By Scott Feschuk - Saturday, March 9, 2013 - 0 Comments
Being locked in a space capsule for 501 days, says Scott Feschuk, can give you the ‘us time’ you’re craving
Looking for a fun getaway with the man or woman you love? Consider a trip to Mars! It’s a journey you’ll cherish until the day you die—which, for the record, will be when you both incinerate on re-entry.
But let’s not dwell on the many completely fatal potential downsides of this romantic jaunt. The privately funded Inspiration Mars Foundation is determined to send a married couple on a non-stop, “state-of-the-art” trip around the red planet for some reason. And why shouldn’t it be you?
Being shot toward a distant sphere would give you and your spouse the “us time” you’ve both been craving—the chance to leave behind the stresses of daily life and do something fun together, like stare for months into unending black, grow progressively more insane and sit helplessly as your bones and muscles deteriorate from the ravages of microgravity. Sounds better than Disney already, right?
By Mika Rekai - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 11:36 AM - 0 Comments
Quebec tourism agency Uniktour preparing to compete with Virgin Galactic for would-be astronauts
Canadians who dream of going to the final frontier will soon be able to find cheaper flights. Last week, Quebec tourism agency Uniktour announced it will be collaborating with Space Expedition Corp. and XCOR Aerospace to offer private space travel by 2014. Uniktour will be selling two different space packages, for $95,000 and $100,000, which includes hotel stays and astronaut training. That’s about half the price of the flights offered by main rival Virgin Galactic.
Trips booked via Uniktour will blast off from California’s Mojave desert and the Caribbean island of Curaçao. Unlike Virgin, which plans to take six tourists into space once a day, Space Expedition will be taking one tourist into space four times a day. Because the shuttle is so small, the tourist will be seated like a co-pilot. The flights will last about an hour, with several minutes spent at the edge of space, 100 km up: just long enough for passengers to experience weightlessness while admiring the blackness of space and the curvature of the Earth.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 9:17 PM - 0 Comments
MOOSE JAW, Sask. – The dream of blasting off into space could actually come…
MOOSE JAW, Sask. – The dream of blasting off into space could actually come true for a science teacher in Moose Jaw, Sask., with some help from his friends.
It sounds like a lofty goal for 37-year-old Stephen Lys, but when a Facebook ad pointed him to an online contest for a trip to space he thought it was too good to pass up.
Now he is in the top 20 Canadian contestants in the Axe Apollo Space Academy contest after creating a Facebook persona called the Saskatchanaut.
He says it’s more important to him than just winning a contest for tickets to a rock concert — he sees it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
And he’s not there yet. First, Lys has to earn enough votes between now and August to make it as one of the top two contestants in all of Canada.
He says that’s why he created “the Saskatchanaut.”
“I thought people would get behind a character more than they’d get behind just some guy,” he said.
If Lys is one of the top two votegetters, he will progress to space camp in Orlando, Fla., and if he does well there, he might just end up being chosen to go into space.
The contest is being run by Axe, a company that produces men’s grooming products. The space flight will be managed by SXC, a space tourism company.
By Kate Lunau - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 7:00 PM - 0 Comments
New research suggests our galaxy alone may be filled with billions of planets—literally
Use your cursor to scroll over the planets above.
Just 20 years ago, astronomers didn’t know if there were any planets at all outside our own solar system—whether other places like Earth, which is brimming with life, are common, exceedingly rare or even non-existent. Two years ago, NASA scientists announced that, using the powerful Kepler space telescope, they’d found well over 1,000 new planets, more than doubling the number they’d previously known about. It was a stunning revelation, but few people realized, even then, that this was just the beginning.
Astronomers now believe our galaxy alone is filled with literally billions of planets—maybe even more planets than stars. There are at least 100 billion planets in the Milky Way, and some think that estimate is conservative. Some are more bizarre than anything dreamed up in science fiction: diamond worlds and double-sunned worlds, and worlds where another planet hangs in the sky like our moon. Others are eerily similar to Earth. A few of them, like a newly found planet orbiting Alpha Centauri, just 4.3 light years away, are tantalizingly close. That planet is nearer to its host star than Mercury is to our sun, and would be blisteringly hot—far too hot for life as we know it. But where there’s one planet, there are often several, and astronomers are scouring the skies around Alpha Centauri for more worlds in our own cosmic backyard. Continue…
By Alex Ballingall - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 11:56 AM - 0 Comments
The SpaceX rocket launched successfully from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Tuesday,…
The SpaceX rocket launched successfully from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Tuesday, marking the first time a private company has sent a vessel to dock with the International Space Station.
As Reuters reports, the rocket took off from a refurbished launching pad near where the now-retired space shuttles once launched. The rocket’s cargo, a 1,200-pound Dragon capsule carrying supplies for the ISS, reached orbit less than 10 minutes after the launch.
The SpaceX rocket is owned by Space Exploration Technologies, a California-based company that is among four private enterprises vying to replace the space shuttle as NASA‘s vehicle to take astronauts and supplies into the Earth’s orbit. ”Dragon in orbit … Feels like a giant weight just came off my back,” wrote company founder Elon Musk on Twitter. Musk, co-founder of PayPal, poured much of his own money into the venture. In total, SpaceX spent more than $1 billion on the first privately-funded trip to the ISS, the Associated Press reports.
The next big test for SpaceX will come Thursday, when the Dragon capsule is scheduled to practice its maneuvering capabilities before docking with the space station on Friday.
By Trevor Melanson - Friday, March 2, 2012 at 6:19 PM - 0 Comments
The idea isn’t as far-fetched as you think—well, okay, just slightly less far-fetched
Let’s say we want to colonize Mars. Or better yet, let’s say we need to colonize Mars. After all, world-renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking—a rather smart fella, if ever there was one—has said humanity will face a choice between space colonization and extinction. Speaking to Canadian Press in November, Hawking said that because our genetic code carries in it selfish instincts, which made sense for survival thousands of years ago, it willl be difficult “to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million.” In short, we’ve outpaced evolution and we’ve got all our eggs in one basket: Earth.
But why Mars? For one, it’s close by, comparatively speaking. Mars’s surface area may only be a third that of Earth’s, but keep in mind two-thirds of our planet is covered by water. Mars also has an atmosphere, albeit a thin one. Indeed, the red planet is generally considered the most Earth-like in our solar system. Even the days are only 40 minutes longer than ours.
But is it really doable? Continue…
By Kate Lunau - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 11:35 AM - 0 Comments
Researchers seek to prove that travel to Mars is possible
On Nov. 4, six figures emerged pale and blinking from a windowless module stationed in a Moscow parking lot. These men—three Russians, one Chinese, a Frenchman and an Italian—spent 520 days locked up inside, simulating a flight to Mars and back, an experiment run by Russia’s Institute for Biomedical Problems and the European Space Agency. Upon emerging, French crew member Romain Charles said the Earth-based mission proves that “a human journey to the red planet is possible”—or, at least, that surviving the isolation of long-distance space travel could be.
To kill time, the crew performed experiments and stayed in touch with loved ones, although communications were delayed, like on an actual mission. August was the toughest, says a blog post from Charles; family and friends were on holiday, and the best food had been consumed. But the men, who were paid about $100,000 each (China didn’t reveal a price), came out undeterred. As Charles said, “We’re ready to embark on the next spaceship going there.”
By Kate Lunau - Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 1:20 PM - 8 Comments
How the wealthy are shooting for the stars—privately
On Aug. 24, an unmanned Russian cargo spaceship bound for the International Space Station (ISS) crashed in eastern Russia, sent down by engine failure in its Soyuz carrier rocket. Russia temporarily grounded all launches to the ISS to investigate, but the crash underlined a pressing problem: since the U.S. retired its aging fleet of space shuttles in July, any astronaut or cargo heading to the space station has no choice but to hitch a ride with Russia. For a ride on the Soyuz, NASA pays about $56 million per seat—and the cost will go up to $62.7 million in 2014.
It must be a blow to American pride. The U.S. doesn’t want to rely on Russian rockets forever, and other nations like China are pushing ahead with ambitious space programs. But NASA doesn’t plan on building more shuttles. The U.S. space agency is shifting its focus to deep space exploration, and intends to buy rides into low Earth orbit (where the space station is) from private companies instead.
Like a commercial airline, these companies will sell rides not only to NASA, but to academics, businesses, and the curious public, too. A handful of ultra-wealthy entrepreneurs are backing some of the most ambitious ventures in space travel. SpaceX was launched by Elon Musk, who co-founded PayPal and is CEO of Tesla Motors; Blue Origin comes from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos; and Virgin Galactic is an offshoot of Virgin Group, founded by Sir Richard Branson. New Mexico is completing a taxpayer-financed commercial space terminal, Spaceport America, with Virgin Galactic as its anchor tenant.
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 12:19 PM - 1 Comment
More than $269 million allocated to spaceship builders
NASA has divided more than $269 million among several companies aiming to build commercial spaceships that will carry astronauts to the International Space Station, Reuters reports. According to NASA, Boeing received $92.3 million and Sierra Nevada Corp got $80 million (all USD). Meanwhile, Space Exploration Technology, which was founded by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk and is also known as SpaceX, got $75 million, and Blue Origin, which was founded by Jeff Bezos of Amazon, got $22 million. These companies were competing for funding in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program, aimed at developing a commercial alternatives to get astronauts back and forth from the International Space Station. U.S. space shuttles will be retired later this year. These companies have to invest their own resources along with government funds, which is different from how U.S. spacecraft has previously been developed. The goal is for NASA to buy commercial orbital space transportation services by 2015.