NASA’s Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have been working overtime to help scientists better understand ancient environmental conditions on the red planet. The rovers are also generating excitement about the exploration of Mars outlined in NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration.
China’s space program is expecting government approval this year to build a new and more powerful rocket that will serve as the nation’s vehicle to explore the moon, state media said Thursday. According to Luan Enjie, director-in-chief of China’s lunar exploration program, the new-generation carrier rocket will be developed over the next eight years, Xinhua news agency said.
Researchers have long known that spinning spaceships like a merry-go-round could solve a lot of problems: In weightlessness, astronaut’s bones and muscles weaken. It’s tricky to eat and drink, and even use the bathroom. Inside a spinning spaceship, on the other hand, there would be an artificial gravity (due to centrifugal forces) that keeps bodies strong and makes everyday living easier. The problem is, spinning spaceships also come with a strong Coriolis effect. Tossed objects veer. Reach out to touch a button … and your finger lands in the wrong spot. Could astronauts adapt to this? And if so, could they adapt well enough to perform dependably in the life-threatening environment of space?