Know your cosmic neighborhood

neighbors

At Chrome Experiments you can get a good view over our nearest stars. Zoom in, or out. Check out 100,000 other stars. A very cool site! Picture credit: Chrome Experiments.

Stars @ Chrome Experiments

Wikipedia: Nearest stars

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Mars Habitats Simulated

We’re going to Mars. If NASA is not going I’m sure Elon Musk will land on planet four. But even if we have lived two hundred thousand years on Earth we still have a lot to learn before we can move to another planet. Mars is cold, has no air and no radiation shield. The lower gravity will probably also be a problem. Whatever we can simulate here on Earth before we go we need to do. Here are some of the projects doing just that:

HI-SEAS

The University of Hawai’i is operating the Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation habitat. The site on the side of Mauna Loa offers a cool and dry climate with a Mars like geology. This project is sponsored by University of Hawai’i, NASA and Cornell University. Four missions has been completed ranging from four month to a year. Next mission starts January 19.

University of Hawai’i: Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation

NASA Analog Missions: HI-SEAS

HI-SEAS @ Facebook | HI-SEAS @ Twitter | Wikipedia

 

Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS)

MDRS is operated by the Mars Society and located in the Utah desert. The habitat has a greenhouse and an observatory. Crews have been rotated the habitat since the early 2000s.

Mars Society: Mars Desert Research Station

MDRS @ Facebook | MDRS @ Twitter | Wikipedia

 

Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS)

The Mars Society’s first habitat, located on Devon Island. The area near the Haughton impact crater is considered one of the best Mars analog sites on Earth.

Mars Society: Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station

FMARS @ Facebook | Wikipedia

 

Haughton-Mars Project (HMP)

Also on Devon Island, not far from FMARS is the Haughton-Mars Project. HMP is operated by the Mars Institute with help from the SETI Institute and NASA.

Project web site: Haughton-Mars Project

Mars Institute | Facebook | Flickr | Twitter | Wikipedia

 

NEEMO

The NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations is a NASA project at the underwater laboratory Aquarius.

NASA: NEEMO

NEEMO @ Facebook | Twitter | Wikipedia

 

Living on white Mars

The distant research station Concordia at the Antarctic has been used to test isolation and cold. The project was documented on a blog at ESA.

ESA: Living on white Mars (PDF)

Wikipedia: Concordia Station

 

Don’t forget earlier projects like MARS-500 and Biosphere 2.

Wikipedia: MARS-500 | Biosphere 2 | Human analog missions | Mars analog habitatsMars analogs

 

More:

Upcoming Mars analogs: PMAS in Poland and the Mars Habitat in Brazil

NASA blogs: Analog missions

New Scientist: Four extreme environments where humans are tasting life on Mars

National Geographics: 8 amazing places you can visit “Mars” on Earth

101 Astronomical Events in 2017

Get this free ebook to get ready for this year’s observations of the night sky. It’s written by David Dickinson and completely free to download. This is a well written book with a lot of effort put into the writing. Please find it at the best site about space and astronomy: Universe Today. David is a writer at the site and you can find him on Google Plus, at Astro Guyz and other places online. More about the book here.

Free ebook: 101 Astronomical Events in 2017

Other contributors are Cory Schmitz from PhotographingSpace and Paul Stewart from Upside Down Astronomer.

So, is Universe Today really the best site about Space and Astonomy? Yes, according to this list, it’s at the top:

  1. Universe Today
  2. Planetary Society
  3. Astronomers Without Borders
  4. Space.com
  5. Wikipedia

Ok, it’s my own list but I doubt it only reflects my opinion. There are many really good sites online but if you can only remember five sites the above list is enough to keep you informed and involved in everything related to space and astronomy in 2017.

Science Talks

If you want to learn about science, space and astronomy the internet could be your best friend. The SETI Institute have their equivalent to TED Talks Science. Free science lectures not only about finding life in the universe but also about space exploration and astronomy in general. Great educational material by astronomers available for everyone. At the moment they have nearly 200 lectures.

SETI Institute: SETI Talks | Youtube channel

TED Talks Science

Not only are there lectures to watch, there are a few really good pod casts to listen to. Please check my Space News section where you find pod casts like these:

The Big Picture (also from the SETI Institute)

Planetary Radio

TMRO

And if you like to read there is of course the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia:

Space Portal | Astonomy Portal

Live science fiction adventure

It was ten years since I played Eve Online. I had to stop because it was time consuming, not for any other reason. It’s a very well made online game. You travel between solar systems and space stations, mining asteroids and fighting pirates or just exploring the universe. Instead of watching a sci-fi movies you’re living inside one. So why mentioning this old game? Because it’s still a great game and now it’s also free to play (that’s why I’m playing again). Free accounts have limitations but it will take you a while to experience them. The game has a learning curve too, but it’s worth the time to get to know this virtual universe and there is help to get online or in game.

So what is the game about? That is basically up to you. There will be a bit of mining asteroids but you can buy or sell things or turn into a pirate. If you’re at my age you will probably see the similarities with games like ELITE and Home world. Or maybe not, Eve Online is far more complex.

Link: Eve Online

Learn playing: EVE University UniWiki

For beginners: Brave Collective Wiki

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