Currently viewing the tag: "space travel"

wed laika

Laika (c. 1954 – November 3, 1957) was a Soviet space dog who became one of the first animals in space, and the first animal to orbit the Earth. Laika, a stray dog from the streets of Moscow, was selected to be the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 that was launched into outer space on November 3, 1957.

Little was known about the impact of spaceflight on living creatures at the time of Laika’s mission, and the technology to de-orbit had not yet been developed, and therefore Laika’s survival was not expected. Some scientists believed humans would be unable to survive the launch or the conditions of outer space, so engineers viewed flights by animals as a necessary precursor to human missions.The experiment aimed to prove that a living passenger could survive being launched into orbit and endure micro-gravity, paving the way for human spaceflight and providing scientists with some of the first data on how living organisms react to spaceflight environments.

Laika died within hours from overheating, possibly caused by a failure of the central R-7 sustainer to separate from the payload. The true cause and time of her death were not made public until 2002; instead, it was widely reported that she died when her oxygen ran out on day six or, as the Soviet government initially claimed, she was euthanised prior to oxygen depletion. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of an animal in space.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about sending animals into space?

Art Prompt: Laika

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience Laika’s story.

Photo Credit: Posta Romana – 1959 – Laika 120 B on Wikimedia

space elevator

A space elevator is a proposed type of space transportation system. The main component would be a cable (also called a tether) anchored to the surface and extending into space. The design would permit vehicles to travel along the cable from a planetary surface, such as the Earth’s, directly into space or orbit, without the use of large rockets. An Earth-based space elevator would consist of a cable with one end attached to the surface near the equator and the other end in space beyond geostationary orbit (35,800 km altitude). The competing forces of gravity, which is stronger at the lower end, and the outward/upward centrifugal force, which is stronger at the upper end, would result in the cable being held up, under tension, and stationary over a single position on Earth. With the tether deployed, climbers could repeatedly climb the tether to space by mechanical means, releasing their cargo to orbit. Climbers could also descend the tether to return cargo to the surface from orbit. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story using a space elevator as part of the setting.

Journaling Prompt: If there was a space elevator today, would you be willing to use it?

Art Prompt: Elevator into space

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the different ideas people are working on to travel into space.

Photo Credit: Bruce Irving on Flickr

Between the last half of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth, rockets were applied to model aircraft several times. In fact, magazines were filled with ads for model rocket planes or instructions for building them…but no one thought of working on a larger scale, let alone being a pilot. During this time, however, the idea that space travel might be a real possibility was taking a strong hold on not only the public imagination but that of scientists and engineers as well. It was clear to the latter that the only realistic method of reaching space was through the use of rockets. One of the biggest problems they faced was the reputation of the rocket itself. The rocket at the beginning of the twentieth century was scarcely improved from the Hale rockets of the Civil War. Their unreliability, small size and lack of power was one of the reasons Jules Verne chose to launch his astronauts by means of a giant cannon. –Ron Miller

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about rockets. You can set it in the past, present or future.

Journaling Prompt: Would you like to travel into space? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Rocket science

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the early days of rocket science.

Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson on Flickr

1952 ... thrilling publication!

“Tomorrow’s NASA space program will be different,” says Wallace Fowler of the University of Texas, a renowned expert in modeling and design of spacecraft, and planetary exploration systems. “Human space flight beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO), beyond Earth’s natural radiation shields (the Van Allen belts), is dangerous.”

Currently, a human being outside the Van Allen belts could receive the NASA defined “lifetime dose” of galactic cosmic radiation within 200 days. If the Sun spews out a coronal jet of radiation in a solar storm in the direction of the spacecraft, a lethal dose can be received in a few hours. Mars does not have the equivalent of the shielding Van Allen belts, so a Mars base would also need shielding. Until we develop appropriate shielding, probably an intense magnetic field around the spacecraft, human travel, even to the moon, will likely be limited. -Daily Galaxy

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene about space travel beyond the Van Allen belts.

Journaling Prompt: If you could travel into outer space, what would you like to see?

Art Prompt: Space Travel

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the difficulties of space travel.

Photo Credit: x-ray delta one on Flickr

Salmonella typhosus, cause of typhoid fever

Michael Crichton would have loved this: Bacteria common to spacecraft may be able to survive the harsh environs of Mars long enough to inadvertently contaminate the Red Planet with terrestrial life, “If long-term microbial survival is possible on Mars, then past and future explorations of Mars may provide the microbial inoculum for seeding Mars with terrestrial life,” according to researchers from the University of Central Florida. “Thus, a diversity of microbial species should be studied to characterize their potential for long term survival on Mars.” Off the record, many astrobiologists believe that we’ve already contaminated the planet. –The Daily Galaxy

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about an accidental microbial infestation.

Journaling Prompt: Write about space travel – do you dream about it? fear it?

Art Prompt: Microbes on Mars

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the human history of transporting microbes as they travel.

Photo Credit: kat m research on Flickr