Stashed aboard the Cygnus capsule: pressurized air tanks to help offset a vexing leak at the space station, a new $23 million titanium toilet custom fit for women, and a virtual reality camera to provide cinematic views of spacewalks and other outdoor shots.
Plus there’s more fresh food than usual, given that the space station population will be expanding from six to seven with SpaceX’s second astronaut launch on Oct. 31.
Among the delicacies requested by the astronauts: proscuitto, Genoa salami, smoked Gouda and provolone, brie, cherry tomatoes, oranges, pecans and chocolate-covered cranberries in plenty of time for Thanksgiving.
The astronauts also will get a chance to enjoy their own harvest. Researchers are hoping for 40 radishes from the seeds going up, within a month.
While growing radishes in orbit may sound trivial, “it is actually a transition from basic plant biology in space to a production system” that could benefit moon and Mars explorers, said Karl Hasenstein, a biology professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette who is leading the experiment.
Larger plants like peppers and tomatoes should follow in a few years, adding to astronauts’ diet.
NASA’s new toilet, meanwhile, will be tested at the orbiting outpost before accompanying astronauts to the moon in a few years. It will join two larger, old-style, Russian-built commodes already up there. The new one is designed to better accommodate women, who are expected to have an increasing presence in space exploration.
This particular capsule, in fact, the SS Kalpana Chawla, is named after the first India-born woman in space. Chawla was among the seven astronauts killed in the 2003 shuttle Columbia accident.
The delivery is running a little late. Bad weather at Wallops Island led to a two-day delay earlier in the week, then software issues forced a last-minute launch abort of Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket on Thursday.
Barely a half hour later Friday night, NASA’s other shipper, SpaceX, tried to launch a GPS satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida, for the new U.S. Space Force. But the countdown was halted around the two-second mark.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
Ah Crap: The Arctic Is Releasing a Ton of New Greenhouse Gas – Futurism
Figuring out when, and to what extent, the Arctic will melt and release greenhouse gases into the air has been a major challenge for environmental scientists. Now it seems like the process is already underway.
A team of Russian and Swedish scientists exploring the Arctic Ocean found that the continental slope near Siberia has already started to give off huge amounts of methane, which is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, The Guardian reports. The methane, which is leaking into the ocean and the air, is a worrying new data point about the state of the climate.
The scientists, who haven’t yet finished analyzing their data or sent it for review by an academic journal, stressed to The Guardian that they’re still at a very preliminary stage of their research. But their discovery is still ominous. If the Arctic is releasing carbon in mass quantities, it could trigger a feedback loop that worsens climate change and continues to give off even more greenhouse gases.
“At this moment, there is unlikely to be any major impact on global warming, but the point is that this process has now been triggered,” Örjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University told The Guardian. “This East Siberian slope methane hydrate system has been perturbed and the process will be ongoing.”
It will be hard to tell what impact these Arctic greenhouse gases will have on the global environment — but the consensus among experts is that it could be disastrous.
“This is a new page,” Igor Semiletov of the Russian Academy of Sciences told The Guardian. “Potentially they can have serious climate consequences, but we need more study before we can confirm that.”
READ MORE: ‘Sleeping giant’ Arctic methane deposits starting to release, scientists find [The Guardian]
More on the Arctic: This is the Devastating Potential of the Arctic Permafrost Melting
SOFIA: a telescope on the forefront of astrophysics research – NASASpaceflight.com
Rare Full Moon Expected on Halloween Night – AM800 (iHeartRadio)
Halloween may seem extra spooky this year thanks to a full moon.
It’ll be visible in every time zone on Saturday, something that hasn’t happened since 1944.
It’s also known as a “blue” moon, even though the color won’t change.
Scientists use the term to describe the second full moon of the month.
A full moon on Halloween won’t happen again until 2039.
With files from MetroSource and CTV News
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