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Archive for the ‘NASA’ Category

New Product Line: Mastercraft Models Collection – Space Shuttle and other Space Exploration models.

We have added a new line of models at Spectrum Scientifics: Mastercraft Models. These models are painstakingly crafted from Phillipine Mohagany and hand-painted with exact detailing. Mastercraft primarily builds commercial and warfare aircraft models, but for now we are carrying their line of Space Exploration models.

These means Space Shuttle models!



New Metal Earth Models

Fascintations comntiues to produce more and more models for their popular Metal Earth line. These are models that come on laser-cut metal sheets that you punch out and assemble to make extremely realistic and detailed models of various cars, buildings, vehicles, etc. We don’t carry the entire line but we have added 4 new models to our offerings. Let’s have a look.

First up is the Star Wars TIE Fighter



New Horizons starts its FlyBy of Pluto

Tomorrow, the Space Probe New Horizons will begin its historic flyby of the Dwarf Planet Pluto.

Launched in 2006, New Horizons quietly ground its way out to theKuiper belt object over the majority of a decade and now is within hours of cruising around Pluto in a series of flybys.

Already New Horizons has given us better images of Pluto than we have ever seen before. Previous images of Pluto were taken with the Hubble

Seriously, this is it?

Seriously, this is it?

telescope and were, to put it mildly, not adequete. But in the past few days as New Horizons approaches Pluto it has whetted out appetites. Details are now visible, including geological details. Once the flyby NewHorizonsPlutostarts we should get more and more details.

Once Pluto is reached, New Horizons will do several flybys over the course of the next five months. Afterwards, depending on NASA’s whims and New Horizon’s remaining functionality it will try to study other Kuiper Belt objects. New Horizons actually has a spare hydrazine fuel tank for this purpose but that may not ensure functionality. The likey targets are the might-as-well-be-unnamed PT1, PT2 or PT3. Of those, PT1 is ceratinly reachable, the others potentially reachable.  Interestingly enough, PT1 was discovered using Hubble images some 8 years after New Horizons was launched.



SpaceProb.es – I’m on your webz, tracking your Space Probes!

The various NASA and European Space Agency Space Probes have produced wonderful results: gorgeous pictures, incredible scientific data, treading where no human can go, and much more. The problem is that there really hasn’t been any comprehensive way to keep track of all the various Space Probes out there. Sure each NASA probe will have a detailed page on the NASA page, but since each probe is a different project with different webmaster, servers and engineers each one will have a different layout style (NASA’s style guide seems to be limited to suggestions). Not to mention finding those Space Probe pages can involve quite a bit of google-fu sometimes, especially if you are forgetting the name and mission (“The probe on Mars? Which one?”). The situation isn’t horrible, mind you, but it could be so much better.

Enter Spaceprob.es, which was launched on Feb 19th of this year and covers 29 active Space Probes:



More New Metal Earth Models Part 2 (Spaaaaaaaceeee….)

So after showing the Metal Earth 1965 Ford Mustang, the Tiger Moth Biplane and the Stag Beetle on Thursday it is now time for the remaining new Metal Erth Models. The first up is the Metal Earth Drum Set



Moon as Art (courtesy of the Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter)

ejectaLast month, as part of its 5th anniversary,  NASA released a whole bunch of incredibly gorgeous photos  taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter of the Moon as part of the ‘Moon as Art‘ display. Intense details, craters, and other features have never been seen before at such a high resolution. Take a nice look over at the LRO website and enjoy the imagery!



Comet ISON Orbit Paper Model

Comet ISON is coming, and still seems to be intact. There are still fears that it may break up on its close orbit around the sun but for now it is visible in the predawn sky, allegedly with binoculars. Your viewing experience may vary.

To better visualize Comet ISON or to create a nifty school project NASA has made available a paper model that you can construct that shows the orbit with dates of Comet ISON.


A simple box showing the sun and the orbits of Mercury, Venus and the Earth along with an insert that shows the location of the comet on any particular day. The downloadable PDF also has helpful information about the comet beyond just the model and includes assembly instructions. You will need heavy cardstock paper to make a structurally sound paper model along with a color printer. PDF’s, of course, require a copy of Abobe Reader. But you knew that!


Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the Moon, R.I.P.

We’re a couple of days late with this, since we don’t update on weekends, but as many of you have probably heard, Neil Armstrong passed away on August 25th from complications from a previous bypass operation.  Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the Moon.

Neil Armstrong, along Buzz Aldrin, were in the lander portion of the Apollo 11 mission, which was the first manned vehicle to land on the Moon.  (Michael Collins remained in Lunar orbit). Neil Armstrong had to land the “Eagle” manually after the computer chose a surface strewn with boulders while Buzz Aldrin called out navigation data. Neil safely landed the craft and uttered the famous line “Houston, Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed”. The schedule for Apollo then had them taking a nap (no, really). Armstrong and Aldrin refused to do this and instead embarked on their extravehicular activities. Armstrong, due to his position in the cockpit was the first to leave the Lander. Once Armstrong reached the bottom of the lander he utter the line “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”, which often sounds like “one small step for man…” in recordings. Armstrong & Aldrin would spend less than a day on the Lunar surface before returning.

Even before the space program, Armstrong had an incredible career. He earned an aeronautical engineer’s degree from MIT. After graduation he went into the US Navy and flew in Korea. Afterwards he worked as a test pilot before applying to become an astronaut.

Armstrong was a very private person and did not do much to ‘cash in’ on his fame.  He was very quiet and unassuming compared to his more outgoing lunar partner, Buzz Aldrin. Despite some claims, however, he was not a recluse and did grant interviews on a regular basis. He did refuse to sign autographs after finding out that people were selling them for money. After Apollo 11 he elected to become an engineering teacher. He also served on the committees to examine to Apollo 13 incident and the Columbia disaster.

A national hero…no a planetary hero has passed away. This has been a tragic year for astronauts.


Mars Rover Curiosity Paper Model!

So you want a little bit of the Mars Rover of your own? Don’t want to wait for LEGO to make a version? Well there has been a decent sized 1:20 paper model that has been available since last December thanks to the nice folks at paper-replika.com:

Mars Rover Curiosity

It looks really cool to us.

The Model is 3 pages, and should probably be done on heavier stock paper. There are a few hoops you need to go through to get to the model instructions (agreeing to their terms and a password) but we think it is worth it, especially since it is FREE!


Science Jigsaw Puzzles, Part 1

We’ve toyed with this notion for a while, and even carried one or two here or there, but until recently we were not very happy with the offerings of science oriented puzzles in the past. That has changed. Poster-company Eurographics decided that they could take some of their many posters and make some good jigsaw puzzles out of them! We have decided to carry a few of them to see how they do. Most of these puzzles are 1,000 pieces ( a couple are 750 pieces) and gorgeously detailed. We have chosen a wide variety of science topics that you can enjoy assembling.

First up up are the astronomy puzzles. The NASA Solar System planet images is very pretty:

And we would not be doing much good if we didn’t have a Night Sky Map Puzzle

And of course we have an impressive Map of the Moon Puzzle

Finally, in the astronomy category, we have this 750 piece puzzle of the Solar System that lays out vertically 12″ x 36″ when assembled:

In part 2 we will cover the puzzles in other science categories: