NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell has died. He was 85 years old.
Mitchell was the sixth human to walk on the moon. He died Thursday night after a short illness. It was exactly one day before the 45th anniversary of the day he landed in the Moon's hilly Fra Mauro region, with crewmate Alan Shepard.
Mitchell was into the paranormal, and the possibility that ESP (psychic communication) could help humans stay connected out in space.
From Bill Harwood at CBS News:
Famous for attempting an experiment in extra-sensory perception on his way back from the moon, Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in 1973 "to support consciousness research and promote awareness of evolving human consciousness," the family said in a statement released by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
Andrew Chaikin, author of "A Man On The Moon -- The Voyages Of The Apollo Astronauts," said in a recent interview with CBS News that Mitchell was "super bright" and "an intellectual."
"Just a real lover of ideas," Chaikin said. "It shows in his post-NASA career because he pursued this question of consciousness and the nature of consciousness. On his flight, he had kind of a mountain-top experience where on the flight home, looking at the Earth, he felt that he was experiencing the universe as an intelligent entity, almost an organism. And that really changed him."
Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell in front of a graphic of the mission patch. [NASA]
Here are NASA Administrator Charles Bolden's remarks on his death:
Read the rest
To mark the January 12 Blu-ray and DVD release of The Martian, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has created the 'Life in Space' video series, a lighthearted look at the burning questions troubling all space fans. Read the rest
NASA astronaut and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are halfway through the year they are spending in space. Above is a NASA chart with some fun facts about what Kelly will experience.
“I think the legacy of this mission will be based on the science of having us in space for a year,” Kelly said. “The great data we collected, what we learned about being in space for this long and how that will help our journey to Mars someday.”
Below, NASA's mini-documentary "A Year In Space" narrated by Lando, er, Billy Dee Williams:
Read the rest
Aquaporin A/S made this new small and lightweight filter that uses aquaporins, membrane proteins, to turn urine, sweat, and wastewater into drinkable water. Read the rest
Today's launch was a good one.
Every year, our friend Adam Savage of Mythbusters and Tested walks the Comic-Con floor completely disguised by his costume and makes a video about it. This year, he was joined by astronaut Chris Hadfield and they both wore spacesuits like those in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Read the rest
For anyone planning a trip to the moon, MIT has just designed a pill-shaped inflatable moon tent that fills with oxygen and comfortably sleeps two. The portable habitat also protects moon explorers from the sun's rays, contains food and water, and has a system that keeps potentially harmful moon dust out of the sleeping quarters. This futuristic tent, in its early stages, would allow astronauts to stray from the lunar lander and spend more time on the actual surface of the moon.
Such an overnight shelter could double the distance reachable from a permanent, as-yet-to-be-built moon base. This could, for instance, help explorers investigate a variety of sites at the 60-mile-wide Copernicus impact crater, one of the most prominent craters on the moon.
For more details and images, click here.
Read the rest
How a surprising iPhone and Apple Watch bestseller is pushing the boundaries of fiction
If you’ve ever watched this video, you might wonder whether an astronaut’s suit is too ungainly to be graceful, or alternatively, if astronauts might just lack coordination. Read the rest
A Russian spacecraft carrying three people docked successfully at the International Space Station today after a flawless launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Our guy in space, NASA's Reid Wiseman, got right to work tweeting totally awesome photographs that masterfully convey the wonder and beauty of being, holy crap, an astronaut in space.
Who needs coffee when you have this little horror story
to wake you up in the morning? Money quote: "I think the liquid is too cold to be sweat, and more importantly, I can feel it increasing." Read the rest
Astronaut Luca Parmitano had to cut short his spacewalk yesterday, after his helmet flooded with more than a liter of water. How's that happen? Initially, Parmitano suspected a leak in his 32 oz. drink bag, which is fitted into the front of the suit and connects to the helmet via a tube and built-in drinking valve, writes Thomas Jones at Popular Mechanics. But the actual culprit is likely to be the suit's cooling system
— a series of water-filled tubes that run all around the astronaut's body. Read the rest
Space educator Sawyer "@thenasaman" Rosenstein, 19, might also be described as a space fan. His enthusiasm for space flight was captured in this Boing Boing feature, and shines weekly in his "Talking Space" podcast. He traveled to Florida this weekend for the opening of the new permanent exhibit of Shuttle Atlantis at KSC, and shares these photos with us back home. All images in this post are Sawyer's so ask before you re-use them. —Xeni Jardin.
The Atlantis exhibit: 90,000 square feet, $100 million, and one precious piece of American space history. Give that to any organization and they'll come up with something pretty cool. Give it to Delaware North, the company that runs the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex, and you get one of the most impressive displays I've ever seen.
Atlantis is displayed with quotes from the people who worked on her. There are more than 60 interactive exhibits. The orbiter steals the show. These pictures do not do the experience justice, but I hope it'll give you, Boing Boing readers, a glimpse into what was done at Kennedy. And I hope it inspires you to go and see it yourself.
A view from underneath the model external tank and solid rocket boosters. They are impressive in size and visible for miles.
Space history is a beautiful thing.
Read the rest
More than 6000 people applied, eight were chosen
. And, for the first time, NASA has an astronaut class with gender parity — four men, and four women. Read the rest
I don't know if I can fully define human nature, but I'm pretty sure it includes a prurient and/or practical interest in how one uses the bathroom under strange circumstances. Thus, the various videos you've seen over the years explaining how astronauts use the toilet on board the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. Until a recent visit to Seattle's Museum of Flight, however, I'd never seen how cosmonauts do their business — an issue with increasingly broad reach, now that Americans and other international space voyagers are being ferried into the heavens aboard Soyuz.
The Soyuz toilet does not look much like the ones on board the Shuttle or the ISS. Those are recognizably toilets, for one thing. The Soyuz sanitary unit is more akin to peeing into a soda bottle in the back seat of the family station wagon — if that soda bottle were hooked up to a vacuum cleaner.
This video — kindly shared with us by The Museum of Flight — was filmed in 2009 by NASA astronaut Michael Barratt. It features the urination demonstration talents of spaceflight adventurer Charles Simonyi and Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka. Please note that this video only demonstrates how the "part Number 1" works — and even that really only seems to apply to gentlemen cosmonauts. As best I can tell, women apparently just pee into something akin to a compact diaper or sanitary pad. (Fun!) As for "part Number 2", here is how it was described in a 2007 NASA publication written by James Lee Broyan, Jr.:
Read the rest
For fecal collection, a porous bag is placed in the receptacle.
Valentina Tereshkova, first woman in space, launch date June 16, 1963.
A wonderful website: fuckyeahfemaleastronauts.tumblr.com [new expletive-free URL] womeninspace.tumblr.com.
Only 10% of people in space have been women, and on tumblr that seemed even less. so here it is for your inspiration. Fuck yeah! Female Astronauts!
(via s.e. smith) Read the rest
trains astronauts for NASA
. At Quora, he answered an interesting question about what happens when astronauts cry. It's certainly happened, Frost says. But it's pretty uncomfortable. Without the aid of gravity to send tears streaming down your face, they just ball up around your eyes Read the rest