Space Travel: Redefining the Travel Customer Journey With Virgin Galactic – Hotel-Online.com

Pier-Luca Rapin | October 31, 2019

By Pier-Luca Rapin

It is another level of personalization, it is not only to be sure to have the right water and the right pillow in the room, this is understanding why people are actually going in that journey, helping them realize that dream and being able to live that little moment the best as they can Martijn Brouwer, General Manager Astronaut Relations, Virgin Galactic

During the 2019 Young Hoteliers Summit, EHL Lausanne took a one-way ticket for space with the visit of Martijn Brouwer, General Manager Astronaut Relations and hospitality at Virgin Galactic. Virgin, as a group, has always been defined by a strong service philosophy. Nevertheless, Virgin Galactic is taking this philosophy a step further.

The offer of space travels has to come with a perfect customer journey and must be an experience as a whole. The person in charge of the customer experience is Martijn Brouwer, a 20-year veteran of the Virgin Group. During his career, he had the opportunity to work with Richard Bransons family on their Caribbean island, allowing him to discover the Virgin Hospitality spirit first-hand. Admittedly, he said: I dont have the deep love for space our pilots have, but definitely an interest into bringing hospitality into this field.

So what are the possibilities for hoteliers? How can a heavily scientific operation endeavor turn into a world-class experience with high standard relations? How can they deliver a unique hospitality experience to their guests? Fasten your seatbelts, and be ready to reach Mach 3 through the Virgin Galactic experience.

In the near future, well have a base on the moon, or there will be some form of hospitality in space.

The experience at Virgin Galactics base in New Mexico will start six months before takeoff. Customers will begin their transformation process which involves physical and psychological preparation, building the tailor-made hardware, suit, communication gear and all the equipment necessary for a round-trip to space. Customers go from being on a waiting list to being labelled future astronauts, but it is only the beginning.

Four days before the actual flight, future astronauts will arrive in New-Mexico, experience a three-day preparation program and on the 4th day, they officially become astronauts by breaking Mach 3, breaching the atmosphere and reaching space at an altitude of 100km. The whole Virgin team uses this long preparation process to determine the motivations behind each customers aspiration to fly is with Virgin Galactic and what they want to get out of this flight. This is Virgin Galactics gravity point, which informs and enhances the entire experience.

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Shifting from scientific operations to a world-class experience is a stringent process that has been taking place over many years at Virgin Galactic and it is no easy feat. It involves a complete culture shift of companies to provide the best possible journey for their customers.

Virgin Galactic aspires to make their team understand the key fragments of customer relations and what guests are going through when they choose to experience a space flight. But customer-centricity is not a given, some scientific teams will either not relate or not see an incentive to evolve a hospitality mindset.

The highest stakes lie with the employees who are involved in guest relations and are in direct contact with them, no matter the stage of the journey or the nature of the interaction. They are a group of people who makes a dream come true by delivering a high-standard service. They need to tailor the experience as a whole. This is only possible if they have a better understanding of how to produce the right service for the right client, they focus on why future astronauts want to go to space and what guests want to take back from this experience. At each touch point, it is a highly personal, individualized and empathetic process.

Virgin Galactic need to bring the level of personalization a step further,

It is not only to be sure to have the right water and the right pillow in the room said Brouwer, they help their guests to realize the dream and strive to make them live this relatively short voyage to the fullest.

This is only made possible through a deep understanding of the client, by each employee. Breaking the barriers down is the way to do so. People are much more open to learn and listen to an employee if he is more than just a worker on-site. They need to mentor customers through their experience. Guests need to be coached to enjoy such an unknown and stressful experience, and employees need to be aware of this reality. People working in space hospitality will have much more responsibilities than traditional hospitality workers, they enter the intimacy of the future astronauts and provide an unparalleled service.

All the experience you live during your flight are things people havent been through before, so they need to be coached to enjoy these moments.

Virgin Galactic understands that involving customers friends and family constitutes an important part in the experience. Richard Bransons company ensures that the future astronauts loved ones are closely involved in a way enhances the experience and provides support throughout the duration of the trip.

They are so closely involved that the future astronaut feels their support all the way, and dont have to go back in the evening and relate the story of the day, they are there, and they can support each other.

This includes looking after them during moments where they cant be with the future astronaut, by taking them out, connecting them to the other families, involving kids in the experience and making it is an enriching experience for all. Bringing this dimension into the process allows the customer to focus on his experience and allows him to feel the support of people close to him.

The space hospitality industry is a very niche and yet-to-be-defined field, but there are existing opportunities for hoteliers. Professionals: keep your eyes open! The space tourism industry faces the same kind of difficulties hotels do. For example, talent acquisition, demographic conditions, regulations, profitability and turnover. Moreover, space companies need to find the right product for the right client, at the right moment as well as the right people to work with. This emerging industry will be a sandbox for new hospitality concepts and set new standards for the industry as a whole. These changes bring new solutions to hospitality problems and are a source of inspiration. Providing a fully tailor-made experience is an example for our hotels and must be taken into consideration. It represents a development of the industry that hoteliers can bet on. Takeoff is imminent: hoteliers, dont forget to book your tickets.

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Space Travel: Redefining the Travel Customer Journey With Virgin Galactic - Hotel-Online.com

Radiation Experiment, Cookie Oven and More Headed to Space Station on Cygnus Cargo Ship – Space.com

An Antares rocket is set to launch a bevy of crew supplies and scientific cargo to the International Space Station this upcoming weekend (Nov. 2) from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Perched atop the rocket will be a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft, and tucked inside will be approximately 8,200 lbs. (3,700 kilograms) of supplies and hardware. The craft will ferry supplies to support the crew on the space station as well as a variety of experiments and research equipment. These will support investigations in topics ranging from radiation mitigation to rover control to materials recycling.

The AstroRad vest undergoes a fit test at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida before launching to the space station.

(Image credit: Lockheed Martin Space)

One of the dangers of deep-space travel comes in the exposure to damaging radiation. Unpredictable space weather, in particular solar-particle events such as coronal mass ejections (or CMEs), can expose astronauts to enough radiation to potentially cause long-term adverse health effects. One experiment aboard the Cygnus, the AstroRad Vest, aims to help NASA mitigate those damaging effects.

The AstroRad vest is a garment designed to help shield astronauts from radiation while traveling in space. It is made out of HDPE (high-density polyethylene) and will be tested by the crew currently onboard the space station. Although the vest is designed for use farther out into space, the space station is the perfect environment to test whether astronauts wearing the AstroRad garment will be comfortable and able to carry out their daily activities in space. Astronauts will record data on how easy the vest is to put on and how it fits, as well as the range of motion it allows.

Related: Space Radiation Threat to Astronauts Explained (Infographic)

The Made in Space Recycler hardware is prepared for launch to the space station, where astronauts will use it to reprocess plastic into 3D printing filament.

(Image credit: Made In Space, Inc.)

Made In Space, a California-based company that specializes in off-world manufacturing, is also sending up an experiment that will test a new facet to their 3D printing abilities: recycling. The company that pioneered 3D printing in space will now attempt to recycle the plastic materials it prints by breaking them back down into polymers to be made into plastic filaments that can be used again. This will enable more tools to be printed without having to rely on material resupply shipments from Earth.

"The recycler is a facility that will break everything down and turn the used polymers back into feedstock," Michael Snyder, chief engineer at Made In Space, explained during a prelaunch science briefing on Oct. 17. "This way, we don't have to continually launch polymer and filament."

Snyder added that the company plans to analyze samples printed in space after these materials return to Earth, where they can be compared to samples printed on the ground.

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano will control this rover remotely in November to simulate remote control of future lunar rovers. In the experiment, known as ANALOG-1, he will use the rover and its arm to move rocks instead of cones.

(Image credit: ESA)

When astronauts land on the moon or Mars, they might be accompanied or preceded by robotic companions sent to help look for resources, build potential habitats and much more. Analog-1, an investigation spearheaded by the European Space Agency that is headed to the space station with this launch, will explore how humans can best operate and communicate with robots off world.

Astronauts onboard the space station, will investigate how well they can remotely by control a rover back on Earth. During this investigation, astronaut Luca Parmitano will maneuver a robotic arm to select, collect and store geologic samples with the help of communication with an Earth-based team. He will also navigate the rover along a specific path.

NASA added during the teleconference that this research will benefit the upcoming Artemis program and the Lunar Gateway, as astronauts will likely be controlling rovers on the lunar surface while in orbit around the moon.

(Image credit: Zero G Kitchen)

Also onboard Cygnus will be the Zero-G Oven, which astronauts will use to bake cookies in space for the first time. Who doesn't enjoy the aroma of fresh-baked cookies? On future long-duration space missions, such fresh-baked food could have psychological and physiological benefits for crewmembers, enabling them to prepare more-nutritious meals. In testing this oven, astronauts will examine heat-transfer properties and the process of baking food in microgravity. The device has a specially designed toaster-like shape with a top temperature of 685 degrees Fahrenheit (363.3 degrees Celsius).

Related: DoubleTree Offers Limited-Edition 'Cookies in Space' Tin Ahead of First Zero-G Bake

NASA's Rodent Habitat module.

(Image credit: NASA/Dominic Hart)

The upcoming flight is the first within the second phase of Northrop Grumman's contract with NASA for commercial-cargo delivery services. The Cygnus spacecraft is utilizing some shiny new upgrades it received prior to the last launch, including the ability to accommodate late-load payloads. This means the craft will be able to carry life sciences payloads, including a crew of rodents, to the space station.

The Rodent Research-14 experiment, an investigation into how microgravity disrupts the body's 12-hour circatidal clock, will explore how disruptions to daily light cycles affect human cells and organs by studying changes in rats. (Rats are one example of a model organism a non-human species that are used to help understand biological processes in our own species). During the pre-launch briefing, researchers explained that genes associated with 12-hour light and dark phases, or the 12-hour molecular clock, are also associated with the most common form of human liver disease, which contributes to insulin resistance and diabetes.

Understanding the 12-hour clock's role in influencing liver function could have major implications for maintaining human health. Researchers are hopeful, it was noted in the teleconference, that the results from this study could provide insights into liver disease and could lead to new treatments.

(Image credit: NASA)

Cygnus will also carry equipment that will support an experiment already onboard the space station: the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer - 02 (AMS-02), a scientific instrument affixed to the station's exterior that's designed to look for evidence of dark matter.

Roughly 15% of the universe is made up of "ordinary matter," or material we can see, while the rest consists of a mysterious substance called dark matter. Scientists cannot directly observe this enigmatic material, as it does not emit light or energy.

In 2011, the AMS-02 launched aboard the space shuttle Endeavour to scan the cosmos in search of dark matter. Three of the instrument's four cooling pumps have failed over the years, but because the aging instrument has served the scientific community so well, NASA wants to repair the AMS-02. The agency plans to conduct some on-orbit repairs through a series of spacewalks during which astronauts will cut and reconnect fluid lines in space for the first time.

During Thursday's briefing, researchers said that the planned repairs could give the valuable instrument as many as 10 more years of functionality.

Follow Amy Thompson on Twitter @astrogingersnap. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

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Radiation Experiment, Cookie Oven and More Headed to Space Station on Cygnus Cargo Ship - Space.com

Israeli radiation protection vest to blast off to Int’l Space Station – The Jerusalem Post

StemRad CEO Dr. Oren Milstein (L) and Israel Space Agency director-general Avi Blasberger with the AstroRad radiation protection vest. (photo credit: STEMRAD)

A radiation protection vest developed by Tel Aviv company StemRad will depart for the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday, on-board a robotic resupply spacecraft launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

StemRad is behind the AstroRad vest, offering personal protective equipment for astronauts to wear beyond low Earth orbit, mitigating space radiation exposure outside the Earths magnetosphere.

The AstroRad vest will undergo a series of tests and ergonomic experiments on the ISS, orbiting 400 kilometers above Earth, ensuring that the equipment is ready for operational use. The company's adapted vest for women, who are particularly vulnerable to space radiation, will be tested by three female American astronauts in micro-gravity for variable durations and during routine activities.

Under an agreement between the ISA, NASA and German Aerospace Center (DLR), the research represents an important step ahead of launching the AstroRad radiation protection vest aboard NASAs unpiloted Artemis-1 mission around the Moon in late 2020 or early 2021, the last test flight before NASA begins manned deep space missions.

"The success of the AstroRad trials will constitute a critical contribution from the State of Israel to NASA's most ambitious research program since landing on the moon," said StemRad CEO Dr. Oren Milstein.

"Thanks to the collaboration between a number of professional and governmental bodies, led by Lockheed Martin and the Israel Space Agency, we are very close to a proud achievement for our space industry and the entire State of Israel."

Bringing the Israeli flag to the ISS for the first time, the AstroRad uses a proprietary smart shielding design to selectively protect organs and tissues which are most sensitive to radiation exposure.

Should the tests prove successful, AstroRad could be a critical part of NASAs space exploration plans for years to come, including the establishment of a sustainable human presence on the Moon and later sending astronauts to Mars.

According to StemRad, the results of experiments conducted on the ISS, together with data obtained during the Artemis-1 mission, will provide NASA will all the information necessary to evaluate the vests as an effective and essential tool for protecting astronauts from deadly radiation in deep space missions.

All human space exploration missions to date, except for the Apollo moon landings, have been restricted to low Earth orbit (within 1,200 miles of the Earth's surface), where the Earth's magnetic field protects astronauts from most space radiation threats, including deadly solar storms and galactic cosmic rays.

"We are breaking Israeli records of activity, creativity and initiative in all areas of science, and in space in particular," said Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis. "I am proud of the developers of the first Israeli space suit."

Also aboard the spacecraft will be the Zero G Kitchen Space Oven, designed by Jewish couple Ian and Jordana Fichtenbaum from New York. The oven is an insulated container designed to hold and bake food samples in the micro-gravity environment of the ISS.

Their prototype oven together with a batch of cookie dough from DoubleTree by Hilton will enable food to be baked in orbit for the very first time. Built in collaboration with NanoRacks, a provider of commercial access to space, the couple aims to make space travel more comfortable for astronauts spending months on-board the ISS.

Since convection heat transfer is difficult or impossible in zero gravity, the oven relies on electric heating elements similar to that found in a toaster oven. The device is powered by electricity drawn from the ISSs internal power system.

The oven can be adapted to provide grilling, pan cook and griddle modes of cooking, all in a micro-gravity environment.

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Israeli radiation protection vest to blast off to Int'l Space Station - The Jerusalem Post

Virgin Galactic: From Space To The Stock Market – Forbes

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 28: Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Galactic, gives the thumbs up ... [+] after ringing a ceremonial bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to promote the first day of trading of Virgin Galactic Holdings shares on October 28, 2019 in New York City. Virgin Galactic Holdings became the first space-tourism company to go public as it began trading on Monday with a market value of about $1 billion. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

This week, Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company launched by billionaire Sir Richard Branson in 2004, made its first appearance on stock markets. Virgin Galactic Holdings began trading on Monday, October 28 on the NYSE as SPCE. (Branson also had another, less-publicized triumph this week when his Virgin Trains was approved to sell $3.25 billion in bonds to create a Las Vegas-California high speed train line.)

Over 9 million shares changed hands on October 28. The stock, which hit a high of 12.93 on its launch date, has since fallen back to earth somewhat, closing on October 30 at 10.61. The stock price is a fraction of the $250,000 cost to consumers of a future Virgin Galactic flight.

Today is the start of a new era for the human spaceflight industry, said Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides, in a statement timed to the beginning of stock trading. Now that VG is a publicly traded company, anyone can invest in a human spaceflight company that is striving to truly transform the market and be part of the excitement of the commercial space industry.

The company did not reach stock market orbit as a hot IPO, but through a reverse merger with Social Capital Hedosophia. The company is to all intents and purposes a pre-revenue startup; it just happens to be public having merged with a listed cash shell, according to Seeking Alpha, which rated the company Neutral. Right now it has no fundamentals - no revenue, no earnings, no commercial operations.

What Virgin Galactic does have is 15 years of research and development in manned suborbital flight. These tourist jaunts are based on a reusable vehicle being launched from a mothership and zooming up to 300,000 feet.

Virgin Galactic says there is a path to profit, from such space tourists flights according to a presentation to the Securities and Exchange Commission reviewed by Space.com. Projections included a $104 million loss in 2020 while Virgin Galactic launches its space tourism program, near break-even operations by 2021 and a projected $274 million in earnings by 2023.

So what, exactly, is Virgin Galactic selling? Its not just a couple of weightless minutes in space, but the experience of it all, a concept that millions of potential Millennial customers apparently crave.

As a Virgin investor relations release put it, Using its proprietary and reusable technologies, and supported by a distinctive, Virgin-branded customer experience, [Virgin] is developing a spaceflight system designed to offer customers a unique, multi-day experience culminating in a spaceflight that includes several minutes of weightlessness and views of Earth from space.

Virgin Galactic reaches space for the first time during its 4th powered flight from Mojave, Calif. ... [+] The aircraft called VSS Unity reached an altitude of 271,268 feet reaching the lower altitudes of space. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)

To get customers there, Virgin Galactic has developed its reusable SpaceShipTwo spaceflight system.It consists of WhiteKnightTwo, a custom-built, four engine, dual-fuselage carrier aircraft. At 45,000 feet, WhiteKnight will launch its load, SpaceShipTwo, for a rocket-powered journey to the edge of space.

SpaceShipTwo is a reusable, winged spacecraft designed to carry eight people (including two pilots) into space.Its powered by a hybrid rocket moter which Virgin Galactic says combines the simplicity of a solid-fuel motor with the easier control of a liquid rocket motor. SpaceShipTwos wings and tail boomsare designed to rotate upwards while in space, feathering like a badminton shuttlecock to help create a safe glide to re-entry.

The prospect of the experience around of space flight has excited many. More than 600 people, reportedly including Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, have put down a combined $80 million in deposits on prospective $250,000 spaceflights.

However, Seeking Alpha notes that The space tourism company isn't due to begin operations until June of 2020. If true, that will be twelve years, and well over a billion dollars in investment, after an originally announced date of 2008.

Is there a market for what Virgin Galactic is offering? According to the Swiss investment bank UBS, the space tourism industry will grow by more than 10% a year to be worth about $3 billion dollars by 2030.

As an investment, a company with no revenue and no track record of sending astronauts into space is certainly highly speculative. But potential investors might find it interesting to note that Boeing recently put $20 million into the company as well. A Boeing spokesperson said its work with Virgin Galactic will help unlock the future of space travel and high-speed mobility, potentially pointing towards high-speed international travel.

Or, as the irrepressible Sir Richard Branson put it, "This is the beginning of an important collaboration for the future of air and space travel, which are the natural next steps for our human spaceflight program.

TOPSHOT - Virgin Galactic's SpaceshipTwo takes off for a suborbital test flight on December 13, ... [+] 2018, in Mojave, California. - Virgin Galactic marked a major milestone on Thursday as its spaceship made it to a peak height, or apogee, of 51.4 miles (82.7 kilometers), after taking off attached to an airplane from Mojave, California, then firing its rocket motors to reach new heights. (Photo by Gene Blevins / AFP) (Photo credit should read GENE BLEVINS/AFP/Getty Images)

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Virgin Galactic: From Space To The Stock Market - Forbes

DC-X: The NASA rocket that inspired SpaceX and Blue Origin – Astronomy Magazine

Until that time, no spacecraft could lift off with built-in rockets and then land vertically. The new rocket was testing never-before-seen technologies for spacecraft, and engineers saw it as an exciting project to be involved with.

I look back on that time in my career, and I really appreciate it, says Dan Dumbacher, the eventual project manager for the DC-X program. We were doing things in the launch vehicles world that werent typically allowed.

Plans to use the spacecraft for regular space travel were mentioned in long-term NASA plans. The agency said the rocket could offer a new, low-cost path to space. And, by one estimation, the price to fly on the spaceship would only be as much as a world trip on the Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner.

As the program matured, a new and upgraded version of the rocket, called DC-XA, began testing at White Sands. In 1996, the rocket flew three times, reaching a height of 10,000 feet during one test.

In the control room, Dumbacher thought the end of DC-XA meant the end of his career. There was the rocket they had spent years working on and testing burning in front of them.

Then the phone rang.

Expecting a death knell, Dumbacher was congratulated by his boss on a job well done. Though the project had met a fiery end, it was ultimately considered a success. The team had developed and tested an entirely new spacecraft technology.

Some people will look at the last test as a failure, Dumbacher said. From one perspective, I can see that. From another perspective, we were allowed to push the envelope.

In less than two decades, that envelope pushing would lead to a new breed of spacecraft based on the same vertical launch and landing concept as the DC-X.

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DC-X: The NASA rocket that inspired SpaceX and Blue Origin - Astronomy Magazine

How the Big Bang may have happened decoded – Economic Times

WASHINGTON: The universe began with the Big Bang, and now scientists have explained how the mysterious explosion may have taken place around 13.8 billion years ago.

The Big Bang theory states that all matter that exists today in the universe sprung forth from a single point in an epic explosion.

The research, published in the journal Science, details the mechanisms that could cause the explosion, which is key for the models that scientists use to understand the origin of the universe.

"We defined the critical criteria where we can drive a flame to self-generate its own turbulence, spontaneously accelerate, and transition into detonation," said Kareem Ahmed, an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida in the US.

"We are using the turbulence to enhance the mixing of the reactions to the point where it transitions into this violent reaction and essentially leads to supernovas, which is exploding stars in simple terms," Ahmed, co-author of the study, wrote in the journal.

"We are taking a simplified flame to where it's reacting at five times the speed of sound," he explained.

The team uncovered the criteria for creating a Big Bang-type explosion while exploring methods for hypersonic jet propulsion.

"We explore these supersonic reactions for propulsion, and as a result of that, we came across this mechanism that looked very interesting," said Ahmad.

"When we started to dig deeper, we realised that this is relatable to something as profound as the origin of the universe," he said in statement.

The key is applying the right amount of turbulence and mixing to an unconfined flame until it becomes self-perpetuating, at which point the flame begins to burn the ingested energy leading to a hypersonic -- exceeding the speed of sound -- supernova explosion.

The finding may have applications in faster air and space travel, and improved power generation, including reactions that generate zero emissions as all of the products used in the combustion are converted into energy, the researchers said.

The discovery was made by using a unique turbulent shock tube that allowed explosions to be created and analysed in a contained environment, they said.

The researchers noted that ultra-high-speed lasers and cameras were used to measure the explosions and help indicate what factors were needed to reach the point where a flame becomes a hypersonic, violent reaction.

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How the Big Bang may have happened decoded - Economic Times

Opinion: Considering the first all-female space walk – CT Insider

We, as a country, have been in space for more than 60 years. Weve sent machines, monkeys, and men to space and entrusted each to gather important information about the universe to further human knowledge. But for the first time since we first launched a man into the dark expanse in 1961, this month we saw an all-female spacewalk, marking the beginning of our true preparedness for the beyond.

To embrace space travel, you must also embrace the value of the diversity of Earth. You must be able to see how men and women alike, and people of all races, are made equal in the safety of atmosphere and oxygen before you can hope to traverse the uncertainty of space. Principles like these are woven into the outreach of the Astronomical Society of New Haven (ASNH), an organization that has been serving southern Connecticut for more than 80 years.

Women have been withheld from doing stuff like this for a long time, said Greg Barker, President of the ASNH. In reality, they can do everything the guys can do. Space is pretty good in that way. You dont have to be physically stronger than another person, everything is weightless so its an equal playing field.

As an amateur astronomer with an oddly specific interest in astrophysics, I often consider the implications of our inability to see similarities in folks for really we arent too different. In that, I find it curious at best and damaging at worst to proclaim any assertion to progress past our atmosphere on to Mars while simultaneously planning for walls that separate and alienate us.

This month as astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir took on the task of performing the first-ever all-female spacewalk, I confronted whether I should be excited, or dissatisfied.

On the one hand, I know that organizations like the ASNH are diligently working to ensure that a consistent love of space is coupled with a persistent valuation of skill and diversity and thats good. We need more of that. On the other hand, I grow increasingly concerned with our inability to practice those ideals from the safety of Earth.

When it comes to space travel, Barker said, You have to have everyone involved in it no matter who or what they are. Everyone has their place in this universe, and they need to be able to contribute it.

With regard to our contribution, there have been 339 Americans to space, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the world's astronauts. Of that number, fewer than 20 have been black, fewer than 15 have been Latinx, and exactly 40 have been women. Without even accounting for the various other types of ethnic groups, a clear pattern emerges in which its easy to assume space has been lacking in inclusion.

But is that important?

Youll find it hard to convince me that diversity in anything isnt helpful. Youll find it harder to convince me that when push comes to shove and a shove could be the difference between life and death having a team with a diversity of insight and skills isnt the most ideal scenario.

That is, in part, the value of local organizations working to ensure that anyone interested in astronomy has the tools, resources, support, and community to do so. Organizations like ASNH are a much-needed first step to ensuring an entire class of amateur astronomers can progress toward careers that will propel them to the stars. According to Barker, his organization is typically most attendees first introduction to the night sky from there, the interest to continue with the hobby and potentially the career in part relies on how much support you have to persist.

The organization regularly engages a group of Girl Scouts who, in addition to learning about the stars, are eager to have a hands-on experience with the telescopes and other stargazing equipment. With this group, he said, the most rewarding part is seeing their excitement after seeing the rings of Saturn. The most disheartening, though, is watching their interest wane over time.

If we get one out of every group to do something with space science or science in general, thats a plus in our favor, he said. Really, I dont know why their interest wanes after the years or if theres some other factor for why theyre not pursuing it. But the opportunity is there and theres nothing stopping them.

Im eager to see the future of this country ensure that girls and kids from diverse backgrounds have equal opportunity and support to pursue space science because, in the grand scheme of things, the sky is too limiting for whats possible for us.

Mercy Quaye is a social change communications consultant and a New Haven native. Her column appears Mondays in Hearst Connecticut Media daily newspapers and is solely her opinion. Contact her at @Mercy_WriteNow and SubtextWithMercy@gmail.com.

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Opinion: Considering the first all-female space walk - CT Insider

Nasa reveals plans for probes that will travel 92BILLION miles from Earth 7 times further than ever before – The Irish Sun

NASA has announced plans for two probes that will travel further than any man-made objects in history.

The unnamed spacecraft will reach a staggering 92billion miles from our planet following their launches, set for 2030.

Thats seven times further than the record set by Nasas Voyager 1 and 2 probes, currently the furthest machines from Earth.

Both launched in 1977 and now sit just beyond the edge of the Solar System, or about 13billion miles away.

Proposals for an unnamed pair of probes were unveiled by Nasa last week at a space conference in Washington D.C.

This is humanitys first explicit step into interstellar space, said Dr Pontus Brandt, a physicist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

AP:Associated Press

Put forward by Dr Leon Alkalai, who works at Nasas Jet Propulsion laboratory in California, the two probes would weigh 800 kilos.

Thats a little more than your average dairy cow, allowing the vessels to sail for great distances on little fuel.

To help them along on their journey, the probes would gather momentum by performing close passes of huge space objects.

These flybys would take advantage of the gravity of the Sun or Jupiter to slingshot the probes at speeds well over 100,000 mph.


Scientists hope to use the missions to study a the mysterious outer regions of the Solar System and beyond.

Theyre keen to find out more about how space radiation enters our star system, and how solar radiation leaves.

Experts will submit the project for consideration by Nasa at the end of 2021.

Its not clear whether or not the space agency will choose to fund the mission.


If selected by Nasa, the probes could fly as early as 2030, researchers said.

Its time we have a vision we can actually execute, Dr Ralph McNutt, a physicist at the Applied Physics Laboratory.

Up to now, people havent thought about this as an engineering problem. They kick the can down the road, saying: Well, we just need a little bit more new technology.

The plans were unveiled last week at the 2019 International Astronomical Congress.

The news comes almost a year after Voyager 2 became only the second man-made object ever to enter interstellar space.

Going where no machine has gone before...


New Horizons

Voyager 1

Voyager 2

According to Nasa, mission scientists were able to determine that the probe crossed the outer edge of the heliosphere on November 5, 2018.

This boundary is called the heliopause where hot solar winds meet the cold and dense intestellar medium.

Twin probe Voyager 1 crossed this boundary back in 2012.

But Voyager 2 is arguably more exciting, because it carries a working instrument that can provide brand new observations.

Specifically, it will measure the density and temperature of interstellar plasma, giving us new insight into a world beyond our solar system.

In other news, Nasa recently uncovered18 Earth-sized planetslurking outside our Solar System and one offers hope for life.

Watery Super Earths may hide unfathomably deep bottomless oceans withalien life lurking inside.

And, analien grain of dustfired at Earth by ancient exploding starhas been found buried in Antarctica.

What do you think Nasa will find in deep space? Let us know in the comments

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Nasa reveals plans for probes that will travel 92BILLION miles from Earth 7 times further than ever before - The Irish Sun

PHOTOS: West Philly Halloween celebrations 2019 – On top of Philly news – Billy Penn

From a legendary haunted porch to a top-notch tot parade.

From the weird to the wonderous, and with a healthy dose of do-it-yourself, All Hallows Eve is basically West Phillys signature celebration.

Cedar Parks Halloween Porch of Doom is legendary. More than 1,000 kids (and adults) make the annual Oct. 31 visit to the twin rowhouses Knotsquat and Cindergarden on the 4800 block of Baltimore, and this years 20th anniversary theme did not disappoint.

Neighbors from all over the area helped construct the Mars, Incorporated! set-up, which took shots at the moguls promising to make space travel a reality.

Billionaires are talking a lot about going to Mars lately, and they are trying to paint a picture of the utopia they will build there, read the official event invitation. But we know, a utopia for billionaires is us all working in their slave labor camps. [Come] visit this glorious future of progress, as defined by Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk. (Boo! Hiss!)

As trick-or-treaters parted the bedsheet curtains and made the ascent to the rocketship, spiders dropped on their heads, ran a compressed air delousing station, operated a human compost-into-hamburger stand and turned the wheels on the the Eat The Rich Billionaire Mulcher that spits out candy for the kids.

There was also a section displaying faux robots dubbed fully automatic luxury space gay anarchist rebels, because of course there was.

A bit earlier and a few blocks to the northeast, a more upbeat party was going down at the Spruce Hill Community Associations 23rd annual Little Tot Halloween Parade and Party.

Replete with miniature costumes and larger musical instruments, the group wound its way from 45th and Larchwood to 42nd and Osage, where it culminated in a no-holds-barred block party.

The Little Osage neighbors didnt skimp on decorations. Inflatable dragons breathed fire from second-story roofs. Cobwebs stuck to the trees and skeleton parts peeked from the earth while dinosaurs towered over the sidewalks.

With multiple neighborhood sponsors, including local vegan dessert spot Dotties Donuts alongside corporate counterpart Dunkin, Lil Pop Shop, plus Weckerlys Ice Cream, and four local pizza places, there was no shortage of treats.

Though this parade and party is technically for kids six and under, plenty of parents in full dress enjoyed the celebration. Even the neighborhood dogs showed up in full costume to take advantage of a good time.

Scroll down for more pics from both neighborhoods.

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PHOTOS: West Philly Halloween celebrations 2019 - On top of Philly news - Billy Penn

NASA prepares to send uncrewed vessel to the Moon – Hometown News

BREVARD COUNTY In recent times, there has been a growing effort to focus on space exploration from not only NASA, but also private entities like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic.

Beginning next year, the NASA-sponsored Artemis Missions will focus on deep-space travel for the coming decades, with the first stop at a familiar place: the Moon.

Launch Director of NASAs Exploration Ground Systems Program Charlie Blackwell-Thompson will lead her team toward making history as the Artemis mission aims to send the first female to the Moon by 2024.

Mrs. Blackwell-Thompson has also made history herself, as she is NASAs first female to fill the position of launch director.

What I am extremely passionate about is exploration. Its very intriguing and exciting all on its own, right? said Mrs. Blackwell-Thompson. When you start to consider other deep space destinations like one day perhaps on to Mars, to me, that is a terribly exciting mission to have in front of us.

Going beyond what you currently know or understand, I feel like that is in our countrys DNA, she continued. The other piece that is a little closer to me is what a team can do when were all working together. Youre really a part of something that is bigger than all of the individual pieces.

The Artemis I mission is currently scheduled to take place a year from now from Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center. The uncrewed mission will test NASAs Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.

Already Mrs. Blackwell-Thompson and her team in Firing Room 1 are undergoing the launch countdown simulation to prepare for the first Exploration Mission launch.

There has to be a great deal of trust, especially on launch day, because youre depending on individuals who are monitoring their systems to make a call, whether the vehicle or the ground systems are go or no go, and thats based on data, Mrs. Blackwell-Thompson said.

It gives you a lot of confidence going into launch countdown that the team is going to perform and the way theyre going to work through issues when they come up or if they come up, she continued.

The Artemis II mission aims to send humans in orbit around the Moon aboard the Space Launch Systems and Orion, a first for humans in the 21st century.

The Artemis III will send the first crew to the Moon since 1972, and will include the first female to visit the Moon. The crew will land on the Moons lunar south pole by 2024.

The leap in technology compared to the last time the United States sent men to the Moon is huge. Back then, a staff of 400 employees were working in Firing Room 1 that monitored the launch countdown, according to Mrs. Blackwell-Thompson. Today, there are just under 100 employees, she added.

Going back to the Moon is important to our country for a number of reasons, Mrs. Blackwell-Thompson said. Were going back in a sustainable way. Theres a lot that we can learn from the Moon as we prepare for other deep space destinations, and other things we can learn by being in relative close proximity to our home planet.

For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis.

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Scientists Accidentally Recreate Big Bang Detonation in the Lab – Futurism

Ask a scientist or anyone, really about the birth of the universe, and theyll probably tell you it started with the Big Bang.

What nobody knows, though, is what caused that explosion. Some suspect the Big Bang was actually a massive star going supernova, but again, no one knows what exactly causes those stars to ignite, either.

That might have just changed, though, thanks to a University of Central Florida research team that says it discovered the conditions necessary for a Big Bang explosion in their lab without actually intending to.

A team led by Kareem Ahmed, an assistant professor in UCFs Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was testing methods for producing hypersonic jet propulsion when it discovered that a passive flame could accelerate and explode on its own.

We explore these supersonic reactions for propulsion, and as a result of that, we came across this mechanism that looked very interesting, Ahmed said in a press release. When we started to dig deeper, we realized that this is relatable to something as profound as the origin of the universe.

What his team discovered was that turbulence could cause a passive flame, like that of a candle, to self-accelerate and eventually detonate.

From there, the team created a two-inch-by-two-inch shock tube that induces the turbulence needed for a passive flame to become active essentially, the researchers found a way to create Little Bangs mimicking the big one that birthed our universe.

Were taking a simplified flame to where its reacting at five times the speed of sound, Ahmed said in the release.

Theyve detailed their work in a paper published Friday in the journal Science. Aside from potential applications in air and space travel, the researchers believe their study could improve our understanding of the Big Bang, and maybe even what if anything preceded it.

READ MORE: Scientists recreate origin of the universe in a lab [Inverse]

More on the Big Bang: New Research: There May Have Been Dark Matter Before Big Bang

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Scientists Accidentally Recreate Big Bang Detonation in the Lab - Futurism

10 Times 90s Sci-Fi Movies Predicted The Future | ScreenRant – Screen Rant

One of the best parts about science fiction is seeing how all of these stories create the future. From interstellar space travel to tiny handheld everyday products; the teams writing the stories and then working to bring the writers and directors visions to the screen helps bring us further into the world the movie is creating. Every so often that futuristic technology comes to fruition down the pipeline.

Related:10 Sci-Fi Movies To Stream On Netflix

Some movies that take place in the future are actually now in the past, and some take place so many years away that none of us reading this now will see it. In any event, for several of these movies at least for the technology - the future is now. Here are 10 Times 90s Sci-Fi Movies Predicted The Future.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger owned the late eighties and early nineties. Even when he seemed woefully miscast in a role, he was able to make it his own and churn out great movie after great movie. Total Recall is a prime example of his abilities. During the movie, he ducks into a car being driven by Johnny Cab. So far, thankfully, Elon Musk hasnt retrofitted his self-driving cars with annoying robot drivers. But he HAS gifted the world automated cars that drive themselves around.

Big Brother is always watching in The Truman Show, and Truman doesnt even realize it. In this movie, everyone in the world is watching the life of Truman - an unwanted baby that was adopted by a corporation to solely exist for being the star of his own reality show.

Related:10 Classic Science Fiction Novels That Need A Film Adaptation

While (so far) no company has ever been that maniacal, people from all over the world have no issue with their entire lives being broadcast in all kinds of reality shows, plus their own social media accounts.

To this day, no one knows for sure if Demolition Man is unintentionally hilarious, or one of the best science fiction comedies ever made. There are actually quite a few aspects of the movie that have been predicted by the film. Theres a self-driving car, theres a huge PC culture (you even get fined for not being woke). One more prediction that came true was Arnold getting into politics. The movie mentions him as president, predicting that the Austrian Oak would eventually get into politics.

After spending years on TV as a Saturday morning cartoon, everybodys favorite futuristic family, the Jetsons made it to the big screen in 1990. Along for the ride was the familys sassy fueled Rosie the robot maid. Theyre not quite sarcastic just yet, but several years ago, the iRobot mechanical vacuums started patrolling our floors to clean hardwood floors and carpets the world over.

Remember, were not talking about the quality of a movie, were talking about technology found in the movie. For that, Smart House fits the bill. If youve ever been a fan of Katey Sagal, this movie does provide a few chuckles. She plays Pat, the voice of a Smart House that Ben Cooper has won in a contest.

Related:Harry Potter: 10 Worst Things The Order Of The Phoenix Ever Did

Since Ben has recently lost his mom, he programs Pat to be maternal and shes learns how from classic shows. Hopefully, all of the Alexas and Google Homes dont learn to be as sassy as Pat.

The idea shouldnt have worked - it was just too crazy. In Face/Off, Nicolas Cage was a crazed terrorist Castor Troy and John Travolta was the FBI Agent, Sean Archer hot on his trail. He finally catches him, but Troy is knocked out in a coma. Archer has to go undercover to find a bomb Troy placed and undergoes a highly experimental procedure, involving a complete facial transplant. After extensive research, the first full facial transplant occurred in 2010, in Turkey.

In the nineties, there were several movies exploring the concept of virtual reality; living and existing within a pixelated world. The Matrix explores being imprisoned inside of a VR program and not even knowing it! Virtuosity explores the batcrap crazy idea of a VR serial killer escaping into the real world. But one of the earliest examples of the genre is The Lawnmower Man. In that cult classic, a doctor decides to experiment on a simple-minded gardener, Jobe. Jobe gains higher functioning and begins to take revenge on everyone that wronged him.

For seven years on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Geordi La Forge was blind, but was able to see with the help of a VISOR (Visual Instrument And Sight Organ Replacement). By the time First Contact rolled around, future tech had been able to fit Geordi with a pair of cybernetic ocular implants. The real-world version of this amazing piece of tech has been worked on for years and tested on rats and at NASA. A practical version for humans has yet to surface.

Related:Terminator: 5 Reasons Why The Franchise Should End (& 5 Reasons It Shouldnt)

As security concerns around the world have grown over the years, so has the technology used to try and keep anyone and everyone safe. At airports, courts, anywhere where there could be a massive safety issue involving as massive amount of people, there is usually a full body scanning machine.

A similar machine was introduced in Total Recall, albeit scanning people all the way down to their bones. TSA has this installed in the Los Angeles subway system.

Predicting Arnolds eventual run in politics, Taco Bells massive success in fast food, and self-driving cars - all part of Demolition Man. One more invention that was in the movie, and has been in several science fiction movies over the years - FaceTime. In the future of the film, San Angeles residents are able to dial any number and bring up a call on a Gia view screen. Its makes the wrong number scene all the funnier when you realize that kind of stuff can happen at any time.

Next:Star Wars: Han Solo's 5 Funniest (& 5 Saddest) Moments


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10 Times 90s Sci-Fi Movies Predicted The Future | ScreenRant - Screen Rant

Metal Foam Could be the Future of all Metals – WFMYNews2.com

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) North Carolina State University professor Dr. Afsaneh Rabiei knew during the war in Iraq she could develop a technology that would save lives.

Its something strong, but lightweight. Its porous enough to absorb a tremendous amount of energy. It took more than a decade, but Rabiei told CBS 17 WNCN how she is able to show the result of her work.

It's a type of porous metal, it's light and even performs better than regular metal. In basic terms, its almost like a bubble wrap used to protect glass, but on steroids. Its at least 70 percent lighter than the same amount of metal.

Rabiei named her invention metal foam. Its filled with tiny spheres that compress on impact to protect whats on the other side like when someone in a vehicle is hit with armor-piercing ammunition. That includes a recent test on a highly explosive incendiary that can travel at about 5,000 feet per second.

Much of the research is done at N.C. State where Rabiei teaches according to WNCN. An agreement with the US Department of Defense means the process used to make metal foam is top secret. But, it goes far beyond the military it could be used in vehicles, trains, nuclear power plants, space travel, and construction.

Click here to read Rabieis research paper on her metal foam.


Metal Foam Could be the Future of all Metals - WFMYNews2.com

Techno-Fix Futures will only Accelerate Climate Chaos Don’t Believe the Hype – Resilience

Thanks to the efforts of climate activists, the climate and ecological emergency has never been more prominent. But acknowledging the problem is just a starting point. Now this momentum must be harnessed to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reverse habitat destruction.

To accelerate this transition, we need a vision of the future and there are many out there. The problem is that some of these visions severely misunderstand and underestimate the nature of the crises we face. If we rally behind the wrong one, we may end up propelling the planet all the more quickly towards destruction.

Building a future in sync with the natural world will not be easy. Our collective imagination is bound to ideas that have delivered us to the cusp of environmental catastrophe. The ways we work, travel, eat, and even think are all locked into systems that perpetuate the use of fossil fuels, encroach on the natural world, and exploit wealth and resources from the Global South.

This means that to avoid the worst of climate breakdown, we have to transform every aspect of society as we know it. But to do this well requires deep understanding of why industries have been allowed to pollute the upper atmosphere, and how we can build economic and political infrastructure to stop emitting greenhouse gases and degrading ecosystems.

Worryingly, this understanding is sorely lacking in two of the most popular emerging visions of the future ecomodernism and left accelerationism. In a nutshell, both envisage that technological progress will allow us to address climate and ecological breakdown while also dramatically increasing production and consumption.

These imagined futures have obvious appeal to those who enjoy the luxuries of consumption and technological innovation. But the premises on which they rest are fatally flawed.

The latter is completely disengaged from sustainability sciences. Ecomodernism is more engaged, but it tends to ignore the unjust distribution of environmental benefits and burdens from climate breakdown, and downplay how our the organisation of our societies drives ecological crises. As a result, it focuses only on superficial social change. Proponents of both are often hostile to many ideas and individuals within the environmental movement. As such, they are seriously derailing momentum in tackling the climate crisis.

Wouldnt it be easier if we just lived on the ground? James Vaughan/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

The scientific evidence tells us that it is simply not possible to continue increasing consumption and greenhouse gas emissions on the current trajectory without exhausting Earths resources and crossing planetary boundaries limits to Earths biological, chemical and physical systems that represent a safe operating space for humanity. Beyond these boundaries, we run the risk of causing abrupt and irreversible environmental changes that threaten the stability of Earths systems and human civilisation.

For starters, all technology-focused future visions require wildly unrealistic increases in energy generation. This is a problem because since we have used up most of the easy to access sources, the quality of our energy resources is declining. Compared to a few decades ago, we need to input much more energy for every unit of energy we produce. While the energy cost of renewables is falling, vast increases in consumption only make the transition to renewables harder, and will put a huge additional burden on our already vulnerable energy systems.

To navigate the high resource demands of their imagined futures, ecomodernist and left accelerationist visions rely on fairy tale technologies that do not exist. For example, the future vision of Fully Automated Luxury Communism (FALC) peddles promises of asteroid mining to address resource shortages on Earth.

But we do not know if low-carbon space travel is possible. Ecological crises are happening now. We need to take action now. Searching for low-carbon space travel takes attention and resources away from social changes that we know can work.

FALCs vision has been accepted uncritically in prominent media outlets such as The New York Times and The Guardian, despite being thoroughly debunked by environmental scholars.

This distracts from the hard but necessary work of changing the energy system now. Given the risks presented by climate breakdown above 1.5 of global heating possibly just a decade or two away we cannot afford to back future visions that do not prioritise immediate and large-scale cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

More fundamentally, the ideas underlying technofix futures arguably arent far from the type of thinking that created the climate and ecological crises in the first place. They imagine luxury as heavily based in material consumption as author of FALCs manifesto Aaron Bastani says: Cartier for everyone, MontBlanc for the masses and Chloe for all.

As a result, they tend to overlook and devalue aspects of our world that are less obviously associated with luxury: the natural environment, clean air, animal life, time spent with family and friends, local communities. These things may not provide material luxury, but they do make life worth living and do not necessarily have to use up our scarce energy and material resources.

Where FALC attempts to provide for all using the notion of luxury, feminist and ecologically-oriented economists and design theorists look to alternative strategies to generate prosperity. We propose a redesign of future ways of living based on different values: the ethics of care, regenerating nature, and distributing its benefits fairly.

Cooperatives, time-banks and community-owned renewable energy systems are already putting these values into practice. These organisational models create regenerative and distributive systems supporting prosperity for all, and addressing climate breakdown at the same time.

Of course, these alternative futures will require us to fundamentally transform our culture as well as our economy. Clearly technofix futures are more attractive options for many of those who are not on the frontlines of climate chaos and who might be able to continue living high-consumption lifestyles for a decade or two more.

But nothing other than dramatic societal transformation will be sufficient to avoid catastrophic climate change for the vast majority of the worlds population and eventually, everyone. It may sound daunting, but rejecting the ecologically harmful assumptions on which our culture is currently built offers us a unique chance to build a healthier and fairer world.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Teaser photo credit: James Vaughan/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

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Techno-Fix Futures will only Accelerate Climate Chaos Don't Believe the Hype - Resilience

These are the Under Armour-designed suits for Virgin Galactics space tourists – TechCrunch

A day after NASA debuted the space suits set to be worn by the first woman on the Moon, Virgin Galactic showed of its own gear at an event in New York. Created in collaboration with fitness wear company, Under Armour, the gear is designed for wear by Virgins private astronauts.

The getup includes a limited-edition jacket, base layer, training suit, footwear and space suit. The elements were created with input from a wide range of different people, including doctors, pilots, clothing designers and astronaut trainers. All garments were tested in labs designed to simulate the various stages of space flight.

The unveiling comes shortly after Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson announced that crewed test flights will begin this year (with about 2.5 months left on the calendar).

Branson was present at this mornings event, leading a simulated zero gravity vertical space walk in the suit. The billionaire will, naturally, be wearing the same suit on the private space companys upcoming first commercial space flight. For other interested parties, the cost of the 90-minute space flight runs around $250,000. Late last year, Branson reported that the company had already collected some $80 million in deposits.

The blue suits mark a stark contrast from the more traditional garb unveiled at NASAs event. Instead, theyre something closer to jet pilot jumpsuits (or, perhaps, an Under Armour tracksuit), tailored to the measurements of some of the 600 people who have signed up for the flight. They include the flag badge (or badges) of country of origin and a name tag. Theres also a tab inside the suit where wearers can inscribe their specific mission statement.

The company debuted them at an event in a skydiving range, complete with a fog machine-powered zero gravity ballet and interpretive dancing models with silver paint on their heads.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank noted at the event that, despite the Star Trek-style look, theres nothing particularly exceptional about the suits. Theyre built using off-the-shelf Under Armour technologies and designed for comfort. They also have a number of secret pockets on board, so passengers can take personal belongings with them on the flight.

Branson noted that he wont be using them to take along a camera or smartphone, but instead pictures of my grandchildren.

Passengers will be able to hold onto the suits (not bad for $250K), something Under Armour says it took into consideration. Comparing it to a wedding dress, a rep from the company noted that it wanted to design something that wouldnt stand out if you wear it to a family picnic.

Other comfort considerations played a role here as well, including heat mitigation. Wood pulp yarn was used in the construction of the suits, as well, in order to regulate blood flow changes that come with the intensity of space travel.

The suits will be subject to additional testing in the coming months, in preparation for launch. Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides closed out the event, noting, In 100 years, well see [Under Armours] space suit in museums.

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These are the Under Armour-designed suits for Virgin Galactics space tourists - TechCrunch

Elon Musk SpaceX Mars Missions, Space Travel Doomed To Fail Because Of ‘Space Junk’ – International Business Times

SpaceX CEO Elon Musks plans to bring humans to space and perhaps start a colony on the moon or planet Mars could be doomed to fail because of the real danger posed by space junk.

According to a report, space junk could clog up the Earths low orbit and trap future space ships from ascending and leaving our planets atmosphere. Based on recent data, the space on Earths upper atmosphere is now littered with 170 million pieces of floating junk. Whats alarming is that out of these, only 22,000 are actually being tracked.

Per the report, around 7,000 tons of space junk has been accumulated and currently going around the Earths atmosphere. This debris is a combination of old satellites, metals from rockets and even rock build-ups that are close to the proximity of Earth.

Previously, experts have already warned that it would be difficult for rockets to pass through the Earths orbit if the space junk around it increases. Colliding with any of this debris is very real and poses a possible danger. The theory is called Klesser syndrome.

Because of these, aggressive space plans such as SpaceX Mars and the moon colony could eventually fail if nothing will be done. Musk initially planned to take people out of Earth to start a livable community either on the moon or the Red Planet.

Even NASAs future moon missions could be in danger of failing with the danger of space junk wont be addressed.

Aside from space missions, even Earth-bound technologies such as mobile phones, GPS, weather instruments and television could be affected by this space junk. The instruments rely heavily on satellites and space junk could hinder the signals from getting through.

Now, an expert has actually issued a warning saying that theres so much space junk in low Earth orbit that in time, humanity could be trapped to do anything about it. According to Ralph Dinsley, founder and executive director of Northern Space and Security LTD, we are already approaching a time when it would be too late to leave Earth.

At the far end of the spectrum, worst-case scenario, it will wipe it out. We could have a major space junk event that will mean that we cant launch beyond low-Earth orbit and we trap ourselves on Earth. The simplest event is that it will slow down how we do space exploration. It has been ten years since the last satellite on satellite collision. The likelihood of it happening is very low but there is still that potential. But the catastrophic results could be huge, Dinsley said.

At any rate, its not like nothing is actually being done to clear our space junk and that companies have already been tapped to do the cleanup. One of these missions is the UK Space Agency's RemoveDEBRIS mission which is actually one of the pioneers attempts to address the build-up of dangerous space junk.

(Jan. 9, 2019) The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is pictured attached to the International Space Station's Harmony module as the orbital complex flew 258 miles above the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of South Africa. Photo: NASA/ JSC

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Elon Musk SpaceX Mars Missions, Space Travel Doomed To Fail Because Of 'Space Junk' - International Business Times

NASA Chief: First SpaceX (or Boeing) Crewed Space Mission Is Less Than 5 Months Away – Observer

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (L) met with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk near the Crew Dragon clean room at SpaceX headquarters on October 10, 2019 in Hawthorne, California. David McNew/Getty Images

Both SpaceX and Boeing (through itspartnership with Richard Bransons Virgin Galactic) have bold plans to develop the first ever commercial space travel program targeting non-professional astronauts. But before either company sends tourists into space, their first actual manned flight will likely take place with NASA, as the two companies contract work with the federal agency approaches its final stages.

If everything goes according to the plan, SpaceX and Boeing could see astronauts shooting for the International Space Station (ISS) aboard their spacecraft as soon as early 2020, per NASA chief Jim Bridenstines latest estimate.

SEE ALSO: A Lunar Space Elevator Is Actually Feasible & Inexpensive

I think both systems could be ready in the first quarter of next year, NASA administratorBridenstine told CNBC in an interview last week, following a tour with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk at his companys headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif.

In 2014, NASA awarded two multibillion-dollar contracts each to SpaceX and Boeing to develop a commercial spacecraft under the agencys Commercial Crew program, an initiative created in 2010 to find alternatives to theRussian Soyuz spacecraft, currently the only supply of space capsules used on ISS-related missions.

The spacecraft developed by SpaceX and Boeing, Crew Dragon and Starliner, respectively, are required to be able to transport at least four astronauts to the ISS, stay docked for six months and bring the astronauts back to Earth after.

NASA initially expected the first manned flight to happen as soon as 2017. But the timeline was pushed back several times due to engineering hiccups and test failures. Now, both systems have only a few final tests to pass before astronauts can board the ship: Boeings Starliner has to complete a launchpad emergency test and an unmanned flight test scheduled for December, and SpaceX needs to re-certify Crew Dragons emergency rocket engines and complete a high-altitude emergency flight test.

Whether its Starliner or Crew Dragon, both these programs are still under development, Bridenstine cautioned. While we go through these test processes, we are going to learn things that need to be reviewed, where we need to take deeper dives, maybe make some modifications.

So when I say the first quarter of next year for human spaceflight, what I mean is if things all go right. Things all going right is not the history when you talk about development programs, he added.

In addition to flight tests, NASA is also in the process of conducting a safety and cultural assessment for both companies particularly SpaceX, after Musk was caught smoking marijuana on camera during an interview last September. The assessment involves interviewing hundreds of employees at both companies.

Bridenstine said hed be happy to make the final results of these reviews public if both SpaceX and Boeing agree to do so, noting that he doesnt think theres much [of] a story there. Quite frankly, I think both companies are operating really responsibly and making sure that their cultures are safe.

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NASA Chief: First SpaceX (or Boeing) Crewed Space Mission Is Less Than 5 Months Away - Observer

NASAs New Spacesuits Unveiled, for Trips to the Moon and Beyond – The New York Times

WASHINGTON At NASA headquarters on Tuesday, officials introduced two prototype spacesuits to be used during upcoming moon missions.

The new spacesuits will offer improvements over existing models for the men and women expected to wear them, including greater comfort and movement. And as NASA races to meet the Trump administrations 2024 target for returning to the moon, the agency needs to make that astronauts have the technological capability to safely set foot on the surface, which no human has done since 1972.

Weve been working for a long time to build spacesuits that will do the job on the moon and going on to Mars, said Amy Ross, a spacesuit engineer at NASAs Johnson Space Center in Houston.

One spacesuit, with a colorful bright red, white and blue pattern, is called the exploration extravehicular mobility unit. That is what astronauts will wear as they explore the moons surface.

The moon suit, demonstrated by Kristine Davis, who works in the agencys spacesuit engineering efforts, provides additional mobility for an astronaut, making it easier to walk, bend and twist.

Astronauts will be able to reach across the suit and lift their arms above their heads. Which they cant do today and couldnt do during the Apollo program, Ms. Ross said.

You remember Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, they bunny hopped on the surface of the moon, Jim Bridenstine, NASAs administrator, said. Well now were actually going to be able to walk on the surface of the moon, which is very different than our suits in the past.

The suits are designed to work in temperatures ranging from 250 degrees Fahrenheit down to -250 degrees Fahrenheit and potentially even colder places around the lunar South Pole, where NASA is aiming to send astronauts.

The other suit, in a bright orange fabric, is to be worn by astronauts during launch and re-entry back to Earth while they are sitting inside the Orion crew capsule, the spacecraft for deep-space travel that NASA has been working on for 15 years. The suit provides protection and oxygen to the astronauts in case of an accident that causes the capsule to become depressurized. It is designed to keep astronauts alive for six days.

The primary use in the case of an accidental depressurization, said Dustin Gohmert, a spacesuit engineer who modeled the Orion suit. We can take safe haven in this suit. Well seek refuge in here.

Each outfit shared similarities with its utilitarian predecessors worn by earlier astronauts. Spacesuits being designed elsewhere have more futuristic and fashionable appearances.

SpaceX, which has a contract to fly astronauts to the International Space Station in the near future, sent a mannequin wearing its suit to orbit in March. It featured a 3D-printed helmet and a black and white design that seemed to take inspiration from motorcycle racing suits.

Boeing, whose Starliner will also travel to the station, debuted its blue, zippered suit in 2017. It is about 10 pounds lighter than what astronauts wore on the space shuttle.

NASAs new suits will be made in a wider range of sizes than had been previously available. In March, a spacewalk that was to be the first conducted by two women, Christina Koch and Anne McClain, had to substitute a male astronaut, Nick Hague, because there were not two spacesuits on the station that fit both women.

(Ms. Koch and another astronaut, Jessica Meir, are scheduled for the first all-female spacewalk this week.)

When the Trump administration announced its intent to send astronauts back to the moon by 2024, NASA was missing a few crucial pieces for the mission. In addition to updated spacesuits, the agency does not currently have a spacecraft capable of landing on the moon.

NASA had been planning to return to the moon in 2028. By moving up the date four years, the leisurely pace had to be greatly accelerated.

The space agency last month issued a call for commercial companies to propose a lunar lander that could be built that quickly. The deadline for proposals is Nov. 1.

NASA officials have insisted the spacesuits would be ready by 2024. That would avert the comical possibility of American astronauts landing on the moon and just looking out the windows without any garments they could wear to step outside.

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NASAs New Spacesuits Unveiled, for Trips to the Moon and Beyond - The New York Times

Faster-Than-Light Travel Could Explain Mysterious Signals Beaming Through the Cosmos – Livescience.com

In a distant corner of the universe, something is traveling faster than light.

No, the laws of physics aren't being violated: It's still true that nothing can travel faster than light in the vacuum of empty space. But when light travels through matter, like interstellar gas or a soup of charged particles, it slow downs, meaning other matter might overtake it. And that may explain the weird symmetry in pulses of some of the most energetic light in the universe, called gamma-ray bursts.

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These cryptic bursts bright flashes of gamma-ray light that come from faraway galaxies form when massive stars collapse or when ultradense neutron stars collide. These cataclysms send speeding jets of hot, charged plasma zooming through space.

But these signals have an odd symmetry, and the reason they do is still a mystery.

A gamma-ray burst doesn't brighten and dim in one steady peak, but instead in a flickering pattern, said Jon Hakkila, an astrophysicist at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

Hakkila has worked on this puzzle for years. Now, he and a collaborator have a solution: plasma traveling both slower and faster than the speed of light could explain this flickering pattern, as they report in a paper published Sept. 23 in The Astrophysical Journal. If they're right, it may help us understand what's actually producing these gamma-rays.

"I find it a great step forward," that connects the small scale phenomena in the plasma to our large-scale observations, said Dieter Hartmann, an astrophysicist at Clemson University who was not involved in the study.

In the last few years, Hakkila has found that gamma-ray bursts have small fluctuations in brightness on top of their overall brightening and dimming. If you subtract the overarching brightening and dimming, you're left with a series of smaller peaks one primary peak with smaller peaks in brightness before and after. And this pattern is strangely symmetric. If you "fold" the pattern over at the main peak and stretch one side, the two sides match remarkably well. In other words, the light pattern of a gamma-ray burst's pulse hints at a set of mirrored events.

"Whatever happened on the front side happened on the back side," Hakkila said. "And the events knew to happen in reverse order."

Though astronomers don't know what causes gamma-ray burst emission at the particle scale, they are fairly sure that it happens when jets of plasma traveling near the speed of light interact with surrounding gases. Hakkila had been trying to come up with explanations for how these situations might make symmetric light pulses when he heard from Robert Nemiroff, an astrophysicist at Michigan Technological University.

Nemiroff was studying what happens when an object travels through a surrounding medium faster than the light it emits, called superluminal motion. In previous research, Nemiroff had found that when such an object goes from traveling slower than light to faster than light, or vice versa, this transition can trigger a phenomenon called relativistic image doubling. Nemiroff wondered whether this could account for the symmetric patterns Hakkila found in gamma-ray burst pulses.

So what exactly is "relativistic image doubling?" Imagine a boat creating ripples as it moves across a lake toward the shore. If the boat travels more slowly than the waves it creates, a person standing on the shore will see the boat's ripples hit the shore in the order that the boat created them. But if the boat travels faster than the waves it creates, the boat will overtake the first wave it creates only to create a new ripple in front of that one and so on. In that way, the new ripples created by the boat will reach the shore sooner than the first waves it created. A person standing on the shore will see the ripples hit the shore in a time-reversed order.

The same idea applies to gamma-ray bursts. If the cause of a gamma-ray burst is traveling faster than the light it emits through the gas and matter surrounding it, we would see the emission pattern in reverse chronological order.

Hakkila and Nemiroff reasoned that this could account for half of a gamma-ray burst's symmetric pulse.

But what if the material was first traveling slower than the speed of light, but then accelerated? What if it started fast and then slowed down? In either case, we might see the emission both in chronological order and reverse chronological order right after one another, making a symmetric pulse pattern like the symmetric peaks observed in gamma-ray bursts.

There are still missing pieces to this puzzle. For one, researchers still don't know what's causing these bursts at the microscopic scale. But this proposed model gives researchers one small clue in the hunt to find the ultimate cause of gamma-ray bursts, Hartmann said.

Originally published on Live Science.

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Faster-Than-Light Travel Could Explain Mysterious Signals Beaming Through the Cosmos - Livescience.com

NASA videos on the harshness of space and a cool new space suit for exploring the Moon – Boing Boing

NASA videos on the harshness of space and a cool new space suit for exploring the Moon / Boing Boing

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NASA videos on the harshness of space and a cool new space suit for exploring the Moon - Boing Boing