There’s excitement in the air for Humberto Caldelas – MIT News

When Humberto Caldelas II was growing up, his dad took him to all the nearest air shows so he could see all the planes.And when he learned to drive, he joked with his parents that he shouldnt drive near the airport because he would get distracted. He always looks up at the sky when he hears airplanes pass.

I can't even tell you the first time I got interested in airplanes, he says. I think I just was born with it.

Caldelas is an MIT senior majoring in aeronautics and astronautics, but he came into the university thinking hed go into nuclear science and engineering.He used to think of his love of flying as a hobby but not a profession that is, until his friends convinced him to take a tour of the MITs Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro). During his tour, he learned of a semiserious requirement for every professor candidate. As the rumor goes, after the technical interviews, the candidate is taken outside; if a plane flies overhead and the candidate doesnt look up, they dont get the job.

As soon as Caldelas heard this, he knew AeroAstro would be his home.

I was like, If that's the passion here in the department, then that's where I should be. And I haven't regretted that decision since, he says. It's really been so much fun. It feels like a home just because I can nerd out with people about all the airplane and space things.

Through his major, Caldelas has focused on both air and space travel, and hopes his career will go in both directions. Caldelas has been involved with the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) during his four years at MIT and after graduation will join the Navy as a naval aviator. After serving for his country and working with airplanes, he then hopes to become an astronaut.

The flying bug

Caldelas is the kind of person to arrive at the airport well before his flight, just so he can see planes take off. And when hes on the airplane, he loves sitting in a seat where he can look out the window and watch the engine function.

Every time I fly, I get the chills, he says. There's a quote that goes with understanding comes appreciation, and with appreciation comes respect. So after studying how a jet engine works, how hard it is to design it, how hard it is to build it, it makes [an airplane] even more incredible.

The aeronautics part of his MIT education gave Caldelas a background on the theory and mechanics of airplane flight. Through his classes, hes learned about the physics of flying, experimented by making foam airplanes, and tested equipment through wind tunnels.

Over the past two summers, Caldelas interned at Boeing, gaining hands-on experience with the 737 and P-8A Poseidon aircraft. He also got to see how understanding the mechanics of an airplane will help him when he is a pilot.

For example, when they were testing some iterations of the new 777X, one of the test pilots who had both flying experience and and understood what was going on inside the plane easily identified an issue with the plane because she was in tune with how an airplane is constructed. Caldelas aspires to do exactly that.

After graduating, he wants to commission as an officer in the Navy and be a fighter pilot. During his first year of high school, Caldelas enrolled in the Civil Air Patrol, which is affiliated with the U.S. Air Force. He flew an airplane for the first time and has never gotten over that thrill. Throughout his time at MIT, hes been involved with Naval ROTC and often wears the classic summer whites uniform with the gold buttons; this semester, he is the company commander of his unit.

After Navy training post-college, he hopes to go to U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Caldelas says test pilots know how to fly and have a technical understanding of airplanes, which helps them communicate with the engineers on what they need to tweak.

From white uniform to white space suit

The AeroAstro hallway displays photos of many illustrious alumni of the department, including a number of astronauts a group Caldelas ultimately hopes to join.

His fascination with astronauts began early: When he was 4 years old, his family went to NASAs Kennedy Space Center.

I was just barely walking, and this astronaut comes up, and I was like wow, I want to be him, he says.

The admiration with astronauts skyrocketed as he grew up. When MIT was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Caldelas received an email from the department asking for students to help escort astronauts around the events. Immediately, he filled out the form if there is an opportunity to meet an astronaut, Caldelas is there.

Caldelas was assigned to Mark Lee, a former Air Force Colonel and NASA astronaut who flew on four Space Shuttle missions. When Caldelas was showing Lee around, Lee stopped in the middle of the hallway of photographs and nonchalantly said thats me, pointing to a large photograph of a man in a white space suit with Earth in the background. Starstruck, Caldelas looked at the frame and saw the name Mark Lee on it. He immediately asked for a photograph of the two of them with the historic image in the background.

I walk past this photo everyday. Who else can say they met the astronaut in a famous photograph? Caldelas says. Only at MIT does that happen.

Throughout the tour of the department, Caldelas kept saying how he cant believe he is in the same space as so many MIT legends. A national Hispanic Scholarship Fund recipient, Caldelas is also a first-generation American, one of the first Hispanic students to be accepted into the engineering program at his high school, and the first person to get into MIT from his New Jersey high school.

Hes constantly grateful for his opportunities and hopes to inspire the next generation, just as the MIT astronauts and their photographs inspired him.

You dont have to be perfect to go to this school, you just have to have the passion, and that motivates people, he says. Its really humbling for me live out my dreams to come to MIT. And I want to honor this opportunity by inspiring others to keep going and reach for their dreams.

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There's excitement in the air for Humberto Caldelas - MIT News

OKIE IN EXILE Alexa and the Rise of Space Poop – Pittsburg Morning Sun

We are living in science fiction times. I can say Alexa, turn on the lamp in the living room, and the lamp in the living room will come on. I can see who is standing on my front porch from by back bedroom on the TV and from my cell phone anywhere I am; I dont even have to get out of bed. And if my house wasnt 110 years old with ancient wiring, I would be able to do more.

But this is all coming. Once they discover a price point, it happens.

My house has a little bit of Star Trek in it, sure, but what about space travel? We walked on the moon 50 years ago, a few months before I turned seven. When will we get Captain Kirk pulling on his socks in the room with a green-skinned space princess?

Well, we are working on it. When the US put men on the moon, it was a tremendous singular effort without much infrastructure built up and without a transparent connection to profit on the other end. Yes, there were a lot of spin offs; there were a lot of technical problems solved; but at the end it wasnt any easier to make cheese and it didnt lower the price of bread. It helped us win the Cold War; it caught our imaginations; but then it just lay there.

It is now 50 years later and we are living in a different world. Everybody I know above a certain age is walking around with a phone in their pocket. Everybody can connect with a world of information in minutes, in seconds if they actually know what they are doing. Weve got satellites orbiting the planet that can tell us where we are to within a few feet. You can put a satellite dish on your stinking roof for goodness sake. Weve got an old one we use as a birdbath.

There are several well-funded, innovative, private-enterprise space-launch companies who are learning to do launches faster, cheaper, better than the government.

The infrastructure is being built.

But there needs to be a pay-off. What is the carrot on the stick?

It is not going to be using space colonies to reduce population pressure on the earth. Weve got six billion people on the planet. If we put a million in a rocket and sent them into space, we would still have six billion people on the planet.

I am not saying that we wont have colonies, but they will be entities in their own right, not population release valves. They will, at least at first, be used as colonies always have been: Markets. We sell them things they need to stay alive; they provide natural resources.

Let me give you an example of what I am thinking about. You may have seen the movie The Martian starring Matt Damon. (Ive seen it three times and listened to the audiobook at least as many.) In The Martian, Mark Watney, played by Damon, extended his life by growing potatoes on Mars. To do this, he made his soil by using his own poop.

So what?

So this. A colony has people in it. People need food. It is far too expensive to ship food from Earth to Mars for more than just a few people, so the food will have to be grown in space. As a consequence, they will need space farms.

These farms will need soil, and it would be far too expensive to take large quantities of dirt into space. Therefore, they will have to be making soil in space. While I am not an expert on this, I am guessing the procedure will be basically the same as what Mark Watney did: poop plus regolith. (Regolith is dust and bits of stone; calling it regolith makes it sound spacy.)

I dont know if I will live to see this, but maybe my grandsons will. There will be people in space making money off poop. I hope they are Americans. I know they will be politicians.

Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to like the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook.

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OKIE IN EXILE Alexa and the Rise of Space Poop - Pittsburg Morning Sun

CES in the 2020s? Expect VR, wearables, 5G, and maybe even space travel – Inverse

The Consumer Electronics Show is entering its seventh decade of existence, and its about to chart a bold new course in technological history more mobile, more smart, and altogether a lot less visible.

The Las Vegas-based show has cemented itself as one of the most vital dates in the industrys annual calendar. Spanning over 2.9 million square feet, the show plays host to more than 4,500 companies.

As tech reporters descend onto the Las Vegas Convention Center, their filings paint a picture of where the industry is at. While some of these visions turn out woefully misguided in hindsight remember 3D TVs? a number of them capture the growth of emergent technologies, as they break out from their lab-based beginnings and flourish in the real world.

As computers weave their way into more facets of everyday life, expect CES to cover more ground in the future. That includes more autonomous cars, more input from the travel industry, and infrastructure-focused technologies like disaster prevention. At the same time, dont expect the pixel-packed TVs to disappear anytime soon.

Theyll still be there to beat down the path! Jean Foster, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the show, tells Inverse.

Heres what the next few years looks like, through the lens of perhaps the most important show in technology.

One key focus for the show will be in travel. The CEO of Delta Airlines will give a keynote, and the firm itself is expected to launch products. CES will also dedicate a program to the area. That means a greater focus on travel technologies like smarter hotels.

It could even include controversial face scanners. Travelers may grow used to seeing them, after the U.S. governments Homeland Security department expressed support for using them in airports. As face scanning miniaturizes down to even the latest iPhones and China introduces mandatory scans for phone users, the technology demonstrates the sort of topics privacy debates may focus on in the coming years.

Another area where face recognition could play a big role is in the smart city, like with Nvidias SAFR technology. At CES the smart city focus will be more on disaster prevention and other products, while also demonstrating the underpinnings that will make these products work.

Those underpinnings include 5G, the next-generation cellular network rolling out internationally at the moment. A key area will be in the enterprise, where 5G could offer big benefits. That includes the likes of Verizon and AT&T rolling out its network in sports stadiums, for example, giving fans a way to maintain connections when capturing the action. Sensors, cameras, and Internet of Things devices will work in conjunction with 5G to enable smarter cities.

Those are all fundamental, integrated technologies, Foster says.

This could all help support the autonomous car. Although its still not available for the everyman, CES has seen increased interest from firms showing what a self-driving system could do for their business. John Deere, for example, was at CES 2019 with its self-driving tractor. Unfortunately, after years of hype that pointed to an early 2020s launch, Elon Musk and others have walked back their self-driving predictions as reality sets in.

And, of course, expect to see more of the high-end TVs that have impressed CES-goers in the past. That means 8K televisions that push far more pixels, expected to ship in early 2020. It could also mean surprises like LGs roll-up TV and hidden screens.

Thats still, quite frankly, when you get the media coverage, Foster says.

One notable way with how the next show may differ from previous years is over the trade war between the United States and China. Foster says that, with a general drop in the number of Chinese nationals visiting the U.S., they expect that [decline] to come to the show. And while the organizers expect the big companies to participate when the list is finalized, Foster suggests that well maybe see some fall off with smaller companies because theyre impacted by the trade war.

Remember virtual reality? The Oculus Rift hit stores in 2012, but required a high-powered PC. The Oculus Quest, which launched earlier this year for $399, ditches the PC and could offer wider appeal. Apple is rumored to be exploring a standalone augmented reality headset, and both itself and Google have built AR tools into their smartphone operating systems.

Expect more applications in business, Foster says, who cites interesting experiments with treating soldiers PTSD. These applications would become more widespread as the form factor slims down and the headset is less imposing.

I think were going to see more of that in the travel industry, where people are using either augmented reality or virtual reality to go in and get more of the experiential side, Foster says.

That could form part of a new era for wearables. The Apple Watch has made waves, but fashion of the future could build sensors directly into clothes. That includes yoga pants that walk the wearer through a routine, or football jerseys that rumble when the wearers favorite player gets tackled.

I think were going to see more of that, probably not in 10 years, probably in the next two or three years, Foster says.

Another buzzword likely to resurface is the blockchain. The digital ledger was first used to log transactions for the bitcoin cryptocurrency, but Foster sees interesting applications in supply chain management from the likes of IBM and Walmart. Another example is the NFL using it to track genuine memorabilia.

I think its going to be those unusual use cases that were going to hear more of, Foster says.

Blockchains original use case, for cryptocurrency, could also play a role. The Facebook-backed Libra project, expected to launch next year, promises an asset-backed digital token that avoids the wild price speculations of bitcoin. Big financial firms like MasterCard, Visa Stripe and PayPal have all dropped out of the project. But even if Libra fails, Foster sees something similar potentially emerging in that space.

The concept behind that and the driver behind that which is giving some form of digital currency to people who are unbankeddefinitely seems to me that theres a need for that on a global basis, Foster says.

Some areas are too hard to predict. Although its easy to make suggestions about the future, Foster notes that she would have never predicted Impossible Foods was going to be the breakout story of the show.

The one that really fascinates me is the space, Foster says. Whats going to happen?

With SpaceX and Blue Origin both pushing to make it cheaper to send objects into space, an unfathomable industry may be just around the corner.

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CES in the 2020s? Expect VR, wearables, 5G, and maybe even space travel - Inverse

SpaceX cargo mission combines mighty mice, fires and beer research – Spaceflight Now

EDITORS NOTE:Updated Dec. 4 after scrub.

A nest of genetically-engineered mice, a research study to observe the behavior of fires in space, and an experiment that could lead to brewing beer in microgravity are among more than 5,700 pounds of cargo inside a SpaceX Dragon capsule awaiting launch from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station Thursday.

Scientists will use the mice to study an experimental drug that could combat muscle and bone loss in astronauts and other vulnerable populations.

Eight of the 40 mice launching to the space station have been genetically-engineered to lack myostatin, a protein that acts to limit muscle growth in animals. The muscle-bound, myostatin-free mice or mighty mice will be joined by four other groups of rodents, including groups that will be given an experimental drug in space to block myostatin activity and promote muscle growth.

All 40 mice will return to Earth alive on the Dragon capsule in early January. Scientists will administer the same myostatin protein blocker to some of the mice after they are back on the ground to assess how the drug affects their rate of recovery.

The focus of this project is going to be to determine whether getting rid of myostatin in mice that we send to the International Space Station can prevent, or at least mitigate, the loss of muscle due to microgravity, saidSe-Jin Lee, professor at the Jackson Laboratory and University of Connecticut School of Medicine, and principal investigator for the rodent research experiment.

The drug trial to be administered to the mice on the space station also inhibits activin, a protein that regulates bone mass.

By blocking activin with this drug, bone densityincreases significantly, said Emily Germain-Lee, a co-investigator on the experiment and professor atUniversity of Connecticut School of Medicine. And as you probably know, astronauts who spend a lot of time in space lose not only musclemass, but also bone mass.

Anything that can be done to prevent muscle and bone loss would be veryimportant to maintaining the health of astronauts during space travel, Germain-Lee said. But loss of bone mass is also a huge healthproblem for people here on Earth. There are actually lots of diseases that lead to bone loss in both children andadults. And, ofcourse, osteoporosis is a big health issue for people who are elderly or bedridden.

Bytesting this experimental drug in life subjected to microgravity, we hope to be able to test the therapeutic strategiesfor combating both the bone loss and muscle lossthat occur in lots of different conditions, Germain-Lee said.

The resupply launch Thursday will signal the start of SpaceXs 19th cargo mission to the space station, ferrying more than a ton of experiment hardware inside the pressurized compartment of the companys Dragon spacecraft. The supply ship will also launch with provisions for the space stations six-person crew, spare parts, tools, an ultra-sensitive Japanese Earth-imaging camera, and a flock of small tech demo CubeSats.

SpaceX ground teams loaded time-critical payloads late Tuesday into the Dragon capsule mounted to the Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaverals Complex 40 launch pad. Technicians closed the Dragon spacecrafts hatch and raised the 213-foot-tall (65-meter) launcher vertical at pad 40 before dawn Wednesday in preparation for a countdown that was scrubbed before liftoff due to out-of-limits upper level winds.

On Thursday, the Falcon 9 will be filled with super-chilled kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants beginning 35 minutes before liftoff. The countdown clock will tick down to a precise launch time of 12:29:23 p.m. EST (1729:23 GMT), roughly the moment the Earths rotation brings the Falcon 9 launch pad under the space stations ground track.

Nine Merlin engines will drive the Falcon 9 northeast from Floridas Space Coast. The 12-foot-diameter (3.7-meter) first stage will accelerate the rocket for two-and-a-half minutes before shutdown and separation.

The Falcon 9s second stage will fire a single Merlin engine to power the rocket into orbit. Meanwhile, the first stage will perform a series of burns using a subset of its engines to slow down for landing on SpaceXs drone ship parked in the Atlantic Ocean around 210 miles (340 kilometers) east-northeast of Jacksonville, Florida.

The Falcon 9 booster a brand new vehicle in SpaceXs rocket fleet will aim to land on the ocean-going drone ship less than eight minutes after liftoff. Less than a minute later, the upper stage will inject the Dragon supply ship into orbit, setting the stage for deployment of the station-bound cargo capsule at T+plus 9 minutes, 35 seconds.

The Dragon will unfurl its solar panels a few minutes later, prime its propulsion system, and begin a choreographed sequence of thruster firings to approach the space station. The cargo freighter will arrive at the station early Sunday, assuming it takes off Thursday.

Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA flight engineer Drew Morgan will man the space stations Canadian-built robot arm to capture the Dragon supply ship Sunday. The robotic arm will position the Dragon spacecraft on the stations Harmony module, where astronauts will open hatches and begin unpacking the cargo inside the supply ships internal compartment.

The Dragon cargo capsule set for launch Thursday will make its third voyage to the space station, following two previous round-trip flights in 2014 and 2017.

Here is a break-down of the Dragon spacecrafts 5,769-pound (2,617-kilogram) supply load. The figures below do not include the mass of cargo packaging, which is included in NASAs overall payload mass:

The Dragon spacecraft will carry an experiment for Anheuser-Busch to test the malting ability of barley seeds in microgravity. The company eventually wants to brew beer in space.

Gary Hanning, director of global barley research at Anheuser-Busch, said the companys malting experiment is the third in a series of investigations looking at how the environment of space affects brewing processes.

This series has been constructed to look at the impact ofspace environment on the germination process of barley, Hanning said. So the germination processes is taking seed and creatingthe new plant from that, and so thats a very key step in the life cycle of any plant, and particularly important tomalting barley. So much of our research on earth is focused on seed germination and the environmental impactsthat would affect seed germination, as well as physiological effects.

Hanning said Anheuser-Buschs experiments in space have given the companys research team a new perspective.

From our previous studies on the space station, weve noted that the gene expression thats the genes thatare turned on or turned off and to what degree are different on the space station then they are on Earth, he said. We thinkits a response to the stress, because its an abnormal environment, so theres a stress related there. So geneexpression is a part of that cascade of events as part of germination.

The experiment launching on SpaceXs next cargo mission will look at hardware solutions to support barley malting on the space station.

Malting is basically a biological process, Hanning said. It is to convert barley into a product called malt, which is used in a lot offood and beverage applications. Malting is actually a three-step process, he added, beginning with the steeping, or hydration, of barley grains, followed by germination and drying.

The Anheuser-Busch experiment will launch with just 2.5 ounces (70 grams) of barley grains, separated into two units.

Another research payload aboard the Dragon spacecraft will allow scientists to observeflame behavior in confined spaces in microgravity. The combustion package includes solid fuel samples that will be ignited inside a protective enclosure on the space station.

We want to study how solid materials burn in different confined conditions, and how fire interacts with its immediate surroundings, saidYa-Ting Liao, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve University.

It turns out this is a very hands-on experiment, said Paul Ferkul, an investigator on the confined combustion experiment. Were talking with the astronaut, were interacting with him, were telling him what to do, how to set the parameters. And he, in turn, tells us how its looking, what hes experiencing, and the astronauts are very glad to do this.

Its way outside their usual routine on the space station, so that helps us a lot because theyre enthusiastic for our work, and they make very good investigators because of that.

The Dragon capsules external cargo bay is loaded with a Japanese Earth-imaging instrument with high spectral sensitivity. TheHyperspectral Imager Suite, or HISUI, instrument will image Earths surface in 185 spectral bands, allowing scientists to distinguish between the composition and type of a range of vegetation, soil, rocks, snow, ice, and human-made objects like buildings, roads and other structures.

Using the robotic arm, the HISUI instrument will be mounted to a fixture outside the stations Japanese Kibo lab module. Its a follow-up to the Japanese-developed ASTER instrument on NASAs Terra satellite, which launched in 1999.

A new lithium-ion battery for the space stations solar array truss is also stowed inside the Dragon capsules unpressurized trunk. It will replace a battery flown to the station by a Japanese HTV cargo ship last year.

That battery was damaged by an electrical short soon after it was installed on a spacewalk.

Other equipment slated for delivery to the space station include a robotic tool stowage platform to store leak detectors outside the space station, and upgrades toallow scientists to make subtle measurements of gravity using the Cold Atom Laboratory, a research facility inside the orbiting lab.

Several CubeSats are also flying inside the Dragon capsule, including the first nanosatellite built in Mexico to deploy from the space station.

Email the author.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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SpaceX cargo mission combines mighty mice, fires and beer research - Spaceflight Now

Underserved grade school students to International Space Station: Do you read us? – USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Thanks to USC Dornsifes Young Scientists Program, students at South Los Angeles elementary school quiz an astronaut orbiting 250 miles above Earth. [4 min read]

USCs Rita Barakat, a doctoral student in neuroscience and a coordinator at USC Dornsifes Young Scientists Program, holds the microphone while a student from Vermont Avenue Elementary asks the International Space Station Commander, Colonel Luca Parmitano, a question. (Photo: Ling Luo.)

November-Alpha-One-Sierra-Sierra, this is Kilo-November-Six-Charlie-Hotel-Sierra.

Inside the packed auditorium at Vermont Avenue Elementary School near USCs University Park campus, 270 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders held their breath, along with teachers, parents and local amateur radio enthusiasts, as USCs Rita Barakat, a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience, attempted to establish contact with the International Space Station (ISS).

This was the doctoral students seventh attempt, and so far, loud static had been her only reward. Undeterred, Barakat, a coordinator at the Young Scientists Program (YSP) based at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Science, tried again.

November-Alpha-One-Sierra-Sierra, this is Kilo-November-Six-Charlie-Hotel-Sierra.

More crackling, then a disembodied male voice emerged from the static: Italian astronaut Colonel Luca Parmitano, ISS commander, responded, We hear you loud and clear. Go ahead with your questions.

Loud whoops of excitement went up from the grade school students, then quickly returned to hushed silence as the students focused on 10 of their peers lined up at the front of the room. The 10 had been selected to quiz Parmitano about space travel and life on the space station as the ISS passed over USC and downtown Los Angeles.

Held on Oct. 28, the event was organized by YSP, a part of the Joint Educational Project (JEP) based at USC Dornsife.

The students were also excited because this was a historic event the first time that L.A. elementary students had spoken with astronauts on the space station. Their school, a member of the USC Family of Schools, was one of just 15 places worldwide authorized to make contact with the ISS in 2019.

Questions and answers

Among the students who got to ask Parmitano two questions each was 10-year-old Melody Castro, a fifth-grader and enthusiastic YSP member. She and the others were selected after their questions were chosen from more than 500 submitted. She asked Parmitano what encouraged you to be an astronaut? and when you were younger, did you want to be an astronaut?

When I first heard about this opportunity, I was like, Oh, yeah, I have to try my best, but I was kind of scared, Castro said of the selection process. I wanted to cry because I didnt know if I was going to get it or not. And when I first heard my name, I was like, Wow!

Although she felt nervous, Castro said the experience gave her confidence.

It also changed her original ambition.

I wanted to be a normal scientist, like do potions and stuff like that, she said. But now, since I got the opportunity to talk, I actually want to be an astronaut.

And she already has a plan. Im going to try my best to work very hard to get in to a school thats very good for astronauts.

Dieuwertje DJ Kast, STEM program manager at JEP, said she was deeply impressed by the students composure.

We were really worried that there was going to be some stage fright because these are elementary school kids talking in front of 260 of their peers, the media, their teachers and their parents. Thats a huge deal to 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds.

But, said Kast, the students had been exemplary.

Persistence pays off

The event, which was facilitated by Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS), was the highlight of a STEM curriculum focusing on aerospace and radio that YSP developed for use in elementary schools in conjunction with the W6HA Hughes Amateur Radio Club.

It took a little over a year to make the event happen.

The first time Barakat wrote the proposal to ARISS to coordinate with NASA and schedule the event, it was rejected, leading her to seek advice from the Hughes Ham Radio Team.

The team really were instrumental in helping us shape our proposal so that it could be more specific and show that we did have the necessary community support, Barakat said.

Their persistence paid off and YSPs second proposal was accepted.

In addition to learning about space travel, students also had the opportunity to explore amateur radio technology. Vermont Avenue Elementary is now the proud owner of an ISS-ABOVE, an electronic device invented by Liam Kennedy, a programming and live video streaming and production expert and former NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador. Kennedys invention brings the space station to a television screen, providing informational screens and live views of Earth from external cameras.

Barakat, who got her own ham radio license in May, adapted Kennedys and Kasts ISS-ABOVE middle school curriculum, making it appropriate for third- through fifth-grade students.

Classes at Vermont Avenue Elementary went on miniature field trips to their own library to see the ISS-ABOVE in action and learn more about the ISS. They heard Kennedy speak about how his invention can connect them to the space station and watched as members of Hughes Radio Club, and specifically Darrell Warren, aformer LAUSD teacher and veteran amateur radio operator, demonstrated the ham radio equipment.

The event was particularly valuable, Kast argued, because by bringing together so many different aspects of science from space travel to radio technology it showed students that STEM careers are so much more diverse than the stereotypical image of a scientist in a white coat working in a university laboratory.

Barakat agreed.

The value of the event aligns with our program mission overall to try and inspire kids to see science, not as something thats scary or challenging or unapproachable, but as something they can get into, Barakat said. If we can encourage them and have them feel like its fun now, theyll be more likely to pursue it in the long run.

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Underserved grade school students to International Space Station: Do you read us? - USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Space news: Space debris could grow uncontrollably and trap humans on Earth FOREVER – Express.co.uk

There is now believed to be an astonishing 170 million pieces of junk floating in Earths upper atmosphere, but only 34,000 are being tracked. Some 7,000 tonnes of space junk circle our planet, as defunct satellites, junk from rockets and other metals and rocks build up close to Earth. Experts have previously warned that as space debris increases, it will make it harder for rockets to escape Earths orbit out of fear of colliding with an object, known as the Klesser syndrome.

Not only does it pose a threat to space travel, but technologies such as mobile phones, television, GPS and weather related services also rely on satellites, so a cataclysmic series of crashes could pose a threat to our already over-reliance for satellites.

Now, one expert has revealed the true extent of the congestion above Earth.

Professor Hugh Lewis from the University of Southampton ran simulations to reveal that if current levels of orbit congestion contiue to rise, with roughly 20 satellites put into space each year, there will be a satellite collision every 50 years.

However, for every 50 years that passed over the 1,000 year simulation, the number of collisions doubles some 1,000 kilometres above the surface.

The simulation ran in accordance with the 25 year rule which dictates that satellite users must spend no longer than 25 years 1,000km above Earth - regarded as the safe zone - before the satellite has to be moved or destroyed.

Prof Lewis said: The simulations included launches that placed fewer than 20 satellites per year into orbit at altitudes above 1000km and only one or two of these were left there once the 25-year rule had been applied to the others.

Even with our best countermeasures, this was enough to cause the amount of space debris there to grow uncontrollably.

The problem is that our best countermeasures slow the pace of the collision cascading to such an extent that it is impossible to observe in the current 200 year simulations.

READ MORE:Space junk: Terrifying tool reveals debris threatening satellites

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Space news: Space debris could grow uncontrollably and trap humans on Earth FOREVER - Express.co.uk

Sun’s close-up reveals atmosphere hopping with highly energetic particles – Princeton University

Outbursts of energetic particles that hurtle out from the sun and can disrupt space communications may be even more varied and numerous than previously thought, according to results from the closest-ever flyby of the sun.

One of the greatest threats from the sun to astronauts and the satellites that provide GPS maps, cell phone service and internet access are high-energy particles that erupt from the sun in bursts. Top: On Nov. 17, 2018, the 321st day of that year, ISIS observed a burst of high-energy protons, each with more than 1 million electron-volts of energy. The warmer colors (yellow, orange, red) represent an increase in the number of these high-energy particles hitting the ISIS sensors.Bottom: An artists representation of one of these energetic particle events.

Image by Jamey Szalay and David McComas; Adapted with permission from D.J. McComas et al., Nature 575:7785 (2019)

The new findings, which help us understand the sun's activity and ultimately could provide an early warning for solar storms, come from one of the four instrument suites aboard NASA's Parker Solar Probe, a spacecraft that has completed its first passes near the fiery orb. Results from all four suites appear today in a set of articles published in the journal Nature.

The finding that these energetic particle events are more varied and numerous than previously known was one of several discoveries made by the instrument suite known as the Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun (ISIS), a project led by Princeton University that involves multiple institutions as well as NASA.

"This study marks a major milestone with humanitys reconnaissance of the near-sun environment," said David McComas, the principal investigator for the ISIS instrument suite, a Princeton professor of astrophysical sciences and the vice president for the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. "It provides the first direct observations of the energetic particle environment in the region just above the sun's upper atmosphere, the corona.

"Seeing these observations has been a continuous 'eureka moment,'" McComas said. "Whenever we receive new data from the spacecraft, we are witnessing something that no one has ever seen before. That is about as good as it gets!"

ISIS seeks to find out how the particles become so fast moving, and what is pushing them to accelerate. The scientists searching for these answers includes ISIS team members at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of New Hampshire, Southwest Research Institute, the University of Delaware and the University of Arizona, as well as collaborators at the University of California-Berkeley, Imperial College London, the University of Michigan, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatoryand the National Center for Scientific Research in France.

Highly energetic particles can disrupt communications and global positioning systems (GPS) satellites. These streams of particles, made up primarily of protons, have two sources. The first is from outside our solar system, generated when exploding stars release streams of particles known as cosmic rays. The other is our sun. Both can damage the electrical systems of spacecraft and are forms of radiation that can harm astronauts health.

These energetic particles fly much faster than the solar wind, which is the roughly million mile-per-hour flow of hot electrically charged gas that whips off the sun. If the solar wind were a stream, the energetic particles would be fish that leap out and jump ahead of the flow. The particles travel along pathways called magnetic flux tubes that extend from the corona out into the solar wind.

During Parker Solar Probes first two orbits, ISIS detected many small energetic particle events, solar bursts during which the rates of particles streaming out of the sun increased rapidly. On ISIS, the Epi-Lo instrument measures particles in the tens of thousands of electron-volts, while Epi-Hi measures particles with millions to hundreds of millions of electron-volts. (For reference, the electricity in your house is 120 volts.) Here, data from orbits 1 (left) and 2 (right) show the ISIS particle count rates overlaid as color strips along the black line that represents the trajectory of Parker Solar Probe. The lower energy (Lo) rates are on the inside of the track, while the higher energy (Hi) rates run outside. Both the size and color correspond to the measured rates, such that large red bars indicate the biggest bursts, when the sun released the most particles in a short amount of time.

Image by Jamey Szalay and David McComas; Adapted with permission from D.J. McComas et al., Nature 575:7785 (2019)

Understanding these particles could improve space weather forecasts and give early warning of the massive storms that can disrupt Earthly communications and space travel.

"The answer to questions about how energetic particles form and accelerate is incredibly important," said Ralph McNutt, who oversaw the building of the lower energy of the suites two instruments and is chief scientist in the Space Exploration Sector at APL. "These particles affect our activities on Earth and our ability to get our astronauts out into space. We are making history with this mission."

Due to their speed, the particles act as an early warning signal for space weather, said Jamey Szalay, an associate research scholar in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton who leads the data visualization efforts for ISIS. "These particles are moving fast, so if there is a big solar storm on its way, these particles are the first indicators."

Most previous studies of solar energetic particles relied on detectors located in space about the same distance from the sun as is the Earth 93 million miles from the sun. By the time the particles get to those detectors, it is hard to track where they came from, because the particles from various sources have interacted and intermixed.

"Its a bit like cars coming from crowded tunnels and bridges and spreading out onto interstate highways," McComas said. "They get faster as they move away, but they also get mixed and interact in ways that it is impossible to tell who came from where as you move farther and farther away from the sources."

The top panel shows a schematic of a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), during which a burst of mass as big as Lake Michigan is ejected from the sun. These can pose a hazardto astronauts and space satellites, but ISIS scientists discovered that tiny energetic particles rush ahead of the ejected mass, providing advance warning of the incoming threat. The bottom panel showsproton fluxes detected byISIS's EPI-Lo (top) and the magnetic field measurements (bottom) around the time of an observed CME. The energetic particles reachedParker Solar Probe nearly a day before the ejected mass.

Image by Jamey Szalay and David McComas; Adapted with permission from N.J. Fox et al, Space Science Reviews 204: 7 (2016) and D.J. McComas et al., Nature 575:7785 (2019)

In its first trips around the sun, the Parker Solar Probe travelled twice as close to the sun as any previous spacecraft has ever been. At its closest, the spacecraft was 14 million miles or 35 solar radii, which is 17.5 widths of the sun from the fiery surface.

Getting close to the sun is essential for unraveling how these particles form and gain high energies, said Eric Christian, the deputy principal investigator on ISIS and a senior research scientist at NASA Goddard. "It is like trying to measure what is happening in a mountain by studying the base of the mountain. To know what is happening, you have to go where the action is: You have to go up on the mountain."

A potential concern of the researchers was that the sun's 11-year cycle of activity is presently at a low. But the low activity level turned out to be an advantage.

"The fact that the sun was quiet allowed us to analyze events that are extremely isolated," said Nathan Schwadron, a professor of physics and astronomy and the head of the ISIS science operation center at the University of New Hampshire. "These are events that haven't been seen from farther away because they are just clobbered by the solar wind activity."

During its first two orbits, ISIS observed several fascinating phenomena. One was a burst of energetic particle activity that coincided with a coronal mass ejection, a violent eruption of energized and magnetized particles from the corona. Prior to the ejection, ISIS detected a buildup of relatively low energetic particles, whereas after the ejection there was a buildup of high energetic particles. These events were small and not detectable from the Earths orbit.

Another observation from ISIS was particle activity indicating a sort of solar wind traffic jam, which happens when the solar wind suddenly slows down, causing fast-moving solar wind to pile up behind it and forming a compressed region of particles. This buildup, which astrophysicists call a co-rotating interaction region, occurred out beyond Earths orbit and sent high energy particles back toward the sun where they were observed by ISIS.

Researchers are eager to understand the mechanisms by which the sun accelerates particles to high speeds. ISISs detection of each particles identity whether it is hydrogen, helium, carbon, oxygen, iron or another element will help researchers further explore this question.

On Epi-Lo, 80 tiny telescopes are looking in 80 different directions, and one of those was punctured by a dust grain when Parker Solar Probe was at its closest approach to the sun. The purple arrow shows the approximate arrival direction of the dust grain, and the bottom panel shows where during the second orbit collision occurred.

Image by Jamey Szalay and David McComas; Adapted with permission from D.J. McComas et al., Nature 575:7785 (2019)

There are two kinds of acceleration mechanisms, one that occurs in solar flares when magnetic fields reconnect, and another that occurs when you get shocks and compressions of the solar wind, but the details of how they cause particle acceleration are not that well understood, said Mark Wiedenbeck, a principal scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who oversaw the development of the higher energy instrument in the ISIS suite. The composition of the particles is a key diagnostic to tell us the acceleration mechanism.

ISIS made its third brush by the sun on Sept. 1, and will make its next on Jan. 29, 2020. As the mission continues, the satellite will make a total of 24 orbits, each time getting closer to the solar surface, until it is roughly five sun-widths from the star. The researchers hope that future flybys will reveal insights into the source of the energetic particles. Do they start as "seed particles" that go on to attain higher energies?

Jamie Sue Rankin, a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton working in the McComas group, began working on the higher energy ISIS instrument as a graduate student at Caltech.

"It has been neat to see this whole process develop over the past decade, Rankin said. It is like surfing a wave: We built these instruments, made sure they were working, made adjustments to make sure the calibrations were right and now comes the exciting part, answering the questions that we set out to address.

"With any spacecraft, when you go out into space, you think you know what to expect, but there are always wonderful surprises that complicate our lives in the best way," she said. "That is what keeps us doing what we do."

The study, "Probing the Energetic Particle Environment near the Sun," by D.J. McComas, E.R. Christian, C.M.S. Cohen, A.C. Cummings, A.J. Davis, M.I. Desai, J. Giacalone, M.E. Hill, C.J. Joyce, S.M. Krimigis, A.W. Labrador, R.A. Leske, O. Malandraki, W.H. Matthaeus, R.L. McNutt Jr., R.A. Mewaldt, D.G. Mitchell, A. Posner, J.S. Rankin, E.C. Roelof, N.A. Schwadron, E.C. Stone, J.R. Szalay, M.E. Wiedenbeck, S.D. Bale, J.C. Kasper, A.W. Case, K.E. Korreck, R.J. MacDowall, M. Pulupa, M.L. Stevens and A.P. Rouillard, was published in the Dec. 5 issue of the journal Nature, released online on Dec. 4 (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1811-1). This work was supported as a part of the Parker Solar Probe mission under NASA contract NNN06AA01C.

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Sun's close-up reveals atmosphere hopping with highly energetic particles - Princeton University

Take Back Our Party: Restoring the Democratic Legacy – The American Prospect

The Prospect is proud to exclusivelyrelease the bookTake Back Our Party: Restoring the Democratic Legacyby JamesKwak. We will release one chapter every other day over the next two weeks,starting with todays introduction.

Kwak, the co-author of13 BankersandWhite House Burningand the author ofEconomism, is a keen observer of policy and politics, and his book offers powerful evidence of how the Democratic Party drifted from its traditional position as a party of the people. He adds his prescription for how the party can get back on track. As the battles for the soul of the Democratic Party continue,Take Back Our Partyis a field guide to that debate. We're excited to bring it to you.

We live in troubled times.

Ordinary Americans are struggling. Despite decades of technological innovation and economic growth, the typical familys net worth is no higher than in the 1980s. Health care costs, including rising insurance premiums, deductibles, co-payments, prescription drug prices, and often unexpected out-of-network charges, bankrupt a growing number of once-secure families. Young adults are burdened by student loan payments extending as far as they can see. Steeply rising rents make finding an affordable home virtually impossible in more and more cities. State and local governments are failing to deliver even essential services like clean water to their residents. A handful of companies controlled by billionaires have levels of control over our lives once imaginable only in science fiction. Increasingly precarious federal government finances threaten future reductions in the Social Security and Medicare benefits that many elderly Americans rely on. And decades of unsustainable growth have already profoundly changed the climate of our planet in ways we are only now beginning to realize.

Yet despite these disturbing developments, many peopleparticularly those who are well-off and well-educatedinsist that nothing could be better. As of 2019, the United States is in the 11th year of an economic expansion that has seen the stock market rise and the unemployment rate fall to record levels. We remain enthralled by every years new marvels produced by the dream factories of the technology superpowersself-driving cars, drone deliveries to your doorstep, virtual reality, space travel, and on and on. (The full realization of these wonders always seems just out of reach, but no matter.)

The explanation for this divergence is simple. Over the past 40 years, the economic fortunes of the very rich and more or less everyone else have become completely uncoupled. From 1980 to 2014, the total incomes of the top 1 percent more than tripled, while those of the bottom 50 percent remained essentially unchanged. The previous 34 years, from 1946 to 1980, saw the opposite pattern: Income growth was substantially higher for the bottom 50 percent than for the top 1 percent. If you have the money, you live in one economy, with the best health care in the world, easy access to green space, the finest restaurants that have ever existed, elite educational institutions from preschool through the most opulent research universities anywhere, and luxury goods and services that once were reserved for royalty. If you dont have the money, you live in another economy, where your familys welfare is vulnerable to sudden changes in the demand for your skills generated by distant markets, you breathe the dirty air produced by uncontrolled development or drink the toxic water delivered by a crumbling infrastructure, your children go to underfunded public schools, and you are rapidly being priced out of the health care your family needs.

Obviously there is no border wall that cleanly divides the very rich from everyone else. There is an intermediate zone, roughly from the 75th to the 95th income percentile, where people are more or less comfortable in a material sense. But they can see the speed with which the truly wealthy have separated themselves from the rest of society, and many of them are desperate not to be left behindif not for themselves, then for their children. Anxiety about getting into a good college, landing choice summer internships, and securing a job at one of the handful of highly selective companies that promise entry into the economic eliteGoldman Sachs, McKinsey, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and their few peersis at pathological levels. The recent college admissions cheating scandal is not only more proof that the very rich live in a different world from everyone else, but also shows that they, too, are desperate to place their children on the educational escalator to success and fortune. The forward march of inequality is there for anyone to see, and no one wants his or her family to be caught on the wrong side of history.

This divide between the vast majority of Americans, who face the prospect of negligible improvements in their living standards at the cost of constant insecurity, and a small minority who both literally and figuratively jet away into another world, is the central economic challenge of our time. It is a problem in clear view today. Only one in five Americans think that todays youth will have a better life than their parents generationstark skepticism about what for centuries we have been calling the American dream.

Inequality is a problem that, on its own, will only get worse. Technological advances will vastly increase the advantages of being rich and well-educated and the costs of not being so fortunate. Increasingly capable machines will displace low-skilled workersconsider how apps and kiosks are doing the job of cashiers at casual restaurants and big-box storeswhile enriching the people who design them and the shareholders of the companies that manufacture them. Artificial intelligence will replace many knowledge workers while rewarding a small elite of computer scientists and their employers. It is true that people made the same doomsday predictions about earlier inventions, and in past ages of capitalism the market found higher-value occupations for many workers (though not necessarily for those who lost their jobs to new technology). It is possible that a society could adapt to these transformations in ways that help everyone, not just an intellectual and economic elite. But there is little reason to think that ours is such a society. In trusting to markets to allocate all good things, we have allowed the benefits of automation to be monopolized by people with the capital to invest in new technology and those with the skills to master it.

This is not merely an economic problem. It is hard to see how a society can long endure when the precarious fortunes, interests, and life experiences of its people become foreign to a small ruling class. (Let them eat cake, a noblewoman in 18th-century France is reputed to have said upon hearing that the peasants had no bread.) The rise and fall of nations depend on the extent to which their economic and political institutions remain open to a wide range of interest groups within society, as documented by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson in decades of research. Fourteenth-century Venice was both a democracy of sorts and a thriving commercial center of the Mediterranean. Once political power was seized by a closed hereditary aristocracy, however, the city-state fell into irreversible economic decline, eventually becoming the sinking museum that it is today.

In a modern democracy, this should not happenat least in theory. When everyone has an equal vote, a tiny minority of the super-rich should not be able to run away with the lions share of societys economic gains. In the classical model, there should be a party of business and a party of labor, generally representing the rich and working class, respectively. The United States has never had a true labor party, but through the middle of the 20th century these roles were more or less approximated by Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans were the party of business, generally favoring lower taxes, smaller government, and fiscal responsibility. The Democrats were the party of labor unions and immigrant minorities, favoring higher taxes, bigger government, and more generous social programs. In the 1930s, it was Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt who established the federal safety net with public jobs programs and Social Security. In the 1960s, it was another Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson, who created Medicare and Medicaid, the last major expansions of the welfare state, and launched an optimistic war on poverty.

During the past half-century, however, the tectonic plates of the political landscape have completely shifted. It is common knowledge that the Republican Party has been taken over by radical conservatives who want to dismantle government altogether (or, as Grover Norquist famously said, reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub) and hold a host of unsavory views on immigration, racial and ethnic diversity, and womens rights. The parallel transformation of the Democratic Party has received relatively less attention. Todays Democratic eliterepresented by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clintonhas, in deed if not in word, repudiated the heritage of Roosevelt and Johnson, fleeing what it sees as an embarrassing legacy peopled by unionized workers and welfare recipients. Instead, todays establishment Democrats style themselves as expert managers of a sophisticated market economy, friends of big finance and big technology, and architects of growth and opportunity. Instead of a party of capital and party of labor, the United States today has two parties of capitalone insular and white nationalist, the other generally tolerant and multiculturalor, as the pathbreaking economist Thomas Piketty has argued, two parties that represent different segments of the elite. When it comes to economic policy, one is absolutist and ideological, the other technocratic and evidence-based, but both see growth as the overriding objective and markets as the optimal way to produce and distribute goods and services.

This is the political context that made it possible for the 1 percent to reach economic escape velocity and launch themselves away from the mundane, stagnant, anxiety-ridden lives of everybody else. The Democratic Party is dominated by people who fear nothing more than being called liberals (let alone socialists) or being seen as soft-hearted, soft-headed believers in big government and the welfare state. Since the 1990s, the partys economic platform has been that markets deliver prosperity, and the role of government should be limited to correcting market failures such as externalities, adverse selection, or moral hazard, in the academic jargon employed by the policy elite. This is why Bill Clintons lasting economic policy achievement was the introduction of work requirements for poverty assistance; this is why the greatest financial crisis in 70 years did not lead to structural change in the banking sector; this is why the health care program that bears Barack Obamas name is a warmed-over version of the plan introduced by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, which was originally the brainchild of the reflexively conservative Heritage Foundation. As Republicans have succumbed to tribalism and irrationality, Democrats have claimed the mantle of fiscal prudence and responsible stewardship of the capitalist market economy.

The consequence is that the Democratic Party of the past 25 years has done next to nothing about inequality and has little to say about it. The party establishment has only taken up progressive policy ideas, such as the $15 minimum wage, when forced to by activists, usually working at the state or local level. The onetime defenders of the working class have stood idly by as the 1 percent has swept up an increasing share of the gains from economic growth, including the benefits of the post-recession recovery. Its response has been to lecture that a rising tide lifts all boatsa maxim that differs little from the trickle-down economics so dear to conservatives. (Nominating Barack Obama for president at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton acknowledged that too many people did not yet feel the effects of economic growthbut, he promised, if you will renew the presidents contract, you will feel it.) Alternatively, Democrats will claim that some bundle of clever, market-friendly policiesfunding for infrastructure spending and incentives for clean-technology investment are the current darlingswill magically shift the distribution of income and wealth down toward the working and middle classes.

Of course, the rise of inequality and the stagnation of the middle class are more the fault of the conservatives who took over the Republican Party than of the moderates who responded by shifting the Democratic Party to the political center. It is crucial to understand the conservative movement in order to appreciate how we got ourselves into our current mess. I have written books that were largely about Republicansabout their campaign to deregulate the financial sector, their willingness to sacrifice two centuries of fiscal responsibility on the altar of tax cuts, and their use of simplistic economic theories to mask policies that favor the rich.

But I am not a Republican and, if you are reading this, you probably arent, either. More to the point, we can be certain that todays Republican Partydominated as it is by ultra-wealthy donors and a fundamentalist ideology of cutting taxes for the rich and eliminating programs for everyone elsewill do nothing to stem the rising tide of inequality or improve the economic fortunes of ordinary families. If we are going to more fairly share the vast wealth that our society produces, we first need a political party dedicated to improving the economic well-being of all Americans. That means we have to restore the historical identity of the Democratic Party as the champion of the poor, workers, and the middle class.

And so, because this is a book about how to make things better, its a book about Democrats. Its about how, in the wake of the Reagan Revolution, we latched onto the idea that a more modern, more sophisticated, more business-friendly Democratic Party could successfully compete for the White House. Its about how this transformation, while paying off in victories in four of the past seven presidential elections (six if you go by the popular vote), has left us impotent in the face of growing inequality, even when in power, and incapable of making the case that we can help families struggling against economic insecurity and misfortune. And its about how a new Democratic Party, dedicated to a progressive economic agenda, can take up the challenge of ensuring a decent life for every American.

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Take Back Our Party: Restoring the Democratic Legacy - The American Prospect

Breaking News – Smithsonian Channel(TM) Revisits the Legendary Event That Triggered the Birth of Tabloid Headlines in "Battle of Little Big…




NEW YORK - December 9, 2019 - The Battle of the Little Big Horn. Custer's Last Stand. The Battle of the Greasy Grass. An infamous conflict known by many names is one that has been edited, embellished and sensationalized for over a century. On June 25, 1876, Hunkpapa Lakota Chief Sitting Bull and thousands of American Indians were attacked by General George Custer's 7th Cavalry as they camped on the banks of Montana's Little Bighorn River. Vastly outnumbered, Custer's entire regiment was wiped out. What was to follow was a nationwide media storm - but what led to this deadly encounter, and how did history books get it so wrong? BATTLE OF LITTLE BIG HORN premieres Monday, January 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

BATTLE OF LITTLE BIG HORN explores how the proliferation of the telegraph and burgeoning newspaper industry led to a simultaneous news break across the country. The inaccurate and dramatized reporting resulted in an American public both outraged and captivated; with no white survivors left to tell the tale, a decisive 19th-century conspiracy theory was born. BATTLE OF LITTLE BIG HORN draws inspiration from the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian's exhibition Americans, which highlights the ways in which American Indians have been part of the nation's identity since before the country began, and features interviews with three of the museum's curators - David Penney, Emil Her Man Horses and Ccile Ganteaume. The special also visits the National Museum of Natural History's National Anthropological Archives to examine rare original drawings created by Lakota Chief Red Horse - a pictorial version of his testimony of the events at Bighorn - and notes the obvious absence of the fabled "Custer's Last Stand" image depicted on the battle field.

BATTLE OF LITTLE BIG HORN traces the events leading up to Bighorn - broken treaties, stolen lands and the threat of lost identity at the hands of government initiatives targeting assimilation of the Lakota Sioux and other American Indian tribes. The special uncovers how tabloid news coverage of the battle turned the U.S. Cavalry's bombshell loss at Bighorn into an unstoppable mythos, while fueling stereotyped depictions of the Native American - a Plains warrior wearing a feathered headdress - that persist to this day. Whether celebrating the victors at the Greasy Grass or dissecting the myth of Custer's Last Stand, Bighorn has been stirring emotions in the American public for almost 150 years. It was a pivotal moment in our nation's history and one that serves as an important reminder of all that we are, and all that we have lost.

BATTLE OF LITTLE BIG HORN is a Biscuit Factory Production for Smithsonian Networks. Producers for The Biscuit Factory are Molly Hermann and Rob Lyall. Linda Goldman and David Royle serve as executive producers for Smithsonian Channel.

Smithsonian Channel(TM), a ViacomCBS network, is where curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing factual entertainment, available in HD and 4K Ultra HD across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel, winner of Emmy(R) and Peabody awards for its programming, is the home of popular genres such as air and space, travel, history, science, nature and pop culture. Among the network's offerings are hit series including Aerial America, America in Color, America's Hidden Stories, Apollo's Moon Shot, The Pacific War in Color and Air Disasters, as well as critically-acclaimed specials that include The Green Book: Guide to Freedom, Black Hole Hunters and Princess Diana's Wicked Stepmother. Smithsonian Networks also operates Smithsonian Channel Plus(TM), a subscription video streaming service delivering over a thousand hours of the Channel's stunning and diverse library of documentaries and series in HD and 4K Ultra HD. Smithsonian Channel is also available internationally in Canada, Singapore, Latin America, the UK and Ireland. To learn more, go to smithsonianchannel.com, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Breaking News - Smithsonian Channel(TM) Revisits the Legendary Event That Triggered the Birth of Tabloid Headlines in "Battle of Little Big...

What Is 5G? What Does It Do? And How Will It Benefit You? – Women Love Tech

A common question is what does the G in 5G stand for?. Weve all heard of 3G, 4G and even 5G; from third generation to the fourth and then the fifth, but what does a generation really entail? Given 5G technology is now available, what does it all mean?

Well, for starters 5G will offer speeds of up to 1000x faster than 4G and that means better mobile performance, gaming experiences, video capabilities and stronger connectivity which opens up the playing field especially when it comes to apps such as Facetime and Snapchat.

To understand the advancements in mobile technology, lets take a look at the journey from 1G to 5G or rather from the days of carrying heavy brick-like mobiles to the super light weight smartphones of today.

To answer the question, you need to go back to the basics of the telephone. Analogue cellular, big like a brick and capable of making calls across a very limited space. Revolutionary in every way. Back then, they mustve thought Weve hit the jackpot here.

This was great, at the time, but the first mobile phones had a very limited range and as increasingly more people demanded quicker and more accessible communication, it needed to be upgraded. The first step to doing this was to standardise the cellular network to make it work across multiple systems. Queue the 3GPP (third generation partnership program); the people who started the standardisation process that eventually lead to 2G.

A shift from analogue systems to digital with the addition of SIM cards that ensured more security, and more importantly allowed other networks to communicate with each other.

Its not just across the Brisbane or Sydney networks that these cellular devices work, but around the globe. 2G also took a step up in its communication capabilities with the addition of SMS or texting; a means of communicating that is far more used than calling in todays society.

This came about during the era of the Pager. You remember that little box you had holstered to your waist like a gun? The thing that would allow users to receive and respond to messages? Well at the time, the thought was that SMS would be useless in the face of Pagersboy were they wrong.

2G was essentially the dawn of the communications disruption.

People could even use Blackberrys to receive emails. The world was clearly changing at a rapid pace, and Telco companies needed to keep up or risk falling behind.

Now we can receive files on a mobile phone, and so logically the next step is to provide an internet connection to these devices so that these files can be accessible anywhere and at anytime. In comes 3G.

A lot of people associate 3G cellular with the iPhone 3Gbut think before that. Were talking 2003 with Hutchinson as the sole providers at the time; before smartphones were even released. We had the blueprint, but not the right device to build the project to completion. Essentially, what we needed was a PC. And so the challenge was How do we get a mobile device to act like one?

Smartphones is how.

This opened up a new world of communication. It was already impressive that we could receive attachments, but now we wanted to be able to send them, and not just any attachment, but photos and videos.

4G, introduced in 2011, focused on the relationship between the user and the internet. We were now able to send each other photos and videos via SMS, we had data to roam the internet, but we still werent really adapted to what we now know as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. With 3G, we reached speeds of 42Mbps which at the time was deemed impressive. But advancements to the next generation allowed for up to 2Gbps, meaning that things like Facebook live, video conferencing and FaceTime were all possible; and in real time.

We were also introduced to the concept of latency. To put it simply, if I were to send you a package, latency is how long it would take for you to receive the package. With 4G, the latency speed was at 30 ms; bringing about the term Instant Messaging.

An important point that needs to be understood is that 5G is not simply about your Google results page loading a few mili-seconds faster; it is instead a gateway to a new dimension of possibilities.

Its the next step to dealing with a software society full of a multitude of connections.

5G will be crucial for gaming, training and entertainment purposes. Getting 2.3 Gbps at now 20 mili-seconds of latency means that users will be receiving data even faster. For VR, training simulations for firefighting, space travel and airplane piloting can be used even more efficiently; self-driving cars like those form Tesla will respond to its environment at high speeds, gaming will be high-quality and lag-less and much more.

When it comes to you and me, we can expect a plethora of new and exciting technologies on apps such as Snapchat, as well as ultra-fast connectivity for FaceTime calls, Facebook lives, Instagram lives and video in general. And, of course, your phone will load pages faster, messages will be sent and received at ping rates, and you will genuinely notice a huge difference in performance. In fact, it is said that 5G will offer speeds of up to 1000x faster than its predecessor.

5G will bring us a new meaning to a connected society. More people will be able to connect to the same network without hindering its performance level; a feature that is especially important in developments to autonomous cars, connected machinery, and general Internet of Things devices.

To sum it up, 5G will bring greater speeds in terms of the moving of data, lower latency (at more responsive rates), and the ability to connect far more devices at once on one network. It will not banish 4G, instead it will continuously work in tandem with, bouncing back and forth to gauge the best connection possible for your device.

There are currently smartphones that do support 5G. You can check out the list here.

We can expect two Apple products that support 5G in 2020, along with Sony, Nokia and plenty more. Right now, these 5G-supported phones are quite expensive, but when more of them start to roll out, the prices will start to drop.

The simple answer is no. There is a common misconception that 5Gs higher frequency will be harmful to humans. The truth is that 5G, although higher than 4G, remains in the safe zone of 30GHz and 300GHz known as the Millimetre wave; in the same zone as microwaves. Things only start getting dangerous at the range of 790THz to 30PHz (1 PHz = 1,000,000 GHz). So in conclusion, no, 5G is not harmful.

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What Is 5G? What Does It Do? And How Will It Benefit You? - Women Love Tech

ESA studies human hibernation for space travel – EarthSky

Fictional image of hibernating astronauts, via ESA.

The European Space Agency (ESA) said on November 18, 2019, that its scientists have recently been investigating the process of placing astronauts into hibernation to cross the vastness of space. These scientists met at ESAs Concurrent Design Facility to assess the advantages of human hibernation for a trip to a neighboring planet, such as Mars. They took as their reference an existing study that described sending six humans to Mars and back on a five-year timescale. They studied how crew hibernation would impact space mission design, and put some numbers to known advantages to human hibernation for space travel, for example, that a smaller space capsule could be used if the crew were hibernating, rather than awake, for the months-long journey to Mars.

Jennifer Ngo-Anh, a team leader in ESAs Science in Space Environment (SciSpacE) program, commented:

For a while now hibernation has been proposed as a game-changing tool for human space travel.

If we were able to reduce an astronauts basic metabolic rate by 75% similar to what we can observe in nature with large hibernating animals such as certain bears we could end up with substantial mass and cost savings, making long-duration exploration missions more feasible.

EarthSky 2020 lunar calendars are available! They make great gifts. Order now. Going fast!

Here is ESAs Concurrent Design Facility, which hosts representatives of all space mission disciplines in order to design future space missions. Image via ESA.

Why do we need to put astronauts into hibernation at all? The reason is that space is vast. Even our own neighborhood of space our solar system is subject to a space-is-vast issue that factors heavily into our missions to explore the other planets near us in space. Consider that the New Horizons mission to Pluto, for example launched in 2006 needed nine years to get to its flyby.

To get an idea of the distance scale of our solar system, visit If the moon were only 1 pixel showing the relative distances of the planets to scale on a single extra-wide page. Then try if you can to extend what youve learned to the billions of other likely solar systems in our galaxy alone.

As Joe Hansen host of the PBS series Its Okay to be Smart says in the video below:

The human brain just cant fathom how big things like the solar system are.

Robin Biesbroek of ESA who has worked in the past on the removal of space debris from low-Earth orbit was part of the recent ESA study on human hibernation. He commented:

We worked on adjusting the architecture of the spacecraft, its logistics, protection against radiation, power consumption and overall mission design.

We looked at how an astronaut team could be best put into hibernation, what to do in case of emergencies, how to handle human safety and even what impact hibernation would have on the psychology of the team.

Finally we created an initial sketch of the habitat architecture and created a roadmap to achieve a validated approach to hibernate humans to Mars within 20 years.

The scientists found that the mass of a spacecraft for human hibernation could be reduced by a third.

The ESA scientists quantified what might seem fairly obvious that a spacecraft for hibernating astronauts could be on the small side. This comparison shows the size of a module for a crewed Mars mission with its hibernation-based equivalent. Image via ESA.

If the crew were hibernating, you wouldnt need extensive crew quarters, or as much storage room for consumables (like food and water). Hibernation module design via ESA.

ESA said hibernation would take place in small individual pods that would double as cabins while the crew are awake. Hibernation pod design via ESA.

What would it be like for the astronauts? ESA explained:

The assumption was that a drug would be administered to induce torpor the term for the hibernating state. Like hibernating animals, the astronauts would be expected to acquire extra body fat in advance of torpor. Their soft-shell pods would be darkened and their temperature greatly reduced to cool their occupants during their projected 180-day Earth-Mars cruise.

ESA said the hibernating cruise phase would end with a 21-day recuperation period. It said that based on the experience of animal hibernation the crew would likely not experience bone or muscle wastage. ESA also explained:

Radiation exposure from high-energy particles is a key hazard of deep space travel, but because the hibernating crew will be spending so much time in their hibernation pods, then shielding such as water containers could be concentrated around them.

And ESA also spoke of the largely autonomous operations, with optimum use of artificial intelligence and fault detection, isolation and recovery needed on a spaceship where most humans are hibernating.

Sound a bit creepy or lonely? Maybe. But Ngo-Anh commented:

the basic idea of putting astronauts into long-duration hibernation is actually not so crazy: a broadly comparable method has been tested and applied as therapy in critical care trauma patients and those due to undergo major surgeries for more than two decades. Most major medical centres have protocols for inducing hypothermia in patients to reduce their metabolism to basically gain time, keeping patients in a better shape than they otherwise would be.

We aim to build on this in future, by researching the brain pathways that are activated or blocked during initiation of hibernation, starting with animals and proceeding to people.

NASA has contracted studies on human hibernation in space, too. This image is a settlement-class Mars Transfer Habitat designed by NASA contractor SpaceWorks in 2017. Read more: Sleeping their way to Mars.

By the way, if youre interested in reading a wonderful recent science fiction series depicting deep-space travel via human hibernation two of the best sci-fi books Ive ever read (and Ive read a bunch) try Children of Time and Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovksy. Both have all the things I love in science fiction: travel over millenia among the stars, how the hibernating travelers perceive time passing, strange planets, weird aliens, a human love story. Human hibernation plays a big role in these awesome books!

The cover of Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovksy.

Bottom line: The European Space Agency has been studying how real-life human hibernation would impact space mission design.


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ESA studies human hibernation for space travel - EarthSky

European Space Agency wants to put astronauts into hibernation for space travel – Digital Trends

Once the preserve of science fiction, through films such as Alien (pictured) and 2001: A Space Odyssey, hibernation or suspended animation may one day become an important enabler of deep space travel. 20th Century Fox

The European Space Agency (ESA) is daring to dream big, with the organizations latest project to implement human hibernation for space travel. The concept of sleeping while traveling to distant planets is a mainstay of sci-fi movies like Alien, Interstellar, and Passengers.

The ESA has assembled a team to study hibernation with the aim of using it in manned space missions as part of the Future Technology Advisory Panel. The team began by looking at current attempts to create hibernation technologies and considering what the impact would be on mission design. As a reference point, they considered a theoretical mission that would send six people to Mars and back within five years.

We worked on adjusting the architecture of the spacecraft, its logistics, protection against radiation, power consumption and overall mission design, Robin Biesbroek of the ESAs Concurrent Design Facility said in a statement. We looked at how an astronaut team could be best put into hibernation, what to do in case of emergencies, how to handle human safety and even what impact hibernation would have on the psychology of the team. Finally, we created an initial sketch of the habitat architecture and created a roadmap to achieve a validated approach to hibernate humans to Mars within 20 years.

According to the teams research, the use of hibernation could reduce the total mass of a spacecraft by one third, as well as a one-third reduction in the requirements for consumables like food and water. Instead of crew quarters, each astronaut would have a soft pod that would double as a cabin while they were awake. The astronauts would be administered a drug to induce hibernation, then their pods would be darkened and their temperature reduced for several months.

The big advantage of hibernation is that it would enable astronauts to travel on much longer space missions. If a hibernation state could be achieved in which an astronauts metabolic rate was reduced by around three-quarters, which is what happens in hibernating animals such as bears, then manned space missions could reach much further from our planet as the requirements for food, water, and oxygen would be reduced.

Despite the fact that humans clearly dont hibernate, scientists say that the idea of putting people into a hibernation-like state is not as far-fetched as it sounds. The basic idea of putting astronauts into long-duration hibernation is actually not so crazy, Jennifer Ngo-Anh, leader of the ESAs SciSpacE team, said in the same statement. A broadly comparable method has been tested and applied as therapy in critical care trauma patients and those due to undergo major surgeries for more than two decades. Most major medical centers have protocols for inducing hypothermia in patients to reduce their metabolism to basically gain time, keeping patients in better shape than they otherwise would be.

We aim to build on this in the future, by researching the brain pathways that are activated or blocked during initiation of hibernation, starting with animals and proceeding to people.

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European Space Agency wants to put astronauts into hibernation for space travel - Digital Trends

Credit Suisse says to buy Virgin Galactic stock for its ‘near-term monopoly’ on space tourism – CNBC

Credit Suisse began coverage of Virgin Galactic with an outperform rating Thursday, saying in an a note titled "The Ultimate Joyride" that the firm sees multiple factors driving the space tourism stock higher.

"Our bullish view reflects the near-term monopoly SPCE offers in an industry (commercial space tourism) where public investment opportunities are scarce. We view this as a classic tech-driven high demand, low supply story with high barriers to entry," Credit Suisse analyst Robert Spingarn wrote in a note to investors. "Not everyone will see the value, but we believe the math works nonetheless."

Virgin Galactic shares rose in premarket but later dropped, closing down 7.4% at$9.10. Credit Suisse has a $12.43 price target on the stock, essentially seeing 36% upside over the next year. The firm is the second to begin covering Virgin Galactic with a buy recommendation: Vertical Research Partners is also bullish on the opportunity.

The stock has slid since its public debut last month, down about 20%, but that doesn't worry Virgin Galactic Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya. He expects Virgin Galactic to begin flying its first customers as early as May, saying on Wednesday that flights "will begin in about six to nine months."

"I think the story of Virgin is just so new that it hasn't been written yet. We'll start commercial operations in the middle of next year, so the full-fledged business value will become apparent very quickly to a lot more people at that point," Palihapitiya said in an interview with CNBC's Seema Mody on "Closing Bell."

Credit Suisse agrees, saying the stock's upside largely depends on how closely Virgin Galactic sticks to its schedule and begins flying people.

"We believe the greatest single catalyst would be successful completion of the first commercial flight," Spingarn said. "From here, losses should dissipate rapidly as flight activity rises."

Virgin Galactic spacecraft Unity fires its engine and heads to space with its first test passenger on board in February 2019.

Virgin Galactic | gif by @thesheetztweetz | CNBC

At $250,000 per person, Virgin Galactic's ticket revenue is about three times the cost of each flight, Credit Suisse noted, "which would drive very attractive incremental margins." The company's spacecraft holds up to six passengers along with the two pilots.

Spingarn says Virgin Galactic "has a distinct first-to-market advantage" in space tourism, estimating nearest competitor Blue Origin is at least two years behind. And even when Blue Origin does start flying people, the company is inaccessible to public investors as it is wholly owned and funded by Jeff Bezos.

Credit Suisse also mentions SpaceX, with its fully reusable Starship rocket, as a long-term threat to Virgin Galactic's business.

"While SpaceX does not appear to be as focused on space tourism, a point-to-point solution serviced by Starship could convert space travel from a novelty experience to a commodity service," Spingarn said.

Virgin Galactic is thinking about the potential of high-speed, long distance travel, also known as point-to-point space travel. Boeing's venture arm HorizonX last month invested $20 million into Virgin Galactic to explore developing a vehicle capable of flying around the world at hypersonic speeds. But SpaceX is a notable risk to Virgin Galactic's future business, Credit Suisse said.

"Unless Virgin is able to offer a similarly compelling point-to-point solution, the arrival of point-to-point by competitors could damage the overall [total addressable market] for space tourism and, therefore, the long-term demand profile," Spingarn said.

Finally, Credit Suisse warns that any major accident or malfunction would likely substantially slow Virgin Galactic's business. In 2014, an accident during a Virgin Galactic test flight killed a co-pilot.

"We assign a $0 value in the case of a catastrophic event (e.g., a fatal crash)," Spingarn said.

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Credit Suisse says to buy Virgin Galactic stock for its 'near-term monopoly' on space tourism - CNBC

Writer And Director Robert Segovia Creates A Universe Where Space Travel Is Boring And Hilarious – KUT

Robert Segovia, the writer and director of the new comedic two-act playLosers in Spacesuggests that the play might not exist if he hadnt lost his job a while back. I started writing it three or four years ago, and didnt think I was a good enough writer, he says And I got laid off, which is sad, but it did give me time of like,oh, its kind of now or never to write this thing.

One of the core concepts of the show is rooted in Segovias childhood love for a particular style of science fiction TV show. When I was kid, I used to think I didnt like sci-fi, but then I realized I didnt like sci-fi where theytravel. I just wanted tostay, he says. I didnt really like the Star Trekkylets go to these planets [and] fight a monster.I really like the idea of lazy spacefaring. Like youve gotten out here and youre just gonna hang out a little bit.

Hes interested in the idea of space travel becoming so common that its no longer romanticized and its just a job. Its kind of fun to think of space like that there will be a point where well be in space so long thatll itll seem notbad, butboring. Itll just be like, oh, were on this planet. Great. I gotta take out the trash still.

Thats the core comedic conceit ofLosers in Space its characters arent heroic or brilliant pioneers, theyre regular folks who are kind of bored with their jobs and arent that bright. There are very few intelligent characters in my universe, Segovia says. And they arefrustrated, because everyone around them is kind of bumbling.

The characters work at a topaz mining base on the planet Parkor (topaz is worth in the 29thcentury exactly what its worth now, which is to say not that much, Segovia says). Parkor is a planet where the natural landscape looks very much like a present-day American parking lot, largely because Segovia and his crew had to film some video scenes of the planet in Austin. Austins nothing but parking lots, so I just made the planet parking lots, Segovia says with a laugh.

True to its old-school TV sci-fi heritage,Losers in Spaceis a two-act stage show that plays kind of like a TV show. I call it a two-act play, but its really two episodes, Segovia says. If it goes well, we could do more and more and more.

The idea of creating more adventures and settings and characters for theLosers in Spaceuniverse clearly excites Segovia, and is rooted in his childhood imagination. I [was] a Mexican-American kid who grew up in a predominantly white community, and so I never saw myself on TV, he says. So I think fantasy and sci-fi and things like that writing in those forms, you can kind of project yourself into those, where you may not be able to project yourself into your regular romantic comedy because you just never see yourself in those roles. If the world that youre living in as a kid is not something that you can be a part of, then you just build a different world.

"Losers In Space' runs through December 1 at Fallout Theater

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Writer And Director Robert Segovia Creates A Universe Where Space Travel Is Boring And Hilarious - KUT

The Weirdly Nihilistic Reason Why Outer Space Is So Cold – Popular Mechanics

Far outside our solar system and out past the distant reachers of our galaxyin the vast nothingness of spacethe distance between gas and dust particles grows, limiting their ability to transfer heat. Temperatures in these vacuous regions can plummet to about -455 degrees Fahrenheit (2.7 kelvin). Are you shivering yet?

But why is the vacuum of space this cold? Well, it's complicated.

For physicists, temperature is all about velocity and motion. When we talk about the temperature in a room, thats not the way a scientist would talk about it," astronomer Jim Sowell of the Georgia Institute of Technology tells Popular Mechanics. We would use the expression heat to define the speeds of all the particles in a given volume.

Most scientists use the kelvin instead of Fahrenheit to describe extremely cold temperatures, so we'll be doing that here, too.

Most, if not all of the heat in the universe comes from stars like our sun. The inside of the sun, where nuclear fusion occurs, temperatures can swell to 15 million kelvin. (On the surface, they only reach up to about 5,800 kelvin.)

The heat that leaves the sun and other stars travels across space as infrared waves of energy called solar radiation. These solar rays only heat the particles in their path, so anything not directly in view of the sun stays cool. Like, really cool.

At night, the surface of even the closest planet to the sun, Mercury, drops to about 95 kelvin. Plutos surface temperature reaches about 40 kelvin. Coincidentally, the lowest temperature ever recorded in our solar system was clocked much closer to home. Last year, scientists measured the depths of a dark crater on the surface of our moon and found that temperatures dropped to about 33 Kelvin, according to New Scientist.

Thats SUPER cold, like -400 Fahrenheit cold.

Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.

But our universe is vastunimaginably vast. (And possibly a loop?) What about the vacuum of space?

Well, thats where things get tricky. Within near and distant galaxies, the mesh of dust and clouds that weaves between the stars has been observed at temperatures between between 10 and 20 kelvin. The sparse pockets of space that contain little but cosmic background radiation, leftover energy from the formation of the universe, hover in at around 2.7 kelvin.

These temperatures dip perilously close to an elusive measurement: absolute zero. At absolute zero, which to -459.67 degrees Fahrenheitno motion or heat is transferred between particles, even on the quantum level.

In the vacuum of space, gas particles are few and far betweenabout one atom per spoonful, or 10 cubic centimeters, according to Quartzso they arent able to readily transfer heat to each other through conduction and convection. Heat in space can only be transferred through radiation, which regulates how particles of light, or photons, are absorbed or emitted, according to UniverseToday.

The further you travel into interstellar space, the colder it gets. I dont know that youll ever get down to absolute zero, Sowell says. Youre always going to see some light and therell be some motion. There may be pockets of the universe where temperatures drop to 1 Kelvin above absolute zero, he notes, but so far, the closest measurement to absolute zero has only been observed in laboratories here on Earth.

"Humans are actually pretty good at creating extreme temperatures," Alasdair Gent, a graduate student in astroparticle physics also of the Georgia Institute of Technology tells Popular Mechanics. Scientists are able to recreate the same temperatures seen in the vacuum of space as well as inside the core of stars like our sun.

Back here on Earth, we have it easy. You can have high-speed particles zipping by us outside the Earth's atmosphere, but if you took off your space suit, you would feel cold because there aren't that many particles hitting you, says Sowell. Here on the surface of the earth, particles aren't moving really fast, but there are zillions of them.

Earths atmosphere does an excellent job of circulating the suns heat through conduction, convection and radiation. Thats why we feel temperature changes so acutely on Earth. The particles are moving just a bit faster due to the sunlight or weather patterns, says Sowell.

When we venture out past the safety and confines of our planet, we wear spacesuits and travel in spacecraft that help protect us from these extreme temperatures. Here, a large dose of creativity and a whole lot of insulation is critical.

The Apollo-era spacesuits, for example, had heating systems that included flexible coils and lithium batteries. Modern suits come equipped with tiny, microscopic balls of heat-reactant chemicals that helped protect astronauts from the frigid temps. The Artemis spacesuits, which will take the next man and first woman to the moon in 2024, come equipped with a portable life support system that will help future moonwalkers regulate their temperature on the moon and beyond.

Were you to weave between galaxies in the vacuum of space without a spacesuit, the heat from your bodyabout 100 watts, according to Space.comwould start to radiate away from you. (Remember, conduction and convection don't work here.) This would be a slow, frigid way to go, and, eventually, you'd freeze to death. But... it's likely you'd asphyxiate first.

After all, space is all about extremes.

Update: A previous version of this article referred to the kelvin as being measured in degrees. The kelvin is not measured in degrees. We regret the error.

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The Weirdly Nihilistic Reason Why Outer Space Is So Cold - Popular Mechanics

New ‘Atlas Obscura’ Book Offers Host of Space Oddities to Visit on Earth – Space.com

If you're looking to plan a space-themed trip but you've already been to NASA's Kennedy and Johnson space centers, Atlas Obscura's new book can offer off-the-beaten-path cosmic destinations.

"Atlas Obscura, 2nd Edition: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders" (Workman Publishing, 2019) offers around-the-world destination recommendations for travelers looking for something unusual. Based on the website of the same name, the book was written by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton and covers oddities of every nature. Plenty of those recommendations touch on spaceflight and related topics.

Perhaps you'd like to see icons of spaceflight itself: the book recommends stops like Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where Russian Soyuz vehicles still launch to the International Space Station. Or visit Australia's museum dedicated to the Skylab station that fell out of the sky.

Related: 5 Great Summer Vacation Ideas for Space Lovers

Or, if you're more interested in science destinations, consider visiting facilities like Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia or the Large Zenith Telescope with its mercury mirror in Canada.

Museum options abound, including historic planetariums, Germany's space travel museum, a museum dedicated to Galileo Galilei (and his preserved middle finger) and the Shanghai Astronomical Museum.

"Atlas Obscura" also offers places to see where space and Earth intersect, from finding Libyan desert glass to visiting Namibia's massive Hoba meteorite, left where it fell since it's too massive to move.

Or, of course, you could take the alien route. Consider the Betty and Barney Hill Archive in New Hampshire, dedicated to alien abduction accounts; stop by memorials of encounters with UFOs in Poland and Sweden, or even visit a would-be alien welcome center in South Carolina.

The book explores plenty of other space-related destinations as well. It's not quite the same as visiting space but we can't all be astronauts.

You can buy Atlas Obscura, 2nd Edition: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders at Amazon.

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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New 'Atlas Obscura' Book Offers Host of Space Oddities to Visit on Earth - Space.com

The answer to cheap space travel to other planets is a 1,000km Skyhook – TweakTown

The answer to efficient and cheap space travel might just be simpler than you think; all it requires is a cable and a weight.

Above, we have a video from Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell, and this time around, the scientific YouTube Channel is exploring the idea of cheap and effective space travel. The idea that is proposed begins with what is called a 'Tether,' which is simply a weight with a cable attached to it. Kurzgesagt suggests that humans build extremely long versions of these tethers and place them at a safe distance around our planet and use them as a 'free' means of propulsion to other planets.

Since the tether would be spinning around our planet, spaceships would be able to attach onto the tether and use its rotational force to be pushed towards a designated planet. The video says that there will be a few problems in doing this; humans would have to create smaller spacecrafts that would be able to match the tethers speed throughout our atmosphere (12,000km per hour). While that might sound extremely difficult, it should be noted that traditional spacecrafts need to reach 45,000km per hour to exit our planet's gravity.

The idea is also extended to other planets such as Mars and even smaller asteroids that we could land on, mine, and then return the plundered minerals from. Kurzgesagt estimates that if tethers were used, the time it takes to get to Mars will be reduced from 9 months to just 5 or even 3 months. Tether use would also reduce the size of the rockets by about 84%-96%, due to most of their body not needing to carry monumental amounts of fuel.

* Prices last scanned on 11/22/2019 at 9:50 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, please click for very latest pricing

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The answer to cheap space travel to other planets is a 1,000km Skyhook - TweakTown

Former miner turned inventor in link-up with space centre to tackle waste in space – HeraldScotland

A FORMERFife miner who has devised a series of inventions around dissolving materials including bandages and wipes has linked up with scientists at Strathclyde University to develop ways of tackling waste in space.

Brian McCormack has already developed a suite of dissolvable products he believes could transform the way healthcare professionals would treat burns, as well as flushable wipes.

The 62-year-old, who set up McCormack Innovation to develop his products, has now entered a five-year agreement to explore ways of tackling waste in space.

The next stage of the race will be in deep space, and Mr McCormack hopes Scotland will be at the forefront of developing sustainable space travel.

Mr McCormack has created a group of inventions that include a dissolvable bandage that works like conventional crepe dressings, yet can be removed by placing in water.

READ MORE:SpaceX launches supplies to International Space Station after power delays

He is also in advanced discussions with a number of global companies over taking his products to market.

Now he has linked up with experts at the to Strathclyde Aerospace Centre of Excellence to develop new products for space use.

The growing problem of waste in space prompted NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, to launch a contest for ideas for tackling rubbish and other waste generated by space crew on long-range human space exploration missions, such as to the Moon or Mars.

Four astronauts can generate 2,500 kilograms of waste in a one-year mission.

Above:NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Expedition 30 flight engineer, is pictured among stowage bags in the Harmony node of the International Space Station. The bags, containing waste, will be transferred to the docked Progress 45 spacecraft for disposal. Credit: NASA

There is already an issue of waste material in space left over by earlier rockets, with between 16,000 and 20,000 pieces being tracked orbiting Earth.

Waste disposal methods on the International Space Station involve astronauts manually processing refuse by placing it into bags then loading it onto a designated vehicle for short term storage, which depending on the craft, returns the refuse to Earth or burns up in the atmosphere.

However, this disposal method will not be available for missions beyond low-Earth orbit.

READ MORE: Former Fife miner invents soluble bandages that could ease pain of millions

Mr McCormack said: Currently general waste on the international space station - packaging, wipes, everything - is put in bags and stored in a capsule.

The capsule is then released from the space station, the capsule enters the Earths atmosphere and burns up on entry like a meteor would.

This is planned so the burn up happens above the Pacific Ocean and at times the rubbish is taken away by a visiting commercial vehicle that returns to Earth.

This system works for low Earth orbit but not for deep space travel. In deep space there will not be the luxury of visiting commercial vehicles to take the rubbish away."

Above: NASA: 'We are going to the Moon by 2024.' Credit: NASA

Mr McCormacksaid:In deep space if you released a waste capsule it would not be pulled back into the Earths atmosphere and burn up, it would travel at dangerously high speeds and pollute space.

NASA has reached out to innovators and industry to develop a system that could solve this problem of disposal of waste in deep space. This is a major challenge.

McCormack Innovation, who have developed the worlds first dissolving wipe, could see opportunity to introduce items of every day use in space travel that would dissolve after use.

The biomedical tested wipe is one. Dissolving toilet paper and other packaging is also included.

READ MORE: Watch: Former Fife miner's soluble bandage 'could revolutionise trauma and burns care'

The company agreed the link-up after a meeting with a team of space academics led by Professor Max Vasile and Dr Monica Oliveira.

Mr McCormack said: It will be an honour for McCormack Innovation to work alongside this team on this project of dissolving waste in space, and making a very important contribution to deep space travel. Again, first-class innovation coming out Scotland.

Dr Oliveira, senior lecturer in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering, said: Waste management is a great challenge in space, especially in the context of long-duration space missions. Any innovative solutions that help to mitigate issues of waste are key for sustainable long-duration human space travel.

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Former miner turned inventor in link-up with space centre to tackle waste in space - HeraldScotland

Space travel barrier removed as docs freeze and revive human for first time – Daily Star

Journeys to other star systems will forever be out of reach unless a massive breakthrough in physics makes faster-than-light travel a reality, or a breakthrough in medicine makes suspended animation possible.Now, at least, one of those things has happened.

Samuel Tisherman, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is the leader of a team that has successfully put a human being in suspended animation.

Describing the successful operation as a little surreal, Professor Tisherman told New Scientist how he removed the patients blood and replaced with ice-cold saline solution.

The patient, technically dead at this point, was removed from the cooling system and taken to an operating theatre for a two-hour surgical procedure before having their blood restored and being warmed to the normal temperature of 37C.

Prof Tisherman says he will be producing a full account of the procedure in a scientific paper in the new year.

He says that his focus is on pausing life long enough to perform emergency surgery rather than sending astronauts on interstellar journeys.

He tells the story of a young man who was stabbed over a row in a bowling alley: He was a healthy young man just minutes before, then suddenly he was dead. We could have saved him if wed had enough time.

His suspended animation technique is intended as a way of securing that extra time.

I want to make clear that were not trying to send people off to Saturn, he says. Were trying to buy ourselves more time to save lives.

But inevitably space agencies such as NASA and the ESA as well as more ambitious tech entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos will be taken a keen interest in Prof Tishermans paper when it is published in 2020.

A journey to Saturn can take up to seven years, so keeping the crew on ice might be easier than keeping them healthy and happy for all that time.

While Prof Tisherman has released this news of one successful trial, there is no word on how many previous attempts were made with critical patients before this.

The experiment was given the go-ahead by the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA waived the usual requirement for patient consent in this case as the patient could not be saved by any other means.

At the moment, the biggest obstacle to reliable animation of a patient who has been super-cooled in this way is cell damage as they are re-warmed so-called reperfusion injuries.

Prof Tisherman says that there may be a drug, or cocktail of drugs, that can help minimise these injuries but, he says: but we havent identified all the causes of reperfusion injuries yet.

Once he has, whether or not he wants to send a refrigerated crew to Saturn, its likely that sooner or later thats exactly what will happen.

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Space travel barrier removed as docs freeze and revive human for first time - Daily Star