Tag Archives | Astronauts

NASA Astronaut Leroy Chiao Describes His 2005 UFO Encounter In Space

leroy chaioVia the Guardian Liberty Voice, did Chiao see a UFO while at the International Space Station?

From October 2004 until April 2005, astronaut Leroy Chiao was flying high as commander of the International Space Station. While he and Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov were taking a stroll outside of the ISS something caught Chiao’s attention. The two were putting together navigational antennas 230 miles above the ground and flying at 17,000 miles an hour when something went by them, traveling even faster.

Chiao says that he saw some lights that he thought were in a line. When the lights flew by him, Chiao thought it was “…awfully strange.” Sharipov was looking the other way. Chiao’s experience is one of several stories that will be told on an upcoming program on the Science Channel.

As an astronaut, Chiao doesn’t believe an intelligently controlled craft from another planet has ever visited Earth [but says] “I have an open mind and I do believe there’s other life in the universe.”

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Twin Study to Explore Genetic Aspects of Space Health

Twin studies are the Holy Grail of medical research, but in some fields its very rare to find qualifying sets of siblings. Two astronaut twins (imagine the odds!) are giving scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine the opportunity to study the genetic aspects of human health outcomes in outer space.

dn23999-2_300New Scientist:

“We have the best ground control you could dream of,” says Graham Scott of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, who is helping NASA with the experiment. The question of space health is especially timely as several human trips to Mars are currently being discussed.

Last year, Scott Kelly was chosen to take part in the first one-year mission aboard the ISS, double the usual stay, along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. Then last week NASA announced a twist: his brother Mark will be monitored on Earth throughout.

John Charles, chief scientist of NASA’s human research programme, says the brothers came up with the idea: “I was discussing plans with Scott and he said, ‘how about the twins angle?’ ”

Researchers will have access to blood and saliva samples from both twins taken before, during and after Scott’s trip to the ISS, along with assessments of their vision, sleep patterns and cardiovascular activity.

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Help Make A Disinfonaut An Astronaut

Smelly armpit deodorising company, Lynx (or Axe as they are known outside the United Kingdom) recently launched a contest to send 22 people into space, and I want to be one of them (vote for me here).

Via Space.com:

The company today (Jan. 9) kicked off its new AXE Apollo Space Academy, an online contest that promises to send 22 winners to the edge of space and back aboard a private spaceship. The winning space travelers will launch aboard a suborbital Lynx space plane built by the U.S. company XCOR Aerospace and operated by the tourism firm Space Expedition Curacao, AXE officials said.

“Space travel for everyone is the next frontier in the human experience,” Buzz Aldrin, who became the second person ever to walk on the moon during NASA’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission in 1969, said in a statement. “I’m thrilled that AXE is giving the young people of today such an extraordinary opportunity to experience some of what I’ve encountered in space.”

The contest is open to men and women in more than 60 countries who sign up on the AXE Apollo Space Academy website (AXEApollo.com) and write about why they should be chosen to fly in space, while others will vote on the entries.

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Astronauts On Mars Would Risk DNA Damage

DeMonchaux30Sad news for hopes of future visits to the red planet — anyone who journeys to Mars could come back with their DNA adversely altered, Russian scientists warn. Mars Daily explains:

Future astronauts working on the Red Planet’s surface risk general changes in health at the DNA level because of increased radiation exposure, a prominent Russian academic said on Monday.

“According to our estimates, researchers on the surface of Mars can expect a number of adverse factors, such as cardiac arrhythmia, sensory impairments, changes at the DNA level, and demineralization of bone tissue,” Anatoly Grigoryev, the deputy head of Russia’s Academy of Sciences, told at a presentation at the International Symposium on the results of ground-based experiment Mars-500.

The unique Moscow-based Mars-500 experiment was completed on November 4. It attempted to recreate at least some of the conditions of a flight to the Red Planet by locking six men away in a mock spacecraft.

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NASA Astronauts’ Brain Scans Reveal Serious Deformities

DeMonchaux30Space travel changes you, and not in a good way. If this is the effect of only a couple weeks, it definitely puts a damper on the idea of attempting a ten-year voyage to another galaxy. The Irish Times reports:

Brain scans of Nasa astronauts who have returned to Earth after more than a month in space have revealed potentially serious abnormalities that could jeopardise long-term space missions.

Doctors examined 27 astronauts who had flown long-duration missions and found a pattern of deformities in their eyeballs, optic nerves and pituitary glands that remain unexplained.

Astronauts who had flown on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station reported changes to eyesight, with some seeing worse and others better. Brain scans revealed that seven of the 27 astronauts had a flattening of the back of one or both eyes.

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Astronaut Suicides

This summer’s final NASA space shuttle mission marks the end of the 30-year era of the United States’ sending live explorers into outer space. Photographers Sara Phillips and Neil DaCosta created Astronaut Suicides, a series depicting the logical conclusion of the decision to render the astronaut an obsolete relic.

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Space Adventures Offers Moon Tourism At $150 Million Per Seat

DeMonchaux31What are you doing this summer? Via io9:

If you’ve got a lust for space travel, a desire to go where only a couple of dozen people have gone before, and $150 million to spare, Space Adventures needs you.

The space tourism company—it’s the one that organizes the ISS trips via the Russian Soyuz—has mapped a potential tour around the moon that could lift off within five years.

The company has already secured a nine-digit commitment from one customer for a potential lunar sightseeing tour. And the logistics are already in place as well: aboard a three-seat Russian Soyuz spacecraft (the third seat is for a Russian mission commander), the tourists would launch into orbit where they would rendezvous with a separately-launched unmanned rocket, which would jet them the rest of the way to the moon.

Round trip: eight or nine days.

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Virgin Galactic Posts Help Wanted For Astronauts

Richard Branson Justin Hyde writes for Jalopink:

With NASA mothballing shuttles, and the Soviets auctioning seats on Soyuz capsules for millions of rubles, how are spunky American pilots supposed to prove they have the right stuff? By answering a want ad for astronauts from Richard Branson.

The crazy billionaire’s space tourism business, Virgin Galactic, has posted openings for “pilot-astronauts” to begin work in June. Virgin Galactic is still doing test flights of its Burt Ruttan-designed ships, but expects to launch the first “customer-astronauts” in two years from its spaceport in New Mexico, for the everyday low price of $200,000.

Virgin Galactic wants pilot-astronauts to have a minimum of 3,000 hours of flight experience in a variety of aircraft and help set the rules for future recruits. The other big hurdle? “Prior spaceflight experience is an advantage.”

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Silicon Valley Start-Up To Mine The Moon

Moon BaseA new lunar gold rush? Via Phenomenonica:

A Silicon Valley start-up, founded by an Indian-American entrepreneur, plans to mine the moon and is in the process of building robotic rovers that will search the lunar surface for precious metals and rare metallic elements.

Moon Express Inc or MoonEx, co-founded by Naveen Jain, is building the robotic rovers alongside scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Centre near San Jose, a report in the Los Angeles Times said. “MoonEx should be ready to land on the lunar surface by 2013,” Jain said.

While there is no guarantee that the moon is “flush” with these materials, MoonEx thinks it “may be a gold mine of so-called rare earth elements.”

“From an entrepreneur’s perspective, the moon has never truly been explored,” the report quoted Jain, chairman and company co-founder, as saying. “We think it could hold resources that benefit Earth and all humanity.”

MoonEx’s machines are designed to look for materials that are scarce on Earth but found in everything from a Toyota Prius car battery to guidance systems on cruise missiles, the report added.

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The Rocket That Will Take Us To Mars

Franklin Chang Díaz. Photo: NASA

Franklin Chang Díaz. Photo: NASA

Meet Franklin Chang Díaz, the 60-year-old astronaut who has developed a nuclear rocket that could speed humans to Mars within a week, profiled in Popular Science:

You might expect to find our brightest hope for sending astronauts to other planets in Houston, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, inside a high-security multibillion-dollar facility. But it’s actually a few miles down the street, in a large warehouse behind a strip mall. This bland and uninviting building is the private aerospace start-up Ad Astra Rocket Company, and inside, founder Franklin Chang Díaz is building a rocket engine that’s faster and more powerful than anything NASA has ever flown before. Speed, Chang Díaz believes, is the key to getting to Mars alive. In fact, he tells me as we peer into a three-story test chamber, his engine will one day travel not just to the Red Planet, but to Jupiter and beyond.

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