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Rare USSR Shuttle Prototypes Found In Russian Hangar

soviet space ruins reflections

Source: Ralph Mirebs

When photographer Ralph Mirebs happened upon an abandoned hangar at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, he did not expect to find the remains of two shuttle prototypes within its walls. These prototypes, Buran orbiters, were the Soviet response to NASA’s shuttles. A third orbiter – 1K1 – actually made it into orbit in 1988, but was destroyed when the hangar housing it collapsed in 2002.

These relics provide us with more insights into the Buran program, which got its start in 1974 and ended in 1993. The smaller of the two shuttles shown in the derelict hangar – nicknamed Ptichka, or “little bird” – would have docked at the Mir Space station if the Soviet Union hadn’t dissolved in 1993. The second vessel was a full-scale, static model for testing purposes.

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Straw Dinosaurs In A Rice Field? Only In Japan

Japanese Straw Sculptures TRex

A Giant Tyrannosaurus Rex created by local artist Amy Goda. Source: amymauscd

What a way to end a season. Each year on the last day of August, Japan’s Niigata Prefecture celebrates the end of the rice harvest in a rather elaborate (yet resourceful) fashion: creating rice straw sculptures.

Known as the Wara Art Festival, artists across the area transform the prefecture’s leftover wara (rice straw) into some truly stunning artwork, all available for public viewing.

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The Danakil Depression Is The Closest Thing To Hell On Earth

For those who think hell is “real,” congratulations: Beelzebub’s lair does exist and can be found in Ethiopia — at least according to National Geographic.

Dubbed the “cruelest place on Earth” by the publication, the Danakil Depression sits deep below sea level (more than 100 meters below at some of its lowest points) in northern Ethiopia’s Afar region. Not only is the depression one of the hottest places on the planet, it’s also one of the most geologically active: the depression is essentially a molten, acidic, and bubbling expanse of land unlike anything else you’ve ever seen.

Danakil Depression Cruel

Source: Rough Guides

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Archaeologists Are One Step Closer To Solving One Of North America’s Oldest Mysteries

New Roanoke Discovery Croatoan

The Roanoke colonists disappeared sometime in the late 16th century, leaving school children and archaeologists alike scrambling for explanations why. Source:

Technological advances both increase and decrease the number of the world’s apparent mysteries. In the case of the lost Roanoke colony, recent technological developments are helping researchers inch closer to a satisfying conclusion as to why the 16th century colony disappeared — and it all has to do with what researchers have found at a place called Site X.

In August of this year, the First Colony Foundation announced that it had discovered shards of pottery called Surrey-Hampshire Border ware at the site, which is today known as the Albemarle Sound near Edenton, North Carolina. This ware would have been a common possession of the Roanoke settlers, and given that the company fell apart in 1624, no new pieces would have easily made their way to Site X.

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