Tag Archives: NASA

Mars Mission

Sleep Your Way to Mars

If you weren’t paying attention, NASA has been recruiting astronauts for a one-way trip to colonize Mars. No kidding. Sadly, they passed on hiring a middle-aged redhead (ahem) for the job. Their loss. 



Anyway, the question arises about just how the hell they are going to get people there without them going batshiat crazy on the trip. The voyage should begin in the next 15 years or so, so the selected crew starts training now for the arduous trip.

The Red Planet has been a dream for humanity for years. We’ve made giant leaps in technology and the requirements for space travel, so the colonization project may now be possible. NASA and project researchers are shooting for launch in or near 2030. In spite of how far away that seems, it really is not.

NASA-funded engineers are working on ways to put the astronauts into hibernation during the trip. No, this is not an Arthur C. Clarke novel, this is real life. Hibernation would make the Mars trip cheaper, safer, and easier on the crews, according to researchers. The plan is to induce a state similar to how bears snooze through a long winter.

Using current propulsion technology, it will take six to nine months to reach Mars. Happy and healthy awake astronauts will consume huge amounts of food, water, and living space. Happy hibernating astronauts, by comparison, would let the spacecraft travel lighter and leaner, with more resources devoted to other capacities. Less mass assigned to consumables reduces the cost of the entire system.

Mission to Mars


Life support systems would not have to work as hard and hibernating voyagers would be confined to one area of the ship. Radiation shielding would be hardened over that area, so no new propulsion systems to minimize radiation doses is be needed. More astronauts could go on the colonization expedition if they are hibernating. Having more people along will make the process after planet-fall much more efficient and productive.

Just how are these brainiacs planning to chill out the astronauts? The research team is using advances in therapeutic hypothermia developed for head and spinal cord injuries, for one. With this, tissue damage is prevented during low blood flow times by lowering the body’s core temperature.

Researchers claim the metabolic rate decreases by five to seven percent for every one-degree Fahrenheit drop in body temperature. Researchers are aiming for ten degrees drop in core body temperature during the voyage, which factors to a 50 to 70 percent reduction in metabolism.

This is a far cry from freezing someone and thawing them out when they get to the end of the trip. Astronauts will still need air, and will get nutrients via IVs. Supposedly, the body temperature drop would induce unconsciousness by itself; otherwise, sedatives would need to be added to the IV feed.

Maybe adding middle-aged redheads to the voyage would require ice cream and lots of Xanax in the drip. I am beginning to see their point. However, I would want to be awake for part of the voyage just to occasionally revel in the awesomeness.

Mission to Mars

Mars Astronauts with Rover

Back to hypothermia. The research team is trying to figure out the best way to drop core temperature. Right now, the leading idea is using the gel pads doctors currently use. Cold IVs could also do the trick, but they are trying to avoid multiple needles, it seems.

They could also let the spacecraft cool down naturally in the cold vacuum of space, and then warm the place back up as the destination neared. I have visions of astronaut-shaped Pop Tarts, but that is probably wrong. So far, the longest hypothermic hibernation has been ten days for humans. That has been dictated by medical need rather than human tolerances.

Challenges for hibernating spacefarers would include bone loss and muscle degeneration from lack of gravity and lack of exercise. Space station astronauts have a gym set up, and must work hard on gravity-based exercises to keep up their strength. Unresponsive and immobile hibernators would have no such advantage.

However, one study is examining the practicalities of spinning the spacecraft to induce artificial gravity. They could spin the ship faster with sleeping astronauts, because motion sickness would not be an issue. Faster spinning equals more gravity, and thus less bone and muscle loss. Scientists are also looking at how bears, in hibernation for five to seven months, don’t lose muscle strength.

Mars Mission

Nautilus-X Demo Ship – NASA

Thankfully, research teams are also looking at things that would make hibernation impractical or impossible on the long trip to Mars. If they don’t find any deal-breakers, then they will move on to more in-depth research. The 2030s are creeping up faster every day. Engineers say the hypothermia experiments can begin on the International Space Station at any time.

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Bezos Expeditions

Apollo 11 Engines Found on Seafloor!

Bezos Expeditions – 7/19/2


When we stepped off the Seabed Worker four months ago in Port Canaveral, we had enough major components to fashion displays of two flown F-1 engines. We brought back thrust chambers, gas generators, injectors, heat exchangers, turbines, fuel manifolds and dozens of other artifacts – all simply gorgeous and a striking testament to the Apollo program. There was one secret that the ocean didn’t give up easily: mission identification. The components’ fiery end and heavy corrosion from 43 years underwater removed or covered up most of the original serial numbers. We left Florida knowing the conservation team had their work cut out for them, and we’ve kept our fingers crossed ever since.

Today, I’m thrilled to share some exciting news. One of the conservators who was scanning the objects with a black light and a special lens filter has made a breakthrough discovery – “2044” – stenciled in black paint on the side of one of the massive thrust chambers. 2044 is the Rocketdyne serial number that correlates to NASA number 6044, which is the serial number for F-1 Engine #5 from Apollo 11. The intrepid conservator kept digging for more evidence, and after removing more corrosion at the base of the same thrust chamber, he found it – “Unit No 2044″ – stamped into the metal surface.”  ~~~ from Bezosexpeditions.com report

Check out the full article and lots more amazing photos here:      http://www.bezosexpeditions.com/updates.html

Bezos Expeditions

Apollo 11 Engine
Josh Bernstein and Evan Kovacs captured all of the amazing underwater high definition photographs

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Antarctica Without the IceThe British Antarctic Survey has produced the sharpest image yet of Antarctica’s rugged topography. And as you can clearly see, without its mile-thick layer of ice, the polar continent would be an incredibly mountainous terrain, indeed. In conjunction with NASA’s IceBridge mission, the BAS compiled this map by drawing upon millions of new measurements of the continent’s surface elevation, ice thickness, and bedrock topography.

The British Antarctic Survey has produced the sharpest image yet of Antarctica’s rugged topography. As you can clearly see, without its mile-thick layer of ice, the polar continent would be an incredibly mountainous terrain.

In conjunction with NASA’s IceBridge mission, the BAS compiled this map of Antarctica under the ice by drawing upon millions of new measurements of the continent’s surface elevation, ice thickness, and bedrock topography.


Antarctica Without the Ice – visualization by NASA ICEsat

Check out the whole article, photos and video stream here at io9   http://io9.com/our-clearest-view-yet-of-antarctica-stripped-of-all-its-511636795

 Check out some highly rated new books about Antarctica and exploration here:



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12/4/12 NASA Earth as Art Photos available as FREE PDF Download

Totally downloaded this awesomeness. You should, too, before they change their minds.


Earth as Art PDF Download

News Releases

Steve Cole
Headquarters, Washington
Nov. 30, 2012
 RELEASE : 12-410
 New “Earth as Art” Book Illustrates Beauty of Satellite Views

WASHINGTON — A stunning array of images of our home planet, taken by Earth-observing science satellites, are featured in a new NASA publication. The book, “Earth as Art,” is available in hardcover, electronically, and as a free iPad application.

The 158-page book celebrates the aesthetic beauty of Earth in the patterns, shapes, colors and textures of the land, oceans, ice and atmosphere. Images include snow-capped mountain peaks in the Himalayas, Arizona’s Painted Desert, the Mississippi River Delta spreading into the Gulf of Mexico, a Saharan dune sea in Algeria, and Byrd Glacier in Antarctica.

“Earth as Art” features images from the Landsat 5 and 7, Terra, Aqua, and Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellites. All are among a fleet of U.S. environmental satellites used for scientific research and applied purposes. Instruments on these satellites measure light outside of the visible range. The images produced from these data reveal features and patterns not always visible to the naked eye. The Terra, Aqua, and EO-1 satellites are managed by NASA. Landsat satellites are managed by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The iPad version of “Earth as Art” allows users to zoom into the book’s 75 satellite images and access additional information on selected features and the satellites used. The app can be downloaded by visiting:


“Earth as Art” is available for purchase from the U.S. Government Printing Office online at:

A free ebook version of “Earth as Art” in PDF format may be downloaded by visiting:   http://www.nasa.gov/connect/ebooks/earth_art_detail.html

For more information about NASA’s science program, visit:


earth as art

Earth as Art free PDF Download – Bombetoka Bay, Madagascar