Of course you hope it never happens, but if you're going to escape from an exploding rocket just in time, you might as well have a good time doing it. NASA is looking at a few different options for how to get astronauts out of future spacecraft in an emergency, from roller coasters to slippery tubes, and most of them seem like pretty enjoyable rides.
The whole time I read this article in the magazine I was thinking space shuttle - boring! But I totally forgot about Project Constellation, the post-shuttle program to create a fleet of next-generation space craft for all sorts of crazy space missions. I spoke with Kelly Humphries at the Johnson Space Center about NASA's plans for the "Emergency Egress System," and he gave me the lowdown on some of the other features of the Constellation program. I was particularly jazzed about his description of the new and improved moon mission strategy. Believe me, when you actually live on the moon it's easy to get a little jaded about this stuff. But multiple space modules docking in Earth's orbit and then blasting out to the moon? Now I'm all excited about space again. Go space!
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Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.