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Space Travel


— Space

Lunar detour could lighten the launch load for manned missions to Mars

Early last year, researchers at MIT floated the idea of "gas stations" in space that have the potential to cut the costs of future missions to the Moon considerably. Now a new study out of MIT says that, although possibly a little out of the way, the Moon would make a worthwhile refueling pit stop for manned missions to Mars by reducing the mass of a launch from Earth by 68 percent.

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— Space

Self-healing material could plug holes in space ships

As the movies have shown us, space travel is an intimidating prospect, what with the possibilities of running out of air, the rocket engines conking out, or the shipboard computer deciding to bump off the crew. Another danger is fast-flying orbital debris piercing the hull. Scientists may be on their way to a solution to that one, however, in the form of a new self-healing material.

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— Space

Designing a rover to mine for water on Mars

Should we ever want to set up any sort of base or colony on Mars, it's inevitably going to require water to support life, but transporting enough liquids to the Red Planet is likely to be impractical. With NASA and others planning manned Mars missions, a team based in Singapore is already working on a specialized Martian rover that could be used to "mine" for water below the planet's crimson surface.

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— Space

One-Year Mission to launch first joint extended stay aboard the ISS

Most missions to the International Space Station range from 160 to 180 days, but this month Russia and NASA will launch a joint year-long mission designed to more fully test the stress of space travel on the human body. ISS veterans Scott Kelly (US) and Mikhail Kornienko (Russia) have been training for two years for this daunting mission, culminating in departure slated for March 27, 2015, 3:42 p.m. EST. from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome. Read More
— Space

Portland State University creates zero-g espresso cups for space

Space travel is a bit more civilized now that there's a bespoke Italian espresso machine aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Unfortunately, solving one problem just raises another and the astronauts are still having to drink their cappuccinos out of placcy bags. To help the zero-g coffee aficionado, Portland State University's (PSU) Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science has developed a microgravity espresso cup that drinks like its earthbound counterparts. Read More
— Space

ESA and Omega create new astronaut watch

If there's one steady market for wristwatches, it's astronauts. Omega watches, for example, have flown on manned space missions since the Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph was carried on Project Mercury in the early 1960s. Now the latest version, the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33, is seeing service on the International Space Station. Based on a patented idea by ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy, the timepiece is not only made to withstand the rigors of space, but also to carry out functions useful to space travelers. Read More
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