from the is-dark-matter-like-dark-energon dept.
The Conversation has a story about five key findings from 15 years of the International Space Station:
1. The fragility of the human body — there is considerable loss of strength and bone mass without intervention. Mitigating this is key to making it possible to have manned trips to mars.
2. Interplanetary contamination — spores of Bacillus subtilis were exposed to space upon the ISS (but shielded from solar UV radiation). "The space vacuum and temperature extremes alone were not enough to kill them off."
3. Growing crystals for medicine — "Crystals in a microgravity environment may be grown to much larger sizes than on Earth, enabling easier analysis of their micro-structure. Protein crystals grown on the ISS are being used in the development of new drugs for diseases such as muscular dystrophy and cancer."
5. Efficient combustion — flames burn more efficiently in space with much less soot produced. Understanding this may lead to more efficient combustion in vehicles.
NASA is collaborating with a Mattel subsidiary to create Luciana, a character who wants to become the first human to step on Mars:
NASA is collaborating with a well-known doll and book company to inspire children to dream big and reach for the stars. Through a Space Act Agreement, NASA partnered with American Girl to share the excitement of space with the public, and in particular, inspire young girls to learn about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
[...] American Girl is known for their series of dolls created to encourage girls to think about who they want to be when they grow up. The focus of the collaboration is the Girl of the Year doll for 2018, an 11-year-old aspiring astronaut named Luciana who wants to be the first person to put boots on Mars. As NASA's human spaceflight focus shifts to deep space, including a return to the Moon, and ultimately, Mars, the collaboration with American Girl is timely.
The partnership with American Girl affords NASA an opportunity to educate through Luciana's story the value of learning from mistakes, teamwork and remaining goal-oriented even through challenging moments. Luciana's experiences may be familiar for many of the Women@NASA, including astronauts like Megan, who have overcome obstacles to pursue their dreams.
Remember that women are lighter and less metabolically active than men, which could translate into significant mass savings for a Mars-bound crewed spacecraft.
A draft budget proposal would end support for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025. The U.S. was previously committed to operating at the ISS until 2024:
The Trump administration is preparing to end support for the International Space Station program by 2025, according to a draft budget proposal reviewed by The Verge. Without the ISS, American astronauts could be grounded on Earth for years with no destination in space until NASA develops new vehicles for its deep space travel plans.
The draft may change before an official budget request is released on February 12th. However, two people familiar with the matter have confirmed to The Verge that the directive will be in the final proposal. We reached out to NASA for comment, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
Also at the Wall Street Journal.
Related: Five Key Findings From 15 Years of the International Space Station
Congress Ponders the Fate of the ISS after 2024
NASA Eyeing Mini Space Station in Lunar Orbit as Stepping Stone to Mars
NASA and Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on the Development of a Lunar Space Station
Russia Assembles Engineering Group for Lunar Activities and the Deep Space Gateway
Can the International Space Station be Saved? Should It be Saved?