Tag: astronauts

Got a Question About Space? Ask the Baltimore Astronaut

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Baltimore native and current International Space Station resident Reid Wiseman is the first astronaut celebrity of the social media age. From his home 200 miles above Earth, Wiseman has been tweeting up a storm, sharing dramatic photos of cities (including Baltimore), and even posting the first-ever Vine from space.

Astronauts Risk Permanent Cognitive Damage, Johns Hopkins Research Says

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Photo via Wikipedia
Photo via Wikipedia

If you believe the folks at Mars One, the first human settlement on Mars will begin in 2024. If we are indeed moving into the age of long-term deep space missions, though, there are all sorts of new health concerns we’ll have to worry about. Case in point: recent research from Johns Hopkins, which shows that astronauts may be at risk for permanent cognitive impairment.

When is a Risky Space Mission Too Dangerous To Attempt?

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If you saw Gravity, you have an idea of what a disaster in space might feel like to an astronaut: terrifying, alienating, and utterly overwhelming. But as NASA ponders the future of its space program, which will probably include high-risk missions and long-duration flights (like, oh, say, a trip to Mars!?), how can they determine when a risky mission is too dangerous? To help answer that tricky ethical question, they turned to an Institute of Medicine committee, chaired by  Johns Hopkins bioethics professor Jeffrey Kahn.

Will This Baltimorean Be Our Next Astronaut?

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Photo courtesy JHU APL
Photo courtesy JHU APL

Last week, NASA announced that Christina Hammock, an electrical engineer who works at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, is one of eight new astronaut candidates winnowed from a pool of more than 6000 applicants. Hammock heads to space school at NASA’s Johnson Space Center this summer. And I am officially so jealous.

Baltimore As Seen from Space

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Commander Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut living on board the International Space Station, has been tweeting beautiful space-shots of various cities and geographic features as seen from way, way above. His shot of Baltimore (above) is a particularly useful reminder of the loveliness of our city, even on a cold/rainy/slushy/“snow fog” kind of day. Below the jump:  the Northern Lights, as seen from space!

This Week in Research: Astronauts vs. Robots; Romanian Orphanages Damage Kids’ Brains

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The club of people who’ve been in space is a small and elite one. Don Thomas, currently based at Towson University, is one of the lucky few:  he flew on four missions in three years, a NASA record. This week, he spoke with Wired about space tourism, when people will finally walk on Mars, and the educational value of astronauts.

Space Shuttle Astronauts to Speak at Johns Hopkins This Thursday

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One sad consequence of these budget-crunched times is that kids can’t really dream of being astronauts anymore. This Thursday at Johns Hopkins, the crew of the second-to-last NASA space shuttle can let you know how it feels to spacewalk — and to be the last shuttle crew members to get that chance.

If it’s the science that compels you, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Endeavour’s mission was “to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2  — a particle physics detector that searches for various types of unusual matter by measuring cosmic rays” to the International Space Station. The ultimate goal:  evidence of the universe’s most elusive stuff (dark matter, antimatter, and strange matter).  Or maybe you just want to hear about how it feels to eat in space. Either way, the crew will be on hand to show a video presentation about the mission, and to answer questions from the audience.

For additional poignancy, the astronauts include Mark Kelly, husband of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

Come see these final few spacewalkers this Thursday, August 4 at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy from 6:30 to 9 PM. The event is free and open to the public, and free parking is available in the Muller parking deck (off San Martin Drive).

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