Category Archives: Space Colonization

Former Nasa astronaut to replace Buzz Aldrin and deliver Cork space talk

A former Nasa astronaut who spent more than 100 days in space and completed six space walks has been chosen to deputise for space pioneer Dr Buzz Aldrin, who has had to abandon plans to deliver a lecture in Cork for medical reasons.

Dr Aldrin, the second man to step on the moon after Neil Armstrong from Apollo 11, was due to give the opening lecture as part of the International Space University’s 30th space studies progamme hosted by Cork Institute of Technology on Tuesday, June 27th.

However, Dr Aldrin (87) has had to withdraw on medical grounds and will not able to travel to Cork. His place has been taken by astronaut Dan Tani, who during a 16-year career with Nasa flew on two space missions for an accumulated 132 days during which time he performed six space walks.

Among Mr Tani’s space walks was the 100th space walk on the International Space Station, and this will be among the experiences that he will draw on when he delivers the lecture at CIT where he will discuss human space flight and the future of space exploration.

Mr Tani was born in Pennsylvania, US, and now lives in Tokyo with his Cork-born wife Jane Egan and their three children. He has previously visited Cork and spoken at the Blackrock Castle Observatory. He also served as grand marshall for Cork’s St Patrick’s Day parade in 2009.

‘Museum of Moon’

Mr Tani’s lecture at CIT will be given in front of a seven-metre Museum of Moon, an art installation by UK artist Luke Jerram, which has been brought to Cork as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival and the International Space University’s space studies programme.

According to Dr Niall Smith, head of research at CIT, who led the pitch to bring the ISU’s space studies programme to Cork, the event will attract some 320 space experts from 26 countries. It will run from June 26th to August 25th

Among the many experts are astronauts Nicole Scott, Robert Thirsk, Yi So-yeon and Jeffrey Hoffman who represent more than 30 years of international spaceflight experience and who will join with Dan Tani in a panel discussions on space exploration.

In addition to the official elements of the programme reserved for delegates, CIT and Blackrock Castle Observatory are also running an extensive public engagement programme with over 50 public events, aimed at young and old alike across Cork city and county, said Dr Smith.

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Intergalactic fun at MOTAT these holidays

Intergalactic fun at MOTAT these holidays

In a science-packed cosmic encounter that’s out of this world, MOTAT takes a closer look at modern-day space exploration when it launches its latest holiday experience from 8 to 23 July.

During the winter holidays, visitors to the Museum can experience being a rocket scientist for a day in Starbound – Mission: Solar and discover the secrets of the Sun in the newly opened exhibition, Sunlight – Ihi Kōmaru. Here they will consider the thrills and challenges of space exploration and figure out how technology could help humans colonise this vast frontier. Putting their creative skills to work, youngsters will also get to build and launch their very own air-powered rocket.

MOTAT’s Public Programmes Manager Sarah Somerville says the Museum is keen to encourage deeper thinking and conversation about what space might look like. “Could mankind be building skyscrapers and motorways on another planet one day? The possibilities are endless and we want to inspire our future innovators to explore the options and let their imaginations run wild,” she says.

Participants in Starbound – Mission: Solar will also learn more about the “Goldilocks Zone”; the area of space where a planet is just the right distance from its home star so that its surface is neither too hot nor too cold to support life. Could there be other habitable planets out there like our own Earth? Investigate this question and many others in MOTAT’s hands-on solar system activity area.

Then it’s time for a galactic journey beginning with the gas and dust of the Sun’s formation in Sunlight – Ihi Kōmaru. In this award-winning exhibition visitors take on the role of a photon as it travels through space and can test their speed against a beam of light by racing to the Moon. Discover how light is created, see how mankind harnesses the Sun’s power in everyday devices and explore what the Sun sounds like by climbing inside an inflatable replica of a star to find out.

Aglow with a galaxy of exciting science, Sunlight – Ihi Kōmaru and Starbound – Mission: Solar will keep the whole family entertained these school holidays while helping them understand the forces that sustain life on Earth – and indeed drive the entire universe.


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NASA Introduces A Batmobile Inspired Mars Rover For Its Future Red Planet Exploration

NASA's new Mars rover concept looks like a Batmobile

(Photo : Tech Insider / YouTube) Since late 2016, NASA’s privately-run Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, an unnamed cable television network, and a company that builds concept vehicles have been quietly collaborating to build a full-size rover for exploring Mars. NASA revealed the rover concept during their “Summer of Mars” event at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Little by little, NASA is making some progress on its ambitious exploration to planet Mars. Reports are spreading that they have introduced a Batmobile concept that they will use for the future Mars Rover vehicle. What does the new concept look like and what new exciting aspects does it bring?

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NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States of America that is in charge to the space program of the US government that includes aerospace and aeronautics research. For the past years, it has made many significant discovery and findings here on Earth and the outer space.

From unearthing of Earth’s bizarre archaeological sites up to the terrestrial detection of other planets in outer space, NASA has been part of those exploration and investigation. Now that the US space agency is looking for its grand voyage towards planet Mars, it is also gradually putting up the pieces to make it happen.

According to Digital Trends, it seems that NASA plan of Mars exploration is building up as they have unveiled the concept for the Mars Rover they’ll be using. The concept was actually taken from a fictional/superhero vehicle, Bruce Wayne’s design of Batmobile. Though it is surprising, the US space agency appears to be serious about it and now getting the people’s attention.

The Batmobile idea for the Mars Rover was created by the Parker Brothers Concepts, the same company who built the ‘Tumbler’ Batmobile during the Gumball 3000 rally. NASA also announced that Batmobile inspired Mars Rover will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to endorse and inform the public about their serious plan of a Mars exploration.

Daily Mail further revealed that the radical concept of the Mars Rover was already under development since late of 2016. NASA also detailed the design of the alleged Batmobile vehicle as a six-wheeled Mars Rover totally made of carbon fiber and aluminum that is solar-powered. The six wheels are measured 50 inches tall and 30 inches wide that will come with air ducts for it to easily navigate at Mars surface.

The Batmobile Mars Rovers dimensions are 28 feet long, 13 feet wide and 11 feet tall with an approximate weight of 5,000 pounds (around 2,250 kgs). Just said earlier, it will run under solar power through an electric motor with a 700-volt backup battery. NASA also designed the vehicle to accommodate four astronauts and will be having a detachable laboratory at the back section for independent research.

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SpaceX Ferries Supplies to Orbiting Station in Reused Capsule

Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. took another step in its push to drive down space-flight costs, launching a resupply mission to the International Space Station using a pre-flown capsule.

The Dragon capsule, which is carrying almost 6,000 pounds (2,720 kilograms) of supplies and payloads to the orbiting lab, was successfully launched at 5:07 p.m. Saturday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Dragon spacecraft, propelled by a Falcon 9 rocket, had previously supplied the space station in September 2014.

The mission brings Musk one step closer to his goal of recovering, refurbishing and reusing pre-flown spacecraft. Once derided as a crazy idea, reusability is now seen as the key to affordable space missions — and eventually, Musk hopes, the human colonization of Mars.

“Dragon confirmed in good orbit,” SpaceX said on Twitter 11 minutes after the launch.

The capsule will arrive at the space station in three days, where crew members will use the station’s 57.7-foot (17.6-meter) robotic arm to reach out and capture it, the company said ahead of the launch. The launch had originally been planned for June 1 but was delayed due to lightning.

After take-off, the rocket’s first stage arrived safely back on land, in the fifth such instance. The company reflew a previously used rocket for the first time in March.

Saturday’s launch marked SpaceX’s seventh completed mission of 2017 and its 11th operational cargo resupply mission to the space station. SpaceX has contracts with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration valued at $4.2 billion. The Hawthorne, California-based company also has pacts for U.S. military launches of satellites, a market estimated to be valued at about $70 billion through 2030.

Vice President Pence to Visit NASA's Johnson Space Center for Astronaut Class Announcement

WASHINGTON, June 2, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Vice President Mike Pence will visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on Wednesday, June 7, to welcome America’s newest astronaut candidates, chosen from more than 18,000 applicants to carry the torch for future human space exploration. The event will air live at 2 p.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Additionally, the Vice President will tour the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center and hear briefings on current human spaceflight operations.

Media who wish to cover the Vice President’s visit must contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 no later than 1 p.m. CDT Tuesday, June 6. Badges will be available Wednesday morning at the Johnson Security Office, Bldg. 110, adjacent to the center’s main gate off NASA Road One. Television media should plan to arrive at Johnson no later than 9 a.m. to allow time for badging. Other media should arrive at the badging office no later than 10 a.m. Transportation to events will be provided from the Bldg. 2 news center.

Media who already have requested credentials to cover the astronaut announcement event are not required to submit an additional request for the Vice President’s visit.

The new astronaut candidates could one day be performing research on the International Space Station, launching from American soil aboard spacecraft built by American companies, and traveling to the moon or even Mars with the help of NASA’s new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.

Get more information on astronaut selection and information on the candidates after their introduction at:


Your smartphone could blast you into space

You probably don’t look in the mirror when you think of an astronaut—but now your smartphone could possibly prepare you for blastoff.

Space Nation wants amateur scientists from anywhere in the universe (or at least on Earth) to prove they have what it takes to be an astronaut without ever leaving the atmosphere. You can tackle the physical, mental and social phases of its Astronaut Training Program in a series of taps and swipes. Meaning you can literally train to be an astronaut anywhere from an interminable grocery line to your sofa. The Finnish startup, whose ultimate goal is to make humans an interplanetary species, has a vision of making space exploration more egalitarian, as in doctorate not required.

We are democratizing access to the space station to do experiments,” said marketer Peter Vesterbacka, who developed the program with co-founder Kalle Vähä-Jaakkola. Their mission is to recruit “leading scientists from all over the planet to look at what kind of science we should work on, what problems we should be solving.”

This is coming from the same guy responsible for Angry Birds taking over the virtual world.

No wonder Vesterbacka and Vähä-Jaakkola were met with skepticism from scientists they asked to join the Space Nation board to determine a future agenda, but even they were soon on board with the previously alien concept. The founders are convinced that space exploration could inspire anyone to learn what they may have once thought was too far-out. Space Nation’s Astronaut Training Program involves trials in engineering, science, creative problem solving and teamwork which are designed to be much more engaging than the average textbook and just as useful on terra firma as they are in anti-gravity mode.

Prove you’re stellar enough to be a top candidate, and you will get an invite to a two-week astronaut training boot camp that is supposed to be like space camp on steroids. The whole experience will be broadcast. Whoever floats to the top as the first official Space Nation astronaut will be floating for real and conducting filmed experiments on a suborbital space flight that could launch as soon as next year. 2018 is probably wishful thinking, but it will at least take off when a commercial firm can offer a trip into orbit and possibly even beyond the moon.

Cohu Experience (the business brains behind the program), Axiom Space, Edge of Space and Finnish education company Fun Academy are making it possible for Space Nation to rocket into anyone’s living room starting this fall, so you’ll actually be doing something productive while mesmerized by your smartphone for hours.  

But first, stop playing Angry Birds.


Bag containing moon dust from Apollo 11 to be sold at auction

After being used by Armstrong to collect moon rocks, the bag was obviously considered to be a highly valuable piece of American history. The rare artifact is expected to fetch for $2 million to $4 million. “To be able to see such an object in person is a once in a lifetime opportunity”, says Cassandra Hatton, vice president and senior specialist in charge of the space exploration sale at Sotheby’s. “This transcends space exploration”.

“The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon” (Henry Holt), by Jeffrey KlugerIn The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon”, author Jeffrey Kluger takes readers inside the capsule of the Apollo 8 mission, the first one to journey to the moon and back, which paved the way for the Apollo 11 mission less than seven months later.

The bag has text which readsLunar sample return” so Ms Carlson thought (and, no doubt, hoped) it could be a unique find. After no one bid on it in three initial auctions, she bought it in February 2015.

This bag that once carried moon rocks on a NASA trip is up for auction.

Carlson sent the bag to be authenticated by the Johnson Space Center. However, once Carlson had verified that the bag was, in fact, used by Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, NASA sought to have the sale reversed and the bag returned to the agency.

A legal battle ensued with NASA losing the fight and a U.S. judge ordering the agency its return it to owner Carlson earlier this year. Before going up for auction the bag belonged to Max Ary of the Kansas Cosmosphere museum; he was convicted of stealing such interstellar objects and putting them up for sale, and when several of his possessions were seized by the government, the moon bag was among them but was mixed up with another bag lacking the treasured dust.

Many other souvenirs from the Apollo 11 moon-landing mission, including the command module, are on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. It contains remnants of moon dust.

But NASA does have a policy in which it doesn’t allow anyone to own any part of the moon and I guess Carlson now technically owns the tiniest bit of the moon.

NASA argued that it had never authorized the transfer of the bag, but Carlson disagreed and after a lengthy legal battle, the courts ruled in ruled her favor.

So despite the Indiana Jones-esque frustration of NASA officials, the bag will be sold on July 20, the 48th anniversary of the moment Armstrong first set foot on the moon.