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This Is How Putting Astronauts Into Hibernation Could Work on a Mission to Mars – Newsweek

Putting astronauts into a state of suspended animation during long distance space travel is a staple of science fiction. Now, the European Space Agency (ESA) has investigated how such a technologyif it existed in real lifecould work and what its impacts would be on the designs of potential missions to Mars or other worlds.

The key finding of this investigation is that missions which made use of human hibernation would require much less physical space than normal, according to the space agency's Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) and SciSpacE team.

The research assessed human hibernation on a hypothetical mission to send six humans to Mars and back over five years.

"We worked on adjusting the architecture of the spacecraft, its logistics, protection against radiation, power consumption and overall mission design," Robin Biesbroek from the CDF 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," he said.

The CDF assumed that the astronauts would be induced into hibernation using drugs while inside small individual "soft-shell pods." The pods would be darkened and cooled to keep the bodies of the astronauts at a low temperature for most of the 180-day journey from Earth to Mars.

Before going into hibernation, the crew would have to put on extra body fatjust like hibernating animals do in the wild. Furthermore, the astronauts would go through a 21-day recuperation period after waking up in order to give their bodies time to recover.

An added bonus of human hibernation is that mission designers may be able to better protect astronauts from harmful radiationone of the main hazards of deep space travel. The crew would spend most of the mission in their pods, which could be protected by special shielding.

However, one challenge in any mission involving human hibernation, the CDF said, is that it would have to be largely automated and equipped with an artificial intelligence system that could deal with technical issues until the crew can be revived.

Importantly, the study found that hibernation technology may enable mission designers to reduce spacecraft mass by a third because the crew quarters would no longer be necessary, not to mention several tons of consumable items. The hibernation pods would double as cabins while the astronauts are awake.

"For a while now hibernation has been proposed as a game-changing tool for human space travel," Jennifer Ngo-Anh from the SciSpacE team said in a statement. "If we were able to reduce an astronaut's basic metabolic rate by 75 percentsimilar to what we can observe in nature with large hibernating animals such as certain bearswe could end up with substantial mass and cost savings, making long-duration exploration missions more feasible."

It is important to note that currently there is no proven technology available that can place humans into a hibernation-like state. However, this is not to say that it is beyond the realms of possibility in the future.

"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," Ngo-Anh said.

"Most major medical centers 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," she said.

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This Is How Putting Astronauts Into Hibernation Could Work on a Mission to Mars - Newsweek

Catastrophic Theatre Produces A Tale Of Faith And Survival For The Holidays, Plus Composer Jimmy Lpez Bellido Writes A Musical Love Letter To NASA -…

In this episode of the podcast Unwrap Your Candies Now, Ernie Manouse interviews Jeff Miller (director) and Tamarie Cooper (cast member and co-artistic director) about Baby Screams Miracle by Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Clare Barron. Described as a funny, moving tale of faith and survival, the show is being produced by The Catastrophic Theatre from November 22 December 15 at MATCH.

Then, Catherine Lu chats with Houston Symphony Composer-in-Residence Jimmy Lpez Bellido about his World Premiere Symphony No. 2, Ad Astra, dedicated to NASA and inspired by space travel. A culmination of his three-year residency, the piece is also a kind of love letter to Houston. Performances are December 5, 7 and 8 at Jones Hall.

Share your comments, questions and ideas at UYCN@houstonpublicmedia.org.

Music used: Invention No. 13 by J.S. Bach performed by Andrs Schiff and Symphony No. 2, Ad Astra by Jimmy Lpez Bellido (rehearsal excerpts) performed by the Houston Symphony, Music Director Andrs Orozco-Estrada

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Catastrophic Theatre Produces A Tale Of Faith And Survival For The Holidays, Plus Composer Jimmy Lpez Bellido Writes A Musical Love Letter To NASA -...

What If Space-Time Were ‘Chunky’? It Would Forever Change the Nature of Reality. – Livescience.com

Is our fundamental reality continuous or is it chopped up into tiny, discrete bits?

Asked another way, is space-time smooth or chunky? The question cuts to the heart of the most fundamental theories of physics, linking together the way space and time intersect with the material of our everyday existence.

However, experimentally testing the nature of space and time has been impossible, because of the extreme energies needed to probe such tiny scales in the universe. That is until now. A team of astronomers has proposed an ambitious new plan to use a fleet of tiny spacecraft to detect subtle changes in the speed of light, a hallmark of some of the most mind-bending theories of the cosmos. If space and time are indeed broken up into little bits, the research could pave the way for a completely new understanding of reality.

Related: The 18 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics

The question of "what is space and time?" goes back thousands of years, and our modern understanding rests on two strangely incompatible pillars: quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of general relativity.

In general relativity, space and time are woven together into the unified fabric of space-time, the four-dimensional stage that underpins our universe. This space-time is continuous, which means that there are no gaps anywhere; it's all a smooth texture. Space-time isn't just a platform for us to act our parts, however; it's also a player too: The bending and warping of space-time gives us our experience of gravity.

Related: 8 Ways You Can See Einstein's Theory of Relativity in Real Life

In the opposite corner, a set of rules called quantum mechanics governs the interactions of the very tiny things in the universe. Quantum mechanics rests on the idea that not much of our everyday experience is smooth and continuous, but chunky. In other words, it's quantized. Energy, momentum, spin and so many other properties of matter come in only discrete little packets.

What's more, quantum mechanics itself also splits itself into two camps. On one hand, we have the familiar particles of our everyday existence, such as electrons and protons, that interact and do other interesting things. These are obviously very chunky, as they're discrete "things." On the other hand, we have the quantum fields. In the subatomic world, each kind of particle has its own field that spreads throughout space-time; when we think of particles, we think of little vibrations in their fields, which in turn interact with other particles, and do some other interesting things. The fields are understandably very smooth.

So, we have some smooth pictures of our universe and some chunky ones. When it comes to space-time itself, we can easily imagine extending the concepts of quantum mechanics all the way to their logical conclusion, and ruling that space and time are discrete: The very fabric of reality is divided up like pixels on a computer screen, and what we experience as smooth, continuous movement is nothing but a grid of discrete pixels at the tiniest of scales.

Related: The Illusion of Time: What's Real?

Many theories of merging together quantum mechanics and general relativity, like string theory and loop quantum gravity, predict some form of discrete space-time (although the precise predictions, interpretations and implications of that chunkiness are still poorly understood). If we could find evidence for discrete space-time, it would not only completely rewrite our understanding of reality, but also open the door to a revolution in physics.

This discreteness can reveal itself only in the most subtle ways; otherwise we would've spotted it by now. Various theories have predicted that if space-time were indeed chunky, then the speed of light may not be entirely constant it may shift ever so slightly depending on the energy of that light. Higher energy light has a shorter wavelength, and when the wavelength becomes small enough, it can "see" the chunkiness of spacetime. Imagine walking down sidewalk: with big feet you don't notice any small cracks or bumps, but if you had microscopic feet you would trip over every little imperfection, slowing you down. But this shift is incredibly tiny; if space-time is discrete, it's on a scale more than a billion times smaller than what we can currently probe in our most powerful experiments.

Enter GrailQuest: the Gamma-ray Astronomy International Laboratory for Quantum Exploration of Space-Time. A team of astronomers submitted a proposal for this mission in response to a call for new space-time-hunting ideas from the European Space Agency (ESA). Their proposal is detailed in the arXiv database, meaning that it hasn't yet been reviewed by peers in the field.

Here's the scoop: In order to see if the speed of light changes with different energies, we need to collect a huge amount of the highest-energy light in the universe, and GrailQuest hopes to do just that.

GrailQuest consists of a fleet of small, simple spacecraft (the exact number varies, from just a few dozen if the satellites are larger to well over a few thousand if they're smaller) to constantly monitor the sky for gamma-ray bursts. These are some of the most powerful explosions in the universe. Like their name suggests, these bursts release copious amounts of high-energy photons, a.k.a. gamma rays. These gamma rays travel across billions of years before reaching the fleet of spacecraft, which record the energy of the gamma rays and the differences in timings as the burst washes over the fleet.

With enough accuracy, GrailQuest might be able to reveal if space-time is discrete. At least, it has the right setup: It's examining the highest-energy light (which is affected the most in theories that predict that space-time is chunky); the gamma rays have been traveling for billions of light-years (allowing the effect to build up over time); and the spacecraft are simple enough to produce en masse (so the entire fleet can see as many events as possible, all across the sky).

How would our conceptions of reality change if GrailQuest were to find evidence for the discreteness of space-time? It's impossible to say our current theories are all over the map when it comes to implications. But no matter what, we're going to have to wait. This round of ESA proposals is for launches sometime between 2035 and 2050. While we're waiting, we can debate if the time elapsed between now and then is fundamentally smooth or chunky.

Paul M. Sutteris an astrophysicist at The Ohio State University, host of Ask a Spaceman and Space Radio, and author of Your Place in the Universe.

Originally published on Live Science.

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What If Space-Time Were 'Chunky'? It Would Forever Change the Nature of Reality. - Livescience.com

Nasa could create GM astronauts designed to be super-strong and feel no pain and send them to Mars – The Sun

AS NASA gears up to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s, scientists are brewing new ways to help them survive the trip.

One wacky option is to modify the DNA of space explorers to make them super strong and cancer or pain resistant using controversial gene-editing technology.

Much like Sam Worthington in the 2018 Sci-Fi flick The Titan, astronauts would be engineered to deal with the toll of long-distance space travel.

Nasa-backed researchers have already begun to investigate the possibility, reports The Times.

One experiment at Cornell University in New York is looking at taking a gene from a tiny but hardy creature and inserting it into humans.

The tardigrade, also known as the water bear, is smaller than a grain of table salt with a remarkable resistance to cosmic radiation.

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Scientists hope to take the gene that grants them this resistance and implant it into astronauts to help them survive the cancer-causing cosmic rays they'll face during space missions.

"We'll protect the astronauts physically, we'll protect them pharmacologically," Dr Christopher Mason, lead scientists on the project, told The Times.

"But could we protect them genetically, with armour on the inside of their cells?"

The technology faces huge ethical and legal hurdles, and remains decades away from ever being implemented.

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It involves taking the super-gene in question and using a virus to permanently weave it into a person's DNA.

Scientists still have no idea what the long-term effects such a change might have on someone's mental and physical health.

More than 40 other genes that could benefit astronauts have been tracked down by Harvard University geneticist Professor George Church.

One, found in Tibetans, allows them to function at the top of mountains, where there is very little oxygen.

What is gene editing?

Here's what you need to know...

Transferred to astronauts, the trait could help them survive on a limited supply of the gas.

Other genes promise to boost memory and strength, or make someone less sensitive to pain or anxiety.

One, known as the ABC11 gene, is linked with sweat that doesn't smell as bad, potentially benefiting space explorers in cramped spaces.

Gene scientists Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, of the Francis Crick Institute in London, told The Timesthat the tardigrade DNA idea was "an interesting one, but I suspect rather premature".

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Each change to human DNA would need to go through lengthy assessments for safety and efficacy, he added.

"And there is a question as to who would volunteer to have probably permanent changes made to their [DNA]," Professor Lovell-Badge said.

"It's a type of enhancement which could be considered to be for social rather than personal gain."

Even those behind the experiment admit it's a long way off from a fully-fledged Nasa programme.

How long does it take to get to Mars?

It's not that short of a trip...

"I don't have any plans of having engineered astronauts in the next one to two decades," lead scientist Dr Mason told an audience at a US space conference last month.

Speaking at the 8th Human Genetics in NYC Conference, he said he hoped to have confirmed the modification worked on humans some time in the next two decades.

"If we have another 20 years of pure discovery and mapping and functional validation of what we think we know, maybe by 20 years from now, I'm hoping we could be at the stage where we would be able to say we can make a human that could be better surviving on Mars," Dr Mason said.

In other space news, a bug expert claimed this week that he'd found evidence of insects living on Mars.

A crackpot conspiracy theorist said he'd dug up evidence of asarcophagus on the Red Planet in Nasa photos published in August.

ROCKY HORROR Huge 500-foot asteroid to skim past Earth at 38,000mph on MONDAY, Nasa reveals

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU Hungarian scientists may have found a fifth force of nature

HOT STUFF Giant 50,000C 'Wall of Fire' surrounding our Solar System discovered by Nasa

SPACED OUT Nasa finds astronaut blood moving BACKWARDS on ISS and it could be deadly

NOT SO COOL Botched Elon Musk spaceship test buries launch complex in -196C liquid nitrogen

BIBLICAL FIND Real Noah's Ark 'buried in Turkey' and experts say they can prove it exists

And, Nasa recently managed to record the incredible sound of a "Marsquake" -which you can listen to here.

What do you think of the bonkers GM plan? Let us know in the comments!

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at tech@the-sun.co.uk

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Nasa could create GM astronauts designed to be super-strong and feel no pain and send them to Mars - The Sun

Exclusive Star Citizen Goes to ACTUAL SPACE with MyRadar! – Wccftech

A couple of years ago, I brought you guys news that Star Citizen was collaborating with a company called MyRadar that makes a weather app for phones. Its a terrestrial weather app but has a twist. The CEO of MyRadar, Andy Green also happens to be a Star Citizen backer so he decided to add some of the in game planets into MyRadar and this partnership with Cloud Imperium Games was announced 2 years ago at CitizenCon.

Well, that collaboration has continued, and today we bring you exclusive news of its latest evolution, an evolution which will see MyRadar and Star Citizen going to space properly! MyRadar is launching a satellite into space and in a crazy twist, the Star Citizen backer decided that he would put the Star Citizen logo on the satellite itself so that it will make Star Citizen the first videogame in space! This is no glory project and as you'll see in the video and interview below, has real world implications that will help real people.

Star Citizen Introduces Theatres of War Game Mode Foot, Vehicles and Space Combat

This news obviously comes ahead of this years CitizenCon event tomorrow which well be covering. Lets just say that a weather app with in game weather may just prove useful in future versions if some of the rumours circulating are to be believed...

For now though, I got to ask Andy Green a few questions about the satellite that MyRadar will be launching. They've made a video talking a bit about it and from the (admittedly little) I understand about real world space and satellites this sounds amazing. Check the video out here:

Wccftech: Space! It's amazing, what the Star Citizen community is doing and launching a satellite is unbelievable! Given MyRadar is a weather app, can I assume that the satellite will be for giving you guys more granular data to use within the app?

Andy Green: This first satellite is an introductory satellite that will be a testbed for the aviation side of our business; it will listen to aircraft tracking signals from space and transmit them back down to the ground. This is incredibly helpful as present day infrastructure requires an aircraft to be in range of a ground-based tracking station in order to receive timely information on it. Receiving the signals from space will allow us to track trans-oceanic aircraft, which would have been a tremendous help locating some high-profile missing aircraft tragedies in the last decade.

Our second satellite, already in development, will be our testbed for weather-related sensing. It will look down upon the earth using a patent-pending imaging technique, and the data we get back from the observations will help with everything from hurricane predictions to agricultural analysis.

Star Citizen Introduces microTech Planet and Anvil Carrack, Pisces Ships

W: How did the idea to launch your own satellite first come about? I can't imagine that many other weather companies have their own satellites.

AG: Essentially, we saw a gap in the ability to provide some of the data we're about to start collecting with the new satellites, and with launch costs coming down and our in-house technical capabilities up to the challenge, we decided to move ahead and launch our own. The aircraft tracking data will be able to provide an important safety service that frankly should have been in place long ago, and the weather/environmental observation satellite with its unique image processing will give us some incredible insight that no one else is able to provide. We'll be able to provide all of this data through the MyRadar app to the millions of people who use it every day, including the ability to task satellites to take custom imagery.

W: What type of satellite is it? Who makes it? What company will launch it?

AG: We are engineering and building both satellites in-house. The first satellite is a pocket-cube satellite. It'll be launching into space very shortly on the Rocket Labs "We're Running Out of Fingers" mission, with our launch partner Alba Orbital. The launch window opens this month on November 28th

W: I assume given it's a satellite, it'll have lots of sensing equipment in it, which ship would you most closely associate it with from Star Citizen? The Carrack perhaps as an explorer?

AG: Given its smaller size and specific mission, I think I'd most closely associate it with the Terrapin! It's designed to hide out quietly in space, slipping "under the radar", and its main mission is to track other vehicles and relay that data back to command

W: Star Citizen stuff, what specific artwork will be going up on the satellite? Will it be on the outside? Inside? Both?

AG: The cubesat will have the Star Citizen logo emblazoned on the exterior of one size of the satellite. Check out this promo video we made where you can see it!

W: Do you REALLY need a satellite for myradar or is this just your way of getting in to space while we wait for affordable commercial space travel??

AG: As the initial satellites are just the testbeds, their early-stage purpose is to establish the workflow and proof of concepts, but both of them will still be fully functional. It's the intention to launch a constellation of the satellites to allow us more global coverage for both services each satellite was designed to address.

In the case of the aircraft tracker (the one launching soon), this is part of ACME AtronOmatic, LLC's original core business (ACME is the parent company of the MyRadar app). MyRadar currently provides aircraft tracking services as well as arrival and departure delay information, gate information, and other flight details that can assist both the casual traveler and aircraft pilots/operators.

In the case of the weather/environmental satellite, the new types of imagery we'll be able to collect will, among a plethora of other tasks, be able to look inside the eye wall of a hurricane with a 3D perspective, allowing us to get greater details on the intensity and temperatures at the center of these storms. This data can then in turn be used as inputs to existing forecast models to provide for greater accuracy in tracking these deadly storms. The satellite will also be equipped with a visual-spectrum camera, so we'll be able provide both the custom data imaging and regular visual imaging of the earth below, and we'll be able to offer these on-demand to users right from the app.

Check out the MyRadar app here:

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Exclusive Star Citizen Goes to ACTUAL SPACE with MyRadar! - Wccftech

The most incredible images of the International Space Station as it turns 21 – Evening Standard

The latest lifestyle, fashion and travel trends

In the 21 years since the launch of the International Space Station (ISS), 239 astronauts from 19 countries have visited.

This includes 151 Americans, 47 Russians, three Germans and just one Brit Timothy Peake.

Selected as an ESA astronaut in 2009, 47-year-old Peake graduated from basic astronaut training in 2010 before three years conducting further training and working as a communicator with the ISS prior to being assigned a long-duration mission in 2013.

The Chichester-born astronaut spent six months at the space station from December 15, 2015 to June 18, 2016. During this time Peake conducted a spacewalk to repair the Stations power supply, drove a rover across a simulated Mars terrain and ran the London marathon using the space stations treadmill.

NASA discovers 'mind boggling' oxygen fluctuations on Mars

Upon his arrival back to earth, Peake was awarded a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the Queens 2016 Birthday Honours for services to space research and scientific education.

US President Ronald Reagan first directed NASA to build the ISS within the next 10 years in 1984 but it wasnt until 1998 that the first segment of the ISS launched, taking over 10 years and more than 30 missions to assemble

Two years later, on November 2, 2000, American Commander Bill Shepherd, and Russian Flight Engineers Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev became the first crew to reside for several months in the station.

Expedition 1's crew, American Commander Bill Shepherd, and Russian Flight Engineers Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev (AFP/Getty Images)

There are currently five members on board the ISS: NASA astronaut Drew Morgan, European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, plus the newest arrivals, NASA astronaut Jessica Meir and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka.

In June this year, NASA announced it will allow tourists to visit the ISS from 2020 at a price of $35,000 (27,100) per night. The space agency saidthere will be up to two private short astronaut missions per year and the tourists will be permitted to travel to the ISS for up to 30 days - the beginning of a new era of space tourism.

Click through the gallery above to see some of the most incredible images of the International Space Station from the past 21 years.

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The most incredible images of the International Space Station as it turns 21 - Evening Standard

Hugh Laurie is Back on TV With Avenue 5 – TVOvermind

Fans of Hugh Laurie rejoice. The talented actor will be returning to American television in a new show, Avenue 5. Laurie is probably best known for his Emmy-nominated turn as the titular doctor on the show House MD. Although, some fans may recognize him for his early work as a well-known British comedian. His new project, Avenue 5, is described as a sci-comedy about a pleasure cruise in space gone wrong. Interested viewers can tune into HBO in January 2020, to watch the shows premiere. In the meantime, heres everything you need to know about the show.

The series is set in the not too distant future, 40 years from now. It starts out with what sounds like a dream vacation: a luxury cruise through space. Unfortunately, that dream takes a dark turn. At the center of the plot is the titular spaceship, Avenue 5. The cruise will face an unspecified problem at some point in its journey, causing distress for both the passengers and the crew. Overall, the series is said to be about space tourism. Most of the action will also take place in space, with only one major character having a role set on earth. Its doubtful that the show will stay so narrow in focus though. Knowing the production team, it will probably tackle quite a few topics. In terms of tone, the show is another in a new resurgence of sci-fi comedies. As a whole, sci-fi has grown in popularity over the last few years, owing to a slew of excellent genre films. On television, shows like The Orville have proven that people enjoy smart, humorous sci-fi. Avenue 5 seeks to round out that group by adding its own spin to the space travel narrative. Expect a lot of satire and plenty of irony from this new show, setting it apart from some of the lighter fare.

Hugh Laurie takes the lead role as Ryan Clark, the captain of the ship. Hes a charming, ideal leader, who has mastered his public appearance. As for his real personality, that may not be as perfect. With him in the disaster are the ships billionaire owner, Herman Judd, and his go-to woman, Iris Kimura. (Played by Josh Gad and Suzy Nakamura, respectively.) Although on the ship with everyone else, its clear from the trailer that these two have other priorities besides passenger safety. Theyre more caught up in preserving Hermans life and fortune. Other key characters include Matt Spencer, played by Zach Woods, and Rav Mulcair, played by Nikki Amuka-Bird.

Fans of The Office will probably recognize Zach Woods from his role as Gabe. Woods gamely portrayed Gabes particular brand of strangeness, so hes sure to shine in his new role as Matt Spencer. Spencer is in charge of customer relations on the ship, although his nihilism may make that job difficult. Meanwhile, Rav Mulcair is on earth, trying to deal with the disaster as the head of mission control. Shes described as being odd, although its not clear how that aspect of her personality will come into play. Ethan Phillips, Lenora Crichlow, Rebecca Front round out the rest of the cast, as key passengers and crew aboard the vessel. Theyre all on board for different reasons, but its clear theyre not the sort to sit calmly in a disaster.

The show was created for HBO by Armando Ianucci. Fans of television may recognize Ianucci as the creator of another great comedy, Veep. Veep was a very different show, focused on modern politics, rather than future space exploration. Having run for seven seasons, the show was much loved and earned numerous awards. Despite a change in location and genre, expect Ianucci to bring his same biting wit to Avenue 5. Even though the show is set in the future, its clear that it will satirize issues currently faced by viewers. In the trailer, there are already signs that classism and capitalism are both going to get the comedy treatment. Other executive producers on the show include Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche, Kevin Loader and Will Smith. As a team, theyre bringing experience from movies like My Cousin Rachel, and other satirical shows like Succession. Many of them have also worked together previously with Iannucci, on Veep.

Currently, you can only watch Avenue 5 on HBO. If you have HBO through your cable provider, you can watch it on TV like any other prime-time show. Youll also have access to recording and On Demand services, depending on your plan. For anyone who has cut the cord with cable, you can still enjoy the show. Download the HBO Go app, or add HBO as part of a Hulu streaming subscription. Keep in mind, with both options you will have to pay in order to access the HBO show library. If you do use Hulu or HBO go, youll also be able to stream the show. This means you can watch it on any device, including your television. Hulu is compatible with a range of devices, including Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV Stick.

Its hard not to have high expectations for Avenue 5s premiere, especially given its cast and production crew. Veteran actors like Hugh Laurie and Josh Gad are sure to deliver. Theyve both done comedy and drama, which is ideal for satire work. And many of the other cast members have proven their comedic chops as well. The show runners are equally adept, having a wealth of successful television shows and movies between them. With so much talent at the helm, its hard to see Avenue 5 being a flop. At the very least, the show will be good for a few laughs. Check it out in January 2020 to see if you agree.

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Hugh Laurie is Back on TV With Avenue 5 - TVOvermind

A self-declared space nation called Asgardia is planning a fully functioning space economy and wants help from – Business Insider India

A self-declared space nation that wants to operate a fully-functioning society in space has started laying out its vision for establishing an off-world colony.

The Space Kingdom of Asgardia is a genuine project to set up a nation entirely in space, with hundreds of thousands of members paying "residency'" fees and a parliament that is in the process of forming the foundations for its society.

Ambitiously, the space nation is looking to the likes of Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to get them there. Both billionaires have also set up commercial space firms.

The project, founded by billionaire Russian scientist and politician Igor Ashurbeyli, is currently chaired by former British politician Lembit Opik.

"The obvious candidates are SpaceX and Blue Origin," Opik told Business Insider, citing Musk and Bezos' respective ventures in interstellar travel. "They're the best game in town in terms of space launches. Their rockets are the taxis that can take us where we want to go."

But can the dream of Asgardia ever become a reality? In an interview with Business Insider, Opik showed a passion for statecraft, detailing every facet of his space-based society, including an overview in foreign policy, banking regulation, business opportunities, and the creation of a new digital currency called "Solar."

"First, there will be the businesses operating within Asgardia itself, and we've already got a small list of candidates there, who could provide us with goods and services, such as ballpoint pens designed to be used in space, specific types of insurance for space-dwellers - whatever," he said.

"Then of course, there will be businesses who want to sell us things, like Mr Musk or Mr Bezos... If you've got a big rocket and can take us into space, we might buy it off you," he added.

Asgardia was founded by Ashurbeyli in 2016 - or "Year 0" in the Asgardian calendar - and it now boasts an elected body of 150 members from all over the world, after online elections last year. Its incumbent Prime Minister is Ana Diaz, a lawyer from Venezuela, and its chief justice is Zhao Yun, a fellow lawyer from Hong Kong. Opik was voted in last year as head of parliament.

Ashurbeyli is understood to have invested around $12 million of his own money into the project to date, while another $2 million has been paid in by members of the public.

At present, Asgardia has three tiers of members: "followers", "residents", and "citizens."

According to Opik, more than a million followers have already signed up for free worldwide, while another 300,000 are paying an annual 100 ($110) residency fee. This weekend, he and his colleagues in the Asgardian parliament will debate how much to charge for citizenship (i.e. those eligible to live on Asgardia when it is launched).

"We are planning for the long-term," he said. "So we've got to make sure we get everything absolutely right."

"I'd rather be a day-tripper than a homesteader," he said. "My job is to help the settlement of space but probably not settle there myself."

In 2017, the kingdom sent its first satellite into Earth's orbit, making it, in its own words, "the first nation to have all of its territory in space".

The tiny satellite, Asgardia-1, is currently floating around Earth and about the size of a loaf of bread. It contains a 512GB hard drive loaded with "the nation's constitutions, national symbols, and the personally-selected data of the Asgardian citizenship".

Under the rules of the United Nations, Asgardia could technically qualify for recognition as a state, as more than 100,000 people look set to apply for citizenship. But it's unlikely it will be acknowledged as a sovereign nation any time soon.

Business Insider previously contacted the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) to clarify whether current space law would permit the existence of a nation or territory in space. They directed us to the text of five UN treaties that govern activities in space.

Article II of the first and most important part of that legal framework, called the Outer Space Treaty, prohibits "national appropriation" of anything in outer space "by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means".

But Opik remains optimistic despite the opposition, telling us the project has "taken up so much of [his] life". Once established, he insists Asgardia will take a neutral stance on all Earthly matters. "We will not interfere in Earthly matters, and we hope they would not interfere in ours... We want what any sovereign nation wants: recognition."

Elon Musk did not respond to a request for comment.

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A self-declared space nation called Asgardia is planning a fully functioning space economy and wants help from - Business Insider India

NASA astronaut rates space movies based on how realistic they are – Yahoo News

Hollywood loves making movies set in outer space. But how does the actual science in these films measure up? Garrett Reisman, a former NASA astronaut and a former director of space operations at SpaceX, reacts to 10 memorable scenes from famous space movies, rating each scenario based on its accuracy. Find out what black holes, microgravity, nitrogen jetpacks, vacuum chambers, sound waves, polycarbonate visors, centrifugal forces, the Coriolis effect, and lunar soil tell us about the accuracy of iconic space movies.

Can you hear something explode in the vacuum of space? Is it possible for spaceships to run out of fuel in the middle of space travel? Why do movies often get it wrong when it comes to rotating space stations? Reisman explains the science underlying these and many other space movie phenomena, including the physics of the Death Star in "Star Wars"; dangerous space debris in "Gravity"; artificial gravity plates in "Star Trek"; Matt Damons Iron Man stunt in "The Martian"; crash-landing on a desert planet in "Spaceballs"; and event horizons, wormholes, and Einsteins theory of relativity in "Interstellar." What went so horribly wrong in the real-life NASA Apollo 13 mission and did the 1995 Tom Hanks movie get all its facts right?

He breaks down why scuba divers and astronauts both have to worry about decompression sickness, what's with the bending light inside the tesseract in "Interstellar," why Sandra Bullock should have held on to George Clooney in "Gravity," why Chris Pratt would get something called barotrauma in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1," and whats so impressive about Stanley Kubrick's depiction of Space Station V, the fictional spinning spacecraft in "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Reisman is a NASA veteran who was selected as a mission specialist astronaut in 1998 and went on to fly on all three of NASA's space shuttles: the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the Space Shuttle Discovery, and the Space Shuttle Atlantis. He's spent months at a time on the International Space Station and performed three spacewalks over the course of his missions. Post-NASA, Reisman went on to head space operations at Elon Musk's SpaceX from 2011 to 2018, helping the aerospace company prepare for human spaceflight. He continues to serve SpaceX as a senior space advisor while also teaching at the University of Southern California Viterbi School as a professor of astronautical engineering. Reisman's been profiled in The Wall Street Journal and has been featured on "The Colbert Report" with Stephen Colbert.

Reisman is the author of the upcoming book "Down to Earth."

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Science Behind the Fiction: Rick and Morty’s time machine runs on Dark Matter. What is that? – SYFY WIRE

A crass animated television show on Adult Swim isn't the first place you'd think to turn for realistic scientific ideas. Yet, Rick and Morty finds a way to sneak in more real-world science than your average issue of Nature, between copious jokes about buttholes and existential despair.

Of course, not all of the episodes are focused on lampooning cutting edge technology and hypotheses. Take this week's episode, "The Old Man and the Seat," for instance, which focused almost entirely on Rick's particular bathroom habits.

Despite the occasional detour toward literal potty humor, though, the show's real bread and butter often comes down to scientific deep-cuts. Across its three seasons, with the fourth airing now, Rick and Morty has touched on dozens of concepts that have their roots in actual scientific inquiry, from the multiverse to hive minds and mech suits. Just to name a few.

But none of those adventures happen at all if Rick can't traverse existence with Morty in tow. One of the ways he does that is by use of his ship, which, according to the Season 1 episode "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!," is powered by concentrated dark matter.

After finding himself at the mercy of nefarious aliens (nefarious being a variable term in the Rick and Morty world), Rick realizes he's been placed inside an artificial environment with a single purpose: Uncovering his recipe for concentrated dark matter, the fuel for accelerated space travel.

It's a secret valuable enough that the Zigerions are willing to invest vast technological resources to developing several layers of photo-real simulations to uncover it.

In the end, Rick gets the better of them, delivering a false recipe of two parts plutonic quarks, one part cesium, and a bottle of water. The result is not the promised concentrated dark matter, but instead, a deadly explosion. Zigerions may have incredible simulation tech but they missed a few key chemistry lessons. Cesium is highly reactive and reacts explosively when in contact with water. No word on the impact of adding plutonic quarks.

One is forced to wonder, however, if dark matter would actually make good fuel for a spacecraft.

WHAT IS DARK MATTER?

That is the question. The answer: We don't really know. In fact, we know a whole lot more about what it isn't. For decades, physicists have suspected there was more going on in the universe than we could see. Models of the way stars move give hints at a major player just outside our view.

This is something we've been grappling with for a long time, to varying degrees. The astronomy field has always been plagued with the knowledge that there is more out there than we can see.

Going back centuries, astronomers suspected a large, "dark" object in our solar system. We knew it should be there because of the gravitational pull it exhibited on other nearby objects, yet, observing it was beyond our technological ability at the time. That changed in 1846 when Neptune's existence was confirmed.

Each new discovery chips away at our ignorance and paints a clearer picture of the universe we inhabit. The continued existence of dark matter, in the modern context, only underlines how much we still don't understand, how much there still is to learn. Because things still don't add up.

In short, when we model the universe, the way things move and interact, and the way it expands, we just can't account for our observations with the matter we've been able to identify.

According to NASA, in order to make sense of what we observe, the universe needs to be made up of roughly 68 percent dark energy and 27 percent dark matter, leaving only 5 percent for the sorts of stuff we're familiar with.

We can't account for dark matter with black holes. The number that would be needed in order to fit the bill would result in gravitational lensing all over the place, and we just don't see that. Antimatter also doesn't work, as we're missing the sorts of radiation that would come as a result of matter-antimatter explosions. Basically, all the kinds of matter we know about, in the amounts that would be needed to account for the measured gravity, would have a corresponding signature we could measure. And, yet...

What remains is the conclusion either that we have a fundamental misunderstanding of physics, or there is some other form of matter that we've yet to identify. We've given that stuff, whatever it is, the moniker "dark matter."

That isn't to say scientists have no idea what dark matter is. In fact, all we have are ideas. It's possible that dark matter is, in fact, the normal sorts of stuff, only more difficult to detect; brown dwarfs could account for some it, white dwarfs, neutron stars, and, of course, black holes. Even still, it's unlikely.

The leading hypothesis is that dark matter is comprised of WIMPS (weakly interacting massive particles).

These particles are orders of magnitude more massive than protons but have weak interactions, hence the name, making them difficult to detect. There are also hypothetical particles that could fit the bill, but have yet to actually be detected (hence their being hypothetical). That's the sort of thing the Large Hadron Collider might uncover in future experiments, as it smashes protons together hoping to get a glimpse at exotic matter.

A heretofore undiscovered neutrino is another candidate. Neutrinos are common particles. So common that each of us is being bombarded with them all the time. But they rarely interact with matter. Approximately 100 trillion neutrinos pass through your body every second, but detecting them can be difficult. Most neutrinos will pass through you and the rest of the Earth before zipping back out into space without interacting with a single atom along the way.

In an experiment published in the journal Science, researches fired trillions of neutrinos, every second, at a detector for fifteen months. In that time, they measured only 134 interactions. They are incredibly stealthy.

Those scientists banking on a new type of neutrino as a dark matter candidate propose a particle that interacts with matter only by way of gravity. If such a particle were discovered, it would explain the excess gravity in the universe and our inability to see what's causing it.

COULD IT FUEL A SHIP?

That depends entirely on what dark matter turns out to be. If, in the end, we discover that dark matter is the same sort of stuff we're used to, it likely won't offer any new avenues for space travel. But if it turns out to be exotic, if it's something totally new, then it might open the door to some truly astonishing spacecraft.

Using conventional chemical rockets, a trip even to the nearest star would take so long as to make the trip hardly worth taking, at least for humans.

NASA is planning to launch a new spacecraft, the Parker Solar Probe, in December 2024. If all goes to plan, it will become the fastest spacecraft to date, clocking in at 430,000 miles per hour (692,000 km/h) at its top speed.

Even at that rate, that craft would take nearly 7,000 years to traverse the 25.67 trillion miles to our nearest stellar neighbor, Proxima Centuari.

The strides we've taken in exploring space over the past several decades are nothing to scoff at, but chemical rockets just aren't terribly efficient and, if we hope to get beyond our own neighborhood, we'll need something new.

That's where dark matter may come in.

Some scientists believe dark matter may be made of particles with no charge, called neutralinos. If that's the case, these particles would also act as their own antiparticles. And, based on what we do know about dark matter, chiefly its abundance in the universe, they'd be free for the taking.

From a practical standpoint, this means you could launch a ship with very little onboard fuel. Additionally, dark matter could be collected while in transit and made to interact with itself, creating antimatter reactions that are 100 percent energy-efficient. Compared to current engines, which operate at less than a percent fuel efficiency, such an engine would entirely change the way we move through space.

According to a paper by Jia Lui, a physicist from New York University, such an engine could accelerate a craft to near the speed of light in a few days. And, from there, not even the sky's the limit.

Whether or not we'll ever uncover precisely what dark matter is, or if it can be utilized for space travel, remains unseen. For now, Rick is keeping that knowledge for himself.

The good news for any Zigerions out there is, once we find it, you won't need any complex recipes to make it work.

Until then, we'll have to placate ourselves with the fictionalized adventures of a mentally unstable inventor and his grandson.

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

Pier-Luca Rapin | October 31, 2019

By Pier-Luca Rapin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Build your Service Culture: Learn more about EHL Advisory Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Image credit: Lockheed Martin Space)

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

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

Related: Space Radiation Threat to Astronauts Explained (Infographic)

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

(Image credit: Made In Space, Inc.)

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

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

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

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

(Image credit: ESA)

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

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

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

(Image credit: Zero G Kitchen)

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

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

NASA's Rodent Habitat module.

(Image credit: NASA/Dominic Hart)

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

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

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

(Image credit: NASA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How the Big Bang may have happened decoded – Economic Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then the phone rang.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But is that important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AP:Associated Press

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

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

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

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

Nasa

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

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

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

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

Nasa

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

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

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

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

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

Going where no machine has gone before...

Juno

New Horizons

Voyager 1

Voyager 2

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

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

Twin probe Voyager 1 crossed this boundary back in 2012.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at tech@the-sun.co.uk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scroll down for more pics from both neighborhoods.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related:10 Sci-Fi Movies To Stream On Netflix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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