Posts Tagged ‘Spaceflight’
Posted in International, Just Cool, On this day in science, Science by Courtney on November 2nd, 2012

On this Day in Science is a DNA 11 blog series featuring historical discoveries, births, or news in the science or genetics world.

Twelve years ago today, the International Space Station finally began operation two years after it was officially launched into orbit.  The station has roughly the same volume as a five-bedroom house and can hold up to six crew members at a time. It’s still in use today, and has housed astronauts and cosmonauts from over a dozen different nations. Via National Geographic:

The International Space Station is an orbiting laboratory and construction site that synthesizes the scientific expertise of 16 nations to maintain a permanent human outpost in space.

While floating some 240 miles (390 kilometers) above Earth’s surface, the space station has hosted a rotating international crew since November 2000.

Astronauts and supplies are ferried by … the Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft. Astronauts who reach the facility aboard one of these missions typically live and work in orbit for about six months.

Simply by spending time in orbit, astronauts reveal much more about how humans can live and work in space. Crews have learned the difficulties of diet, in a world in which their sense of taste is decreased, and of getting a good night’s sleep while secured to a non-floating object.

But the crew is also occupied with a full suite of scientific experiments, the ongoing improvement and construction of the station, and a rigorous regime of physical training. Astronauts must exercise for two hours each day to counteract the detrimental effects of low gravity on the body’s skeleton and circulatory system.

COOL FACT: The state of Texas passed a piece of legislation in 1997 allowing US astronauts to vote even if they were serving a mission in space. To this day, American occupants of the ISS can “beam” down their ballots via a secure electronic system.

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Posted in Art+Science, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on October 16th, 2012

The Space Shuttle Challenger meets the Dodge Challenger, NASA’s Liberty Bell 7 meets Philly’s Liberty Bell, and the Viking Probe resembles Eric the Red. These are just a few “NASA Mashups” created by artist Doug Pedersen, in his 6 part series which matches NASA creations with their earthly equals. Via Wired:

Pedersen credits the inspiration for the series to a lifelong love of NASA and space exploration along with the resurgence of interest that surrounds Curiosity landing on Mars. “I had also just finished reading Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Space Chronicles and was probably inspired by that a bit”, he adds.

Though the overall concept is quite straightforward (pick a classic NASA spacecraft, combine it with another pop-culture icon that has the same name), Pedersen says that the devil is in the details. In particular, getting the text captions right for each diagram was tricky. “They had to be sort of funny yet relate to both the craft and pop-culture icon.” He nails it with MPG figures that include “earth orbit”, and mission objectives that add “Conquer”, “Burn”, and “Pillage” to the standard scientific fare.

Pedersen wanted to “give the pieces a feeling as though they’d been buried in some NASA file cabinet that no one had bothered to look through in decades”.  He added some aging effects and even graph lines to the artwork to give it this effect. We love his attention to detail, as well as his pairing of science + art in this project.

We’ve created a mashup of our own with genetics and art! Check out our DNA Portraits

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