizza party wasn’t already a success, it also coincided with movie night on the International Space Station.

[h/t KHQ Q6]

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