A video has been released from ESA’s Youtube channel giving a tour of the ‘spaceship’ used in the Mars500 simulated mission to Mars in which six men are holed up in Moscow’s Institute for Biomedical Problems for 520 days and monitored for the physical and psychological effects:
Meanwhile, ex-spaceship, the Space Shuttle Atlantis, has also been given the once over by the cameras, this time on NASA TV’s Youtube Channel:
Present space vehicle the International Space Station has also been making itself known on the ground. Pupils at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, New York from the schools Northside School, New Visions School, Wantagh Horizons Program, Westbury High School and Drexel Avenue School, will be chatting to the ISS at 11am EDT (16:00 BST) on Thursday. More information here. Pupils from the Agape Secondary School in Tanzania had the opportunity to see the ISS in their own skies. If the orbit’s right (it changes constantly) then put your location into Heavens Above to see if it, or any other satellites, will be visible in your skies soon.
Finally, a tour of a future space vehicle has been put in photos. FASTSAT is a ‘bus’ to space, which will carry three fixed instruments and three deployable minisatellites in its six bays. The minisatellites include NASA’s first low Earth orbit solar sail, a threat detection technology testbed and a mini star tracker, which satellites use to fix their position relative to the stars. The fixed instruments are all in my area of study, including a device that looks at recombination of ions and electrons in the upper ionosphere, the temperature and composition of the thermosphere and one to measure the temperature and composition of the plasma in that environment.