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The Shuttles have Landed | J@N

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Yesterday, the world celebrated the fifty year anniversary of the day humans first made the epic leap to leave our terrestrial bounds, and sail among the stars. In celebration of this epic event, we’re dedicating tonight’s episode to the Yuri Gagarin, and then using this historical discussion as a launching point to talk about the end of the US’ Space Shuttle Program, and the retirement of our four existing space shuttles.

Joining us for this epic space tale, is our resident space geek, Heather (aka “Mars_Base”).

Let’s get spacey!

Show Feeds:

Show Notes:

First Flight:
-Yuri Gagarin  [WIKI]
-Free YouTube Movie – First Orbit – from archival audio with new footage from the ISS
-First human into space & first to orbit the Earth
-Height : 5’2”
-Path of Orbit PIC
-American Alan Shepard went up <month later
-Died <7 years after that flight in a training exercises accident, didn’t see man land on the Moon

The Shuttle Program:
-First flight of the Space Shuttle April 12, 1981
-Two man crew that lasted ~ 2 days
-Only 1 of two flights to have the White [painted] External Tank … not paining them provided a weight savings of approximately 272 kilograms (600 lb)

Shuttle Program Highlights:
Hubble Space Telescope- Launch & 4 servicing missions
-ISS / MIR :
–Started construction in 1998
-JAVA Applet to track the ISS

Shuttle Program Artifacts to Educational Institutes:
* Non-profit Museums, Universities, and Schools
-Welcome to NASA Space Programs – Historic Artifacts Prescreening
-Space Shuttle Tiles for Teachers

Future homes / Shuttle ‘Retirement Homes’:
-Artist Redition of the 4 Exibits
-Discovery – Virginia – Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum [Replacing the Enterprise exhibit]
-Atlantis – Florida – Kennedy Space Center
-Endeavour – Los Angeles, CA – California Science Center
-Enterprise [prototype] – New York, NY –  Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Additional Info:
-Columbia @Wikipedia
-Challenger @Wikipedia
-Discovery @Wikipedia
-Atlantis @Wikipedia
-Endeavour @Wikipedia
-Interactive Flash on The Shuttle from NASA
-Shuttle Mate-Demate Device
-NASA Chief’s Big Decision: Where Should the Space Shuttles Retire?
-The Most Memorable Space Shuttle Missions


Written by chris

April 13th, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Survival on Mars | J@N | 4.6.11

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Our journey has taken us from the science of space propulsion, to the practical issues of a manned space flight to Mars. If we made it to Mars, what challenges would we face? What epic efforts must we undertake to survive the “Red Planet”?

Plus we share a little insight into the efforts underway here on earth to prepare us for our future missions on Mars!

Thanks to: for their sponsorship of tonight’s show!

Show Feeds:

Show Notes:

Curiosity Rover:
-Release today: NASA Mars Science Laboratory + Curiosity Rover: first look (photo gallery)
-See the construction live on UStream! @ UStream @ NASA

Mars Facts:
-Length of Day →  24:29:35.244   California Watchmaker made Mars Time Pieces
-Length of Year → 686.971 days [ 1.88 Earth Years ]
-North : North Star isn’t in Ursa Major / Big Dipper → ~ ½ between Deneb and Alpha Centari
-Gravity :surface gravity on Mars is 38% of that on Earth. It is not known if this is enough to prevent the health problems associated with weightlessness.
-Mean Temp → mean surface temperature is -63°C / -81°F
-Atmospheric pressure → ~6 mbar
-6 mbar is 9.7% human of min survivability of 61.8 mbar
-Earth → Average Sea level = 1013 mbar :: Mt Everest ~= 300 mbar
-Solar Winds → very weak magnetosphere, so it deflects solar winds poorly
-Radiation Levels → in orbit above Mars are 2.5 times higher than at the International Space Station.
-A three year exposure to such levels would be close to the safety limits currently adopted by NASA surface would be somewhat lower and might vary significantly at different locations depending on altitude and local magnetic fields.
-Communication → Radio waves ARE light waves one-way communication delay ranges from about 3 minutes at closest approach to 22 minutes at the largest possible superior conjunction.

The Mission:
How long are we staying?
-Some missions plans call for a measly 2-weeks on Mars
-Most suggest 18-22 months
-Mars to Stay? –
-Most missions are a variation on the Mars Direct approach
-Mars Direct : Mars Direct Animation walk through

Possible Daily Activities:
-Crew of 4/6 – working in shifts
-Specialization / All-Around Knowledge
-Exercise keeping fit, working against bone/muscle loss in 38% Earth Gravity
-Greenhouse – set up / maintenance /Greenhouses for Mars Artist Rendition Greenhouse Artist Rendition Greenhouse
-Systems Checks – HAB, Return Vehicle, Rover : checking systems, maintenance
-Report – Science, Engineering, Medical, …
-Communications – download / upload ; Mission
-Medical Testing – physical / mental
-Physical → hooks up to exercise equipment, medical personnel
-Mental → Programming to help
-Science Experiments

Additional Info :
Mars Society – Station Goals
WIKI – Light
In-Situ Resource Utilization – “Living off the land”
RWGS – reverse water gas shift reaction
NASA – Improvements and Modeling of the RWGS Process
PDF – NASA Design Reference Architecture 5.0
NASA – A Crewed Mission to Mars…
WIKI – Manned mission to Mars
WIKI – Colonization of Mars
WIKI – Terraforming of Mars