astronauts

Worms in space: why we are launching them

Worms in space: why we are launching them

Space launches are some of the most spectacular and nerve wracking events you can witness. And when you are actually involved in one, you realize just how much can go wrong. We are currently in Florida, nervously counting down the hours until we launch our experiment, sending thousands of microscopic worms to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

NASA simulates their Orion Abort System. Now that would be a crazy ride

NASA simulates their Orion Abort System. Now that would be a crazy ride

When it comes time for NASA to send astronauts back to the Moon and on to Mars, a number of new spacecraft systems will come into play. These include the Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket ever built, and the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) – a next-generation spacecraft that will carry crews beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Lockheed Martin unveils details of their proposed base camp for Mars

Lockheed Martin unveils details of their proposed base camp for Mars

Before NASA can mount its proposed “Journey to Mars“, which will see astronauts set foot on the Red Planet for the first time in history, a number of logistical and technical issues need to be addressed first. In addition to a launch vehicle (the Space Launch System), a crew capsule (the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle), and a space station beyond the Moon (the Deep Space Gateway), the astronauts will also need a space habitat in orbit of Mars.

Life on Earth is used to gravity – so what happens to our cells and tissues in space?

Life on Earth is used to gravity – so what happens to our cells and tissues in space?

There’s one force whose effects are so deeply entrenched in our everyday lives that we probably don’t think much about it at all: gravity. Gravity is the force that causes attraction between masses. It’s why when you drop a pen, it falls to the ground. But because gravitational force is proportional to the mass of the object, only large objects like planets create tangible attractions. This is why the study of gravity traditionally focused on massive objects like planets.

NASA studies whether to add crew to 1st sls megarocket moon launch

NASA studies whether to add crew to 1st sls megarocket moon launch

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – At the request of the new Trump Administration, NASA has initiated a month long study to determine the feasibility of converting the first integrated unmanned launch of the agency’s new Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket and Orion capsule into a crewed mission that would propel two astronauts to the Moon and back by 2019 – 50 years after the first human lunar landing.

NASA sent a twin to space to study nature versus nurture – and we’re starting to get results

NASA sent a twin to space to study nature versus nurture – and we’re starting to get results

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly recently spent one year in space, while his identical twin brother Mark (a former NASA astronaut himself) stayed on Earth. The mission was part of an important health experiment, looking at how being in space affects our bodies. While the data are still being studied carefully, NASA recently released some intriguing preliminary findings.

Explainer: what is microgravity?

Explainer: what is microgravity?

It’s easy to assume that astronauts float in space because they are far away from the Earth’s gravitational force. But look at the moon. It is much further away than the International Space Station, yet it orbits around the Earth because it is perpetually attracted by its gravitational pull. So if the Earth’s gravity can affect the moon, the astronauts cannot be floating because there is no gravity where they are.

The Last Man on the Moon – a moving tale that’ll bring out your inner astronaut

The Last Man on the Moon – a moving tale that’ll bring out your inner astronaut

“Dream the impossible – and go out and make it happen. I walked on the moon. What can’t you do?” These are the final words spoken by Eugene (Gene) Cernan in the documentary film The Last Man on the Moon. They are a challenge, spoken by a man in his 80s, not just to his grandchildren, but to all of us.

Astronaut’s return to Earth will prepare us for mission to Mars – here’s why

Astronaut’s return to Earth will prepare us for mission to Mars – here’s why

Would you like to spend a year gazing down from the International Space Station? Before you pack your bag, you should think about what actually might happen to you in microgravity, away from the protection of the atmosphere and magnetosphere. Thanks to two astronauts who’ve recently landed back on Earth, we’ll now be able to find out.

Seeing Earth from space changes you – and you don’t even have to leave the planet

Seeing Earth from space changes you – and you don’t even have to leave the planet

People who have seen Earth from space report a “cognitive shift in awareness”. Space philosopher, Frank White, calls this “the overview effect”. It is often experienced as a profound feeling of awe and interconnection, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.