Isolation for long space missions

Hi,
so I was watching Michael Stevens’s first and only free episode of Mind Field where he was talking about isolation. He mentioned that there were experiments of people in closed systems to test how body and mind reacts to long term isolation.


In 1989 Stefania Follini was for 130 days in a cave without any visitors, she could only communicate via “internet”. She also had books to read and some small animals like mice. Her menstruation stopped at some point, she slept for about 10 hours and was awake for 20-25! Also during the visit she lost 7.7 kilograms. This is not the longest isolation at all.

NASA also did in the last few years isolation of 6 people for 8 and later 12 months. This was to test the team work of the people since they were closed together cabin fever showed up, but they did not have to cancel the mission. In 2007 Russians did experiment called Mars 500 where six males stayed together for even longet rime, 520 days, only artificial light as before, they brought with them books and games or dvds but they had limited connection with outside world.

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/hiseasgroup-uhi.jpg

Eight months in “cabin” (project HI-SEAS)

Michael Stevens on the other hand spent “only” 3 days in isolation, but it was a bit different. He was in soundproof small room with white walls, white and black bottles with food and water, sink and toilet. This had dramatically different effects. He had halucinations and could not really tell apart dream from reality, also at one point he was counting bottles and counted 6 instead of 9 😀

What are such experiments for? You want to know what happens to body if it is thrown out of its rhytm and mind too. When we are finally able to get to Mars we need people that are capable of staying in small spaceship for months and months.

Dragallur

What is going up on Mars?

Hi,
while thinking about today’s topic I find some random stuff and decided to share it with you. So here you go, new exoplanets, tsunami on Mars, good view on Mars and SpaceX announcement.

Artist’s impression of exoplanet.


Thanks to new statistical method there were 1,284 exoplanets confirmed[1].
This is biggest number ever in one shot. There is of course lot of data form Kepler which observes stars for those exoplanets. You can not be sure always if what you saw was really exoplanet so you need more data. When uncertainity is below 1%, it is officially agreed that the planet is there. With this new method, lot of those uncertainities went below 1% so yes they were “discovered”. Other data was “thrown away” because the percentage went lower and generally this was nice breakthrough.[2]

For long time it was thought that Mars’s terrain was shaped by its ocean that later on evaporated. But the shoreline would be graduall which is not what we observe, rather exact opposite with many geological features along it. These features could rather be explained by huge tsunamis that were formed by asteroid impacts.

Also Mars is going to be these weeks in oposition to Sun and basically really close to Earth, on about 1/2 of AU. The closest it could be would be about 1/3 of AU because its orbit is kind of excentric. If you want to see it well, just take a telescope and with good one you should be able to see even some of its geological features. If you get to see (if it is possible for normal people) Olympus Mons, say hello from me 😉

After SpaceX landed second time on the barge, Elon Musk stated that they want to land on Mars in the year of 2018, which is in two years! They have really lot of work to do so lets see where they will be in that time! (Read more here on the blog of Phil Plait)

Dragallur

[1]Exoplanets are planets that orbit around other stars.
[2]From the data we also know that 550 are probably rocky and 21 are in habitable zone.

Receding planets

Hi,
today I will continue with short post because I have a lot of work to do for my 15 page essay.


When you are watching planets they travel along some predictable paths which from the view of whole Solar System are ellipses. If you measure where they are on the sky you must do it relative to something. Usually you will use stars that is because ground is too far away and it would be inaccurate (too far away in degrees).

So you measure the planet’s position every day and then strange thing happens, the planet goes back and weeks later it returns back to its original pathway, what happened?

This movement is called retrograde – backwards motion. Of course nothing like that happens simply because there is nothing to cause it.
It would take about this force to actually stop Mars in one second: 15,453,822,450,000,000,000,000,000.

T is Earth, P is planet which we observe, A is the projection on celestial sphere.

The picture above should explain you what happened here. The thing is that we orbit faster than Mars. The picture that we see A1-A5 is the projection on the background, also called celestial sphere.

The same thing happens when you are driving on highway and there is truck ahead of you. As you catch up, the truck moves relatively to objects that are very far away. At one point as you drive around the truck you may not even see them and then suddenly the truck seems to be behind the far away stuff that you watched but the truck was moving the same way all the time.

This was a huge problem for astronomers. First they made various epicycles on epicycles to explain this strange movement and it took Copernicus to show that it is just an optical illusion.

Dragallur

 

 

 

Space NEWS #4

Hi,
last time in Space NEWS I was writing about SLS, the Space Launch System. Today I will add some more stuff because NASA finished simulations of booster separation.


So first, those boosters are those things you can see on the right. They are Two Space Shuttle SRBs on the Crawler transporter.jpgthe first part of rocket to be used up when its launched. The problem is that something can happen when they are separeted from the rest of rocket (the separation must be precise so it wont move with the rest of the rocket).

There had to be about 22,000 different simulations to see if everything is ok. Those simulations were made by the supercomputer Pleiadas (like the constellation). Each simulation took about 200 hours and together with some other simulations it took 12.7 million hours Simulating SLS Booster Separationto complete it (there were also overflow more precise simulations. Each of them took 20,000 hours and there was almost 400 of them). Omg really? On the left is one of those simulations. The violet, red and orange thing is the shockwave. On the end you can see the separation of boosters.

Dragallur
EDIT: Those 12.7 million hours were divided between 400 Intel Xeon Nodes, otherwise it would take over half a million days to complete it.

Pictures from: https://www.nasa.gov/ames/image-feature/simulation-sls-booster-separation AND “Two Space Shuttle SRBs on the Crawler transporter” by Photo credit: NASA/Ben Cooper – http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/detail.cfm?mediaid=49261. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Two_Space_Shuttle_SRBs_on_the_Crawler_transporter.jpg#/media/File:Two_Space_Shuttle_SRBs_on_the_Crawler_transporter.jpg

Space NEWS #3

Hi,
today I am bringing third space news. This time I will talk about journey to mars and especially SLS the Space Launch System.


Ok it is planned. What? The journey to Mars. But sorry guys I can not tell you exactly when, actually noone know but it is planned by NASA to about 2030. Damn so far away, anyway I am looking forward to see faces of those none believers of moon landing when we will land on Mars.

So there is lot of stuff scientists have to do. There are many issues that need to be solved, and yes right we dont know how fast we can solve them.
But today I want to mention the SLS. Because Saturn V which was the rocket that took us to the Moon is not strong enough and not modern enough we need something better which will be lighter, faster, with more space for stuff to carry and still not too large.
The main problem with older rockets was that more than 90% of the weight was fuel which is not something that NASA wants to repeat, rather they are working on some new technologies.
For example almost one year ago in December NASA tested Orion spacecraft which will on top of SLS carry astronauts to Mars some day. Orion orbited succesfully Earth two times.
Lot of stuff is happening around journey to mars so I will try to update on this topic.

Dragallur
Picture thanks to NASA.
PS: hope those guys in wordpress will return the function “link to existing content” because right now it is pretty anoying to find every post I want to link to on my blog

Moons of our Solar System: Deimos

Hi,
today I will write about even smaller moon than Phobos. This time it is Deimos, again named after kid of Ares (Mars) and Aphrodite (Venus). Deimos was the god of terror/panic/dread. Radius of Deimos is 6.2 kilometers which is almost half of Phobos. This guy was also found by Asaph Hall but 6 days earlier than Phobos.

Deimos is even farther away from his father. When we would watch him from Mars´s surface we would see just a small point and in full Moon he would be bright about as Venus from our point of view, otherwise he could look like ordinary star.

On the GIF you can see Deimos hiding behind much larger Phobos. Its surface should be similar to his brother´s but instead it is much smoother which is made by “sand” which smooths everything out over time.

Martian Moon Deimos in High Resolution

There are only two features named and those are craters Swift and Voltaire named after writers who speculated about moons around Mars even before anybody new they are there.

Its original is not really sure. Usually you will find that Jupiter´s gravitation threw both moons toward Mars and he caught them (this would one reason for so circular orbits of both moons) but most likely they are his kids anyway.

And again his escape velocity is 20.16km/h so if you can run 50 meters in less than 8 seconds you will be able to left him… if it would work like this.

Dragallur

If you have not read about Phobos yet, you should!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deimos_(moon)
http://mars.nasa.gov/allaboutmars/extreme/moons/deimos/
http://www.seasky.org/solar-system/mars-deimos.html

Moons of our Solar System: Phobos

Hi,
today I will write about second moon. This time it is Phobos, the bigger of the two moons of Mars.
His name comes from the son of Ares (Mars) and Aphrodite (Venus). Phobos is really strange, he orbits closer to its planet than any other moon. Every year it is closer by 2 meters so one day, about 50 million years in the future Phobos will either crush onto Mars' Moon Phobos
Mars´s surface or he will be ripped by tidal forces so only ring will be left of him.

Phobos was found in the year of 1877 by Asaph Hall. His surface is one of the darkest of any object in our Solar System (this picture has enhanced colors). There are lot of craters and the biggest has almost the same diameter as whole Phobos. You can see it on the right of the picture and it is called Stickney crater after Asaph´s wife. Temperatures can go from -4°C to -112°C.

Phobos has too low gravity so he could not round himself, that is why he looks as potato. Escape velocity from his surface is 41km/h which means that Usain Bolt would be able to run into space on his own feet. The gravity is 0.000581 of gravity on Earth.

Phobos is small but even than he weights about  10,658,529,896,187,200 kg (or 10.6 quadrillion).

One more strange thing about him is that he is orbiting faster than Mars turns around his axis so he can be seen thrice a day rising from west and setting east.

Dragallur

PS: thanks for those who are reading my blog, I have written 50 posts already!

Planets of our Solar System: Mars

Hi,
today I am getting to fourth planet of Solar System since I skipped Earth.
It is Mars, The Red Planet.

Mars is very pretty planet. There are actually nice conditions, really the best for us if we are not counting Earth of course. This makes Mars very kind of nice for research and everything.
We are able to see him in the morning below Venus but it is not really bright. Still if you have good eye you may be able to see the reddish color of its surface, I will get later to it.

Mars orbits 1,52 AU from the Sun. The difference between closest and furthest distance from our star is over 40.000 km compared to Mercury´s 23.000 km and Jupiter´s 76.000 km.

You wont get overheated very much on its surface, there is average temperature about -60°C. Surface color is red, right you guessed it and it because of iron oxide (hematite). It Mars map scale-coloured.pngMapa Marsualso makes sense that people named it Mars, after roman god of war (Greek version is
Ares).

There are two main things about physical geography “up” there. Some time in the past Mars collided with huge rock
which made crater over whole north part. Same on the Moon, lava could easily bubble up through thin crust and smooth everything out (as a proof you can see it on the picture). While on the south there are lot of impact craters.

When you see this map immediately your eye moves to huge red spot on the right, those are mountains, actually volcanoes with tallest mountain in the whole Solar System: Olympus Moons which is 27 km tall with surface area about the size of France. This one and also other volcanoes were made when tectonics of Mars were still active.

Really cool thing is in the middle of map, such a small blue line cutting few kilometers to earth. It is Vales Marineris (picture is from Celestia).
This canyon is crack which was made when the crust was cooling. It is 4000 km long, 200 km wide and 7 km deep.

Water on Mars
You have probably heard of it and I will make sure to make separate post about it.
So yes, NASA found liquid water on Mars. Problem is that it is full of soil so you can call it water, yes but it is more kind of mud which is flowing from season to season with its low freezing temperature. There are also polar ice caps on the poles with little water on them and mostly dry ice (CO2).

Even that Mars has atmosphere, it is extremely week and when it is winter on Mars one third of it is in solid form on surface.
Scientists are sure that there was liquid water before (even oceans) but it evaporated and solar winds blew it away because Mars´s gravity was not strong enough to hold it (Mars has only 0,3G).

Mars has two moons but I will talk about them in different episode since I made this: “Moons of our Solar System” thing.

Dragallur

I also wrote about visiting of Mars

Previous post about Mercury
Previous post about Venus

Why won´t we visit Mars?

Hi guys!
Because yesterday I saw movie Interstellar I have got an idea! Lets write something about space traveling!

Btw. Interstellar is really awesome movie and I highly recommend you to watch. There are some things that does not make any sense but whole movie is really great, and long (165 minutes).

So, there are some plans to visit Mars (with people), maybe you already heard about it.
First of all: Why should we visit it?
1) Prestige, country which would create this expedition would gain prestige, like with Apollo 11 mission
2) Science, we would gain lot of informations about Mars if people would stay there
Second of all: What are the problems?
1) Radiation, because astronauts would not have ozon layer like on ISS they would get huge amount of radiation from Sun. We would need probably some amazing material or faster plane.
2) Energy, Mars is far away.. which means that you need lot of energy. Yes satelites can get there with solar panels but humans would get too much radiation from that time in space.
3) Food, for half a year there needs to be lot of food for those people.

As you can see problem 1,3 could be solved by faster plane… which would probably rise problem 2.. we would not be able to store so much energy considered to reasonable amount of space.
For me, I would quess that It will take more than 70 years to get somebody to another planet.

If you can come up with another idea, feel free to share it down below in the comments.
Dragallur