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    3D-Printing a NASA ACES Helmet for Adam Savage!

    We're trilled to welcome a new member of the Tested family: 3D modeler and prop maker Darrell Maloney (aka the Broken Nerd)! We're big fans of Darrell's work and YouTube videos, and are starting a new series of collaborations between him and Adam. In this first video, Darrell goes over his process adapting a model made for vfx work to be 3D printable, and the 100+ hours of printing needed to have it come out right!

    Adam Savage's One Day Builds: The First Spacesuit!

    Adam Savage is obsessed with spacesuits, and his latest costume build for this year's Comic-Con incognito walk is a replica of the very first spacesuit made for famed aviator Wiley Post in 1935. Adam's also excited to experiment with Worbla in this build for the helmet, and make heavy use of his sewing machine for this striking suit!

    Offworld, Episode 9: Isolation Trope in Sci-Fi Space Travel

    This week on Offworld, we explore the trope of isolation and loneliness in science fiction space travel, and how both fictional and real-world astronauts cope with being away from home for extended missions. Joining us are neuroscientist Indre Viskontas and field geophysicist Mika McKinnon for a lively discussion on how sci-fi depicts the very real challenge of isolation in space!

    Offworld, Episode 8: WALL-E and Space Robots

    This week on Offworld, we revisit the classic Pixar film WALL-E, and chat with roboticists from NASA and Softbank Robotics about the development of robots for use in space. What about the portrayal of space robots in WALL-E did we like, and what would apply to the kind of robots that would work alongside humans in space?

    Offworld episode 7: The Right Stuff (1983)

    This week on Offworld, Ariel is joined by Adam Savage and retired astronaut Jim Newman to talk about the 1983 movie The Right Stuff! The three discuss the film's portrayal of early NASA missions and astronaut culture, and hear some stories about Jim Newman's flights on the Space Shuttle.

    Tested at the NASA InSight Rocket Launch to Mars!

    We go to our very first NASA rocket launch! This past weekend, the InSight mission sent a robot lander to Mars, launching from the central coast of California. Norm and Ariel trek to Vandenberg Air Force base to get up close to the rocket and experience this historic west-coast interplanetary launch!

    How Could Alien Communication Work? Offworld episode 6: Arrival

    This week on Offworld, we look at the science fiction film Arrival and its depiction of communication with alien life! Ariel is joined by cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Teon Brooks and Dr. Douglas Vakoch, President of METI (Messaging Extraterrestial Intelligence) to discuss how we might try to decipher verbal and visual language or alien origin.

    Offworld Episode 5: Europa Report (2013)

    We're joined by spacecraft engineer Bobak Ferdowsi and marine scientist Vicky Vásquez to talk about the 2013 film Europa Report! There's a lot to like about the film, including how it portrays the challenges of a crewed mission to Jupiter's moon. Is Europa our best bet for finding alien life in our solar system? Let's discuss!

    Offworld episode 4: Moonraker (1979)

    Space billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are in the news today, but one of the first space billionaires appeared in the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker. Ariel is joined by author Bonnie Burton and science correspondent Emily Calandrelli to talk about pop culture's stylized take on space travel in the late 70s, in the wake of Star Wars and the dawn of NASA's Shuttle program.

    Offworld, Episode 3: Sunshine (2007)

    On this episode of Offworld, we revisit the Danny Boyle science fiction film Sunshine, in which a crew is sent to reignite the Sun. We're joined by astrophysicist and Professor of Astronomy Gibor Basri to discuss the science of the film and which parts hold up (and the parts that don't). What would the bomb the size of Manhattan do to the Sun?

    Show and Tell: Augmented Reality Model of the Moon

    We check out Astroreality's Lunar Pro, a detailed model of the moon that works with a companion app to show some extra details through augmented reality. While the model itself is nicely made and finished, the software experience leaves much to be desired. It's a neat concept that disappoints with its execution.

    Offworld, Episode 2: Space Camp (1986)

    On this episode of Offworld, Ariel is joined by Tested's own Simone Giertz and guest Trace Dominguez to discuss and dissect the 1986 film Space Camp! Trace relates the film to his own experience attending the real space camp, and we ponder NASA's influence on the making of the movie.

    First Time Lucky: The Space Shuttle’s Dicey Inaugural Mission

    I was well into writing this piece when I learned of John Young's death on 1/5/18. I never had the opportunity to meet him during my time at NASA, but he was indeed a legendary figure at the Johnson Space Center. I encourage anyone with an interest in space history to research his incredible career. Ad Astra Mr. Young.

    When Columbia fired its engines in April of 1981, crowds cheered NASA's first manned rocket launch in nearly six years. This was STS-1, the maiden mission of the space shuttle program. The system's reusable components promised to revolutionize spaceflight. No one watching the launch that morning had any way of predicting the highs and lows of the shuttle's three-decade career ahead. They weren't even sure that this crazy spaceship-glider was going to work at all. The columns of fire and noise lifting Columbia must have been reassuring, but not everything was unfolding according to plan.

    STS-1 was the maiden spaceflight of the space shuttle program. The success of the mission was a near thing.

    Neither the astronauts racing skyward, nor flight controllers on the ground realized that Columbia had sustained significant damage in several locations during the first seconds of the launch. Any of these injuries could have led to a catastrophic failure. In fact, mission commander, John Young, later noted that he would have aborted the launch and ejected if he had known the extent of Columbia's maladies.

    Exactly how the shuttle absorbed the hard knocks of its first launch and completed the mission safely is still not completely understood. The orbiter's robust design certainly contributed, as did the expertise within Mission Control and the astronaut corps. At the same time, it is difficult to analyze the specifics of STS-1 and completely discount the role of pure, dumb luck.

    Offworld, Episode 1: Contact with Dr. Jill Tarter

    Welcome to Offworld, a new show we're making that explores the fun places where space and pop culture intersect! In each episode, we'll examine a science fiction story and discuss how it holds up under some scientific scrutiny. For our inaugural episode, we talk about the 1997 film Contact with special guest Dr. Jill Tarter, whose work at SETI was the inspiration for the main character of the book and film.