BTS#15: Possibilities of Life in Space Amid Bad Relationship on Earth

Show notes

Evidence for Liquid Subsurface Ocean on Enceladus

Cassini’s 2005 imaging of Enceladus’ geysers have been the subject of ongoing analysis. The geysers could simply have been caused by water being squeezed out from the moon as different ice layers move past one another. But while direct evidence of subsurface oceans remains elusive, the gravitational field reveals that the material below the ice where those geysers appeared is more dense than ice. This suggests a large body of water, and the possible source of the geysers. Suggested Reading: APOD, Interior Cross Setion [PICTURE], Science @ NASA, NASA Press Release

UrtheCast Sees First Light for new Space Station Cameras

The forward thinking start-up company UrtheCast launched two cameras to the International Space Station in November 2013. The goal was to fix them to the side of the ISS and continue image the surface of Earth as it scrolled by. The data would then be made publicly available, allowing us to observe the Earth in real-time (and HiDef). There were some issues getting everything installed, however, on 27 January 2014 those issues were resolved and the first images were taken. Suggested Reading: UrtheCast Press Release

NASA Cuts Communication with Russian Government

While NASA will continue work with Roscosmos uninterrupted, NASA has been issued an order banning any non-essential communication with the Russian government. This is in response to the tensions growing after Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. There is no immediate danger to the space partnership. Suggested Reading: NASAWatch

The 2nd HI-SEAS Mars Analog Mission has Begun

How do you prepare for a human mission to Mars? There are so many unknowns: how to keep food/water, how to manage physical health, how to mitigate radiation exposure. The list goes on. One part of that list is the pyschological effects of extended space flight. Imagine being on a small spaceship/lander with the same 5 people for months on end. How do you support a healthy work environment that is challenging, but not overwhelming; friendly but serious; safe and supportive? These last questions are the ones the Hi-SEAS (Hawaiian Space Exploration and Analog Simulation) project is attempting to answer, and they’re doing it by simulating a long duration trip in space. On the mountain of Mauna Loa in Hawaii, 6 astronauts have (voluntarily) trapped themselves in a simulated space station where they will be treated astronauts in space. Researchers will monitor the astronaut’s psychological state as they are challenged and pushed. The research will help answer questions and develop strategies that will be used on real long duration flight. Suggested Reading: D-brief article, HI-SEAS homepage