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NASA Prepares Future Astronauts: Begins with Games Like Surviving Mars – Science Times



(Photo : Stylish HD Wallpapers on Flickr)

Do you know that virtual reality simulations and video games are designed not just to provide players with so much pleasure? They can bring an average human closer than ever to never-before and the once-in-a-lifetime experience of life on Mars.

For most people particularly the gamers, these so-called “pop-culture tours” turn the real missions to colonize the Red Planet which both the private companies like SpaceX and NASA feel quite more attainable.

In an online article, CΙnet posted on its website, James Burk, IT director of Mars Society, a space advocacy nonprofit said, “these games, along with other pop culture representations of Mars” have greatly augmented “interest in human missions to Mars.”

Specifically, the novel, The Martian‘s movie adaptation in 2015, became a major turning point in the piquing of public inquisitiveness in colonizing Mars. And now, the plan of SpaceX to Mars an unmanned mission, com 2022, the soonest, according to Burk, “is throwing gasoline on it all.”

ALSO READ: Is There Life on Mars? NASA InSight Rover Detects Quakes

Surviving Mars 

Just a few hours after the announcement of Surviving Mars during the first half of 2017, the public took the internet to initiate an argument on how much of the video game was realistic and accurate, and how much would be considered as science fiction.

People even went so far until they reached the point of exchanging formulas to identify “whether wind turbines would indeed” be a credible way to produce electricity on Mars, just as what they do in the game.

Surviving Mars producer, Bisser Dyankov said, they know that whatever they do, there are (and will always be) “smarter people willing to go way deeper” to test their ideas.

He added, they know too, that their idea touches something and motivates people to go and do the math, ask questions and search for the answers, themselves.

A Detailed Game

Surviving Mars, as to how the gaming enthusiasts and tech-savvies describe it, is incredibly detailed gameplay. One sets up a mission by selecting a sponsor who will impact the manner of spending money.

Then, he gets to choose his rocket, his colonists and his commander by their profession and the advantages they can provide. One example is the selection of inventor that will get a player faster drones, the politician then, increases his funding, and the rocket scientist gives him an extra rocket at the beginning.

Many more decisions transpire into launching the gamer’s first rocket filled with drones to construct infrastructure which includes what to bring and the place to land while balancing both resources and funding.

Also part of the game’s details is the allocation of resources for the construction including oxygen, power, and water. The gamer gets to select a research area too, like robotics, physics, and biotech from which they can offer a distinctive advantage down the line.

The bottom line of it all is that the developers depended heavily on the resources of NASA which include research concepts and topological maps.

As far as VR is concerned, it is advantageous for training purposes in high-cost, high-risk situations which include Mars and space exploration. This was according to Tuong Nguyen, an analyst from Gartner, a global research company.

For over two decades now, NASA has used VR for the replication of harsh situations of space as a means for astronauts’ training.

©2017 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science times.

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Joe Biden Wants to Put a Japanese Astronaut on the Moon – Gizmodo



Gateway, illustrated here, will serve as a crucial part of the upcoming Artemis missions.
Illustration: NASA

President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida further solidified their plans to send a Japanese astronaut to the upcoming lunar space station, while also affirming the possibility of having a Japanese astronaut walk on the Moon during future Artemis missions.

Biden and Kishida met in Tokyo on Monday to continue discussions around an Implementing Agreement that will potentially place a Japanese astronaut on the Gateway space station. The leaders also reaffirmed each country’s commitment to share data on climate change. The discussion around Gateway personnel is a part of ongoing conversations between the U.S. and Japan regarding NASA’s upcoming missions to the Moon.

Gateway is an integral component of NASA’s larger effort to return to the Moon, a series of upcoming missions known as the Artemis program. Once built, Gateway will serve as a Moon-orbiting outpost offering lunar-bound astronauts support for their visit. The lunar space station, in addition to serving as critical infrastructure for the Artemis missions, will also serve as a staging point for future crewed missions to Mars. The first pieces of the upcoming lunar station are set to launch no earlier than November 2024.

“In recent years, the alliance between Japan and the United States has grown stronger, deeper, and more capable as we work together to take on new challenges—just as important as the opportunities—of a rapidly changing world,” said President Biden in a NASA press release.

Japan and the U.S. are also interested in placing a Japanese astronaut on the surface of the Moon during a yet-to-be-determined Artemis mission, according to a White House fact sheet. NASA is looking to land astronauts on the lunar south pole by 2025, and Artemis will involve the first crewed Moon missions since Apollo 17 in 1972. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in the release: “Our shared ambition to see Japanese and American astronauts walk on the Moon together reflects our nations’ shared values to explore space responsibly and transparently for the benefit of humanity here on Earth.”

While the first pieces of Gateway are still a few years away from launch, having the U.S. and Japan team up is an opportunity to get more nations involved. The Artemis missions will be a global effort, and getting back to the Moon represents an exciting next step in space exploration and engineering.

More: This Tiny Moon-Bound Satellite Could Carve a Path For a Lunar Space Station.

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Crumbling comet could create meteor shower May 30 – Toronto Sun



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A crumbling comet could create a meteor shower on May 30.

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The ‘tau Herculids’ meteor display might be one of the most dramatic observed in over two decades, according to

Meteor showers occur when dust or particles from asteroids or comets enter Earth’s atmosphere at a very high speed, the U.K. Sun explained.

This one is expected to be the product of a comet named 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, also known as SW3.

SW3 was first discovered in 1930 but did not reappear again until the 1970s, Republic World reported.

In 1995, astronomers noticed that the comet’s nucleus split into four smaller chunks, according to CNET.

It has continued to disintegrate more in the ensuing years.

The display is expected to be very visible in the Northern Hemisphere as it is occurring on a Moon-less night.

A consensus of experts predicts that the shower will be visible starting from 1 a.m. EST on May 31.

It is suggested viewers will want to be outside at least an hour before this so your eyes have a chance to adjust to the dark.

“The southwestern USA and Mexico are favored locations as the radiant, the area of the sky where these meteors come from, will be located highest in a dark sky,” Robert Lunsford wrote for AMS.

“The outburst may be seen from southeastern Canada and the remainder of the (eastern) USA, but at a lower altitude.”

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Boeing capsule returns from space station after test flight with no crew – CBC News



Boeing’s crew taxi returned to Earth from the International Space Station on Wednesday, completing a repeat test flight before NASA astronauts climb aboard.

It was a quick trip back: the Starliner capsule parachuted into the New Mexico desert just four hours after leaving the orbiting lab, with airbags attached to cushion the landing. Only a mannequin was buckled in.

Aside from thruster failures and cooling system snags, Starliner appeared to clinch its high-stakes shakedown cruise, 2½ years after its botched first try. Flight controllers in Houston applauded and cheered the bull’s-eye touchdown.

NASA astronauts will strap in next for a trip to the space station. The space agency has long wanted two competing U.S. companies ferrying astronauts, giving it added insurance as it drastically reduced its reliance on Russia for rides to and from the space station.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is already the established leader, launching astronauts since 2020 and even tourists. Its crew capsules splash down off the Florida coast; Boeing’s Starliner returns to the U.S. Army’s expansive White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

This image from NASA TV shows the Boeing Starliner approaching the International Space Station last Friday. (NASA/The Associated Press)

Boeing scrapped its first attempt to reach the space station in 2019, after software errors left the capsule in the wrong orbit and nearly doomed it. The company fixed the flaws and tried again last summer, but corroded valves halted the countdown. Following more repairs, Starliner finally lifted off from Cape Canaveral last Thursday and docked to the space station Friday.

Station astronauts tested Starliner’s communication and computer systems during its five days at the space station. They also unloaded hundreds of kilograms of groceries and other supplies that flew up in the Boeing capsule, then filled it with empty air tanks and other discarded gear.

A folded U.S. flag sent up by Boeing stayed behind, to be retrieved by the first Starliner crew.

“We’re a little sad to see her go,” station astronaut Bob Hines radioed as the capsule flew away.

Along for the ride was Starliner’s test dummy — Rosie the Rocketeer, a takeoff on the Second World War’s Rosie the Riveter.

The repairs and do-over cost Boeing nearly $600 million US.

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