Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts

Video: This is the Spacecraft that Will Take Passengers to the Moon Next Year

Easier this week it was announced that Space X would send two private citizens to the moon next year aboard its Dragon 2 space capsule. If you'd like to see what that vehicle looks like, the animated clip below gives you an idea. The two minute video was made back in 2014 when the Dragon 2 was first revealed. Since then, it has been used to shuttle supplies to the International Space Station, but the planned mission to orbit the moon in 2018 will be the first time it has been used beyond Earth's orbit. Not much is known about the mission just yet, so it will be interesting to learn not only who the private (paying) astronauts are, but when they will make the flight. And for the record, I'm still skeptical that this will happen next year, but I'm ready for commercial spaceflight to truly take off.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin Evacuated From the South Pole

The legendary Buzz Aldrin is reportedly resting comfortably and recovering in a New Zealand hospital today after being evacuated from the South Pole yesterday for medical reasons. The 86-year old former astronaut and second man to walk on the moon, had been visiting Antarctica as a tourist when he took ill.

Aldrin was traveling with White Desert luxury tours and had hoped to visit the South Pole research station while in the Antarctic. Fortunately, he did make it to 90ºS before he became ill. Doctors say that he began collecting fluid in his lungs, which prompted the evacuation. While he is being kept in the hospital for observation, he is said to be doing fine and should have a full recovery.

Despite his age, Aldrin continues to be very active, and is a tireless advocate for exploration – particularly in space. He has been a major supporter of plans to go to Mars, and has spoken frequently about the importance of continuing to push boundaries beyond our own planet. He recently visited NASA for the unveiling of a new astronaut exhibit at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, before he left for Cape Town, South Africa to join the White Desert tour.

On November 28, Buzz and the rest of the group he was traveling with set out for the frozen continent on an itinerary that was expected to last about a week. But Aldrin took ill during the journey, with his condition getting worse as he reached the Pole. Once there, the decision was made to evacuate the moonwalker, and a specially equipped LC-130 aircraft was dispatched to fly him back to the coast where he caught another flight to New Zealand where he is now recovering.

I've always been a big admirer of Buzz Aldrin. Sure, Neil Armstrong got all the credit for being the first man to walk on the moon, but Buzz was only a couple of steps behind him. On top of that, Armstrong retreated from public life, seldom making appearances in his later years before passing away in 2012. But Buzz has always been a larger than life figure who isn't afraid to speak his mind or tell you his thoughts on any subject. He has used his position in the public eye to promote science and education, and has remained a staunch supporter of exploration in all its forms. Even now, at the age of 86, when most people are looking to slow down, he's still traveling to remote places on our planet. I hope that when I reach his age, I'm still half as active and vital as he is.

Get well soon Buzz. We're not ready to say goodbye to you for a very long time yet.

Video: The Last Steps - Man's Final Journey to the Moon

We all know who the first man to walk on the moon was, but do you know who was last to take steps on Earth's closest celestial neighbor? That would be Gene Cernan, who was a part of the Apollo 17 mission. Cernan was joined by Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt on that historic journey, and this video tells their story. The three-man crew launched on December 7, 1972 and were the last explorers to leave Earth orbit and go to the moon. It was the end of an era, and we have yet to repeat anything like it in space. This is a wonderful short film about that mission and what it was like to travel through space four decades ago.

The Last Steps | A Really Great Big Story from Great Big Story on Vimeo.

Video: Take a Stunning Tour of the International Space Station

Most of us will never see the inside of the International Space Station. It just isn't in the cards. Thankfully, we have amazing videos like this one, which take us on a grand tour of that orbital apartment for astronauts. In this clip, you'll slowly drift through one of the most impressive feats of engineering ever created, and you'll get a first hand look at the various modules the make up the ISS. Set to some very tranquil music, this tour is relaxing to watch, so sit back, get comfortable, set the video to "full scree" and enjoy.

Elon Musk Unveils Ambitious Plans to Colonize Mars

Yesterday was an interesting day for those of us who dream about space travel. Thats because Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk unveiled his plans for the future, which include sending humans to Mars within a decade and establishing a colony on the Red Planet before the end of the century.

Musk took the stage at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico to share his vision of where SpaceX – and manned space travel – is headed in the years to come. It was an ambitious one to say the least.

Getting to Mars will involve a multi-stage rocket not unlike the Falcon 9 that Space X is currently using, although much larger in size. A second stage booster will help catapult the so called "interplanetary module" – which could carry as many as 100 people – out of orbit and on towards its eventual destination on Mars. Other booster rockets could also be placed in orbit for future use, allowing the module to refuel and make multiple journeys throughout the solar system. For Musk, Mars isn't the only place he sees humans eventually heading.

For the visionary billionaire this isn't just some frivolous ego project. He sees the potential future of the human race on the line. He said the human race now faces two different paths. “One is that we stay on Earth forever and then there will be an inevitable extinction event. The alternative is to become a spacefaring civilization, and a multi-planetary species.”

Musk says that he believes manned mission to Mars could begin as early as 2022, which is sooner than his previous estimates had indicated. SpaceX is dedicated towards building and testing the rockets and other technology that will allow that to happen, but he admits there are some big obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is cost. Musk says he estimates that it will currently cost about $10 billion per person for a manned flight to Earth's neighbor. Where the funding will come from to pay for such a journey remains a bit of a mystery.

SpaceX has made significant inroads in the commercial space industry, but it hasn't come without setbacks. The company has seen its reusable rockets crash miserably in some of its tests, and a recent explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket on a launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida has left some wondering about the reliability of its equipment. Still, the technical team has been able to stick the landing of the rocket with more regularity in recent months, and the company is working out the problems that caused the malfunction that destroyed a $100 million satellite that was in its cargo hold.

As someone who would love to have the opportunity to travel in space, Musk's plans sound very exciting. I'm glad someone – anyone – is pushing forward with a space program in a time when NASA seems hamstrung by budget issues and societal pressures to stay grounded on Earth. But sending a crew to Mars in just six years sounds awfully optimistic to me, especially when you consider SpaceX hasn't had a manned launch of any kind just yet. I'd love to be proven wrong, and I would be the last person to bet against Elon Musk, but I believe we are a lot further away from going to Mars than this plan would indicate.

That said, I'm ready to sign up when Elon calls.

Video: The Earth in Ultra High Definition

This is another short, but oh-so sweet, video that has to be seen to be believed. It was shot from the International Space Station using an ultra-high def video camera. The result is some stunning shots of our planet captured at 4k resolutions. The Earth never looked so good.

Men's Journal Looks at the 24 Greatest Feats of 2015

As the final days of the year slip off the calendar, it is a good time to look back and reflect on some of the things that happened in 2015. As usual, it was a busy year, filled with great stories of exploration and adventure. So many in fact, that you sometimes forget everything that happened. Fortunately for us, Men's Journal has put together a great little slideshow highlighting the 24 Greatest Feats of the past year.

Some of the amazing accomplishments that earned a spot on this list include the first winter crossing of the PCT, the longest time spent in space by an American, and Freya Hoffmeister's circumnavigation of South America in a kayak. Scott Jurek's speed record on the Appalachian Trail gets a nod as well, as does Dani Arnold's new speed record on the Matterhorn.

I won't spoil all of the entires on the list, but I will say paging through the MJ slideshow is a bit like taking a walk down memory lane. It reminded me of so many great things that happened this year, a lot off which we covered right here on The Adventure Blog.

For my money, the greatest feat of 2015 occurred all the way back in January. That's when Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson completed the first free climb of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite. For a brief time, the world was transfixed by a pair of rock climbers taking on the hardest big wall on the planet, and they did not disappoint. It was an amazing way to start the year, and it still stands as one of the most impressive climbing accomplishments ever.

With 2015 quickly fading away, now is a good time to look back on these great adventures, before e start looking ahead to those that will come in 2016. It was a great year. Here's to many more!

Video: The View From Space - An Astronaut's Perspective

Yesterday I posted a story about how NASA is now accepting applications for the next class of astronaut candidates. In case you needed some incentive as to why this is such an enticing job, we have this video to offer as visual proof. It was creating using footage of our planet that was captured from the International Space Station. As you'll see, the shots are simply incredible, giving us a perspective of our home that few of us ever get the chance to see. The clip is also narrated by astronauts who have served aboard the ISS, sharing their perspective on what it is like to look out the window and see the Pale Blue Dot from orbit.

The View From Space: An Astronaut's Perspective from The Royal Institution on Vimeo.

NASA is Now Accepting Applications for Astronauts!

Have you always dreamed of becoming an astronaut? Do you see traveling through space  as the ultimate adventure? Well, today just might be your lucky day, because for the first time in more than four years, NASA has begun taking applications for prospective astronauts to join the U.S. space program, potentially making a lifelong dream come true for a few lucky people.

You can read the full job description – and start the application process – by clicking here. As you can imagine, there is a lot of interesting information to be found there. For instance, did you know that the salary range for an astronaut candidate is between $66,026.00 and $144,566.00 per year? And of course, the "openings" for this position are in Houston, Texas, which may be viewed as a downside of this job. Still, if accepted you could be in line to go into space and potentially live aboard the International Space Station or take part in another manned mission at some point.

The application indicates that there are now more manned spacecraft in development in the U.S. than at any other time in history. In fact, astronaut candidates could travel not just on the ISS, but two commercially developed spacecraft, as well as NASA's very own Orion deep-space exploration vehicle which could one day take us to Mars.

Obviously the competition for the few astronaut positions that are open will be tough, and the vast majority of us have no chance. But, you never know what kind of people NASA will be looking for to take part in the next phase of manned space flight. Those with backgrounds in science will obviously be best suited for the job, but those with experience in technology, aviation, exercise physiology, and nursing are also encouraged to apply.

There is a lot more to the job description and application process, so if you're interested, I'd encourage you to read more about the requirements. Even if you know you're not bound for space, it still makes for an interesting read.

Video: Searching for Meteorites in Antarctica

We follow the Antarctic exploration season pretty closely here at The Adventure Blog, watching as adventurers ski to the South Pole or climb Mt. Vinson in particular. But, there are a lot of other things happening on the frozen continent each year, including some important research projects. Case in point, int his video from the Los Alamos National Lab, we learn about an expedition to the Antarctic that is going in search of meteorites. The frozen landscape of region makes it much easier to locate these chunks of rock from space, allowing scientists to study materials from other parts of our solar system.

This clip is the first in a new series of vides from the Lab which will present a science lesson in just 60 seconds. It should be interesting to see what else they have for us in future episodes.

The International Space Station Celebrates 15 Years of Exploration

Earlier this week the International Space Station (ISS), celebrated an important milestone. It was 15 years ago to the day that the orbiting science lab first went into operation, launching a new era of exploration and cooperation in space. Up until the ISS, space was just another place for the Cold War to continue, and the U.S. and Russia to square off against one another. But the space station was a place that was built to welcome everyone, and as a result five different space agencies have contributed to its construction and maintenance, and astronauts from 17 different nations have spent time aboard the station.

Construction of the ISS began back in 1998, with various stages being launched into orbit, or delivered there directly by the NASA's Space Shuttle. When it was completed, it became the largest man-made object in orbit, and it can often be spotted with the naked eye from the ground.

The ISS officially opened for business on November 2, 2000. That was when it was manned for the first time. Since than, it has been continuously occupied by scientists, researchers, and explorers, with a wide array of experiments taking place within its confines.

In an age when many people wonder why we spend any money on space exploration at all, the ISS has been a resounding success, not only for its scientific breakthroughs, but its demonstration of international cooperation as well. I am one of those people who supports NASA and future ventures into space whole heartedly, and see the space station as a launching pad of things to come. Hopefully that means an eventual return to the moon, and than on to Mars as well.

Human beings are natural explorers at heart, and while there are still plenty of things to discover right here on our home planet, the stars beckon as well. One day we'll go there, and we'll look back on these first 15 years of the ISS as a small – but important – stepping stone towards leaving Earth behind and setting out to explore new worlds. That might not happen in my lifetime, but it is comforting to know that future explorers will continue the legacy that we've set down for them.

So, with 15 years of service already complete, I salute the ISS and the men and women who have made it possible Here's to many more years of scientific advances and exploration.

Video: Building a Model of the Solar System to Scale

Want to get a sense of our place in the Universe? Than check out this video, which features a group of friends who traveled into the desert in Nevada to build a model of the solar system to scale. To accomplish this task, the project needed a lot of space. In fact, it needed 7 miles (11.3 km) to create this model. As you'll see in this clip, it truly gives a sense of scale for our solar system alone, and just how small we are in the grand scheme of things.

To Scale: The Solar System from Wylie Overstreet on Vimeo.

Video: A GoPro Camera Falls From Orbit

Recently the private space firm SpaceX conducted a test of its new Falcon 9 rocket, sending it into orbit high above the Earth. By most accounts it was a successful flight, potentially opening the door for a new era of commercial space flight. During that test a GoPro camera was attached to one of the rockets farings, and it managed to capture some amazing footage as it fell back to Earth. The video below is a sample of that footage, which is oddly tranquil, especially when set to the music of the Blue Danube by Johann Strauss.

Video: The Pale Blue Dot

Want to take a humbling look at our place in the Universe? Than watch this 4 minute animated clip which features Carl Sagan's famous "Pale Blue Dot" speech set to a series of images that help put his words into stirring context. Our planet is a small one, and really just a very insignificant place in the wide Universe. And yet, we still continue to have a hard time rising above our petty differences and just finding a way to get along. Sagan's words echo that sentiment so eloquently, and they hold as much meaning now as they did when he first wrote them more than 20 years ago. This Pale Blue Dot is our home, perhaps someday we'll all find a way to share it.

Pale Blue Dot from Chin Li Zhi on Vimeo.

Video: Astronaut Takes a GoPro on a Spacewalk

Over the years we've seen the tiny and ubiquitous GoPro camera go just about everywhere. But in this video it takes us some place we have seldom seen in the past. Astronaut Terry Virts wore a GoPro camera when he went for a spacewalk, and as you can imagine the video he captured was pretty spectacular. Take a peek at what it is like to step outside the International Space Station, and go to work 250 miles above the Earth. I'm sure the view was exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time.

Video: Stunning Views of Earth From the International Space Station

The International Space Station whizzes by 258 miles (416 km) above us, giving the lucky crew onboard unprecedented views of our planet. Some of those views are captured in this fascinating video, which shares what it is like to view the Earth from orbit. As you can imagine, it is quite a sight, and this "Blue Marble" continues to be a source of beauty and life for us all. This is a great way to end the week. I hope you enjoy these three minutes of shots from space.

Stunning Views of Earth From Space from The New York Times - Video on Vimeo.

Video: Danny MacAskill's Solar Eclipse Ride

For last week's total solar eclipse in Europe famed mountain bike rider Danny MacAskill traveled to his homeland on the Isle of Skye in Scotland to take his bike for a spin just as the moon was covering the sun. The video below chronicles that journey – and that ride – in epic fashion, wish some amazing shots of the island, as well as Danny's usual escapades on the trails there. If you've seen any of his other mountain biking films, you know what to expect here, and as usual Danny delivers in spades.

Video: Total Solar Eclipse from Spitsbergen, Norway

Yesterday we had a fun little video of a snowboarder enjoying some time in the backcountry of Norway while the total solar eclipse occurred last week. Today, we get a wonderful timelapse video of that phenomenon that was shot above the Arctic Circle in that same country in Spitsbergen region. This short clip – less than two minutes in length – gives us a wonderful view of the eclipse in a fantastic setting. Enjoy!

Total Solar Eclipse, March 20, 2015 - Spitsbergen, Arctic from Witek Kaszkin on Vimeo.

Video: Snowboarding in a Total Solar Eclipse

As I'm sure many of you know, last Friday a total solar eclipse occurred over Europe, bringing some unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for those who had the opportunity to witness it. In this video, one adventurous person trekked out into a remote region of Svalbard in Norway to capture the eclipse on video and then snowboard down a mountain while it was still taking place. His excitement over what he is seeing is endearing to say the least, and the landscape that he chose to shoot his video in is spectacular. This is a great example of someone taking advantage of the moment and creating a wonderful adventure for himself. One that he'll remember throughout his lifetime.

Solar Eclipse Svalbard from stian aadland on Vimeo.

Video: Riding Light

The speed of light is about 186,000 miles per second. That seems incredibly fast, and when compared to our day-to-day reference points, it definitely is. But when you think about how vast the universe is it becomes fairly evident that it isn't nearly fast enough. This video puts that into perspective in an amazing way, showing us just how fast the speed of light is relative to distances in our own solar system. It requires a bit of patience, but it takes us on a ride from the sun out to Jupiter at the speed of light in what is essentially real-time.

Riding Light from Alphonse Swinehart on Vimeo.