Bacteria taken from the scrumptiously named fishing village of Beer on Britain's south coast have proven themselves some of the hardiest organisms on Earth -- or in space for that matter. Bacteria found in rocks taken from the cliffs at Beer have survived a grueling year-and-a-half exposure to space conditions on the exterior of the ISS and returned home alive, becoming the longest-lived photosynthesizing microbes to survive in space.
It's been a rough week troubleshooting the ISS, but the third time is a charm; today's emergency spacewalk to replace the faulty cooling system aboard the International Space Station went swimmingly, and Mission Control hopes to have the station running at full speed again by Thursday.
After one failed attempt to remove a broken cooling pump on Saturday, a second attempt has succeeded. In a seven-and-a-half-hour spacewalk, Doug Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson managed to unhook the ammonia line that was spewing frozen NH3 crystals last time, then pry off the broken pump with a grapple bar. Whew.
With President Obama taking the budget axe to some of NASA's most darling projects lately, it makes sense that the agency might look at ways to cut down on waste by getting a little more mileageout of its current hardware. A proposal by NASA's "Blue Sky" group would do exactly that, repurposing a room on the ISS as a crew capsule for a manned mission to an asteroid.
Saturday's emergency spacewalk outside the International Space Station failed to replace the faulty cooling pump that malfunctioned last week, prompting NASA to schedule a third spacewalk in addition to the two already scheduled for the task. The second could be performed as early as Wednesday, giving NASA engineers time to consider the problem while lawmakers continue to mull NASA's future, which is pinned to the success of the ISS.
Proving that no matter how expensive your air conditioner the cooling pump will still break, NASA is planning a pair of emergency spacewalks on the $100 billion International Space Station this week to replace a cooling system component that unexpectedly failed Saturday.
The emergency spacewalks don't just punctuate a cooling system problem, but a breakdown in the Earth-to-orbit ISS maintenance supply chain. The broken cooling pump module weighs an unwieldy 780 pounds and can only be transported to the ISS aboard the Space Shuttle.
The International Space Station is upgrading its timepiece. An atomic clock constructed by EADS Astrium will arrive at the ISS in 2014, providing the most accurate timekeeping to date in space, better synchronization of clocks on Earth, and the opportunity to learn a few things about time itself.
By Alessandra CalderinPosted 06.14.2010 at 10:24 am 11 Comments
It’s a logical question. After all, it would be handy if every time the Hubble Space Telescope went on the fritz, an astronaut could reach out the window of the space station and give it a whack. Unfortunately, not only is that setup nearly impossible, being docked to the ISS would impair Hubble’s performance.
Have a good idea that you've been dying to test in zero gravity? NASA is opening up a few spots on the International Space Station for research ideas from private entities, providing some of its prized zero-gravity research real estate to ideas from commercial firms, non-profits, and academic institutions as well as federal, state and local governments.