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Space Adventures, Ltd. | Home

May 1, 2017

ISS Cupola a room with an extraordinary view

Positioned on the Earth facing side of the International Space Station (ISS) the Cupola provides extraordinary views of the Earth. The Cupola juts out from the main structure of the

April 18, 2017

Soyuz Rocket successfully launching humans to space for over 40 years.

Soyuz Rocket The Soyuz spacecraft launches on the Soyuz rocket, which like the spacecraft has a long track record of successful operation. First flown in 1966, Soyuz rockets in various

April 5, 2017

Soyuz spacecraft success through continual improvement

Today, there are only two vehicles that can carry humans into space. One is the Russian Soyuz, the other is the Chinese Shenzhou (see below). Only Chinese professional astronauts (or

November 18, 2014

Reasons you should fly to space

At Space Adventures we are often asked why private citizens should fly to space. So I asked our previous spaceflight client, Richard Garriott, who spent 12 days on the International

October 7, 2014

10 Best Photos of Earth Taken By Astronauts

Pictures Taken From Space Provide a Look into the Space Travel Experience Since the first astronauts returned with photos showing our planet from a new perspective, our desire to see

View post:

Space Adventures, Ltd. | Home

Turning human waste into plastic, nutrients could aid long-distance space travel – Space Daily

Imagine you’re on your way to Mars, and you lose a crucial tool during a spacewalk. Not to worry, you’ll simply re-enter your spacecraft and use some microorganisms to convert your urine and exhaled carbon dioxide (CO2) into chemicals to make a new one. That’s one of the ultimate goals of scientists who are developing ways to make long space trips feasible.

The researchers are presenting their results this week at the 254th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, is holding the meeting here through Thursday. It features nearly 9,400 presentations on a wide range of science topics.

Astronauts can’t take a lot of spare parts into space because every extra ounce adds to the cost of fuel needed to escape Earth’s gravity. “If astronauts are going to make journeys that span several years, we’ll need to find a way to reuse and recycle everything they bring with them,” Mark A. Blenner, Ph.D., says. “Atom economy will become really important.”

The solution lies in part with the astronauts themselves, who will constantly generate waste from breathing, eating and using materials. Unlike their friends on Earth, Blenner says, these spacefarers won’t want to throw any waste molecules away. So he and his team are studying how to repurpose these molecules and convert them into products the astronauts need, such as polyesters and nutrients.

Some essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, have a shelf life of just a couple of years, says Blenner, who is at Clemson University. They’ll need to be made en route, beginning a few years after launch, or at the destination.

“Having a biological system that astronauts can awaken from a dormant state to start producing what they need, when they need it, is the motivation for our project,” he says.

Blenner’s biological system includes a variety of strains of the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. These organisms require both nitrogen and carbon to grow. Blenner’s team discovered that the yeast can obtain their nitrogen from urea in untreated urine.

Meanwhile, the yeast obtain their carbon from CO2, which could come from astronauts’ exhaled breath, or from the Martian atmosphere. But to use CO2, the yeast require a middleman to “fix” the carbon into a form they can ingest. For this purpose, the yeast rely on photosynthetic cyanobacteria or algae provided by the researchers.

One of the yeast strains produces omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to heart, eye and brain health. Another strain has been engineered to churn out monomers and link them to make polyester polymers.

Those polymers could then be used in a 3-D printer to generate new plastic parts. Blenner’s team is continuing to engineer this yeast strain to produce a variety of monomers that can be polymerized into different types of polyesters with a range of properties.

For now, the engineered yeast strains can produce only small amounts of polyesters or nutrients, but the scientists are working on boosting output. They’re also looking into applications here on Earth, in fish farming and human nutrition. For example, fish raised via aquaculture need to be given omega-3 fatty acid supplements, which could be produced by Blenner’s yeast strains.

Although other research groups are also putting yeast to work, they aren’t taking the same approach. For example, a team from DuPont is already using yeast to make omega-3 fatty acids for aquaculture, but its yeast feed on refined sugar instead of waste products, Blenner says. Meanwhile, two other teams are engineering yeast to make polyesters. However, unlike Blenner’s group, they aren’t engineering the organisms to optimize the type of polyester produced, he says.

Whatever their approach, these researchers are all adding to the body of knowledge about Y. lipolytica, which has been studied much less than, say, the yeast used in beer production.

“We’re learning that Y. lipolytica is quite a bit different than other yeast in their genetics and biochemical nature,” Blenner says. “Every new organism has some amount of quirkiness that you have to focus on and understand better.”

A video on the research is available here

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Turning human waste into plastic, nutrients could aid long-distance space travel – Space Daily

New radiation-hardened computers are ready to blast off on space missions – CNET

BAE Systems

If you think getting knocked around in your backpack on the subway is tough on a computer, try going into space, where radiation and cosmic rays can cause sensitive computer equipment to degrade and fail.

Aerospace company BAE Systems has just announced a new computer it calls “radiation-hardened.” According to the company, the new RAD5545 “provides next-generation spacecraft with the high-performance onboard processing capacity needed to support future space missions,” and is faster and more power-efficient than its predecessor.

A single RAD5545 SBC replaces multiple cards on previous generations of spacecraft. It combines high performance, large amounts of memory, and fast throughput to improve spacecraft capability, efficiency, and mission performance. With its improved computational throughput, storage, and bandwidth, it will provide spacecraft with the ability to conduct new missions, including those requiring encryption processing, multiple operating systems, ultra high-resolution image processing, autonomous operation, and simultaneous support for multiple payloads missions that were impossible with previous single-board computers.

Because it’s a single-card computer with all the components on one circuit board, it’s smaller, with fewer parts to potentially fail, and it uses specially insulated components to protect against radiation. Long-term trips, such as to Mars, would especially require computer hardware that could stand up to the long-term rigors of space travel.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise meanwhile is trying a different approach to dealing with radiation. It’s space-testing relatively ordinary computers with software to detect and correct radiation-induced computing errors.

Read the rest here:

New radiation-hardened computers are ready to blast off on space missions – CNET

Bold Space Travel – Santa Barbara Edhat

Transforming science fiction to reality, UC Santa Barbara physics professor Philip Lubin is creating a laser-cannon system to propel miniature spaceships with solar sails more than 25 trillion miles to the suns nearest star Proxima Centuari.

Loaded with cameras, other sensors, historical records of humanity, greetings from Earth and possibly human DNA, the smartphone-sized crafts, or interstellar arks, would be thrust on an historic journey that would take about 20 years a blink of an eye in space travel.

People understood roughly 100 years ago that it was possible using then- technology to send a human to the moon and return them, Lubin said, noting that one challenge was scaling down equipment. If you look at the popular literature at that time, the idea was treated as science fiction, like Flash Gordon.

Lubins ambitious vision is showcased in Laser-Sailing Starships, one of eight new books in the Out of this World Series (World Book, 2017). Targeted to middle- school students, the books focus on research fellows involved in the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program. NASAs aim is to foster the next generation of scientific talent.

The great part about the whole series is that it doesnt talk down to kids, but addresses the science head-on, said Jason Derleth, the program executive for NASA, which helps fund Lubins research.

In 2009, Lubin began examining how to use directed energy a phased laser array to deflect asteroids bound for Earth. But there was limited outside interest in the UCSB research, he said, because the planet doesnt get hit often.

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Bold Space Travel – Santa Barbara Edhat

Elon Musk’s Sexy Spacesuit Is One Giant Leap for Space Tourism – Fortune

This week, Elon Musk dragged space fashion into the 21st century with the newly revealed SpaceX spacesuit . But can he do the same for space tourism?

The allure of space travel is deeply embedded in our psyche. Jules Vernes 1865 novel From Earth to the Moon captured some of this drive. But it was JFKs 1961 Moon Shot speech, and the space programs that followed, that encouraged ordinary people to imagine they might one day be able to travel beyond the Earth.

That possibility came closer in 2004 when Burt Rutans SpaceShip One became the first private vessel to carry its three pilots into suborbital flight. Since then, a handful of companies have been pushing hard to kickstart the future of space tourism.

$250,000 will secure you a seat on Sir Richard Bransons Virgin Galactic, even though the company has yet to make its maiden passenger voyage. And Jeff Bezos is also gearing up to give budding space tourists a similar experience with Blue Origins Space Capsule.

Both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are promising a few minutes of weightlessness and stunning views of the Earth from spacealbeit at the cost of a second mortgage. But these are little more than titillating carnival rides compared to true space travel.

For this, aspiring space tourists need to look to SpaceX. In February, Musk announced plans to fly two paying passengers around the moon in 2018. This is still the equivalent of a stroll down the street given the vastness of the solar system. But unlike the toe-dipping experiences promised by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, its more likely to capture the full space experience.

And that includes the risks.

If theres one thing weve learned in recent decades, its that space is dangerous. For space tourism to come close to succeeding, companies offering trips beyond the Earths atmosphere are going to have to grapple with a complex and shifting risk landscape.

Space travel encapsulates a remarkable frisson between risk and safety. For many people, the anticipated experience of being in space seems to far outweigh perceived personal risksjust look at the number of people willing to risk their lives on a one-way trip to Mars!

Yet irrespective of what individuals are willing to accept, the possibility of civilian injuries and deaths present a major challenge to the future of space tourism. Expect to see crippling insurance premiums, cold-footed investors, and the specter of regulations that potentially suck the lifeblood out of a fragile industry. But also expect public backlashes against seemingly reckless private ventures that potentially leave deep public scars if they fail.

These and similar risks dont spell the death of space tourism by any stretch of the imagination. But success will depend on weaving a subtle course through new risk territory. Of course, itll mean ensuring that passengers are adequately protected in the event of system failures, and that theyre kept as safe as possible without restricting the experience theyve paid for. But it will also mean granting companies the social and legal license to operate.

And trivial as it may seem, a well-designed spacesuit taps in to all of these. Naturally, you cant succeed in space tourism simply by creating a sexy spacesuit. But you can do a lot with a suit thats functional, desirable, and iconic. And you can excel with one that makes the complete experience worthwhilenot only for the wearer, but for the rest of us who are vicariously experiencing this new adventure from a distance, and everything it promises for the future.

This is a tall order. But maybe Musks sleek new spacesuit will bring us a step closer toward a viable and vibrant future of space tourism.

Andrew Maynard is a professor in the Arizona State University (ASU) School for the Future of Innovation in Society, and director of the ASU Risk Innovation Lab.

See more here:

Elon Musk’s Sexy Spacesuit Is One Giant Leap for Space Tourism – Fortune

Space travel microbes turn urine into polymers – Chemistry World (subscription)

A strain of yeast that can recycle urine and carbon dioxide into omega-3 fatty acids and polymers has been developed by US scientists, who say it could help astronauts turn waste products into food on long interplanetary journeys.

Biomolecular engineer Mark Blenner from Clemson University in South Carolina presented the work at the 254th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition in Washington, DC, as part of a broader session on getting people to Mars.

Our yeast not only grow on human urine, they actually prefer it to other nitrogen sources

Mark Blenner, Clemson University

Blenners research focuses on the yeast species Yarrowia lipolytica whose cells naturally produce and accumulate omega-3 fatty acids. He says that these products could be used as nutritional supplements for astronauts, as theyve been implicated in preventing bone loss and maintaining cardiovascular and ocular health, but dont have a long enough shelf life for adequate supplies to be brought from Earth. His group showed that the yeast could grow using human urine as a source of nitrogen, something that there would be a plentiful supply of on manned space missions.

Our yeast not only grow on human urine, they actually prefer it to other nitrogen sources, Brenner says. His group have also used synthetic biology to engineer a strain of the same yeast to produce polyhydroxyalkanoates, which shows they have the potential to manufacture polymer inks that could be used to fabricate objects in a 3D printer. In particular, he said this could be very useful in situations where an astronaut has lost a tool or a piece of equipment that they need.

Blenner admits they dont currently know how the biology would react to being in space. But in the meantime there are several more terrestrial applications they can explore, such as producing omega-3 supplements for fish farms and making other speciality chemicals. He says the next stepis for his team to demonstrate that they can get usable quantities of both the polyestersand the omega-3 fatty acids from these astronaut waste stream. We are going to be doing genetic engineering to the cell to really try and force it to make the products that we want, by knocking out certain pathways that might syphon off intermediates, Blenner explains. The team is also still at the early stages of characterising how the yeast go about taking up a lot of these waste substrates. We havent really done a full analysis yet of whats left over to try and see if there is any way to get the yeast to use some of the leftovers, he says.

Read the original here:

Space travel microbes turn urine into polymers – Chemistry World (subscription)

Potential Solution for Dealing with Human Waste in Space Travel – Industry Daily News (press release) (blog)

Researchers recently showed a rather unique solution to one of the more perplexing and unavoidable problems in long distance space travel: taking care of the human waste. According to their process, an astronaut could essentially create new tools or replace broken ones using a technology that converts exhaled carbon dioxide and other waste products into feasible chemicals. The researchers were to show the results of their study at ACSs 254th National Meeting and Exposition.

Two Birds with One Stone, Space Travel Edition

PhD Mark Blenner stated that for astronauts to be able to conduct space exploration journeys for longer durations than what is currently possible, it is not just the travel technology that needs to be developed. There could potentially be a way recycle the human waste products into something that the astronauts can utilize. Some of the potential products for this process are spare parts for components. These are something that are more often than not, left behind due to weight issues. The cost of fuel and storage for the spare parts can end up being a significantly high cost that companies may not be able to afford. Blenner adds that in such as situation, an atom economy would be highly valuable. The solution offered by the researchers would thus, not only be a core answer to the spare parts problem, but also a more useful alternative to dumping astronaut waste into space.

Saving Every Molecule to Maximize Efficiency

A lot of astronauts could likely be interested in the atom economy that this technology could offer. They find a lot more value in saving every atom and molecule that what those on Earth would, making the repurposing of human waste a welcome idea. One of the key motivation factors for Blenner and the team was the idea of creating a biological system that can be toggled between active and dormant on command.

More:

Potential Solution for Dealing with Human Waste in Space Travel – Industry Daily News (press release) (blog)

Space travel microbes turn urine into polymers – Chemistry World (subscription)

A strain of yeast that can recycle urine and carbon dioxide into omega-3 fatty acids and polymers has been developed by US scientists, who say it could help astronauts turn waste products into food on long interplanetary journeys.

Biomolecular engineer Mark Blenner from Clemson University in South Carolina presented the work at the 254th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition in Washington, DC, as part of a broader session on getting people to Mars.

Our yeast not only grow on human urine, they actually prefer it to other nitrogen sources

Mark Blenner, Clemson University

Blenners research focuses on the yeast species Yarrowia lipolytica whose cells naturally produce and accumulate omega-3 fatty acids. He says that these products could be used as nutritional supplements for astronauts, as theyve been implicated in preventing bone loss and maintaining cardiovascular and ocular health, but dont have a long enough shelf life for adequate supplies to be brought from Earth. His group showed that the yeast could grow using human urine as a source of nitrogen, something that there would be a plentiful supply of on manned space missions.

Our yeast not only grow on human urine, they actually prefer it to other nitrogen sources, Brenner says. His group have also used synthetic biology to engineer a strain of the same yeast to produce polyhydroxyalkanoates, which shows they have the potential to manufacture polymer inks that could be used to fabricate objects in a 3D printer. In particular, he said this could be very useful in situations where an astronaut has lost a tool or a piece of equipment that they need.

Blenner admits they dont currently know how the biology would react to being in space. But in the meantime there are several more terrestrial applications they can explore, such as producing omega-3 supplements for fish farms and making other speciality chemicals. He says the next stepis for his team to demonstrate that they can get usable quantities of both the polyestersand the omega-3 fatty acids from these astronaut waste stream. We are going to be doing genetic engineering to the cell to really try and force it to make the products that we want, by knocking out certain pathways that might syphon off intermediates, Blenner explains. The team is also still at the early stages of characterising how the yeast go about taking up a lot of these waste substrates. We havent really done a full analysis yet of whats left over to try and see if there is any way to get the yeast to use some of the leftovers, he says.

Continue reading here:

Space travel microbes turn urine into polymers – Chemistry World (subscription)

Space Adventures, Ltd. | Home

May 1, 2017

ISS Cupola a room with an extraordinary view

Positioned on the Earth facing side of the International Space Station (ISS) the Cupola provides extraordinary views of the Earth. The Cupola juts out from the main structure of the

April 18, 2017

Soyuz Rocket successfully launching humans to space for over 40 years.

Soyuz Rocket The Soyuz spacecraft launches on the Soyuz rocket, which like the spacecraft has a long track record of successful operation. First flown in 1966, Soyuz rockets in various

April 5, 2017

Soyuz spacecraft success through continual improvement

Today, there are only two vehicles that can carry humans into space. One is the Russian Soyuz, the other is the Chinese Shenzhou (see below). Only Chinese professional astronauts (or

November 18, 2014

Reasons you should fly to space

At Space Adventures we are often asked why private citizens should fly to space. So I asked our previous spaceflight client, Richard Garriott, who spent 12 days on the International

October 7, 2014

10 Best Photos of Earth Taken By Astronauts

Pictures Taken From Space Provide a Look into the Space Travel Experience Since the first astronauts returned with photos showing our planet from a new perspective, our desire to see

Original post:

Space Adventures, Ltd. | Home

Former Astronauts Talk About Space Travel, Their Favorite Sci-Fi Movies and the Future of Our Planet – Parade

August 7, 2017 11:36 AM BySamuel R. Murrian Parade @SamuelR_Murrian More by Samuel R.

Just over 500 people in human history have traveled to space, and former NASA astronautsJeff HoffmanandJerry M. Linengerare among them. Hoffman was born in Brooklyn, New York, and made five space flights, including the first mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope in 1993. Eastpointe, Michigan-born Linenger is a retired captain in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps, and has flown on the space shuttle Atlantisand Russian space station Mir.

They are both involved inNational Geographicchannels highly anticipated and ambitious One Strange Rock, an event series exploring the conditions that make Earth the only planet known to sustain life. Hoffman and Linenger will each host one episode of the show, which is produced by Academy Award-nominated director Darren Aronofsky(Black Swan,Requiem for a Dream).One Strange Rock is slated for an early 2018 premiere.

ParadeattendedNational Geographics annual Nerd Nite bash on the roof of the Kimpton Solamar Hotel in downtown San Diego during Comic-Con weekend. During the lively party, Hoffman and Linenger each gave passionate talks about their experiences in space and their involvement in One Strange Rock. Afterward, we talked to them about what inspired them to pursue careers in space travel, their favorite science fiction movies and the future of our planet.

What made you want to go into space travel?

Hoffman: When I was a little kid, in the 1950s before sputnikat that point the Space Age was still mostly science fiction. I read about sounding rockets that were being launched, and monkeys going into space, but essentially my childhood heroes were the science fiction guys: Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. It was really exciting because I lived through the beginning of the real Space Age when sputnik was launched and then the first people went into space. All of the early astronauts were military test pilots, so I never really looked at being an astronaut, although I was always fascinated with the idea. It wasnt a realistic career goal, because I was never going to be a military pilot. I was interested in science and space. I actually became a professional astronomer.

It was really when the space shuttle came along in the 1970s, and the shuttle had a crew of seven and they only needed two pilots that really opened things up for scientists, engineers and medical doctors. When NASA put out a call for the first group of shuttle astronauts, thats when I applied and I was lucky enough to get selected. That changed my life.

Linenger:When I was 14 looking at the moon, I thought I wanted to be an astronaut someday. I went home and said, Dad, I want to be an astronaut. He could have said, Jerry, forget it. Set your sights on something more realistic. Your odds of being an astronaut are one in a billion. But he didnthe put him arm around me and said, This is America, work hard and study hard, and you can be anything you set your mind to. When I was up in orbit, during rough times on the space station, Id be running on a treadmill and I could feel his presence. I could feel him telling me he was glad I made it and he was proud of me. That tells me that youre never really alone. That tells me you always have people around you who care about you to draw on. You could say thats a coping mechanism, but I choose to believe that was my dads presence helping me.

How would you describe the feeling of being in space to someone who has never been?

Hoffman:Its a feeling of freedom, and being able to do things physically that you would never dream of. Thats why its such a delightful feeling. I really think theres a future for commercial space travel, because people will pay to have that incredible experience. Its a joy; its an ecstasy. Your body has no weight and you have the freedom to move around in ways that you maybe dreamed of before but could never do it.

How has space travel changed your life?

Linenger: I used to be a different person, a real stoic old Naval officer. Up there, I got in touch with being a human being. When I give talks like I did tonight, or in this show coming up, were hitting at some serious human emotions and feelings, and what its like in space. It makes you take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

What is it aboutOne Strange Rockthat made you want to get involved?

Hoffman: When they contacted me, I thought it was an honor to be asked by National Geographic to work on a project. Then, when they described it to me, the idea of explaining some of the unique things about our planet that make it one strange rock, and that each of the episodes would be hosted by an astronaut given that weve had the opportunity to look at our planet from such a different perspective, I thought that was also a very nice idea.

Linenger: This show was very much on a personal level. My episode is on death. The show made me think about that kind of stuff. My bodys atoms of the Big Bang are in me, and now I need to be there for my kids and to perpetuate the next generation and leave something behind.

Are there any films about space that really stand out to you as accurate portrayals of space?

Linenger:The Martian(2015). As an astronaut watching that movie, everythingMatt Damons character did in that movie was something I was trained to do. The only question was could I execute one thing after another under pressure like that? Im not sure that I could, and Im not sure any astronaut could. The big insight for me in that movie is he used about 65% of the knowledge I have gained in my training. It was fun to watch.

I took my daughter and her class to seeHidden Figures(2016). My girl is 16, and her eyes lit up. Im always encouraging her, and telling her she can do anything. Weve got it pretty darn good in the U.S.if youve got the drive, you can do it. I tell her that all the time.

Apollo 13(1995)was fabulous.Gravity(2013) in 3Dis the closest Ifeltto being in space. As an audience, if you want to know what it feels like, that gives you a pretty good feel, even though some of the details are a little farfetched.

Hoffman: So many science fiction movies and articleshow should I put it kindlythey just, get it wrong. In the case ofThe Martian, just like withApollo 13, they did their best to get it right. Its a pleasure when that happens. And they made a good story out of it. Its a real public service, because people get the feelingyou know, maybe we really could go to Mars someday. And thats important. Thats one role that science fiction plays that I think is maybe not appreciated enough. Science fiction has been around for a long time. And its given people the belief that we can go to space, that these things are possible. And thats important because if you dont think that something is possible, youre not going to try to do it.

Do you think that young people today are being educated enough about the world around them, and about space exploration?

Linenger: Yes, I think theyre in the right spot at the right time and Im envious. My goal in life right now is to help launch them, because theyve got so much more potential than I had when I was their age. When Im talking to teenagers, I tell them the sky is not the limit. Space was what I got to, and I dont know what their limits are going to be.

Hoffman: First of all, space exploration is not in the news these days in the ways that it was during the early days of the space program. Its something that people have gotten used toThe really nice thing is nowadays for people who are genuinely interested, you dont have to get your news from the main news channels. With all of the different media today, if you want to find out whats going on there are a hundred different ways you can get that information. The NASA website is mobbed after every Mars probe or fly by Pluto, because even though its not on the evening news every night, theres a lot of interest out there.

Is there any advice youd want to give young people who are considering a career in space travel?

Hoffman: Weve barely scratched the surface. Its been 50 years since we flew more than a few hundred miles away from the EarthIf this is something that kids are interested in, work really hard and build up your technical knowledge because space flight is a highly technical enterprise. You need your physics, math, chemistry and computers. Dont be afraid to dream of difficult things, but realize that youre going to have to work hard to make your dreams come true.

Linenger: My main point I tell people is youve got to love what youre doing. Youve got to have passion for what youre doing. If you do, youll do it well. Thats the key to becoming an astronaut. You better have a great thirst for knowledge, and curiosity better be a big driver within you. Set your sights on big things, and even if you dont quite make it, at least youre going in a good direction and you have lots of other good options.

Being astronauts, you have a truly unique perspective of Earth. What are some of your hopes and fears for Earth for the next 100 years?

Linenger: One thing I will say is that on a space station I had to support life. When I was working up there, it took a lot of my time and a lot of my effort to keep myself alive and to make it a habitable environment. Planet Earth is wondrous. Its incredible. Its evolved over millions and millions of years, and its buffering ability is majestic. It can take a lot of insult, but we cant overdo it. Were getting to the point where were overdoing it. With just some common sense measures on all of our parts and well be just fine.

Hoffman: The first thing that most astronauts will tell you when we look at the Earth is what a beautiful planet it is. When you look closely, there are some pretty scary things that you can see. We can see some of the ecological damage that were doing to our planet from the cosmic perspective. You see the destruction of a rainforest, the pollution of rivers, the pollution over big cities. I think a lot of astronauts come back from space with an increased ecological sensitivity that we try to share with other people when we talk about it.

One Strange Rock will premiere on National Geographicin the first quarter of 2018, date TBD.

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Former Astronauts Talk About Space Travel, Their Favorite Sci-Fi Movies and the Future of Our Planet – Parade

Genes in Space winner in Florida to witness her idea take off – The National

Alia Al Mansoori, the Genes in Space winner 2017, is eagerly anticipating her idea taking off from the Kennedy Space Centre. Pawan Singh / The National

She wants to be the first Emirati in space and to plant the UAE flag on the surface of Mars.

And on Monday, 15-year-old Alia Al Mansoori will get her first taste of what that involves when a Falcon 9 rockets blasts off from the world-famous Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

Alia will not be on boardbut her work will be. The Dragon capsule on the SpaceX ship carries her winning experiment from The Nationals Genes in Space competition.

Alia and her family will be watching the lift-off at the Nasa complex as guests of Boeing, sponsors of the nationwide contest.

The capsule will carry her experiment to the International Space Station, where it will be tested by one of the astronauts on board.

Last week, Alia was at Harvard University to help prepare her experiment for its voyage into orbit.

Her winning entry uses ribonucleic acid (RNA), a molecule that, like DNA, is key part of all living things.

Samples of RNA will be tested on board the ISS in a specially adapted version of a machine called a miniPCR DNA Discovery System.

She hopes to see if the samples, taken from Nemitode worms, behave differently in space than on Earth, something that could prove vital for long-distance space travel, which Alia hopes to experience.

The samples, packed into several dozen small vials, have been deep frozen and packed in dry ice before being sent to the space centre.

Alias terrestrial journey has been an amazing one since winning the competition.

She has meet Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, is training to be an ambassador for Expo 2020 and has visited Canada to explore further education options in her chose fields of molecular biology and medicine.

The Genes in Space contest attracted more than 100 entries and aims to promote interest in science in UAE schools.

_________________

Read more:

Emirati girl wins Genes in Space competition in pictures

Young Emirati is reaching for the stars as she aims to become UAE’s first astronaut

UAE Genes in Space winner busy fine-tuning her experiment for blast-off

_________________

Alia, a pupil at Al Mawakeb school, says: Ive always wanted to be an astronaut. When I go to Mars, hopefully I will be taking the UAE flag with me.

The launch on Monday is a resupply mission for the ISS and takes place in the same complex where Apollo 11 left for the Moon in 1969 and was later used for Space Shuttle missions.

It will use a commercial rocket built by SpaceX, the company created by billionaire Elon Musk, who is also behind Tesla electric cars.

The Falcon 9 is one of the most sophisticated rockets ever built and is able to land the first stage under its own power for reuse, rather than falling into the sea, like other rockets.

Mondays launch has been delayed several timesbut was finally cleared by Nasa on Thursday after a successful test of the nine Merlin main engines.

Ten minutes after lift-off, the first stage of the rocket will land back at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The Dragon capsule will continue into orbit for a rendezvous with the ISS early on Wednesday morning. Astronauts will use a robotic arm to capture the capsule, which will remain docked with the space station until its return to Earth in September.

This will be the 12th mission conducted by SpaceX for its contract with Nasa and will carry dozens of scientific experiments alongside Alias, as well as supplies and equipment.

Other experiments include growing vegetables in space and medical research. Alias experiment will eventually be returned to Earth for evaluation, although no date has been set yet.

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Genes in Space winner in Florida to witness her idea take off – The National

A pair of musicians uses Quindar tones to create a musical tribute to … – PRI

You may not know what a Quindar tone is, but you have definitely heard one.

Quindar tones are the beeps heard in the background of famous space communications, like Neil Armstrongs the Eagle has landed message to Mission Control when the lunar module first reached the moon.

The tones, named after the company that made the equipment, were generated by ground control to turn on and off the radio transmitters used to talk to astronauts. Recently two musicians, Mikael Jorgensen and James Merle Thomas, have taken inspiration from these tones and other sounds from NASAs audio archives to create a new musical album, called Hip Mobility.

Jorgensen, when hes not exploring the bleeps and pings of NASA, is keyboardist for the band Wilco. Thomas is a musician and art historian based in Philadelphia.

Thomas describes the genesis of their projectthis way: [W]hen I was finishing my doctorate [in 2011, 2012], I was working as a fellow at the National Air and Space Museum, and I was looking at how artists and architects were collaborating with engineers at NASA to design for space. In other words, what it meant to build something like the interior of Skylab, as a kind of house that would be different from a regular spacecraft.

When I was researching that material, he continues, I started encountering a lot of archival stuff old industrial films, archival audio. Its not the stuff of the heroic missions that we always think of. It wasnt the countdowns. It wasnt the triumphant sound clips. It was really the mundane stuff of every day. It was tape hiss. It was microphones that were left on. It was people talking about what it felt like to live in space for a long time. It felt almost like a deep portrait of what it meant to live at that given moment in a very unique place. I thought that would make an excellent starting point for telling a story or making some compositions using those sounds.

Jorgensen says that when he and Thomas began to collaborate, they would text each other in-between writing sessions. He recalls asking Thomas, What are those sounds? What are those beeps called? When Thomas told them they were called Quindar tones, Jorgensen knew immediately that would be the name of the project.

Then we further discovered what a Quindar tone was, Jorgensen says. It is a handshake between telemetry systems that keep Mission Control and spacecraft communications open. Its sort of like, Are you there? And then the spacecraft answers, Yeah, Im here. Are you still there? And back and forth.

He says it reminded him of how he and Thomas communicated musically.

Thomas says that the first part of making the Quindar record was sitting around listening to hours and hours of archival audio. But one the things he noticed right away was a small difference between the two Quindar tones. They sound at two different frequencies. Theyre not a musical interval apart, Jorgensen explains, but they are something like 100 Hertz different from each other.

We were struck by the fact that this is basically a synthesizer that NASA is playing, Thomas says. It is a kind of a complex note structure thats being beamed out into the ether. So, we immediately started thinking, What if we push and pull with this fixed industrial standard and think about it less like a precise measure of communication and think about it more like an expressive instrument?

It was a really short path from that way of thinking to thinking about what was happening with synthesizers at this same moment, he continues. What were composers like Stockhausen or John Cage doing when they were using similar devices to create sounds?

The advances that were made due to space agency funding directly inspired and made technologies available for commercial synthesizer apparatus, the Quindar module being a prime example, Jorgensen adds. So, for him, as a lifelong space lover and the son of a recording engineer, the intersection of NASA and electronic music was a logical extension of all of those interests.

Another good parallel to their work would be an artist like Robert Rauschenberg, Thomas says. Rauschenberg was invited by NASA in July of 1969 to travel to Cape Kennedy and witness the launch of Apollo 11.

Rauschenberg was an official guest of the agency and, along with a number of other artists, he was asked to provide some kind of interpretation of the experience.

Rauschenberg didnt set up an easel and paint like everyone else, Thomas says. He immediately started rooting around in the engineers trash cans and found schematics and blueprints and tourist maps from Cocoa Beach. He really upended the narrative that NASA was trying to create, and made a wild, kaleidoscopic set of collages, called Stoned Moon.

I think theres something in the spirit of rewriting a narrative, of maybe thinking differently about the way a countdown works, or the way that were told a story, and to reshuffle the order in which its told, Thomas says. I think theres something in that way of thinking that really informed the way that we were thinking about composition on this album.

This article is based on an interview that aired on PRIs Science Friday with Ira Flatow.

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A pair of musicians uses Quindar tones to create a musical tribute to … – PRI

35 Pictures From The Space Race That Are Out Of This World – BuzzFeed News

Left: A laboratory dog wears a space suit and oxygen mask during preparation for space travel at a Soviet base in Moscow in 1957. Right: Malyshka, a Russian space dog, poses here in its snug-fitting space suit with a transparent space helmet beside it. Meanwhile, the newly launched Soviet satellite, Sputnik II, circles the earth, carrying what is reported to be a female husky dog, the first living being to roam space.

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35 Pictures From The Space Race That Are Out Of This World – BuzzFeed News

Topeka children’s imaginations take flight at the Exploration Mars Space Camp – Topeka Capital Journal

The open-mouthed wow factor that space travel creates was brought to children in East Topeka this week as part of a Space Camp that included meeting NASA professional Herb Baker and former NFL football player Joe Mays.

Kia McClain, a Topekan chosen last year to be a social media influencer for NASAs Mars journey, reached out to the Neighborhood Opportunity for Wellness program to bring the space event to the Highland Park neighborhoods.

More than 100 kids showed up from the NOW initiative neighborhoods at Deer Creek, Pine Ridge Manor and Echo Ridge when the camp started this week, McClain said.

(My favorite part of camp) has been trying on the space outfit from the astronaut that came out, camper LaDaysha Baird said. I like to dress up.

The camp was supported by multiple agencies, McClain said, including United Way of Greater Topeka. In her work with NASA, McClain reached out to Baker, who retired from NASA after 42 years working in operation support, most often at the Johnson Space Center.

For Baker, it was a joy to share his love of NASA and space.

My whole life almost has been involved with NASA, he said, explaining that even before pursuing a career there, he went to middle school near Johnson and his friends had parents who went to space. His friends who were astronauts talk about the first time they were intrigued by the idea of becoming astronauts.

There might be one kid here who gets to put that spacesuit on and it changes their lives, Baker said. Thats kind of what Im hoping for.

A real NASA spacesuit and the opportunity to try it on was just one of many events that occurred during the five-day evening camp.

For McClain, a social media expert, the camp gave her the chance to share her own excitement about her NASA connection with children, and she did so by reaching out to numerous partners. Two of those were Joe and Toiya Mays who own the Laya Center in Kansas City, Mo., a holistic spa that has been working with THA around community gardens and aquaponics.

One of the kids favorite events was when Toiya Mays showed them how knowledge of natural health can be used to create medicines and foods, McClain said. For instance, the kids were able to learn about making a natural cough medicine by putting elderberries in 90-proof alcohol or making natural Hawaiian Punch using hibiscus flowers.

Joe Mays shared about the rigorous training and healthy eating necessary to playing in the NFL, and how that same type of fitness would be important for astronauts, McClain said.

The children were wonderful little sponges that were open to not only learning how technology relates to healthcare, but were intrigued by a healthier way of life, Toiya Mays said. We explained the importance of maintaining good eating habits and how eating fruits and veggies is a direct link to energy in a holistic way. They had fun showing us their Pucker Faces during the lime &energy test where we showed a video of the actual electricity currents that come from a Key lime.

The Mays also helped set up a hibernation chamber simulator, where they created a small nook blocked off by cardboard and cooled by a portable cryotherapy machine the Laya Center uses.

This cooled the room and made it similar to what astronauts would experience during a 4-8 month trip to Mars, Toiya Mays said. It was a huge hit!

Although the official space camp portion of the event is over, McClain is working with the NOW program, United Way and THA to continue events weekly throughout the year.

Its the kick-off to major opportunities involving NASA, involving all of these partners that are at the table and just creating future opportunities for the children to go far beyond Topeka, McClain said.

Online editor J.C. Reeves contributed to this report.

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Topeka children’s imaginations take flight at the Exploration Mars Space Camp – Topeka Capital Journal

Mars Rover Tour Shows The Future Of Space Travel – CBS Minnesota / WCCO

Mars Rover Tour Shows The Future Of Space Travel

The concept vehicle shows what a manned Mars rover might look like, Nikki Battiste reports (1:51). WCCO 4 New At 5 Aug. 5, 2017

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Better Business Bureau Warns Homeowners Of Alarm Company ScamIt’s common for security companies to go door-to-door to look for new business. But the Better Business Bureau is sending a warning after fraudulent claims, Kurtis Ming reports (1:21). WCCO 4 News At 6 Aug. 5, 2017

Jockeys In Love: Meet Canterbury Parks Power CoupleThe horse barns of a race track may not seem like the most romantic backdrop. But for two jockeys, it’s the setting for their love story, Rachel Slavik reports (2:05). WCCO 4 News At 6 Aug. 5, 2017

Hundreds ‘Rally For Research’ At State CapitolHundreds of Minnesotans gathered at the State Capitol urging the federal government not to cut funding for medical research, Liz Collin reports (0:56). WCCO 4 News At 6 Aug. 5, 2017

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Better Business Bureau Warns Homeowners Of Alarm Company ScamIt’s common for security companies to go door-to-door to look for new business. But the Better Business Bureau is sending a warning after fraudulent claims, Kurtis Ming reports (1:21). WCCO 4 News At 6 Aug. 5, 2017

Mars Rover Tour Shows The Future Of Space TravelThe concept vehicle shows what a manned Mars rover might look like, Nikki Battiste reports (1:51). WCCO 4 New At 5 Aug. 5, 2017

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Mars Rover Tour Shows The Future Of Space Travel – CBS Minnesota / WCCO

Mars Rover Wrapping Up US Tour To Showcase Future Of Space … – CBS Miami

August 4, 2017 4:46 PM

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CAPE CANAVERAL (CBSMiami) The Kennedy Space Centers Mars rover is wrapping up its U.S. tour. The concept vehicle shows what a manned Mars rover might look like.

Carter and Marshall Demars got their first taste of the future of space travel meeting former astronaut Mike Massimino and getting up close to a prototype of NASAs newest Mars rover.

The size of the rover is just humongous. I thought it would be one of those puny rovers, but its just so big, said Marshall.

The nearly three-ton monster mobile looks like its made for Hollywood, but its meant for the Red Planet.

(Source: CBS Newspath)

NASA engineers did, in fact, team up with movie props designers to create the 11-feet high, 24-feet long vehicle.

Since it wont ever really travel to the Mars, the mission here is earthbound.

I think the major purpose of it is probably to create excitement, get ideas going, get people excited about going, said Massimino.

With six massive wheels, it can only travel up to 6 mph.

The rover has four seats in the front and drives like an SUV. Theres detachable lab where astronauts can do experiments.

Massimino says the challenge in sending people to mars is the cost.

The Kennedy Space Center funded this rover, but it doesnt have the expensive life support needed to make a months-long trip possible.

To ensure a safe journey and a safe return of people is really expensive and thats going to take a budget, a commitment from government that is very significant, said Massimino.

Marshall says hes game to be the first man on Mars.

Ive always been the guy that wants to discover things, so I would go for sure, he said.

And hes just the right age. NASA hopes to send a man or woman to mars around the year 2030.

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Mars Rover Wrapping Up US Tour To Showcase Future Of Space … – CBS Miami

Star spangled glamour: the mission to make space travel cooler than ever before – TechRadar

In all of human history, never have the faraway wonders of the galaxy felt closer to us than they do today, thanks to the ongoing advances in spacefaring technologies that science continues to make. Why, then, should there be any need to make space travel cool and sexy?

First, lets be clear about what we mean by sexy. Simply put: sexy sells. Whether its soft drinks, skateboards, or hair straighteners, being able to make the idea of something in some way attractive is what makes people want to buy into it.

So when we talk about the prospect of space exploration, thats clearly something you cant go and pick up from the supermarket, or order through an online store.

For the majority of the public, space doesnt matter much beyond being a romantic backdrop for a kiss under the stars. So why should space matter to them?

I will probably not see the opportunity to visit space in my lifetime, but I wish I could do it. The young people of two or three hundred years from now will be able to travel to Venus or I dont know where. They are so lucky!

As for space fashion and design, if youre looking 10 centuries ago we were in heavy armor. That was not very glamorous. The evolution is going from the armor to Jean Paul Gaultier. So if you imagine now the future, all the fabrics will be lighter and efficient.

As consumers of a news culture thats almost perpetually dominated by the strife and strains of a world that seems hell-bent on self destruction, be it economically, politically, or literally, it would be easy to give up on the possibilities of space travel and focus instead on solving the problems that surround us.

But if we dont continue our efforts to venture into space, experts believe were in trouble. Stephen Hawking said it himself, we need to colonise another planet within 100 years or were doomed.

Considering that we are living through a time when the US government has cut significant funds from NASAs budget, it may never be more important than it is right now to stoke the fires of the publics imagination when it comes to venturing into space.

The right stories can inspire the next generation of astronauts, spacecraft designers, scientists and astrophysicists to take up the responsibility of space exploration. And with NASAs bold new plan to get people to Mars by 2030, along with commercially-owned space companies promising to take space tourists to the moon within the next decade, there really is more reason to be excited than ever.

An illustration of what NASAs Mars 2020 rover would look like, set to be launched in 2020. Its mission is to seek signs of habitable conditions on Mars. Credit: Nasa

The challenge is in proving to people they need to learn more about space – whether to inspire them to one day work at NASA or to consider buying a ticket to the ionosphere from Elon Musk or Richard Branson. But how do we drum up interest when it seems so out of reach? With science-fiction, of course.

Science fiction itself is a vast genre that incorporates many forms of speculative fiction, from space travel, to time travel, making it a difficult subject to pin down for focused discussion.

More often than not, it offers fiction thats grounded in science-based fact or emerging theory. There remains plenty of room for creative licence when it comes to speculating about the science and technology of the future thats why some stories straddle the line between science-fiction and fantasy, and why youll hear some people talking about hard sci-fi, which is a sub-genre characterised by a rigorous attention to scientific detail, rather than indulging in too many flights of speculative fancy.

The Fifth Element blended science fiction with fantasy. Credit: The Fifth Element/Sony Pictures

Science fiction has an important role to play in igniting interest in space because it can make it seem not only possible, but appealing, stylish and sexy, and this presents endlessly fruitful opportunities for the creative industries to explore ideas about what the future may hold for the human race, especially with regard to our relationship with space.

I often start with whats new now and then create my own interpolations of what that technology will look like in the future.

We spoke to science fiction and fantasy illustrator Dave Dorman, whose work can be found in the pages of Star Wars and Alien comics, about the role sci-fi creators can play.

I find it helpful to use reference photos and articles/news stories about the latest technologies quite a bit,” he told us. The science fiction imagery I create often reflects current technology, machines, computers, robotics and other technical advances, he explained.

I often start with whats new now and then create my own interpolations of what that technology will look like in the future.

I hope the fans who are seeing my work, as well as the amazing images created by other illustrators, painters, computer effects wizards and the rest, will be inspired to be the scientists, technicians and visionaries for our collective future, much like Bradbury, Asimov, Sturgeon and Heinlein were for the generation that were influential in running the space race in the middle of the 20th century.

The Martian, based on Andy Weirs hit novel, became a box office hit in 2015, raking in more than $663 million worldwide and moving up the ranks as one of the highest grossing sci-fi movies ever made. But it wasnt just popular among mainstream movie audiences. It was also screened for the astronauts aboard the ISS as a special treat, because of its accuracy. That comes as no surprise considering Ridley Scott partnered up with NASA to make the scenes, science and tech look as real as possible.

What The Martian did so well was retain scientific integrity (naturally, the science it presents still met with some criticism) throughout a narrative journey that was able to hold the interests of an audience hungry for entertainment. With Matt Damon in the lead role, it didnt just make speculative space sexy, it made (mostly) real space exciting which is an even greater artistic feat.

Matt Damon is stranded on Mars in The Martian. Credit: The Martian/Fox Movies

The Martian isnt even a rarity at the box office either. Alfonso Cuarns Gravity is a film in a very similar vein and although some of the science it presents isnt entirely accurate, it still offers an experience of space that feels grounded in the real world, with two glamorous leads in Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Christopher Nolans Interstellar followed a similar path, and before that came Moon, Apollo 13, and so on, going all the way back to 2001: A Space Odyssey and beyond.

What these films prove is that its possible to combine authentic science with a little artistic license and still make space travel exciting and relevant to contemporary audiences.

As with The Martian, perhaps the reason these films were hits with audiences is partially because their creators involved real world experts in the field. Kubrick famously shipped in a few dozen minds from the heart of NASA during the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Christopher Nolan worked with astrophysicist Kip Thorne when he was developing Interstellar.

And yet sci-fi isnt beholden to science when it wants to make space the place to be.

The Fifth Element presents an inspiring vision of the near-future thats catwalk sexy and riven with real-world foibles.

Luc Bessons The Fifth Element is a stellar example of a visually-stunning space opera that skews toward fantasy, but still retains an earth-bound sensibility, with its cab-driving protagonist winning contest tickets for a cruise ship holiday in space. And who knows, maybe Bransons sexy hotels will look like Fhloston Paradise 50 years down the line.

With superstar fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier crafting the look and the feel of the movie’s characters, The Fifth Element presents an inspiring vision of the near-future thats catwalk sexy and riven with real-world foibles.

Jean Paul Gaultier designed the costumes for Luc Bessons space opera. Credit: The Fifth Element/Sony Pictures

More recently, the surprise hit and game-changer for Marvel Studios, Guardians of the Galaxy, exploded onto cinema screens with an extremely stylised look, grounded in the story of an orphan boy from Earth growing up on the criminal fringes of the cosmos.

Speaking about the creative process behind Guardians, writer-director James Gunns has said that his movie is “more about yellow and blue and teal and orange. But I also really wanted to up the ante with the pulp elements.

So we harken back a lot to 1950s/60s pulp novel colors and that look of ‘Flash Gordon’ – both the 1980s version and the earlier comics. Really grabbing onto this pulp feeling and bringing it alive in a bright, big, colorful way was important.”

A still from Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Credit: Valerian/STX Entertainment

Guardians 2 picked up the same ball and ran even further with it back in April and now Luc Bessons Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has arrived in cinemas, oozing sci-fi chic with star-studded style (yep, Rihanna is in it) and an eye-popping palette of otherworldly sights and sounds.

And lets not forget the imminent Blade Runner sequel: Blade Runner 2049. Although the original took place on Earth, its plot was driven by the consequences of the desire to colonise space and, if the trailers are any indication, Denis Villeneuves sequel may even take us to the off-world colonies.

As superficial as it might sound, if weve learned anything from the success of sci-fi blockbusters, its that style certainly sells.

Branson is tapping into the commercial appeal of a fashion brand to normalise the idea of buying a ticket to the moon.

The fly-on-the-wall footage of space travel from NASA that the public sees via YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat is dominated by bulky spacesuits and big dials on bland spaceships.

It makes sense, then, that style-conscious Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic have enlisted Y-3 (the decade-long collaboration between designer Yohji Yamamoto and Adidas) to design and make the flight-suits for our future astronauts and pilots…garments worn by our operations and maintenance teams as well as our hosting staff.

Branson is clearly tapping into the commercial appeal of a fashion name brand to normalise the idea of buying a ticket to the moon by aligning it with high-street fashion. Its even got fashion bible GQ talking about it. Outer space meets inner city and vice versa.

Although its not just commercial enterprises that are taking cues from the worlds of sci-fi and fashion to define what space travel and exploration will look like in the future. Potentially aware it has an image problem, NASA has recently teamed up with Reebok to create the Floatride Space Boot SB-01 that would look more at home in The Fifth Element than it would on the ISS.

Reebok has reworked Sigourney Weaver’s classic hi-top sneakers from Aliens

This signals an interesting move for NASA, as well as Reebok. The sports design brand who isnt new to space design having created the Alien Stompers to replicate the shoes Sigourney ‘Ellen Ripley’ Weaver wears in Aliens. But now moving from sci-fi space design to actual space design could open the floodgates for many other brands to put speculative, concept designs to good use.

Another great example of this marriage of real world and sci-fi design is the way car manufacturer Lexus was recently called upon to help with concepts for what transportation of the future might look like by Luc Besson for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

Inspiration for the Skyjet was mainly taken from nature. Dolphins, whales and sharks inspired aerodynamic design. Credit: Lexus

Using what the brand already implements into its vehicles, like artificial intelligence and a ‘HMI’ (human machine interface), they helped Bessons design team to dream up the Skyjet (pictured above, and at the top of this article), a single-seater spacecraft that was used throughout the movie.

Dorman sees a sci-fi as a vital source of inspiration for future-gazing engineers.

I believe the marriage of technology and science fiction right now (aided by current visual effects technology and artistry) helps make things once thought to be complete fantasy now seem more believable,” he said.

“I also think part of the job of the sci-fi artist is to foreshadow how things will be in the future.

Stanley Kubricks 2001: A Space Odyssey has long been applauded for its accurate portrayal of future tech. Credit: 2001: A Space Odyssey/MGM

A similar sentiment was shared by science-fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer

He told us: A third of my work time each year is spent on research, on attending and speaking at science conferences, on talking with working scientists and technologists, and on visiting universities, laboratories, and corporate and government facilities.

But this is a two-way street. The reason I, and other science-fiction writers, have access to these places is that the working scientists recognise the symbiosis: they learn as much from our speculative responses to their breakthroughs as we learn from them.

Ive been an advisor to NASA, DARPA, Google, XPRIZE, the Canadian Federal Government, and many other organisations as have many of my peers.

So the crossover between imaginary and actual is well recognised as being rich and fertile ground for all, with the active cross-pollination of ideas occurring more readily than we might think.

A concept drawing of Virgin Orbit’s second stage rocket as it makes its way to orbit. Credit: Virgin

We may now be only a few years away from the reality of space tourism, with NASAs Journey to Mars set to put human astronauts on martian soil by 2030, and companies such as Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and Blue Origin constantly grabbing headlines due to their ambitious plans to do similar.

There will always be a trade-off in sci-fi between whats scientifically accurate and whats dramatically satisfying. But these movies are inspiring people to look again into the night sky and wonder what our destiny out there could be.

To celebrate the release of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, director Luc Besson is today behind the lens at TechRadar. Heres what weve got in store for you:

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is released in UK cinemas August 2nd, and is out now in the US.

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Star spangled glamour: the mission to make space travel cooler than ever before – TechRadar

Astronaut twins study shows space travel causes premature aging – La Jolla Light

Those images of a robust Star Trek Captain James T. Kirk beaming around the solar system at maximum warp, or an irreverent Han Solo with his sidekick Chewbacca bustling through space on a quest to save Princess Leia, are sadly, an illusion.

The truth of the matter is that humans or any other living thing be it a plant or a fruit fly from planet Earth are not meant for space travel. Traveling in space is very hard on creatures, producing physiological effects similar to premature aging.

Thats one of the reasons the Stein Institute on Aging at UC San Diego brought NASA affiliate Brinda K. Rana, Ph.D., to speak to a packed audience of mostly older adults at the Garren Auditorium of the UCSD School of Medicine, last week.

Rana, who has been the Principle Investigator (PI) on three NASA studies, spoke at length about the effects of space travel on all aspects of the human body everything from vision to genetics.

Everything I say has to be approved by NASA. I have to be very careful about the data I reveal, Rana wryly explained. Her chief NASA project was a comprehensive medical study of twin brother astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly who spent different lengths of time in space.

Since the brothers are genetically identical, researchers thought they could ferret out the effects of time in space on their bodies. Mark had 54 days in space, while Scott spent 365 days living on the space station.

Rana headed up a team of scientists from UCSD, one of 10 university-based teams from around the world chosen by NASA to study the astronauts. It was a difficult assignment requiring a great deal of cooperation. For instance, all 10 teams had to share just one vial of blood among themselves from each of the two astronauts.

Rana explained that space travel impairs blood and lymph circulation, especially to the lower parts of the body: Your face gets puffy and your legs get weak. Space travel is like hanging upside down for a long time! she said.

Thats why astronauts have to be helped out of their space capsule when they return to Earth. They cant stand up on their own because their legs are so weak due to poor circulation.

NASA knows that space travel, specifically spending time in zero gravity, is hard. But since the plan is to send men and women up to Mars, which is a six-month flight one way, it is trying hard to develop ways to counteract the debilitating aspects of space travel so the astronauts can function when they get to the red planet. Luckily, the gravity on Mars is less than it is on Earth, so they should be able to stand up and carry out their activities.

Space travel also produces bodily changes you cannot see, affecting the chemistry and physiology of the body. It also affects DNA and RNA. Rana found that while in space, astronaut Scott Kelly had 200,000 differences or mutations in RNA actions, which returned to normal when he came back to Earth. This just shows that genes are not static, but very sensitive to the environment around us, Rana said.

Space travel also changes the intestinal flora or probiotics in the gut, which aid digestion. There are also cardiovascular changes, muscular atrophy, arteriosclerosis, glaucoma and bone loss. It looks just like the signs of aging!

Space travelers also experience increased cranial pressure. There are changes to the eyes and vision problems develop. This syndrome is known as VIIP or Visual Impaired Intracranial Pressure syndrome.

Rana is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD and has a lab at the Stein Institute of Aging. She is an alumna of UCSD with a B.A. in math from Revelle College. She also has an M.S. in math from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas in molecular genetics. At the Stein Institute, her chief duty is to look for the genes that seem to keep some older adults from getting age-related disorders.

Ranas NASA studies are relevant because the results have an application to understanding aging on Earth and in helping people in similar situations to space travel, like those who are bedridden for long periods of time. In one experiment, Ranas lab studied people who were confined to bed with their body inclined downward toward the head at a 15-degree angle, mimicking the effects of space flight.

Karen Ocorr, Ph.D., was at the lecture because she is also working with NASA. Ocorr is a professor in the Development, Aging and Regeneration Program at the Sanford Burham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute on North Torrey Pines Road.

Ocorr studies the ion channels responsible for the relaxation of the human heart, which she says is similar in fruit flies. She just got back a batch of fruit flies that were flown to the space station on the SpaceX CRS-11 mission. She is looking at the effects of zero gravity on their heart function, which can provide models to help understand the human heart. The fruit flies arent doing too well after their space flight, she confided.

Einstein once predicted that if we start to travel faster in space and get closer to the speed of light, which is about as fast as we could ever go, time will slow down. Thus we would age slower (happy thought!) in terms of chronology. But if we are in zero gravity at light-speed our bodies will age faster (unhappy thought!). Professor Rana says not to worry. NASA will figure it out!

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Astronaut twins study shows space travel causes premature aging – La Jolla Light

Apollo astronauts talk space travel in reunion – WXIA-TV

This is the first time in 25 years the remaining astronauts have been under the same roof. (NBC RAW)

NBC , WXIA 5:59 PM. EDT July 29, 2017

NBC

Astronauts from most of the Apollo missions that put the first humans on the moon got together for a reunion in Wisconsin.

They gathered at the EAA Air Venture Show in Wisconsin Friday night to celebrate the 50th anniversary of NASAs Apollo space program.

This is the first time in 25 years that this many astronauts have been under the same roof.

“I would like to know how many people in the audience would like to spend 14 days in a volume the size of a front seat of a Volkswagen Beetle with a sailor,” asked Frank Borman.

“I suspect that the space program will eventually go back to the Moon, said Jim Lovell. I think in my mind to go to Mars we should get very comfortable making lunar voyages, building up the infrastructure and the architecture to be comfortable landing on the moon, exploring the moon, then using that architecture to expand to eventually to going to Mars.”

2017 NBCNEWS.COM

Excerpt from:

Apollo astronauts talk space travel in reunion – WXIA-TV

The science behind holidays in space could breaks on the moon really work? – Telegraph.co.uk

Space travel is no longer the distant fantasy it once was. A new book explores how we might one day – technology depending – be able to spend time on the other planets in our solar system.

Destination: The Moon Travel time: three days Distance from Earth: 222,000 to 253,000 miles Good for:A quick getaway

To get the full Moon experience, be sure to stay a full lunar day. Its longer than it soundsa day on the Moon lasts almost 30 Earth days. That will give you plenty of time to explore both the near and far sides.

Be sure to request an Earth-view room when you check into your hotel. Because the same side of the Moon always faces Earth, the planet will never move out of your window.

History buffs will enjoy the six Apollo landing sites, particularly the place where Apollo 11 landed in the Sea of Tranquility. Be sure to visit the perfectly preserved first footprints on the Moon, left in 1969 by astronaut Neil Armstrong.

Read the original here:

The science behind holidays in space could breaks on the moon really work? – Telegraph.co.uk


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