Things on Earth are a mess, but it's fun watching these NASA Astronauts at work on a 24/7 live feed from the International Space Station.
You can see Earth from the International Space Station in these videos, and it looks so calm from up there. Read the rest
The International Space Station will be outfitted with a new toilet later this fall. The current commode is based on 1990s technology used on the Space Shuttle. From Space.com:
It can be clunky to use, particularly for women, and it is "sensitive to crew alignment on the seat," sometimes resulting in messes, according to [a new NASA review of the waste management system].
So NASA has tried to keep the aspects that have gotten positive reviews while trimming mass and volume and making some design changes, like adjusting the shape of the seat and replacing the apparatus that compresses the waste.
Another change mimics a feature of the toilet on the Russian side of the space station, where astronauts simply hook their feet into toe bars, rather than the thigh bars used on the American equivalent to anchor the astronaut in the microgravity environment.
"Development of a Universal Waste Management System" (NASA) Read the rest
Astronaut and physician Serena Auñón-Chancellor spent almost 200 days aboard the International Space Station. Here she is in orbit reading the wonderful book Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty.
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In January, I covered the new season of NASA Explorers. This season (their fourth) focuses on space science and microgravity. In concert with the latest episode (inlined below), the NASA Explorers team posted, exclusively to their Facebook page, a behind-the-scenes interview with astronaut and space scientist, Don Pettit.
Standing in a standard Earth gravity mock-up of the Destiny lab aboard the station, Pettit and NASA Explorers' Rachel Barry talk about the explorations of the past, present, and the future. There are some interesting moments here, like how long-term oceanic voyages of the past also taught us about the human body under such stressful conditions and how to better prepare it for future voyages. Understanding the blight of scurvy during such voyages opened up our whole understanding of vitamins and diet.
Don also talks about future generations being born and growing up in space, in microgravity, and thus having a completely different perception of spatial relationships and how this might even change the way they think and solve problems.
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NASA is streaming the first all-woman spacewalk from 8 a.m. eastern time. Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are fixing a failed power controller on the International Space Station.
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Here's a beautiful NASA music video and photo montage with awe-inspiring shots from ISS Expedition 56. Read the rest
NASA astronaut Anne McClain captured this astonishing image of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule approaching her temporary residence, the International Space Station. "The dawn of a new era in human spaceflight," McClain tweeted with the photo.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon, containing supplies rather than humans for this test, docked at the ISS yesterday morning and the hatch was opened a few hours ago. From NASA:
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(The mission, called) Demo-1 is the first flight test of a space system designed for humans built and operated by a commercial company through a public-private partnership. The mission also marks a significant step toward returning to the nation the capability to launch astronauts on a U.S.-built spacecraft from U.S. soil.
“It’s an exciting evening,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said after the launch. “What today really represents is a new era in spaceflight. We’re looking forward to being one of many customers in a robust commercial marketplace in low-Earth orbit.”
Astronauts on board the International Space Station have switched on CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile CompanioN), a new AI companion robot built by German space agency DLR, Airbus, and IBM. CIMON is an interface for IBM's WATSON AI system. From Space.com:
Marco Trovatello, a spokesman of the European Space Agency's Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, told Space.com that CIMON could respond within a couple of seconds after a question was asked, no slower than in ground-based tests.
A data link connects CIMON with the Columbus control center in Germany; from there, the signal travels first to the Biotechnology Space Support Center at the Lucerne University in Switzerland, where CIMON's control team is based. Then, the connection is made over the internet to the IBM Cloud in Frankfurt, Germany, Bernd Rattenbacher, the team leader at the ground control centre at Lucerne University, said in the statement...
"CIMON is a technology demonstration of what a future AI-based assistant on the International Space Station or on a future, longer-term exploration mission would look like," Trovatello said. "In the future, an astronaut could ask CIMON to show a procedure for a certain experiment, and CIMON would do that."
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NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) released the first 8k ultra high definition (UHD) video of life and science inside the International Space Station. From NASA:
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The Helium 8K camera by RED, a digital cinema company, is capable of shooting at resolutions ranging from conventional HDTV up to 8K, specifically 8192 x 4320 pixels. By comparison, the average HD consumer television displays up to 1920 x 1080 pixels of resolution, and digital cinemas typically project in resolutions of 2K to 4K....
Delivered to the station in April aboard the 14th SpaceX cargo resupply mission through a Space Act Agreement between NASA and RED, this camera’s ability to record twice the pixels and at resolutions four times higher than the 4K camera brings science in orbit into the homes, laboratories and classrooms of everyone on Earth.
“We’re excited to embrace new technology that improves our ability to engage our audiences in space station research,” said David Brady, assistant program scientist for the International Space Station Program Science Office at Johnson. “Each improvement in imagery fidelity brings that person on Earth closer to the in-space experience, allowing them to see what human spaceflight is doing to improve their life, as well as enable humanity to explore the universe.”
The crew of the International Space Station watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi in this photograph posted to Twitter by astronaut Mark. T. Vande Hei: "Space Station movie night, complete with “bungee cord chairs”, drink bags, and a science fiction flick!" Read the rest
SmarterEveryDay's Destin Sandlin captured this astonishing video of the International Space Station transiting Monday's solar eclipse. Fast forward to 3:50 for the magical moment. And in case you missed it, below is NASA's still photo of the ISS transiting the sun at five miles per second.
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"It’s so beautiful," U.S. astronaut Jack Fischer described today's trip to the ISS to his wife. The experience, he said, was "a burrito of awesomeness smothered in awesome sauce."
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NASA has always been an early adopter of technology like virtual and augmented reality for training. Here's a cool glimpse into how they train future ISS and landing party astronauts. Read the rest
Crank it to 4K and go full-screen to feel as if you're floating through the International Space Station. It's cool to think about how quaint this technology will look someday, like a wooden sailing ship, but for now, it's still mind-blowingly cool. Read the rest
Cameras on the International Space Station captured this footage of three major hurricanes on Earth on August 30. Two of these storms are in the Pacific Ocean, and one is in the Atlantic Ocean. Read the rest
Another successful SpaceX mission to resupply the ISS ended today with a splashdown in the Pacific, southwest of Mexico's Baja Peninsula. Here's an update from NASA. Read the rest
NASA released today the first of three videos that will highlight Star Trek and NASA tie-ins, to coincide with the release of Star Trek Beyond and Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary. Read the rest