Space Exploration

From the dawn of man until very recently, humans have been Earthbound, unable to reach even the clouds – let alone space. It’s only within the last hundred years or so that the advent of manned flight and rocket ships has made the heavens attainable. In that time, we’ve sent people to the moon, rovers to Mars, and space probes deep into the reaches of our solar system. And advanced telescopes that orbit Earth and explore space are bringing even the most remote edges of the universe closer to home.

Problems We Face

  • Takeoff. Gravity’s a drag.
  • Propulsion. Our ships are way too slow.
  • Space junk. It’s a minefield up there.
  • Navigation. There’s no GPS for space.
  • Radiation. Space turns you into a bag of cancer.
  • Food & water. Mars has no supermarkets.
  • Bone & muscle wasting. Zero gravity will transform you into mush.
  • Mental health. Interplanetary voyages are a direct flight to space madness.
  • Touchdown. Crashing is not an option.
  • Resources. You can’t take a mountain of aluminum ore with you.
  • Exploration. We can’t do everything by ourselves.
  • Space is big. Warp drives don’t exist… yet.
  • There’s only one Earth. Let’s not boldly go – Let’s boldly stay.

International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS: Take a tour here) is a research laboratory in low Earth orbit. With many different partners contributing to its design and construction, this high-flying laboratory has become a symbol of cooperation in space exploration, with former competitors now working together.

The ISS Live!

While the HDEV (High Definition Earth Viewing) experiment is operational, views will typically sequence through the different cameras. If you are seeing a black image, the Space Station is on the night side of the Earth. If you are seeing an image with text displayed, the communications are switching between satellites and camera feeds are temporarily unavailable. Between camera switches, a black & gray slate will also briefly appear. The HDEV cycling of the cameras will sometimes be halted, causing the video to only show select camera feeds. This is handled by the HDEV team, and is only scheduled on a temporary basis. Nominal video will resume once the team has finished their scheduled event.

Additionally, the Live ISS Stream includes internal views when the crew is on-duty and Earth views at other times. The video is accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control and is only available when the space station is in contact with the ground. At any other time, you will see only either a black or blue screen. Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but can sometimes provide spectacular views of lightning or city lights below.

Future of Human Space Exploration

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Some people say the human species came from Mars before having settled (and thus bio-engineered life forms already here) on Earth and now intends to “return home” to Mars. Others argue, humans have evolved from single cell organisms right here on Earth and now “reach out for the stars” with Going 2 Mars possibly just being a first destination to settle on other planets.

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