Video: “NASA’s search for habitable planets and life beyond the solar system”

Here is a SETI Institute talk by Dr. Gary H. Blackwood of NASA JPL on NASA’s search for habitable planets and life beyond the solar system –

Dr. Gary H. Blackwood earned his BS, MS and PHD in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from MIT. He has been an employee at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA since 1988 and has worked on technology development for precision astronomical instruments and astrophysics missions including the Hubble Wide/Field Planetary Camera-2, the StarLight formation-flying interferometer, the Space Interferometry Mission and the Terrestrial Planet Finder. Since 2012 he has served as the Program Manager for the NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program, managed by JPL for the Astrophysics Division of the NASA Science Mission Directorate.

Videos: Watch astronauts on a spacewalk outside the ISS

Two astronauts are conducting an EVA (Extravehicular Activity) , i.e. a spacewalk, outside the International Space Station (ISS) this morning: NASA Updates Schedule for International Space Station Spacewalks | NASA.

NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and ESA’s Thomas Pesquet will be outside the station for about six hours helping to prepare the ISS for the future arrival of U.S. commercial crew spacecraft and upgrade station hardware. In this video, Sarah Korona, U.S. EVA # 40 Spacewalk Officer, narrates an animation of the tasks for the spacewalkers.

And here is a live webcast of the EVA:

Videos: A new addition to “Stan Draws Spaceships”

Artist Stanley Von Medvey offers some nicely made video tutorials for the general reader on rockets and the challenges of getting to space. Episode 2 Part 2 just came out yesterday.

** Stan Draws Spaceships 1: Expendable Launch Vehicles

** Stan Draws Spaceships Episode 2, Part 1: The Space Shuttle

** Stan Draws Spaceships Episode 2 Part 2: Falcon and Skylon 

You can help Stan make more tutorials by contributing at Stanley is creating Animated Shorts | Patreon.

Sci-Tech: Origami-inspired robot + Vertical farming + Terrafugia update

** Origami-inspired Robot Can Hitch a Ride with a Rover – A NASA JPL team has developed an adaptable little robot whose design was inspired by origami:

Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robots, or PUFFER, is a small, origami-inspired robotic technology under development to provide a low-volume, low-cost mission enhancement for accessing new science from extreme terrains that are of high interest to future NASA missions. A “pop-up” robot that folds into a small, smartphone-sized weight and volume, PUFFER’s compact design means numerous robots can be packed into a larger “parent” craft at a low payload cost, then deployed on a planet’s surface individually to increase surface mobility.

** “This Farm of the Future Uses No Soil and 95% Less Water” – Vertical farms

As urban populations continue to rise, innovators are looking beyond traditional farming as a way to feed everyone while having less impact on our land and water resources. Vertical farming is one solution that’s been implemented around the world. Vertical farms produce crops in stacked layers, often in controlled environments such as those built by  AeroFarms in Newark, New Jersey.

AeroFarms grows a variety of leafy salad greens using a process called “aeroponics,” which relies on air and mist. AeroFarms’ crops are grown entirely indoors using a reusable cloth medium made from recycled plastics. In the absence of sun exposure, the company uses LED lights that expose plants to only certain types of spectrum. AeroFarms claims it uses 95% less water than a traditional farm thanks to its specially designed root misting system. And it is now building out a new 70,000 square foot facility in a former steel mill. Once completed, it’s expected to grow 2 million pounds of greens per year, making it the largest indoor vertical farm in the world.

Combine this with fusion power and there will be endless abundance of fresh food.

** FAA Approves Flight Testing of Terrafugia’s Flying Car – They make a step forward but it’s still a long ways before Terrafugia‘s vertical takeoff and landing TF-X goes on the market:

The Transition®, on the other hand, is expected to go on sale in 2019. Here is their long term flying car strategy: Making Flying Cars Practical: The Terrafugia Master Plan

Everyone can participate in space