Space always seems so far away and much of it actually is. But space is actually quite close to where we are all sitting right now. The Kármán line, the commonly accepted boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and space, is only 62 miles above sea level. A distance of 62 miles can covered by a car on the interstate in less than an hour. Stable Earth orbits are achievable at only 100 miles above the Earth, with the ISS and Space Shuttles usually orbiting at a height of ~200 miles.
Tag Archives | Space Travel
Space 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.
What are you doing this summer? Via io9:
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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.
It sounds like the beginning of a Kurt Vonnegut novel, but the first privately owned spacecraft will make its attempt at breaking through the atmosphere and returning safely. If this trip proves successful, NASA will look towards private funding. The New York Daily News reports:
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The future of the space travel will undergo a crucial test Tuesday when the first privately owned spaceship attempts a launch into orbit.
If it succeeds, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule will then try to reenter the atmosphere – also a first for a nongovernment-owned spacecraft.
The outcome of the launch will play a vital role in determining the direction of U.S. space travel as NASA looks to private companies to fill in the gap as the space shuttle program is put into mothballs next year.