Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is finally taking moviegoers into space next week, after what feels like an era of waiting. But this extended drama isn’t only extrapolations of theories provided by physicist Kip Thorne, and you’ll find a surprising take on an old conspiracy theory in the clip below.
Search results for: "apollo missions"
What’s the first thing you think of when someone says NASA? Maybe the Apollo missions, maybe the ISS, maybe the Challenger disaster. Whatever it is, I bet one thing no one thinks of anymore is piles and piles of money. NASA is perennially underfunded to the extent that its spokespeople have said its meager budget puts people at risk for asteroid hits, may jeopardize future Mars missions, and generally spells nothing good for the future of America’s space program. So far, 2014 has been a decent year for the space agency, though, with the successful test flight of the Orion spacecraft and the renewal of seven planetary missions. But 2014—and beyond—just got a whole lot better. When the House of Representatives passed the “CRomnibus” bill last week, thankfully averting another government shutdown, it actually gave NASA more than it asked for, raising the agency’s budget by 2% for next year.
The Senate passed the bill over the weekend, and now all President Obama has to do is sign it. Considering that the bill allocates $550 million more for NASA than Obama requested for 2015 (and that a bunch of other hitches were ironed out over the past week), there’s no reason to think he won’t . What that means is NASA is poised to receive just over $18 billion total next year, which is its highest level of funding in a while—$364 million more than they received last year.
In his 2010 space policy speech, President Barack Obama canceled the Constellation Program and touted the rise of private companies to sell their transportation services to space. He also put the kibosh on the Bush Administration’s plan to send astronauts back to the moon: “But I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We’ve been there before.” That’s true, of course, and some say that there’s no real reason to go back to the moon. But others say that we haven’t explored the moon to any real extent at all, and in addition to preparing for longer-term space missions, we just might find something interesting on our favorite hunk of space rock — something such as evidence of volcanic activity.
I’d guess most of us had dreams of growing up to become an astronaut at some point during our childhoods. How could you not? They were pushing the boundaries of human endeavor and going boldly, just like in Star Trek always said. But one thing my childhood astronaut fantasies never really considered was, what it must have been like for the friends and family those astronauts left back here on Earth, especially during the daring early days of the Mercury and Apollo missions? How does it feel to see the person you love most leaving footprints on the surface of the moon? Those are the sorts of questions ABC’s Astronaut Wives Club is set to explore, and now the cast has gained a familiar face in the form of Chuck actress Yvonne Strahovski.
When I read Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars two thoughts kept coming up: one, that I so wish I’d written the book, and two, that going to space is a royal pain in the ass. I’m amazed anyone has ever wanted to or, in fact, done it. Going to the bathroom alone—a topic Roach delights in investigating in spite of, or perhaps because of, the associated awkwardness—is a major feat in zero gravity. Her book answers all of the practical and embarrassing questions you could ever think to ask about space. Best of all, she gets those answers through correspondence with astronauts and visits to various NASA outposts around the country, as well as a visit to JAXA headquarters.
If you don’t know Roach’s work, do yourself a favor and read one of her books. You’ve got plenty to choose from beyond Packing for Mars. I first found out about her when her first book, Stiff, which examines “the curious lives of human cadavers” made an appearance on Six Feet Under. Her next book, Spook, is all about ghosts and the afterlife. There’s Bonk, which is all about the science of sex and features crazy studies about things such as pig orgasms (and is my favorite of all her books so far), and Gulp, which explores eating and digestion.