From the imagination of Ray Bradbury to the front pages of our newspapers, the prospect of traversing vast reaches of space and seeing Mars firsthand has long inhabited and excited the idealistic public consciousness. However, our recent talk with psychiatrist Mathias Basner revealed that the odyssey comes with a number of physiological costs. Here are some of the most prominent known bodily effects of long-term space travel:
If you think it’s difficult to get enough sleep in an age of 24 hours news cycles and the allure of Facebook surfing, consider how hard it must be without the sun…or gravity. The first of many studies on the Mars500 Project have been released, and it documented the sleeping habits of five men isolated on earth for 520 days.
Our conversation today about our genetic wanderlust got us thinking about the interstellar urge to roam. Luckily, the Dutch-based Mars One is planning the first human trip to Mars in 2023. If you have ten years to spare—and are resilient, adaptable, trusting, curious, creative, and resourceful—you may be the ideal candidate. Before you rush to fill out your application, consider these cinematic warnings about space travel. Because everything that can go wrong in outer space, will go wrong. Yeah, Murphy's Law is intergalactic.
Three mice have returned home from ninety-one days aboard the international space station. The trip was the longest in space for any animal besides humans.Jessica Hamzelou wrote about what these intrepid space mice reveal about how space travel and zero gravity affect physiology for New ScientistMagazine and joins us now to go over the results.
Astronomy is one of those fields where it just doesn’t pay to procrastinate. The last time Earthlings could spot the planet Venus crossing the yellow disk of the sun was in 2004. But if you don’t take a look this time around, here’s when you’ll get your next opportunity: December 10th of 2117.
The Seattle Space Needle's 50th anniversary is Saturday. Though the top of the Needle has been off-white for years, it's being painted its original color, "galaxy gold," for the anniversary.
Credit Martin Kaste / NPR
The sculpture on Peter Steinbrueck's desk belonged to his father. The dancer figure, with its arms skyward, served as inspiration for the Space Needle's design.
Credit Courtesy of The Seattle Public Library
Preliminary design of the Seattle Space Needle for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair Exhibition. Victor Steinbrueck did the original drawing in August 1960.
Credit Anthony Bolante / Reuters/Landov
Jeff Wright (center), whose family owns the Space Needle, starts the repainting of the iconic structure on Tuesday with his 15-year-old daughter, Mauren, and Space Needle board member Stuart Rolfe. The new color is the original color, dubbed "galaxy gold."
Seattle's Space Needle turns 50 on Saturday. Originally built as a tourist attraction for the city's 1962 World's Fair, the structure was meant to evoke the future. Now the future is here, and the Needle has become the city's favorite antique.
Peter Steinbrueck traces the tower's lineage to an abstract sculpture that sits in his office. Steinbrueck is an architect and former City Council member, and the sculpture used to belong to his father, Victor, also an architect.
The space shuttle Discovery is loaded onto the back of a modified 747 at Kennedy Space Center on April 15. The plane will ferry the shuttle to Washington, D.C., on April 17, where it will be permanently installed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
On Tuesday morning, space shuttle Discovery will become the first of NASA's three shuttles — plus a shuttle prototype — to travel to its new retirement home.
NASA flew its last shuttle flight in July. Since then, it's been prepping the spaceships to become museum displays. And even though the shuttles are headed to places like Los Angeles and New York rather than the space station, figuring out how to get them there has still been a major undertaking.
The last lunar eclipse of 2011 as seen from the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles on Dec 10, 2011.
Credit Institute for Astronomy / University of Hawaii
The squiggly lines on this image show the path of a simulated minimoon that is temporarily captured by Earth. The asteroid in the corner of the image, 1999 JM8, is nearly 2 miles across and more than 1,000 times larger than the minimoons.
There's a small spacecraft called Messenger that's been orbiting the planet Mercury for a year. Today, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, astronomers revealed what they've learned about the innermost planet in our solar system, and some of the new knowledge is puzzling.
Maria Zuber, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studied a large crater 900 miles across called Caloris.
Russia's unmanned Progress space freighter, headed for the International Space Station, blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Oct. 30, 2011. A string of mission failures has raised concerns over the reliability of Russia's space program.
Credit Daniil Tomilov / Xinhua /Landov
A Russian satellite is displayed at the Memorial Space Museum in Moscow. Russia's once proud space program is now struggling.
Credit Shamil Zhumatov / AFP/Getty Images
Russia's space agency ground personnel check a Soyuz TMA-02 capsule after its landing near the town of Arkalyk in northern Kazakhstan, on Nov. 22, 2011. The next Soyuz launch, to send a relief crew to the International Space Station, is scheduled for May 15.