Grounded (by Kevin Margo)
“One astronaut’s journey through space and life ends on a hostile exosolar planet. Grounded is a metaphorical account of the experience, inviting unique interpretation and reflection by the viewer. Themes of aging, inheritance, paternal approval, cyclic trajectories, and behaviors passed on through generations are explored against an ethereal backdrop.”
If you haven’t seen this already, totally worth a look. It’s one of my favorites from the fest circuit. The attention to detail is great!
Former teacher and present U.S. astronaut will rocket up to the International Space Station on Monday for a six-month expedition.
Veteran shuttle mission specialist Joe Acaba will be the first NASA “educator astronaut” to fly a long-duration mission aboard the orbital laboratory, and he is eager to get under way.
A bustling metropolis in the heart of the United Arab Emirates lights up the night in this photo taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.
The city of Dubai is the largest metropolitan area in the emirate of the same name. The region’s uniquely shaped island developments, framed by a bright lattice of orange lights, are clearly visible in this nighttime image taken from space.
Dubai is a popular photographic target for astronauts aboard the International Space Station because of the artificial archipelagos located just offshore in the Persian Gulf, NASA officials said in a statement. These attention-grabbing features were intentionally built so that the full design is only visible from a vantage point looking straight down, such as an airplane or an orbiting outpost in space.
The cluster of lights at the bottom right is the Palm Jumeira complex, which is still under development. The palm tree-shaped artificial archipelago consists of a crescent breakwater surrounding a trunk and 16 fronds.
You know when your parents tell you that you should get an education because "if you want to be an athlete and get hurt, then you’ll have something to fall back on"? It’s true. Leland was an NCAA Division I Academic All American who was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1986, and ended his career a short time later during training camp in Dallas.
Mr. Melvin began working in the Fiber Optic Sensors group of the Nondestructive Evaluation Sciences Branch at NASA Langley Research Center in 1989, where he conducted research in the area of physical measurements for the development of advanced instrumentation for Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE). His responsibilities included using optical fiber sensors to measure strain, temperature, and chemical damage in both composite and metallic structures. Additional projects included developing optical interferometric techniques for quantitative determination of damage in aerospace structures and materials. In 1994, Mr. Melvin was selected to lead the Vehicle Health Monitoring (VHM) team for the cooperative Lockheed/NASA X-33 Reuseable Launch Vehicle (RLV) program. The team developed distributed fiber optic strain, temperature and hydrogen sensors for the reduction of vehicle operational costs and to monitor composite liquid oxygen tank and cryogenic insulation performance. In 1996, Mr. Melvin codesigned and monitored construction of an optical NDE facility capable of producing in-line fiber optic Bragg grating strain sensors at rates in excess of 1000 per hour. This facility will provide a means for performing advanced sensor and laser research for development of aerospace and civil health monitoring systems.
He’s also been into space. Twice. A veteran of two space flights, STS-122 in 2008, and STS-129 in 2009, Leland Melvin has logged over 565 hours in space.
He is currently the Associate Administrator inn the Office of Education at NASA.
He’s been a tremendous inspiration to me personally, and a man I’m proud to know.
If you think astronauts just want dehydrated dinners and freeze-dried ice cream, think again. After a few days in space, they start reaching for the hot sauce. In fact, they may start craving foods they didn’t necessarily like on Earth. “They crave [spicy] peppers, they crave sour and sweet things,” says Jean Hunter, a food engineer at Cornell University. That means Tabasco sauce was definitely on the menu for space shuttle astronauts. Why this sudden interest in hot peppers? Part of the reason may be that after arriving in space, astronauts lose their sense of smell, which largely governs the pleasurable taste of food. An example of this is coffee. “If you hold your nose and sip your coffee, you’re getting just a bitter liquid,” says Hunter. (via Why Astronauts Crave Tabasco Sauce : The Salt : NPR)
“The Earth may have but one moon, but astronauts and cosmonauts onboard the International Space Station see it rise and set sixteen times each day as they orbit our planet every 90 minutes. On July 31, 2011, NASA astronaut Ron Garan captured the moon and the sun setting simultaneously.”
can beards grow in space?
Yep, apparently NASA tried out different systems including vacuum to tackle the problem (since when are manly astronauts a problem?).
Shaving implements used during Apollo missions.
Video from Apollo 11 here.
Astronaut Tests SAFER Backpack
Astronaut Mark Lee tests the new backpack called Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER), a system designed for use in the event a crew member becomes untethered while conducting an EVA. The Lidar-In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE) is shown in the foreground. The LITE payload employs lidar, which stands for light detection and ranging, a type of optical radar using laser pulses instead of radio waves to study Earth’s atmosphere. Unprecedented views were obtained of cloud structures, storm systems, dust clouds, pollutants, forest burning, and surface reflectance. The STS-64 mission marked the first untethered U.S. EVA in 10 years, and was launched on September 9, 1994, aboard the Space Shuttle Orbiter Discovery.
Image Credit: NASA
Watch a time lapse video of our planet from space: The Journey Home From the International Space Station. It is absolutely breath taking. I love this so much I’m sharing it all over the place.
Ron Garan, the space-tweeting NASA astronaut who returned in September from five-and-a-half-months aboard the International Space Station (ISS), released a video on Monday that he says “is about as close as we can come to show what astronauts see in space”…
To make the video, Garan and [astronaut Mike] Fossum set DSLR cameras to take one picture about every three seconds. Garan says that even though the ISS is traveling at a speed of 17,500 mph, time-lapse photography gives the impression that the space station is traveling even faster.
Music by Peter Gabriel.
Via The Huffington Post.
That Streak in the Sky? Astronaut Trash
OurAmazingPlanet StaffDate: 14 November 2011 Time: 12:41 PM ET
From NASA’s Earth Observatory:
Have you ever wondered how the astronauts and cosmonauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) take out the trash? Several times a year, robotic spacecraft carrying a variety of items—including food, water, fuel, oxygen, medical supplies, replacement parts, and research materials—are launched from Earth to dock with the ISS. These spacecraft are built andlaunched by ISS international partners in Russia, Japan, and the Europe. After the cargo has been transferred to the ISS, the spacecraft is refilled with refuse, and then undocked and de-orbited—essentially using the Earth’s atmosphere as an incinerator for both the spent spacecraft and the refuse.
This astronaut photograph highlights the reentry plasma trail of one such spacecraft, the ISS Progress 42P supply vehicle (Russian designation M-10M). The Progress is based on the Soyuz design, and can fly autonomously or under remote control from the space station. Progress 42P docked at the ISS on April 29, 2011, and was undocked and de-orbited on October 29, 2011. Astronauts on the ISS took a time lapse sequence of the event; the image above is part of that sequence. (read more)
After a year and a half of total isolation, the fake Mars astronauts are ready to emerge
520 days after being locked inside a fake spaceship in a Moscow car park, a six-man team of volunteer astronauts is about to emerge back on planet Earth.
The year and a half of isolation, dubbed Mars500 and run by the European Space Agency (ESA), was designed to see how real space crews would cope with confinement, daily activities and psychological stress on a lengthy trip to the red planet and back.
The all-male crew could only shower once a week, ate canned food and received emails on a delay, depending on how “far away” they are from Earth. Their living quarters are the size of a bus and, outside of a quick stint on mock Mars, they’ve spent two eight-month periods in total confinement.
But Patrik Sundblad, the human life sciences specialist at the ESA, says the simulation has proved a complete success. “Yes, the crew can survive the inevitable isolation that is for a mission to Mars and back,” Sundblad stated. “Psychologically, we can do it.”
They say the clothes make the man. Perhaps nowhere is that more true than on space missions, where astronauts (both male and female) are at their most iconic when donning a spacesuit.
The main job of a spacesuit is to protect its wearer. During spacewalks, it must provide a breathable atmosphere, allow for easy movement and maintain steady communications with a spacecraft. The outfit has to moderate temperature extremes — the sun’s rays can heat an astronaut up to 248 degrees Fahrenheit while the darkness of space can create chills of -256 degrees — and be tough enough to protect against bombardment by dangerous micrometeorites.
Like all fashion, the spacesuit is subject to change. Early designs grew out of the pressurized suits worn by trailblazing pilots in hot air balloons and airplanes. Since then, spacesuits have grown into machines of impressive complexity, even becoming miniature spacecraft that fly independently. Spacesuits have allowed people to grab rocks from the lunar surface, make repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope, or float through the void while gazing down at the planet below.
Floating Free – Astronaut Bruce McCandless II
In February 1984, Mission Specialist Bruce McCandless II went further away from the confines and safety of his ship than any previous astronaut had ever been. This space first was made possible by the Manned Manuevering Unit or MMU, a nitrogen jet propelled backpack. After a series of test maneuvers inside and above Challenger’s payload bay, McCandless went “free-flying” to a distance of 320 feet away from the Orbiter. This stunning orbital panorama view shows McCandless out there amongst the black and blue of Earth and space. Spacewalks – Blue Sky: NASA