Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.
145

Fun question! Provided the three Lunar Roving Vehicles (LRV) left on the surface of the Moon by the last three Apollo program missions were not, tongue-in-cheek, towed away for unpaid parking, reckless driving and littering fines, or clamped by the Lunar people (not to be confused with Lunatics), I don't see why not, provided you have brought along all the ...


141

The following is a speech written for President Nixon, in the event that the Apollo 11 mission did not succeed. Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace. These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there ...


110

In my former job I was writing educational software. In short, it's exactly what you described: we offered a paid version of what you could get for free by looking out on the internet, going to class, going to the library, ... And yet, I'm still incredibly proud of it, knowing I made a difference. What is the difference between well written software and a ...


92

Probably, but you likely wouldn't drive it away. Not only will the batteries be completely discharged, but the rovers have gone through a large number of lunar days since then, creating a large thermal cycle. The number of thermal cycles is on the order of 500 for each one, and the cycles are brutal, going from -150C to as high as 120C each time. Even ...


90

In several press conferences, employees of NASA or private space firms have been asked if they played KSP, and some answered with "Yes". NASA used patched conics to find candidate orbits for Apollo back in the days. With that being said, KSP strikes the balance between accuracy and simplicity. Patched conics give a good idea how space works, without being ...


81

At the moment, there are a few groups trying to reach Mars, and a few groups who are trying to reach the Moon. Mars One has grabbed headlines lately, SpaceX states Mars colonization as its long term goal, and there are numerous smaller groups. For the Moon, there is the Google Lunar X prize, Shackleton Energy Corp, and OpenLuna, and again numerous other ...


80

If you want to get really bummed out for 'what could have been', check out the Wikipedia page for List of manned Mars mission plans. The earliest plan to get to Mars was written by von Braun in 1948, with the idea that we would be landing in 1965. With our current knowledge of Mars, it reads like science fiction. Seven passenger ships and three cargo ships ...


72

Apollo 11 mission had two modules Lunar module - which descent to moon carrying two astronauts command / service module- CSM was designed to return astronauts from the lunar surface on a direct-descent mission to earth and splash down. Direct telecast from the Command service module is not possible but CSM stored the recording of conversation which is ...


68

The main reason is heat rejection. NASA was asked this very question, and the answer was identified. Basically, the waste heat from the shuttle is expelled via the cargo bay doors. You don't want to ever point a radiator at the Sun, so the easiest thing is to point it at the Earth. Sometimes, if the heat was too high, they would actually point the shuttle ...


67

Your picture is not of a Saturn V, it's of a Saturn IB. The purpose of the elevated platform (known as the "milkstool") is to lift the rocket up so that it can be launched from Pad 39B using the same connections to the launch tower that the much taller Saturn V used. The early Saturn IB launches used the shorter Pad 34 and Pad 37, but by 1973, those launch ...


66

It's about as standard procedure as crossing your legs when you're sitting. Arms in microgravity, without conscious effort to keep them by your body, will tend to extend the elbows to the sides - just like holding knees together when sitting, at least for men, requires active (if minor) effort. Holding arms like this simply prevents sticking elbows into the ...


63

In addition to what Russell Borogove says about cumulative risk you're operating under a false assumption--that there was shielding on the Apollo capsules. Not only did the Apollo capsules not have shielding but shielding was considered undesirable. There are two main radiation threats in space: cosmic rays and solar flares. Their "defense" against solar ...


62

Radiation exposure is a cumulative risk. The more radiation you receive, the more likely you are to develop cancers. The Apollo missions took no more than two weeks to complete; the astronauts flying those missions accepted that dose of radiation with the health risks that come with it. A manned Mars mission will take, at minimum, months of travel. For ...


58

Like everything else, the ascent and descent stages were built to be as light as possible. But because they knew they would operate only in a vacuum, many things really didn't need to be sturdy, nor did the shape of it matter. It would never have to deal with aerodynamic drag. In fact, the descent stage was designed to buckle in the right places upon landing,...


58

It's hard to prove a negative, but the answer seems to be NO. It's not in D-7434 Stowage and the Support Team Concept, which has tables by location of the typical inventory stowed in the cabin. It's not in D-6737 Crew Provisions and Equipment Susbsystem, which describes in detail each of the items in the cabin. It's not listed in the actual stowage ...


57

The ISS is a science laboratory -- a National Lab in fact. Leaving it uncrewed would take away a huge portion of the science productivity without substantially impacting the cost to operate it. Why is it constantly crewed? Because anything else would be a phenomenal waste of resources.


54

Eyes do strange things in microgravity (when you consider they're deformable bags of fluid, this isn't too surprising). This report outlines the changes that can be identified after just a short parabolic flight. Eye test charts provide a way to investigate this without requiring heavy equipment or specialists. This study appears to be an on-going project ...


54

The Apollo lunar module was battery powered, so could only maintain a livable environment for a few days (this was a major concern for Apollo 13, since the crew was reliant on the LM after the accident which disabled the service module). Once out of power, it would be unable to circulate air or to maintain a comfortable temperature inside. Committing ...


52

It takes surprisingly little delta-v to reach Venus for a flyby -- about 3850 m/s from LEO instead of the 3200 m/s or so required to get to the moon -- so while the payload would have to be reduced from the normal Apollo mission, it wouldn't have been impossible. For Apollo 17, if we consider the payload to be the CSM, LM, and LM adapter, the total is 48.6 ...


50

Offered as a supplement to @SF's answer: This shows the fully relaxed arm position obtained by a sleeping astronaut. From here


48

EVA suits are very difficult for a single person to put on by themselves, so another person was required to help the other astronaut put on their EVA suit. At the very least, it is much easier to do it with help. A single person would have a very difficult time doing this. On the ground a team of people is usually employed to have this happen. Note there are ...


46

The short answer is that humans are heavy. For the weight of one human you can haul a big bunch of scientific instruments. Not to mention saving the weight of all the food, water and air that a human would need to eat, drink and breathe during the trip. Humans get cranky when they get too hot or cold. A well-built space probe can deal with much larger swings ...


46

Seeing as the answer is "no" (As per @DarkDust), I thought I'd add a situation that's similar. There was a short period aboard Mir after the collision with progress where all astronauts were without power, life support, lights and communication. The cosmonauts were interviewed about it and said something along the lines of "after being in here for so long ...


43

The Mars Society has a good indication of what the most serious medical issues have been in space flight. These include: A number of cases where the gloves leaked in an EVA. (STS-37, Mir Space Station) The STS-37 was possibly the most serious, only the fact that the astronaut was also bleeding kept this from a much more serious issue, similar to how Mark ...


43

There are multiple mock-ups of the ISS, for various purposes: The Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at Johnston space center contains replicas of many modules of the ISS, some of them assembled together. The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory is used for EVA training, and has a modules in the pool The Space Station Training Facility does not have full modules, but ...


42

From Wikipedia's article on Vostok 1: Path of Gagarin's complete orbit; the landing point is west of the takeoff point because of the eastward rotation of the Earth. The flight was at least one orbit of the Earth (note the latitude of the landing is higher than the launch, see @DavidHammen's answer), and beyond that the mission involved firing ...


41

First a few terms: Low Earth Orbit (LEO) All spacecraft must first achieve low Earth orbit. This is true whether you're sending stuff to the Moon or Mars. Trans Mars Insertion (TMI) The burn needed to send something on its way to Mars. Delta-v Change in velocity needed. Usually measured in kilometers/second. An important metric for space missions. Earth ...


39

From this article, and this article: Live television was transmitted from the moon to 3 grounds stations, two in Australia and one in California. The signal was converted to a standard broadcast signal and then sent to Houston, via, satellite, landline or microwave antenna. These graphics show the path of the television feed. Bottom line is, the ...


39

The minimum-fuel (Hohmann transfer) travel time to Mars is about 8 months each way. It's possible to shave some off that time by using more fuel, but fuel-to-payload ratio is among the biggest engineering factors in ambitious space missions. However, the alignment of the planets has to be just right to get that fuel-efficient course, and after reaching Mars ...


39

NASA is working on a so-called 'Cryosleep Chamber', but why do they need it so badly? NASA does not "need it so badly". If it did "need it so badly", NASA would be spending tens to hundreds of millions of dollars (or more) per year on this technology. Instead, NASA is spending half a million dollars on this technology, spread out over two or three years. ...


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