On December 11, 1972, Apollo 17 touched down on the Moon. This was not only our final Moon landing, but the last time we left low Earth orbit. With the successful launch of the Orion capsule, NASA is finally poised to go further again. So it’s important to remember how we got to the Moon — and why we stopped going.
In 1944 and 1945, the Allies were attacking the last supporter of Nazi Germany. Tens of thousands of tons of bombs were dropped on Hungarian ground targets, mostly by the Consolidated B-24 Liberator and Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers of the 15th Air Force. By the end of the World War II, the rain of incendiary…
Two spacecraft drifted closer to one another far above planet Earth, as they prepared to dock. It was July 17th, 1975, and they were about to make history. For the first time, a United States Apollo and Soviet Union Soyuz spacecraft would dock with one another, an enormously symbolic mission that served as a small…
One of the most exclusive clubs in Great Britain is not full of hereditary peers and socialites, but instead counts former pilots and servicemen as its chief members. It’s called the Guinea Pig Club and membership dues are steep.
Film noir set or serious aerodynamics research facility? NASA blended the two in this enormous wind tunnel, the historical facility used to test the aerodynamics of everything from the Corsair through hypersonic aircraft, and the DHC-5 Buffalo through Saturn rockets.
From 1968 until 1973, the US military spent about $1 billion a year on a new computer-powered initiative intended to end the war in Vietnam. It went by many names over the years — including Practice Nine, Muscle Shoals, Illinois City and Dye Marker. But today it’s most commonly known as Operation Igloo White.
December 5, 1961. A man at the controls of a module gazes at the lunar surface from close up. Is this an astronaut, approaching the Moon nearly eight years before Apollo 11? Nope—it’s a pilot testing Project LOLA, a massive network of hand-painted mosaics and tracked cameras that trained astronauts for the moon…
These astronauts bopped around Cape Canaveral in a phalanx of distinctive red, white, and blue corvettes while training for Apollo 15, but their true pride and joy was the very first lunar rover.
At the height of the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union had thousands of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles trained on one another. In this video, we get a tour of a Titan missile silo, and learn exactly what would happen when the order came down to launch an attack. http://io9.com/watch-lord-kel...
The term “patent troll” wasn’t coined until the late 20th century, used to describe someone who filed a patent in order not to manufacture products, but to collect licensing fees. But more than 100 years ago, a patent attorney was a proto-patent troll, exploiting the system to profit off of the burgeoning auto…
Looking for good schools, good health, good morals, and good times? Well, then you'd need to find good roads first, according to the National Highway Association. Which is why the NHA drew up the first proposed highway plan in 1913.
It was 100 years ago this very night that something miraculous happened along the Western Front. After months of bitter fighting, soldiers on both sides gathered in no-man's-land in a spontaneous show of peace and goodwill. Here's what happened on that historic day — and why it marked the end of an era.
The Bell X-1 in which Chuck Yeager shattered the sound barrier or the fabulous X-15, perhaps the world’s first spaceship, hardly sprang into being from nothing. They were the products of a long evolution of rocket-propelled aircraft that had its roots as far back as the seventeenth century, when legend tells (in…
The microcar boom arrived after World War II, and gave us hundreds of beautiful little motors. These tiny cars provided the ultimate in personal transportation — but they also have oodles of personality. Check out the most adorable microcars of the 20th century.
Long before there were bullet trains and high-speed light rail systems, people experimented with creating super-streamlined trains that could whisk people across the country in Googie splendor. In some alternate universe, these streamlined trains of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s are still in service.
Perhaps because it was built in secret and designed to be invisible, the stealth bomber is unforgettable the moment you see it. What few remember, though, is that the iconic silhouette almost looked like this. Here's the story of how Senior Peg came to be, why we didn't get it, and why we might want it back.
When North Korea captured a U.S. Navy electronic surveillance ship, the USS Pueblo, in international waters in 1968, it was perhaps the worst security breach in U.S. history. One of the potential responses to North Korean aggression, drafted and approved by top military officials, was nuclear war.
Michael Hindes of West Springfield, MA, was sorting through boxes of his grandparents' old photographs when he happened upon 26 harrowing photos of the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster of 1986. To his knowledge, these photos have never been publicly released.
In European cultures, we cremate our dead or bury them in a simple pine box. But coffins are a lot fancier in Ghana, where the Ga people believe that life continues in another world after death, and they want it to carry on in style. Here are some stunning examples of Ghana's famous coffin art.
Nautical trade routes stretch like so many lengths of string in this arresting visualization of intercontinental commerce in the 1800s. The map that emerges highlights not only several continents and their busiest ports, but the various trade winds that cycle through the lower reaches of Earth's atmosphere.