Tag Archives: space station

New ESA chief proposes building a full-fledged human village on the moon

There’s a new head of the European Space Agency, and after just two weeks on the job, he’s bringing some ambitious ideas to the table. First up: A human village on the moon.

In an interview with the BBC, new ESA head Johann-Dietrich Woerner chatted about the priorities for the agency in the coming years — and dropped a really big one currently on his wish list. According to Woerner, it’s all about testing out this technology before we actually try to ship humans off to somewhere like Mars. So, his idea is to have several nations team up for a legitimate settlement on the moon, so we can work out all the kinks to man an eventual Mars trip less of a suicide mission.

Here’s an excerpt from his comments:

“We should look to the future beyond the International Space Station. We should look for a smaller spacecraft in low-Earth orbit for microgravity research and I propose a Moon village on the far side of the Moon.

A Moon village shouldn’t just mean some houses, a church and a town hall. This Moon village should mean partners from all over the world contributing to this community with robotic and astronaut missions and support communication satellites.”

This is an awesome idea, to say the least, though we should obviously caution that it’s currently a pipe dream. The amount of money and time needed to pull this off would be incredible, and right now it’s just a spitball idea. But regardless, it’s nice to know the idea is at least on the whiteboard.

What do you think? Mars first, or a lunar village?

(Via BBC, io9)

1 Comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

Space station shipment launched from Virginia

Space station shipment launched from Virginia

Orbital Sciences Corp. launched its Cygnus capsule from the Virginia coast, its third space station delivery for NASA.

Daylight and clouds limited visibility, but observers from North Carolina to New Jersey still had a shot at seeing the rising Antares rocket. It resembled a bright light in the early afternoon sky.
untitled (5)

Its destination, the space station, was soaring 260 miles above Australia when the Cygnus took flight. The unmanned capsule should arrive there Wednesday.

This newest Cygnus contains more than 3,000 pounds of supplies, much of it food. Also on board: mini-satellites, science samples, equipment and experimental exercise clothes. NASA said the new type of clothing is resistant to bacteria and odor buildup. So the astronauts won’t smell as much during their two hours of daily workout in orbit and they’ll require fewer clothing changes.

NASA is paying for the delivery service. The space agency hired two companies — the Virginia-based Orbital Sciences and California’s SpaceX — to keep the space station well stocked once the shuttle program ended. The international partners also make shipments; the European Space Agency, for example, will launch its supply ship in 1 1/2 weeks from French Guiana.

This particular Cygnus delivery was delayed a few months by various problems, including additional engine inspections and, most recently, bad weather at the Wallops Island launch site.

untitled (6)

The Cygnus will remain at the space station for about a month. It will be filled with trash and cut loose for a fiery re-entry. Unlike the SpaceX Dragon capsule, the Cygnus is not built to return safely to Earth.

Saturday, meanwhile, marked the 5,000th day of continuous human habitation at the 260-mile-high outpost. Six men currently are on board, representing the United States, Russia and Germany.

“Humans are explorers!” German astronaut Alexander Gerst said via Twitter.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations