Monday, September 30, 2013


NASA so busy day in day out and it would be hard to update you on everything NASA, even just above the exosphere, so here’s a taste!

3-D printer to go to ISS Okay, you’re in space aboard the ISS and the thinga-m-bob on the wha’cha-ma-call-it breaks. You try but you can’t fix it. This is a matter of life and death, but you have to wait three months for a replacement. (Duck-tape didn’t work!) What do you do? If you’re NASA you place a 3-D printer on the ISS. Slated for test in Fall 2014. The reason it will take that long? A 3-D printer currently is manufactured to work on Earth, in Earth’s gravity, the pressure or the temperature, basically everything for use of Earth. NASA tasked the start-up Made In Space to re-create the 3-D printer but for a space environment; This involved riding the ‘vomit comet’ (the reduced gravity aircraft) to obtain proper tests with space conditions. This will neaten up the ISS quite a bit as many tools and repair items will no longer be necessary.

3 new members report for duty on ISS :Still relying  on our friends Russia to take us to the ISS, at least until SpaceX is ready to take them up, the Soyuz  did just that. Arriving at the ISS was Michael Hopkins of NASA and Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) . NASA’s plans for the new crew include many new science investigations from studying the long term effects of micro-gravity on the immune system to metabolic profiles of astronauts. In addition 11 experiments will be carried out from the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program  on antibacterial resistance, hydroponics, cellular division, microgravity oxidation, seed germination, photosynthesis and the food making process in microgravity.

SpaceX & Cygnus (Orbital Sciences) each reach new highs -  First Orbital Science’s Cygnus space ship was able to link up with the ISS on what was its first voyage. On the test voyage it was supposed to reach the ISS on Sunday but due to a minor software patch needed for navigation had to hang around while the astronauts on the Soyuz arrived…SpaceX who has become a regular at the ISS, successfully tested its Falcon rocket on Sunday from a site in California. The new and improved Falcon rocket lifted off around 9am. Its mission is to lift a Canadian satellite into orbit while simultaneously having a development flight.  According to their website, the “Falcon Heavy Falcon Heavy is the world’s most powerful rocket, a launch vehicle of scale and capability unequaled by any other currently flying. With the ability to lift into orbit over 53 metric tons (117,000 lb)--a mass equivalent to a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel--Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost. Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9. Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate nearly 4 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars…..If it weren’t for NASA’s guidance in the push for the Commercialization of near-Earth’s Orbit both of these accomplishments would be lacking.

NASA’s Curiousity finds water on Mars:Water, water everywhere….it is important to note that after the disappointing news that there was no methane on Mars, after analyzing a scoop of soil/Martian dirt, the rover found water makes up a full 2% of the planet’s surface. What does this mean to us? One liter from every cubic foot of soil to allow a thirsty adventurer to drink, or to activate a freeze-dried meal. AND there’s Deuterium in ‘them thar hills!’  The soil is very rich with Deuterium which is a heavy Hydrogen isotope with a neutron and a proton. (Deuterium can used for fuel etc.)

NASA’s DAWN – double checks asteroids in person (sort-of): To better understand the relationship between Hubble and Earth telescopes, it is of value to understand what Dawn brings to the table. Studying asteroids and other worrisome space-objects from Earth alone made the scientists want a closer look. Vesta much seen and much studied differs greatly from most other asteroids. While NASA’s infrared telescope facility at Mauna Kea in Hawaii provided some details but when Dawn took it all close and personal. The scientists gleaned far more diverse and complete information. DAWN is the spacecraft or probe that NASA launched in 2007 to investigate Vesta and Ceres – the 2 largest objects in the Asteroid Belt

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