ISS Guide to Eating in Space

This excellent video from ISS Commander Scott Kelley guides us around how they eat and what they eat on the ISS. Very cool!

Sketches of Werner Von Braun Moon Suits Published on Web

This is pretty cool – a look at a future that never was. The folks over at Paleo-Future (an excellent blog worth checking out) have scanned some images from Von Braun’s book on the moon.

Here’s an example:

See the rest here.

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

Saturn Moon Rhea May Have Breathable Atmosphere

Call it our very own Hoth. But a Satrunian moon has an oxygen atmosphere.

From io9:

Saturn’s icy moon Rhea has an oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere that is very similar to Earth’s. Even better, the carbon dioxide suggests there’s life – and that possibly humans could breathe the air.

It seems oxygen is far more abundant than we ever suspected, particularly on moons that seem to be completely frozen solid. We recently found evidence of oxygen on Jupiter’s moons Europa and Ganymede, and now this finding on Europa. In fact, because the region of space surrounding Saturn’s rings has an oxygen atmosphere, it’s thought even more of the icy moons within the gas giant’s magnetosphere likely have little atmospheres of their own.

According to new data from the Cassini probe, the moon’s thin atmosphere is kept up by the constant chemical decomposition of ice water on the surface of Rhea. It’s likely that Saturn’s fierce magnetosphere is continually irradiating this ice water, which is what helps to maintain the atmosphere. Researchers suspect a lot of Rhea’s oxygen isn’t actually free right now, but is instead trapped inside Rhea’s frozen oceans.

While the presence oxygen is relatively easy to understand, the carbon dioxide is actually even more intriguing. The gas is likely created by reactions between organic molecules and oxidants down on the moon’s surface. That seems rather shockingly Earth-like, or at least like the Earth of a few billion years ago. This is just further proof that the building blocks and basic prerequisites of life exist all throughout the solar system, even if it was apparently only on Earth where conditions were good enough for it to actually lead very far.

Source.

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).