Here’s something cool…
On July 20th, 1969, humans first set foot on the moon. Now you can follow what happened leading up to the mission via Twitter as if it were happening today.
[Follow me on Twitter @EnlightningLinZ]
For the last 4 months, until May 27th, an armless, legless torso has been aboard the International Space Station, so that scientists could learn more about the space radiation that presents a challenge to having a human presence in space.
The torso provided a real-world confirmation that the computer models previously used to look at space radiation were accurate, so now they can be confident in using the models to plan future space missions.
“Short lunar missions are fine,” [Francis] Cucinotta [of NASA's Johnson Space Centre] says, “but living in a lunar habitat for 6 months starts to be problematic. We’re going to have to do a really good job with radiation shielding and perhaps medical countermeasures to have 6-month missions.”
Mars will be even tougher, these models suggest. Some scenarios call for missions that would last 18 months or more. “Right now there’s no design solution to stay within safety limits for such a Mars mission,” Cucinotta says. “Putting enough radiation shielding around a spacecraft would make it far too heavy to launch, so we need to find better lightweight shielding materials, and we probably need to develop medical techniques to counteract damage to cells caused by cosmic rays.” He notes that one of the biggest obstacles to progress in this area is “uncertainty in the types of cell damage deep cosmic ray exposure can cause. We still have a lot to learn.”
This is some cool news…
NASA announced on Thursday that they were “on target for a June mission to scour the Moon’s surface for landing sites and water that would allow humans to work and even live on Earth’s nearest neighbor.” -Yahoo!
I’m not sure if this is new news, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it so I’m blogging about it anyways. I think this is really cool, for one thing because – I think it’s pretty obvious – I’m a huge nerd for anything that has to do with astronomy. This is a step towards a continuous human presence in space. Water on the moon would make it so much easier to have a base there, and having a permanent base on the moon opens up some interesting possibilities.
One of these possibilities is giant telescopes on the moon, allowing us to see further out and more clearly than telescopes on Earth, and the space telescopes. It might even be possible to build a telescope with a mirror nearly 5 times as large as any on Earth, and about 20 times as large as Hubble. The special conditions on the moon that would allow for such a telescope include no atmosphere, weak gravity so such a large mirror can be spun, and moon dust that has many of the ingredients necessary to build a mirror.
The moon’s a cool thing, we’re lucky to have it, it’s so close and it’s within our reach to have a presence there…hopefully this upcoming mission will provide some helpful information.
Just some quick news on the Atlantis mission: http://news.cnet.com/8301-19514_3-10248557-239.html
Still waiting for them to land, making sure the weather’s good and they’ll be able to make it safely back!