How the Space Station Became a Base to Launch Humanity’s Future

from NYTs For the International Space Station, Leroy Chiao was, in a sense, there before the beginning. In October 2000, he was one of seven astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery, which brought pieces of the nascent space station to orbit. Construction had begun a couple of years earlier. But no one was living there yet. Much of the work on Dr. Chiao’s flight was done outside the space station, during spacewalks. But the astronauts also got to go inside briefly. “It had that new-car smell,” Dr. Chiao recalled. It was a runt of a space station then. The habitable […]

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Katherine Johnson Dies at 101; Mathematician Broke Barriers at NASA

from NYTs They asked Katherine Johnson for the moon, and she gave it to them. Wielding little more than a pencil, a slide rule and one of the finest mathematical minds in the country, Mrs. Johnson, who died at 101 on Monday at a retirement home in Newport News, Va., calculated the precise trajectories that would let Apollo 11 land on the moon in 1969 and, after Neil Armstrong’s history-making moonwalk, let it return to Earth. A single error, she well knew, could have dire consequences for craft and crew. Her impeccable calculations had already helped plot the successful flight […]

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Are Humans Fit for Space? A ‘Herculean’ Study Says Maybe Not

from Wired Here’s how you test your intracranial pressure in space. First, you collect baseline samples of your blood, saliva, and urine, and take ultrasound images of the vessels in your heart, neck, head, and eyes, lining up the scanning device on black dots tattooed on your body before you left Earth. Then, you clamber into the Chibis, Russian for “lapwing,” a pair of hard, corrugated-rubber pants whose waist can be sealed. The pants suck: A vacuum imitates how gravity on Earth pulls blood, mucus, the water in cells, and cerebral and lymphatic fluids from our skulls to the bottom […]

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