Finally watching ISS

Hi,
today I am finally going to write about my first experience watching ISS, the International Space Station. I have probably seen it before it is just that I did not realize that it is not an airplane.


ISS is a space station (biggest that humanity has) orbiting around 400 kilometers above the sea level. There is lot of interesting stuff about it but in this post, we are going to concern ourselves only with the very simple part, just seeing it.

Do not get too cocky. With naked eye, it will look like a bright star, around the magnitude of Venus at its best. It moves fast and even the best flights above your place will take maximum of about 6 minutes. From my experience, simple binoculars do not make much of a difference, though telescope could and I am yet to see how it will work out with good one, for example if I am able to track it.

Now it might not seem as much but remember, you are seeing the ISS, 150 billion $ project! The upside of it is that the station passes everyday above your place. It will always happen at sunset or sunrise, that is because the station must be sunlit but you have to be already in the shadow of Earth.

Most internet sites will recommend you the NASA webpage but it is horribly done and I will rather link to this one: http://iss.astroviewer.net/observation.php

In the case you are the type of person who uses smart phone, you can also download some app like ISS tracker.

Dragallur

Note: even though ISS will pass over 95% of the world population it has over every place pauses for many days. This is because the Earth is rotating under it and it takes some time before it comes to “phase” again.

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There is lot of garbage out there, right above your head

Hi,
no no, I do not speak about the stuff in your house, though who knows how it looks like. I mean a junk on the orbit of Earth.

Earth from space, surrounded by small white dots

Stuff above your head in low Earth orbit and geosynchronous orbit.


This stuff which is hundreds of kilometers above may not really concern you, if it falls down it should burn up in the atmosphere.

Actually it should concern you since your life almost completely depends on satellites above that are still working.

Those that are still working are at the same time endangered because of those that are not working. How bad is it?

Well on one side not so bad. No huge catastrophy happened, yet.

On the other side this is just a matter of time, the thing that should concern us most is ISS of course since there are some people there. When some things fly on those heights, they tend to do it very fast, even 17,500 miles per hours. Take for example a cat, not that there are any cats 400 kilometers above Earth, she usually weights about 4,5 kilograms. What is the momentum of the cat?

The momentum is about 126,708.75 kg*km/h. This is a lot, how much?

Yes, this is your cat which is just going to destroy something

The same momentum has a car (1,590 kilograms is regular midsize) driving at the speed of 80 kilometers per hour.

Now just imagine a car crashing into something at 80 km/h, it will do a great deal of damage and same damage can create a cat flying on orbit (or 353 cats at the speed of 80 km/h).

Luckily objects of the size of cat can be detected, but it is kind of expensive.

Just for you to know, there are 20,000 pieces of junk that is larger than softball.

Now the greatest risk is by the junk we cannot detect because it could destroy windows or so. Also the more stuff we put on the orbit, the more likely it is to collide with something.

By the way in 2007 China tried to get rid of one satellite using missile, what happened? They destroyed it adding 3,000 more pieces of debris on the orbit. WORTH A SHOT.

Right now there are only guidelines to dodge this debris but no real solution yet.

Dragallur

Check out this cool page that simulates what is flying above.

 

One year in space

Hi,
today I will write about the one year mission on International Space Station.

Journey to Mars

What needs to be done for mission on Mars. (Source)


Usually when there are astronauts on ISS they are there for half a year, conducting experiments and so on. The problem is that we do not have much data about what happens when the astronaut is away for longer time. This is a problem for long term missions on Mars and so on.

We know that bones weaken over longer periods of time because body adjust their strength to how much they are used which is not much when you are in microgravity.

Of course muscles weaken too, both of those problems are almost balanced by 2 hour workout everyday, it is not enough and the astronauts need to do some rehabilitation afterwards.


Now there is this mission called One Year in Space. There were actually people from Russia who were longer time in space their condition was not studied much. In 1st March astronauts Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko will return after one year in Space. Both of them were observed already one year before the mission and they will be observed one year after it. Scott Kelly even has a twin who is too astronaut so they will get even more information from that because they can compare their condition.

It may take a long time to get all the results since scientists have a lot of data and their saliva will still remain frozen on the board of ISS before we are able to bring it back.

Dragallur

I already mentioned one year mission in this post.