While on ISS, astronaut Reid Wiseman
captured and tweeted a picture
that captured night time picture of the Gulf of Thailand, including a vast area of green lights, distinct from the white, yellow and orange lights of adjacent cities. Reid wrote "Bangkok is the bright city. The green lights outside the city? No idea… " but others did know: it was many fishing boats
with green fishing light attractors
. [more inside]
Remember the floating training remote
in Star Wars? Some people have done DIY versions of the remote
that can levitate
on your desktop. However, leave it to NASA to create the real thing and call it SPHERES: Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites
: robotic bowling balls (OK, 18-sided polyhedron satellites
) with autonomous propulsion, power, avionics, software, communications, and metrology subsystems, that fly freely
in the ISS
. First tested in 2006, they have been upgraded
with Android smartphones
, which makes them (for now) the less terrifying item in Google's growing robotic arsenal
After being delivered to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX resupply mission
, the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV)
platform was activated on April 30th, providing a live HD stream of Earth for anyone to view
. [more inside]
"Like a human who just went through laser vision correction, the International Space Station (ISS) recently got a clearer view of our world
. That improved view is opening up new vistas for students in American classrooms." A gorgeous photo of British Columbia's snow-capped mountains
was the first view delivered via the Window Observational Research Facility
at the U.S. Laboratory Science Window on the International Space Station. This video explanation of the window
) is hosted by three-time shuttle veteran Mario Runco.
A few weeks ago, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano
) almost drowned during a spacewalk when his helmet started uncontrollably filling with water, possibly from a leaky spacesuit cooling system
. (See previous MeFi discussion
on the incident.) A week later, his fellow ISS astronaut Chris Cassidy posted two videos
online showing the actual spacesuit and using it to illustrate the problem. All future US and European spacewalks have been halted
while the incident is being investigated, although the Russian ones are continuing
, as they use different suits. Yesterday, Luca published a scary new entry on his in-orbit blog
, where he not only gave all the horror-movie details, but also revealed that he nearly chose to depressurize his suit
outside the ISS in order to survive.
“Imagine having a fishbowl on your head with a half a litre of water sticking to your face, ears and nose. Then imagine you can’t take the fishbowl off your head for a minimum of 20 minutes, feel the panic?”
ISS astronaut Luca Parmitano
developed a water leak in his helmet shortly after beginning a spacewalk,
but is fine now.
Last fall, the Canadian Space Agency asked students to design a simple science experiment that could be performed in space, using items already available aboard the International Space Station. Today, Commander Chris Hadfield
conducted the winner for its designers: two tenth grade students, Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner, in a live feed to their school in Fall River, Nova Scotia. And now, we finally have an answer to the age-old question, What Happens When You Wring Out A Washcloth In Space? [more inside]
How astronauts train for spacewalks in NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory [more inside]
Astronaut, and Expedition 33
Commander, Sunita Williams
gives a tour
of the International Space Station.
, famed International Space Station photographer, gives an interesting talk at Luminance 2012
about the opportunities and difficulties of shooting aboard a space station.
"It's horrible to see smoke pouring from wounds in your own country from such a fantastic vantage point." Astronaut Frank Culbertson's reflections
as he orbited
on Sept. 11th, 2001.
Views from the ISS at Night (Vimeo)
- Knate Myers assembled this video from a series of time-lapse videos taken aboard the ISS. Plus, one of my favorite movie soundtracks!
Naturally, go full-screen HD for best experience. [more inside]
Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit relayed some information about photographic techniques used to achieve the images:
“My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then ‘stack’ them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure.”
NASA's Image of the Day: Dragon on approach to the ISS (SIL)
"This image of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft as it approached the space station was taken NASA astronaut Don Pettit. The SpaceX Falcon 9 and its Dragon spacecraft launched on Tuesday, May 22, at 3:44 a.m. EDT."
The International Space Station is a complex place, with loads of gear packed into its 916 cubic meters of pressurized volume. SpaceRef
has an assortment of detailed technical documents describing everything from basic operations to emergency procedures. For a general overview, see the excellent NASA ISS Reference Guide (pdf)
Hey, remember the ISS, that space station
the Space Shuttle
helped build before the shuttle was retired? Turns out humans might have to vacate that nifty space station
for a bit. [more inside]
Barring the need for STS-335
and any potential extension to the program, today's 2:30 EST scheduled launch of OV-104 Atlantis
(pdf) will be her 32nd and final trip to space. She's had
a good run
(gratuitous launch vid
Since late January of 2010, the International Space Station
was able to access the Internet
for personal use, leading to the first tweet from space
. The previous tweets
were e-mailed to the ground where support personnel posted them to the astronaut's Twitter account. Currently there are 17 active NASA astronauts and 6 internatual'nauts
tweeting from on high. If their words aren't enough, they're also posting pictures
, primarily from Soichi Noguchi
) and José Hernández
, whose socio-political messages were covered previously
). [more inside]
for the name of node 3 of the ISS. Apparently Joss needs our help. "After Serenity made it to space last year
, NASA want to know what to name part of the space station, and Serenity is on the list." [more inside]
Ever wondered what life is like on the International Space Station? Wonder no more
. [more inside]
a brilliant fan of cryogenics venting from a relief valve on STS-122 Atlantis' ET (external tank) post-separation. Also see this handheld video of the ET
, with money shots at 2:15 and 3:55. [more inside]
Astronaut Candidate Program.
"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announces the opportunity to apply
for the position of Astronaut Candidate to support the International Space Station (ISS) Program." [more inside]
Live coverage of NASA attempting to retract the ISS solar panels
NASA is attempting to retract up the huge solar panels that spread out either side of the ISS. They fold up concertina-like, like venetian blinds; and like venetian blinds they're getting snagged and hung up. Live tv feeds of the ISS, and you can hear NASA problem-solving on the fly. Absolutely fascinating stuff.
is ready to launch. Know
NASA Tentatively OKs Second Space Tourist
"NASA and its partners in the International Space Station have agreed in principle to let a 28-year-old South African become the second paying tourist on the orbiting outpost, the U.S. space agency said on Tuesday."
Mark Shuttleworth you lucky bastard!
Pizza delivery sets new altitude record
as space station cosmonaut Yuri Usachov receives Pizza Hut order sent via resupply rocket.
Momentus occasion ignored.
Well, mostly, or at least buried in the inner pages of most major U.S. pages. Isn't this sort of more important than the Knicks and Nets loosing their opening games? You wouldn't think so, since those stories were carried on the front pages on newspapers in the Northeast while this one was back on page 14 between two full page ads.