Space

Pure Pedantry

Category archives for Space

It is speculation time. My roommate and I were watching a story this morning on CNN by Sanjay Gupta about how astronauts lose bone mass while in space. One of the limitations with space travel is that because of the absence of gravity, your bones steadily deteriorate. Load bearing exercise is required for bone maintenance.…

NASA to shoot the moon

…literally: Scientists are priming two spacecraft to slam into the moon’s South Pole to see if the lunar double whammy reveals hidden water ice. The Earth-on-moon violence may raise eyebrows, but NASA’s history shows that such missions can yield extremely useful scientific observations. “I think that people are apprehensive about it because it seems violent…

Well, that’s good. The military successfully shot down a satellite whose decaying orbit brought up concerns that it might crash into…you know…something besides water. It had about a half ton of a compound called hydrazine that is explosive and toxic. While it is pretty unlikely that anything that explosive would survive a tumble through the…

The Shuttle has Landed Safely

The space shuttle Endeavor has landed safely at Kennedy Space Center: After two weeks of analyzing, worrying and ultimately taking no action to repair a small but deep gouge in the Endeavour’s underside, NASA flight controllers cleared the shuttle to return to Earth this morning. “You are go for the de-orbit burn,” Christopher J. Ferguson,…

Neat. One of the moons of Saturn, Enceladus, has cracks and eruptions that couldn’t be explained by heat. (It is much too small to have volcanic actiivty.) They think that the cracks might be caused by tidal forces from Saturn’s gravity: In 2005, the Cassini spacecraft flew by Enceladus and saw plumes of material erupting…

In light of the Lisa Nowak love triangle/kidnapping/nutness NASA is re-evaluating how it…well…evaluates astronauts for psychological fitness for space flights. Part of the problem is one of sex frankly; astronauts are not allowed to have it while on duty. NASA has been intransigent about the idea of the astronauts have intimate relations, justifying this policy…

Best Article Ever: Space Sex

Oh my God, best article ever: Having sex in the weightlessness of outer space is the stuff of urban legends and romantic fantasy — but experts say that there would be definite downsides as well. Spacesickness, for instance. And the difficulty of choreographing intimacy. And the potential for sweat and other bodily fluids to, um,…

I love YouTube — so many ways to waste time at work. Check out this video of a popped balloon in zero gravity.

Surgeons attempt zero gravity surgery

Have you ever seen a cyst fly? A team of French doctors planned to slice a cyst off a man’s arm Wednesday in the world’s first zero-gravity surgery, operating aboard an airplane soaring and diving in and out of weightlessness. The experiment is part of a broader effort to develop robots for surgeries from a…

Deflectors shields?

Nifty: Astronauts travelling beyond the Earth’s orbit would be at risk of cancer and other illnesses due to their long term exposure to cosmic rays. Some of these energetic particles are spewed forth during outbursts from the Sun. Others come from outside our solar system and are more mysterious in origin.