Chinese space station could plummet back to Earth in March

January 4, 2018 by  
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China lost control of their first space station Tiangong-1 in 2016 – and now pieces of it could come crashing back down to Earth. Research organization Aerospace Corporation recently predicted the station could re-enter our planet’s atmosphere sometime around the middle of March. Around 2,000 to 8,000 pounds of the almost 19,000-pound station could hit the surface. Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace, was the first station China built and launched. They sent it to space in 2011, and two manned missions to the station were completed. Tiangong-1 wasn’t supposed to last much past 2013, but China decided to lengthen its lifespan. Then they lost control in 2016. The station’s orbit has been gradually degrading, so its re-entry will ultimately be uncontrolled, according to The Verge . Related: ESA unveils magnetic space tug to corral broken satellites drifting in space All this may sound like really bad news. And it’s true that thousands of pounds of Tiangong-1 could make it back to Earth. But multiple space agencies have been tracking the station, and think it may crash down between 43 degrees North and 43 degrees South latitude – a region largely covered in ocean. Most of the land in that area is also unpopulated. In the Aerospace Corporation’s map shown above, there’s a zero probability of trash re-entry in blue areas; green areas have lower probability and yellow areas have a higher probability. But the organization said, “When considering the worse-case location (yellow regions of the map) the probability that a specific person (i.e., you) will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot.” This also won’t be the first time an object as big as Tiangong-1 – or even larger – has made an uncontrolled re-entry. Phobos-Grunt, an almost 30,000-pound Russian spacecraft intended for a trip to Mars failed and plummeted to Earth in 2012. And NASA’s almost 160,000-pound Skylab, their old space station, also made an uncontrolled re-entry, according to The Verge. Humanity has been launching rockets for around 50 years – and a single person is known to have perhaps been struck by space trash in all that time. In 1997, Lottie Williams was taking a walk in Tulsa, Oklahoma when metal fragment hit her shoulder , and according to Wired, NASA confirmed the time and place were consistent with the re-entry of a second-stage Delta rocket – although the shard wasn’t ever positively identified, and Williams wasn’t injured. Via The Verge , Business Insider , and Aerospace Corporation Images via CMSE via Phys.org , Aerospace Corporation , and copyright ESA – D. Ducros

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Chinese space station could plummet back to Earth in March

Blast from a VERGE past: An astronaut’s sustainability lessons

September 19, 2016 by  
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NASA’s pioneering space effort is working with the private sector to develop sustainable technologies that enable long-distance space travelers to make what they need — from food and water to building supplies — from locally acquired raw materials. On the mainstage at VERGE 2015, NASA astronaut Cady Coleman and Jason Crusan of NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division spoke about the sustainability lessons learned from NASA’s tests on the International Space Station.

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The ESA tests Kombucha resilience on an unprotected journey through space

August 10, 2015 by  
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Samples of kombucha are currently attached to the outside of the International Space Station, exposed to the harsh elements beyond our protective atmosphere. At face value, this may sound downright strange, yet The European Space Agency has its reasons for testing whether the yeast and bacteria in Kombucha can survive an unprotected journey through space. Read the rest of The ESA tests Kombucha resilience on an unprotected journey through space

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“Really odd” SpaceX rocket explosion likely caused by one faulty metal strut

July 21, 2015 by  
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When an unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket headed to the International Space Station suddenly exploded shortly after take off on June 28, it brought an end to a string of 18 successful missions conducted with the new rocket. Now, after poring over thousands of pieces of data, SpaceX engineers believe the incident was caused by a single faulty two-foot-long by one-inch-thick metal strut, in what Elon Musk referred to in a conference call with reporters as “a really odd failure mode.” Read the rest of “Really odd” SpaceX rocket explosion likely caused by one faulty metal strut

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“Really odd” SpaceX rocket explosion likely caused by one faulty metal strut

Polish designer lives every minimalist’s dream in a tiny 140-square-foot apartment

July 21, 2015 by  
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Astronauts need caffeine too, and now they can make it an espresso

May 8, 2015 by  
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If you were waiting to go to the International Space Station until they had good coffee, well, NOW you can go. Like any good Italian, Samantha Cristoforetti is fond of her morning cuppa. In particular, she’s partial to her morning espresso . But when you work on the space station, that can be a little hard to come by, until now. Cristoforetti isn’t just an astronaut and the first Italian woman to orbit the Earth, she’s also the first space barista. But making the the shot of espresso  was no mere lark. It was actually a study in specialized physics. Until now, physicists were unsure just how a highly pressurized and piping hot liquid would react in the near weightless environment of the International Space Station. A specialized espresso maker, called the ISSpresso was designed by Argotec, an engineering and software firm in Turin as well as the Italian coffee producer Lavazza. Making a proper espresso—a singular alchemy of high temperature, water pressure and perfectly tamped coffee—is difficult enough to master on earth. Microgravity conditions made the task still more complicated, and Argotec took two years to work out how to do it… but the force of coffee was strong with this one. Via The New York Times Images via NASA Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: coffee in space , espresso in space , italian astronaut , samantha cristoforetti , space station espresso , woman italian astronaut

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An unmanned Russian supply spacecraft is spinning out of control in orbit

April 30, 2015 by  
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A Russian spacecraft currently in orbit 200km (124.27 miles) above Earth known as the Progress M-27M cargo vessel is spinning out of control as it orbits the Earth. Fortunately, the craft , which was launched from Kazakhstan on Wednesday, does not have any crew on board, but unless control can be regained, the spacecraft will return to Earth in it’s out of control spin and will likely explode upon re-entering the atmosphere in a spectacular fashion. The Progress M-27M was designed to carry cargo to the International Space Station and is carrying 2,357kg (5,196 pounds) of fuel and supplies – which should make the fireworks even more interesting. It is not known exactly what could have sent the spacecraft reeling, but a sudden release of gas, an explosion or even a rocket thruster that didn’t shut down could have caused it. In 1966, the Gemini VIII spacecraft piloted by Neil Armstrong had a similar rocket thruster issue and his piloting skills were required to save the craft. Via Phys.org Image via NASA Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cargo spacecraft out of control , international space station cargo ship , progress m27m , rocket explosion , russian cargo spacecraft , russian space craft , russian spacecraft spinning out of control , spacecraft explosion , spacecraft in orbit , uncontrolled spacecraft

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An unmanned Russian supply spacecraft is spinning out of control in orbit

Astronauts can sip espresso in space thanks to PSU’s 3D-printed zero gravity cup

December 16, 2014 by  
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Astronauts have a pretty rough time living in a microgravity environment. Sure, at first there’s exhilaration at the whole floating experience, but then one has to learn to pee into a vacuum cleaner and season food with liquid salt. And as for a morning espresso with that perfect crema? Well, that was pure fantasy, until a team at Portland State University developed an ingenious 3D-printed cup that lets astronauts sip their morning latte in style. Check out a video of the cup in action below! Read the rest of Astronauts can sip espresso in space thanks to PSU’s 3D-printed zero gravity cup Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: capilliary forces , coffee , espresso , international space station , iss , microgravity , nasa , Portland State University , psu , spacex

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Astronauts can sip espresso in space thanks to PSU’s 3D-printed zero gravity cup

Made in Space: NASA Creates First-Ever 3D-Printed Object in Space

December 1, 2014 by  
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NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station have created the first-ever object to be 3D printed in space . The 3D printer , which was developed by Made in Space , was delivered to the ISS by a SpaceX mission back in September, and on November 17 Expedition Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore installed and calibrated the device. On November 24 it produced its first component: a faceplate for the printer itself that reads “Made in Space.” Read the rest of Made in Space: NASA Creates First-Ever 3D-Printed Object in Space Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3d printer , 3D printing , butch wilmore , green design , iss , made in space , nasa , space exploration , spacex , zero gravity

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Albatern’s WaveNET Harvests Wave Energy With Giant Floating Squids

December 1, 2014 by  
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Since 2007 Albatern , one of Scotland’s most radical wave energy companies , has been working on a new approach to wave energy harvesting. Their new WaveNET system uses an array of floating generators called Squids to harvest energy from the rise and fall of the ocean. Albatern has set a goal of creating a 1.25-kilometer-long energy farm floating at sea that could produce over 100 megawatts by 2024. Read the rest of Albatern’s WaveNET Harvests Wave Energy With Giant Floating Squids Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: albatern , green grids , scottish renewables , scottish wave energy , squids , wave arrays , wave energy , wavenet

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