Light Start – Solar sails, Army audiobooks, flying Apollo 11 Lego, and live-action Mulan


Keep tabs on Bill Nye’s Lightsail 2 space project

Bill Nye was and remains an inspirational science figure. And if you just found the theme song running through your head, you had a decent childhood, science-wise. The man with a fondness for making science entertaining has a second project in space — Lightsail 2. The first, Lightsail, was a Kickstarted outing that sent a sail-powered satellite into space. Contact was lost after a week or so, but the idea was proved possible. Hence, Lightsail 2. And if you’ve wanted to see how the second effort performs, you can head on over to Lightsail 2 Mission Control, a dedicated website that offers up all of the metrics you could possibly want. Lightsail 2 is set to be a far more ambitious project, one which hopes to boost the sail-powered cubesat into different orbits using nothing more than sail power and a healthy dose of science. Lightsail 2 has been up for a little less than a week at this point. Hopefully, it’ll fulfil all of its functions this time but only time will tell. The sail is set to unfurl in the coming days. Then we’ll see what Bill Nye’s project is really made of. Besides lightweight, space-safe material, that is.

Source: Lightsail 2 Dashboard

The US Army is now offering training manuals as audiobooks (for the first time)

When the army joins the future, then you know that a technology’s time has finally come. The US Army has begun releasing some of its training manuals at audiobooks — specifically the FM 3-0, Operations and ADP 7-0, Training (print version here) manuals. Why? Because it’s often easier to listen to an audiobook than it is to actually read the thing. You can at least have one of these playing in the background while driving a tank. Unless you’re listening to the ‘How to drive a tank’ manual. That could prove… interesting. And potentially silly. The real question is: Can we listen to them? The answer to that’s apparently ‘yes’, though we’ve been having issues actually getting access to the site the files are hosted on. You may have better luck, at the links below.

Source: US Army 1, 2

The only way to make Lego’s Apollo 11 Lander any better? Actually giving it the power of flight

And now for something… completely different. You remember that Lego Creator Expert NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander, the one that was launched in South Africa in May this year? Some enterprising chap has gone and made it better, by giving it the power of flight. Not a whole lot of flight, that’s true, but enough that you can hover it around a room and then come in for a somewhat hairy landing — you know, kinda what everyone who was watching when the actual landing took place was expecting. YouTuber Adam Woodworth managed to make enough space inside the model for a battery and controller and then attached a few drone motors capable of giving Apollo 11 some lift — which isn’t as easy as it sounds. Lego’s pretty damned heavy, if you’re looking for flight-capable materials. See how Lego spaceflight looks at the link below.

Source: Adam Woodworth (YouTube)

Disney’s live-action remakes continue with this surprisingly accurate take on Mulan

Right off the bat, we know that some folks aren’t going to like what Disney has put together for its live-action take on animated classic Mulan. And that’s before folks start rumbling about a McDonald’s Szechuan sauce promotion they’d really like to see take place. Seriously, though, the teaser for Disney’s latest live-action remake really looks to have taken most of its (visual) cues from the animated original. Even if it appears to have left out the talking dragons, insects, and other anthropomorphic behaviour. We may not see many singing critters this time around but at least one of them will appear in the film. Remake or not, it should prove worth watching. Because, well… it’s Disney, folks. The company that makes its living by being as entertaining as possible? Watch the first teaser for the remake, due out in March 2020, below.

Source: Disney (YouTube)


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