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Mars Needs Women (And Men): You Can Apply To Be A Martian Colonist

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Mars

In addition to being an amazing accomplishment in and of itself, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has rekindled a bit of that explorer’s spirit that took us into space in the first place, and then on to the Moon. And while a manned mission to the Red Planet is inevitable, some are more ambitious in their plans than others. Will the first permanent settlement on Mars be established by NASA, or by some other governmental agency? Or perhaps by an ambitious private company such as SpaceX? How about as part of a reality show? That last one might sound like a long-shot, but Dutch nonprofit Mars One wants to do exactly that by 2023, and they’ve just released their requirements for prospective astronauts.

The selection process for Mars One astronauts won’t occur for a while yet, but for now you can peruse the requirements to see if you think you have the right stuff. If you’re afraid that your only relevant astronaut experience involves thousands of hours of Halo, fear not: Mars One will consider any applicants who meet their requirements, and those selected will then undergo eight years of training before beginning their voyage.

You can check out the full rundown on their website, but suffice to say you’ll need to be at least 18 years old, and “intelligent, creative, psychologically stable and physically healthy.” Their requirements are broken down into “five key characteristics of an astronaut”: resiliency, adaptability, curiosity, ability to trust, and creativity/resourcefulness.

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Leonard Nimoy Is Our Guide In This Short Film About NASA’s Dawn Asteroid Mission

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We here at GFR are automatically predisposed to be fascinated by any new foray into space exploration…that’s kind of our thing. And while the Curiosity Mars mission may have gotten all the headlines last year, one equally fascinating journey has been underway since 2007. NASA’s Dawn mission seeks to explore two of the largest asteroids in our solar system, Vesta and Ceres. If the Dawn mission hasn’t been on your radar now, the 12-minute video below is the perfect excuse to catch up, and Leonard Nimoy is your guide.

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NASA Astronaut Takes You On A Guided Tour Of The ISS

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I’ve seen a lot of great videos on the topic of space exploration in my time here at GFR. We all thrilled to the gripping footage of Curiosity’s descent to Mars this past summer, and we’ve seen how people such as Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson can speak with a passion and eloquence about our universe that borders on poetry. But of all the videos I’ve run across while writing for GFR, I think this one may be my favorite.

This past November, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams was about to depart the International Space Station and return home to Earth. But in the hours before she boarded her ride back to the surface, she decided to give space junkies like us a wonderful, gift: a guided tour of the entire space station. She provides tons of fascinating insights into the work that goes on aboard the ISS, as well as all the day-to-day life of astronauts and cosmonauts on the station. It’s completely worth setting aside 25 minutes of your time to watch the whole thing. And not just because her hair looks awesome in zero-g. Take it away, Commander Williams…

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Deep Space Travel May Hasten Alzheimer’s Disease

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Astronaut

With as much as there is to do on this planet, one might think it would be enough to satisfy every whim and fancy. But there’s an entire universe out there that has barely been explored, and however many generations it takes, humans are going to make those kinds of trips. But hopefully with an all new stance on precautions.

For a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) exposed mice to varying degrees of radiation, including levels similar to those experienced by an astronaut flying to Mars. Lead researcher M. Kerry O’Banion, professor of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, and his team studied the effects of high-mass, highly charged particles on neurodegeneration, focusing on the brain processes known to be a part of the development of Alzheimer’s. They did their research partly at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at Long Island’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, which has the particle accelerators needed to smash matter and reproduce radioactive particles found in space.

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Listen To What The International Space Station Sounds Like

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Sometimes when I make a point to notice how quiet it is around me, I’ll find that it isn’t quiet at all. Bugs are the usual culprits, banding together for a thousands-strong symphony that I suspect would become increasingly maddening if that’s all I ever heard. It’s a good thing I’m not an astronaut, for the sake of both NASA and my sanity.

Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station, has only been up there in orbit for less than two weeks, but he’s already a headline maker. He recently sent back a recording of the mechanical ambiance of how the ISS sounds to its astronaut inhabitants. Give it a listen here, before somebody releases the Auto-Tune remix.

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NASA’s New Mars Rovers Look Like Medieval Weapons

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NASA goes medieval! Over the past few years, NASA has made their rovers to look friendly and acceptable to human eyes. For example, the Mars Rover Curiosity almost looks like Pixar’s Wall-E. But NASA’s new design for an upcoming rover has a more medieval look, as it resembles a spiked battle mace.

Hedgehog

The Phobos Surveyor

Engineers and scientists from Stanford, MIT, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have designed new rovers called Phobos Surveyors, nicknamed “hedgehogs.” This rover will explore the Martian Moon of Phobos in the near future. The rover would deploy one or more mace-like ball rovers from its mothership, which will remain in orbit around the moon. It will have the ability to launch and leap across the moon’s surface to collect data and explore.