What Is it Like Living on Earth After Living in Space?

The food is much better here on Earth. And taking showers and going to the bathroom are much easier to do here too. But you do go through a strange adaptation process when you return to Earth. » 3/30/15 1:05pm Today 1:05pm

Why Does The International Space Station Have Such A Weird Shape?

I feel like a parent that was just told their child is ugly. As an engineer, I look at the ISS and think "of course it looks that way, why would it look different?" » 3/19/15 6:00pm 3/19/15 6:00pm

What Is The Best Thing To Do When A Grenade Is Thrown At You?

Ideally you'll never be in the situation in the first place, but let's say a grenade is being lobbed at your face—what should you do? Dan Rosenthal, a U.S. Infantry veteran, schools us. Hint: unless you're Captain America, don't try to throw it back. » 3/06/15 7:30pm 3/06/15 7:30pm

Can You Shoot a Gun in Space? 

Space is full of potential dangers—rogue comets, Martians, bags full of astronaut poop, you name it. But if it really came down to it, and you did have to defend yourself against an interstellar attacker, would a traditional gun actually be able to do the trick? » 1/22/15 1:50pm 1/22/15 1:50pm

If You Threw Cookie Dough at the Sun, How Long Would It Take to Bake?

First, let's assume you are in orbit around the Earth's atmosphere, and you threw the cookie sunward at 25 mph. The most delicious of speeds.
» 1/08/15 4:30pm 1/08/15 4:30pm

Absolutely Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Airplane Controls

All of them? If you're talking about a commercial airliner, then there's hundreds and hundreds. There are big, fat manuals describing what they all do. But, since you asked, buckle up. » 1/07/15 4:10pm 1/07/15 4:10pm

Who Would Win in an All-Out Battle: Star Wars or Star Trek?

A classic debate! Good or Evil? Chocolate or Strawberry? Star Trek or Star Wars (excluding the Death Star)? But unlike those timeless questions this one really does seem to have a compelling answer. And its not what the majority seem to think. » 12/29/14 2:20pm 12/29/14 2:20pm

Could Cinderella's Glass Slippers Physically Exist Without Shattering?

It is delightful to have my masters degree in Mechanical Engineering put to use in resolving age old engineering problems. » 12/15/14 5:19pm 12/15/14 5:19pm

Could the Sun Be Extinguished By a Bucket of Water Just As Big?

The simple answer is probably not. That's because the sun involves a special type of fire that is able to "burn" water, and so it will just get hotter and six times brighter. Here's why. » 12/11/14 2:38pm 12/11/14 2:38pm

Could You Launch Someone Into the Sun With a Big Enough Cannon?

In the spirit of making problems go away, sometimes you want to just launch a particular person/problem into the sun. So—could you? And just how big would the canon need to be? » 12/05/14 12:55pm 12/05/14 12:55pm

How to Fix the Elevator

High rise buildings have used the same elevator system for decades. So why mess with a good thing? Because that good thing is one major waste of space. Friends, it's time to redesign the elevator. » 12/02/14 2:31pm 12/02/14 2:31pm

How Iron Man's Arc Reactor (Probably) Works

Since the Iron Man arc reactor is a fictitious device, and it has no official scientific explanation in the Iron Man canon that I'm aware of, we might as well something up. Now, I'm mixing real science and fake science here. So physics nerds and comic-book nerds: Deal with it. » 11/21/14 12:28pm 11/21/14 12:28pm

The 110 Year-Old Light Bulb That's Never Been Turned Off

The oldest lightbulb in continuous use was installed before the Wright Brothers took flight, is 110 years old, and is still as beautiful as the day she was born. In fact, it's likely the oldest electrical device in continuous use period. Take a moment and consider just how much the world has changed around this one,… » 11/17/14 11:04am 11/17/14 11:04am

What Actually Goes Down on the International Space Station

The main purpose of the International Space Station is to provide an international laboratory for experiments within the space environment. Which, despite all our technological advances, is nearly impossible to replicate here on Earth. Because for many of those experiments, the key parameter is—you guessed… » 11/07/14 4:46pm 11/07/14 4:46pm

How Astronauts Use Laptops on the International Space Station

When the ISS was being designed, its architects wisely concluded that installing physical interfaces into the structure of the ISS was not a good idea. It's very hard to upgrade and/or repair interfaces that are part of the vehicle, whereas if laptop computers are used, upgrading or repair is as simple as launching… » 11/05/14 11:24am 11/05/14 11:24am

What to Do if the Pilot Passes Out and You Have to Land a Plane

So—your pilot passed out. The good news is the plane will probably have a sophisticated autopilot that can take care of most of the flying for you. The bad news is you will still probably have to land the damn thing. And since every aircraft cockpit is going to be different, it's not like you'd know exactly where to… » 10/29/14 2:30pm 10/29/14 2:30pm

What Would Happen If You Peed Into a Particle Accelerator?

I have visited CERN and they have sections of the accelerator you can look at. It's a mess—to you and me—wires and tubes. This has not been built for consumers. There's no pink model; there will not be a thinner and lighter 2.0; and Nike is not sponsoring a limited edition line. In other words—no safety measures in… » 10/27/14 4:00pm 10/27/14 4:00pm