The astronaut, the cartoonist, and the transhumanist: Your weekly reading list

Atlas V carrying the Cygnus craft awaits launch
United Launch Alliance Atlas V carrying Orbital ATK's Cygnus cargo spacecraft awaits a launch attempt on Dec. 2.
NASA | Kim Shiflett

In their first attempt since the catastrophic launch failure in October 2014, Orbital ATK has placed its newly redesigned Cygnus spacecraft atop a workhorse Atlas V rocket to launch Dec. 3.

It's the same type of rocket that launched the New Horizons probe, but without the extra booster rockets strapped to the side that gave the extra push toward Pluto.

The Cygnus vehicle carries more than 7,000 pounds of supplies that includes robot parts, food and many science experiments.

In this week's reading list, eavesdrop on a conversation between an astronaut and a former NASA physicist turned cartoonist, follow the Transhumanist party candidate for the presidency, find out how bats actually land upside-down and watch a rocket test in a way that seems quite unreal.

Read this

Astronaut Chris Hadfield, 2012
Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, Expedition 34 flight engineer and Expedition 35 commander, wearing a training version of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuit.
NASA

Chris Hadfield meets Randall Munroe: 'Are we alone in the universe?'

Hadfield is the Canadian astronaut who gained international attention with his cover of David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' as performed from the International Space Station. Munroe, a former NASA physicist, is the cartoonist and author of xkcd. Hadfield and Munroe discuss space movies, life on other planets and the creative process.

via The Guardian

Can Zoltan Istvan beat Hillary, Trump, and death itself?

Zoltan Istvan, Transhumanist Party candidate for the presidency, is campaigning across the southwest U.S. For a week, journalist Elmo Keep joined his campaign travels. Take a look at a week in the life of Istvan, a history of transhumanism and the potential impact of the movement's ideas for the rest of us.

via The Verge

Watch this

Bats twirl like Tony Hawk to land upside down

via PBS NewsHour

Maraia Earth Return Capsule test flight

GoPro cameras attached to the rocket system caught amazing views of the flight, stage separations, and the parachute deployment.

via UP Aerospace

Bonus industrial processes

How plastic injection molding works

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