Earthly/Geo/Astro · Science · Technology

78,000 apply to leave Earth forever to live on Mars

Huge numbers of people on Earth are keen to leave the planet forever and seek a new life homesteading on Mars. About 78,000 people have applied to become Red Planet colonists with the nonprofit organization Mars One since its application process opened on April 22, officials announced Tuesday. Mars One aims to land four people on the Red Planet in 2023 as the vanguard of a permanent colony, with more astronauts arriving every two years thereafter.

“With 78,000 applications in two weeks, this is turning out to be the most desired job in history,” Mars One Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Bas Lansdorp said in a statement. “These numbers put us right on track for our goal of half a million applicants.”

Mars One estimates that landing four settlers on Mars in 2023 will cost about $6 billion. The Netherlands-based organization plans to pay most of the bills by staging a global reality-TV event, with cameras documenting all phases of the mission from astronaut selection to the colonists’ first years on the Red Planet. The application process extends until Aug. 31. Anyone at least 18 years of age can apply by submitting to the Mars One website a 1-minute video explaining his or her motivation to become a Red Planet settler.

Text by Mike Wall. Continue THERE

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Astronauts Get Taller in Space

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Astronauts in space can grow up to 3 percent taller during the time spent living in microgravity, NASA scientists say. That means that a 6-foot-tall (1.8 meters) person could gain as many as 2 inches (5 centimeters) while in orbit.

While scientists have known for some time that astronauts experience a slight height boost during a months-long stay on the International Space Station, NASA is only now starting to use ultrasound technology to see exactly what happens to astronauts’ spines in microgravity as it occurs.

“Today there is a new ultrasound device on the station that allows more precise musculoskeletal imaging required for assessment of the complex anatomy and the spine,” the study’s principal investigator Scott Dulchavsky said in a statement. “The crew will be able to perform these complex evaluations in the next year due to a newly developed Just-In-Time training guide for spinal ultrasound, combined with refinements in crew training and remote guidance procedures.”

All text via Scientific American
More Info HERE

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Earthly/Geo/Astro · Science

Before Deep Space, NASA Heads Deep Under Water

NASA may have retired its shuttles, but it has its sights on sending astronauts deeper into space than ever before.

These voyages are years away, but on Monday, astronauts are heading underwater to take part in a simulation that will help them figure out how they might explore one possible new destination: a near-Earth asteroid.

It’ll be the space agency’s 16th NEEMO expedition — NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations — commanded by astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger. She flew on one of the last space shuttle missions, and even helped prepare Atlantis for its final launch.

“It was a very bittersweet time,” says Metcalf-Lindenburger, who wants to go into space again. In the meantime, she’s commanding a four-person crew that’s putting on scuba gear instead of space suits. She says we all have to move on.

“Like in all things. I just had my daughter finish up her last day of preschool before she goes off to kindergarten. We have to shut chapters and begin new chapters and we had to do that in the space program, too,” Metcalf-Lindenburger says.

Excerpt of an article written by Elizabeth Shogren, at NPR. Continue HERE

Digital Media · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Technology

OWW: Orbit Wide Web (Interplanetary Internet)

HAVING helped spread the internet’s tentacles across the globe, boffins are now thinking of extending them further. Assorted space agencies believe it would be rather nifty if the world wide web encompassed more of the world than just one planet. Those at the European Space Agency (ESA) are therefore designing an interplanetary network, which might help space stations, planetary rovers, astronauts and ground stations communicate more effectively.

In October they are planning to test just such a network by getting an astronaut in the International Space Station (ISS) to control a rover on Earth. This will be a test of the technology for use on future Mars missions. They are also exploring the possibility of creating a universal information-exchange system, allowing many of the different space agencies to share data quickly.

Nestor Peccia, who heads ground-software development at the ESA, says that the main challenges are more political than technological. An interplanetary web’s assets, like Earth ground stations, relay satellites, rovers, moon stations, etc, will probably belong to national space agencies. Government agencies may be reluctant to share them with others and it may be a while before enough space entrepreneurs like Elon Musk stump up the amounts of money need in to mimic Earth-bound internet’s decentralised charm in orbit.

These would be considerable. It tends to cost around $50m just to launch a single satellite, not counting design and construction, though Mr Musk’s company, SpaceX, may yet bring that down. And a fully fledged interplanetary web would need a sizeable flotilla.

For now, orbital internet is limited to the ISS. Since January 2010 its astronauts have had access to so-called Crew Support LAN, which uses satellites to provide a brisk, reliable internet connection. Before, going online in orbit was a hassle. E-mails, tweets and other online exchanges had to be relayed through a colleague on Earth, hardly ideal, especially for intimate communications. The current system has undoubtedly improved the quality of life in the ISS, helping to ease the sense of isolation. It is a far cry from interplanetary social networking. But it is a start.

Text and Image via The Economist

Design · Digital Media · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Technology

Designing the Interplanetary Web



Reliable Internet access on the Moon, near Mars or for astronauts on a space station? How about controlling a planetary rover from a spacecraft in deep space? These are just some of the pioneering technologies that ESA is working on for future exploration missions.

What do observation or navigation satellites orbiting Earth have in common with astronauts sending images in real time from the International Space Station? They all need to send data back home. And the complexity of sharing information across space is set to grow.

In the future, rovers on Mars or inhabited bases on the Moon will be supported by orbiting satellite fleets providing data relay and navigation services. Astronauts will fly to asteroids, hundreds of millions of kilometres from Earth, and they’ll need to link up with other astronauts, control centres and sophisticated systems on their vessels.

All of these activities will need to be interconnected, networked and managed.

Continue at Science Daily