NanoRacks at ISS, Antarctic fungi in space and the Moon formation

Nanoracks-Cubesats-e1392227441495To boost commercial activity, NASA may add private airlock to ISS

When NASA engineers designed the International Space Station during the 1990s, they didn’t envision the orbital outpost becoming a hub of commercial activity; nevertheless, that has become one of the most important contributions of ISS to US spaceflight. And as it nurtures American enterprise in low-Earth orbit, the station is increasingly running into a bottleneck: getting scientific research and other payloads outside.

Now a Texas company, NanoRacks, has proposed a solution. It is offering to build an airlock that will be attached to the space station and provide the capability to deploy cubesats and larger satellites. The $12 million-15 million airlock would also allow NASA to bring in costly large pumps and storage tanks for repairs rather than disposing of them.

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The Moon was produced by a head-on collision

The Moon was formed by a violent, head-on collision between the early Earth and a “planetary embryo” called Theia approximately 100 million years after the Earth formed, UCLA geochemists and colleagues report.

Scientists had already known about this high-speed crash, which occurred almost 4.5 billion years ago, but many thought the Earth collided with Theia (pronounced THAY-eh) at an angle of 45 degrees or more — a powerful side-swipe. New evidence reported Jan. 29 in the journal Science substantially strengthens the case for a head-on assault.

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Antarctic fungi survive 18 months in Mars-like conditions on board the ISS

Fungi_web_1024Tiny fungi that grow in the cracks of Antarctic rocks have just spent 18 months on board the International Space Station (ISS) in conditions similar to those on Mars, and 60 percent of their cells survived with stable DNA, new research reveals.

The results will help scientists better understand what type of lifeforms may have once lived on the Red Planet – and potentially still exist there – and will give them some insight into what they should be looking for. The fungi in question are known as cryptoendolithic fungi, and two species were collected by European scientists and sent to the ISS: Cryomyces antarcticus and Cryomyces minteri. 

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A job opening for a Reverse Engineer, USfalcon (USA). USfalcon is seeking a Reverse Engineer to provide engineering support and technical direction for operations of a highly technical or complex nature. Position requires advanced technical knowledge in all areas of network/application security, applications programming, reverse engineering, malware analysis, cryptographic algorithms and device driver development. More information

Contribute to space exploration by participating in the project Astro Pi: devise computer science experiments to be run on board the ISS. There will be opportunities to examine the results of the winning competition experiments, and there will also be a data analysis activity where you can obtain a CSV file full of time-stamped sensor readings directly from Tim Peake. More information


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