Abby Martin’s exclusive interview with former NASA Astronaut and ISS Commander, Leroy Chiao, about US-Russian cooperation in space, life on other words and the reality of the film ‘Gravity’.
Tag Archives | Space
Jeez, why can’t we just leave the moon alone? The United States and the Soviet Union wanted to to nuke it, NASA now wants to turn it into a vegetable garden, and the Japanese want to turn it into a power plant. The latter story from Quartz:
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Shimizu, a Japanese architectural and engineering firm, has a solution for the climate crisis: Simply build a band of solar panels 400 kilometers (249 miles) wide (pdf) running all the way around the Moon’s 11,000-kilometer (6,835 mile) equator and beam the carbon-free energy back to Earth in the form of microwaves, which are converted into electricity at ground stations.
That means mining construction materials on the Moon and setting up factories to make the solar panels. “Robots will perform various tasks on the lunar surface, including ground leveling and excavation of hard bottom strata,” according to Shimizu, which is known for a series of far-fetched “dream projects” including pyramid cities and a space hotel.
The new balanced diet includes space fruits. The Independent reports:
NASA has announced plans to grow plants on the moon by 2015 in a project designed to further humanity’s chances of successfully colonising space. If successful, the Lunar Plant Growth Habitat team will make history by seeding life from Earth on another celestial body for the first time, paving the way for humans to set up more permanent habitation.
NASA plans to deliver the payload via the Moon Express lander, a commercial spacecraft enrolled in the Google Lunar X Prize. Seeds will include Arabidopsis, basil, and turnips,” said NASA officials in a press release.
Partial gravity and lunar radiation will need to be accounted for, although the plants will travel with their own water reservoir and enough air for five days of growth. Cameras and sensors will monitor the plants and send data back to Earth.
There could be as many as 40 billion habitable Earth-size planets in the galaxy, according to a new study. WSJ‘s Monika Vosough reports.
The Hollywood adaptation of this story is no doubt already in the works. In the meantime, Scientific American has the details of the UN’s plan to defeat an asteroid attack:
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When a meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia in February, the world’s space agencies found out along with the rest of us, on Twitter and YouTube. That, says former astronaut Ed Lu, is unacceptable—and the United Nations agrees. Last week the General Assembly approved a set of measures that Lu and other astronauts have recommended to protect the planet from the dangers of rogue asteroids.
The U.N. plans to set up an “International Asteroid Warning Group” for member nations to share information about potentially hazardous space rocks. If astronomers detect an asteroid that poses a threat to Earth, the U.N.’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will help coordinate a mission to launch a spacecraft to slam into the object and deflect it from its collision course.
Ladies and gentlemen, Voyager I has left the building…
By today’s standards, the spacecraft’s technology is laughable: it carries an 8-track tape recorder and computers with one-240,000th the memory of a low-end iPhone. When it left Earth 36 years ago, it was designed as a four-year mission to Saturn, and everything after that was gravy.
But Voyager 1 has become — thrillingly — the Little Spacecraft That Could. On Thursday, scientists declared that it had become the first manufactured object to exit the solar system, a breathtaking achievement that NASA could only fantasize about back when Voyager was launched in 1977, the same year “Star Wars” was released.
How about a little send-off music?
What do you do next when you’ve successfully screwed up the Earth? Screw up Space too! Agricultural science is approaching its next frontier reports Modern Farmer:
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Last year, an astronaut named Don Pettit began an unusual writing project on NASA’s website. Called “Diary of a Space Zucchini,” the blog took the perspective of an actual zucchini plant on the International Space Station (ISS). Entries were insightful and strange, poignant and poetic.
“I sprouted, thrust into this world without anyone consulting me,” wrote Pettit in the now-defunct blog. “I am utilitarian, hearty vegetative matter that can thrive under harsh conditions. I am zucchini — and I am in space.”
An unorthodox use of our tax dollars, but before you snicker, consider this: That little plant could be the key to our future. If — as some doomsday scientists predict — we will eventually exhaust the Earth’s livability, space farming will prove vital to the survival of our species.
“Flagetanis the heathen saw with his own eyes in the constellations things he was shy to talk about, Hidden Mysteries. He said there was a thing called the Grail, whose name he had read clearly in the constellations. A host of angels left it on the earth…” – Parzival
We left off last month with a synopsis of a portion of Chretien de Troyes account of the Grail quest. We learned how Percival became a knight in King Arthur’s court and subsequently set out in pursuit of adventure, whereupon he encounters a fisherman who directs him to a castle. Within a great hall in this castle Percival witnesses the ‘Grail Procession.’ One of the items carried in the procession is a white lance dripping blood. The grail itself, when conveyed through the hall, is overwhelmingly brilliant. He later learns that the fisherman is a king who has suffered a grievous wound which will not heal.… Read the rest
From Modern Mythology:
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California has been working up the gumption to build itself a bullet train for about five years now. It will cost tens of billions of dollars, and will be finished no sooner than 2028. A week ago, Musk proposed a solution that is not only cheaper than the proposed bullet train, but better in pretty much every conceivable way. His plan, in really stupidly simple terms, is to build a gigantic closed-circuit blowgun. Yeah, it sounds totally ridiculous, but that’s mainly because I described it in a ridiculous way. The plan itself actually makes a lot of sense.
Here’s the actually puzzling part, at least to me. Musk went ahead and proposed this wild thing, even wrote up a 52-page technical document about it, but he’s got no intention of lifting a finger to actually build it. Yes, people are constantly coming up with ways for the government to run itself better.
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.
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“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.