Great Pictures from an ISS Astronaut

I came across this excellent post of 29 pictures on the photography blog TriggerPit. It features 29 pictures taken by ISS Astronaut Douglas H. Wheelock.

Check them out here.

Cool Kid’s Mom is an Astronaut – New York Times Profile

The New York Times has profiled a young boy named Jamey Simpson, who’s mother happens to be an astronaut who just lifted off to the ISS for a 5 month mission.

From the article:

Jamey offered these thoughts from the Fishbowl, a glass-sided room that faces rows of technicians and screens showing the view from the Soyuz space capsule. If he has a complaint, it is the waiting. “When they say, ‘O.K., in about four hours something’s going to happen,’ and then, when it finally happens, it’s like, one little tiny thing,” he said. The view from the Soyuz showed the space station emerging out of the darkness. It was the size of a Volkswagen, then a Winnebago, then an apartment block. After takeoff last Wednesday, Ms. Coleman and her crew mates — Paolo Nespoli, an Italian, and Dmitri Kondratyev, the Russian commander — wore braces to keep their legs from breaking in case of violent impact with the ground. Outside the capsule, the temperature ranged from minus 148 (in the shade) to 302 (in the sun.)

For Jamey, his mother’s training has meant long and difficult separations. He barely got a chance talk to her the four days he was in Baikonur, he said, because the crew was kept in isolation to avoid exposure to infection. Jamey hugged his mother once or twice, quickly, behind a tree. When the Soyuz achieved orbit, the grown-ups were so relieved that they proposed a toast; Jamey, allotted a thimbleful of whiskey, required emergency treatment with candy. He described his feelings as “sort of disappointed and a little excited and happy and kind of sad.”

Read the rest here.

New Crew Blasts off to ISS

Expedition 26 has lifted off from Kazahkstan. Watch the spectacular video below.

Tour of the New Cupola Window Module on the ISS

ISS Commander Scott Kelly takes us on a tour of the new window cupola module on the ISS. Wouldn’t it be great if that was your view at work?

Astronaut Takes Us on a Tour of his Crew Quarters on the ISS

It’s kind of like MTV Cribs in space. Astronaut Scott Kelly takes us on a tour of his personal cabin on the ISS. It’s pretty cool – never seen it before. It’s quite cozy!

ISS Astronauts Return to Earth – Video Inside

Crazy Idea of the Week: Send Astronauts on a One Way Trip To Mars

Home Sweet Home?

This idea has been making the rounds and I’m mentioning it because it’s rather interesting. We space nuts are getting a little impatient with the progress of a Mission to Mars – by far the biggest acheivement Humanity has avoided – so here’s a radical idea.

Send a crew of astronauts on a one way trip.

Not to explore and come back – but to found a settlement.

It harkens back to the age of European colonization of the Americas – where people left their homes forever to make a go at it in the new world.

Many are suggesting that we should settle mars the same way.

We’re not suggesting sending them on their way and leaving them to die. No, they’d send back regular reports and we’d send back regular supplies and shipments of more people.

Within a few years, Mars would have a viable settlement and growing humanity’s reach into the stars.

From io9′s take on the idea:

Then there are the particular details of their plan, which would certainly make terrific science fiction even if their mission never becomes science fact. They place the first Martian colony next to a big ice cave, which would provide a perfect mix of shielding from radiation and abundant stores of water and oxygen. They also suggest the first colonists should be somewhat older, perhaps around 60. They say this on the basis that the radiation exposure will shorten lifespan and damage reproductive organs, so it’s better to send people who won’t be affected by either of those problems. This does raise the question of just how this will become a permanent, ongoing Martian colony though.

Read more about it here.

What do you think – should we send people on a one way trip to Mars to kickstart inter-solar colonization? Let us know in the comments.

Coolest Picture Ever: Astronaut Views Earth from New ISS Porthole

How would you like this to be your view at work? I certainly would. As the folks over at Boing Boing say – it’s the kind of picture you’d expect to be on the cover of a sci-fi novel.

The picture features Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson gazing down at the Earth from the new ISS porthole window.

Source.

Astronaut Fingernails Prone to Falling Off

This comes via the always fun boingboing – Astronaut nails have a propensity to fall off due to the design of their spacesuits.

In several cases, sustained pressure on the fingertips during EVAs caused intense pain and led to the astronauts’ nails detaching from their nailbeds, a condition called fingernail delamination.

While this condition doesn’t prevent astronauts from getting their work done, it can become a nuisance if the loose nails gets snagged inside the glove. Also, moisture inside the glove can lead to secondary bacterial or yeast infections in the exposed nailbeds, the study authors say.

If the nail falls off completely, it will eventually grow back, although it might be deformed.

Source.

I may not be cut out be make it as an astronaut! I rather like my fingernails (and biting them off).