samedi 15 mai 2021

Space Toilet and Problems of Intestinal Stick Infection. Part 17.7


Space toilet.

May 15, 2021


Here the seventeen (17.7) article of a series of articles by Ph.D. Morozov Sergey Lvovich, expert in chronology and calendar systems, as well as space biology and medicine, Parliamentarian of Asgardia (AMP) the first space Nation.

Ph.D. Morozov Sergey Lvovich

Space Toilet and Problems of Intestinal Stick Infection (bowel obstruction)

For the first time, the Americans had a toilet only on shuttles. But he was not reliable. Astronaut Mike Mullein recalled that it was best to completely undress before using the toilet. Urine leaks and flying poop were not uncommon.

But before that, American astronauts generally only had diapers and "manual operations." The threat of infection by E. coli colonies and uncomfortable odors were a problem. If the bacteria enters the abdominal cavity, peritonitis may occur. Once in and multiplying in a woman's vagina, the bacteria can cause or complicate colpitis. The ingress of bacteria into the male prostate gland can be the pathogenesis of acute or chronic bacterial prostatitis, which could be the cause of acute prostatitis in cosmonaut Vasyutin.

To utilize the great need for the Mercury spacecraft, nothing was foreseen - the astronauts, three days before the flight, switched to a special diet that reduces the volume of feces. In the event of a flight delay (and this was the case regularly), the diet was extended.

The Gemini program included two long flights - Gemini V (almost 8 days) and Gemini VII (two weeks). Both flights required remarkable willpower from the astronauts. The hardest part was for Frank Borman and Jim Lowell on Gemini VII.

Image above: Frank Borman retired from NASA in July 1970. The total time of his stay in space was 19 days 21 hours 35 minutes 43 seconds.

A week later, the cabin was filled with the smell of urine and unwashed bodies (there was no change of clothes, no opportunity to wash). The astronauts put up with it as best they could - the first time they went down in a big way only on the tenth day of the flight.

And the last few days have gotten really unpleasant. But at that time it was a big victory - the USA overtook the USSR in flight duration, and two weeks were enough to fly to the moon.

As the commander of the Apollo 8 crew, Frank Bormann (German-American) made the first manned flight around the Moon and was one of 24 people to reach the Earth's satellite. He is the oldest living American in space. On December 24, 1968, Apollo 8 entered lunar orbit.

In twenty hours, the crew made ten orbits around the moon before returning to Earth. Earth Rising is a famous photograph taken by crew member Bill Anders of the Earth rising above the lunar horizon as the command module orbits the moon.

Flying on the ships "Mercury", "Gemini" and "Apollo" in the "fragrant" atmosphere of Escherichia coli colonies was not an easy test for American astronauts.

After the death of Gus Grissom, Bormann became Slayton's choice to command the first attempt at landing on the moon. In the fall of 1968, Slayton asked Bormann to command the first landing, but he refused. This was done by astronaut Neil Armstrong in 1969.

To comment on the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Mission in July 1969, Bormann was appointed NASA's Presidential Representative. Richard Nixon at the White House.

He watched the launch from the president's office. Nixon first prepared a long speech to read to astronauts on the moon during a phone call, but Bormann convinced him to speak briefly and impartially.

He also convinced the president not to play the "Star Banner" (US National Anthem), which would have required the astronauts to spend two and a half minutes of their time. He accompanied the President as he flew to the rescue ship on the USS Hornet to meet the Apollo 11 crew on their return. In June 1970, Bormann retired from NASA and the United States Air Force with the rank of colonel.

On the Apollo program, the most unpleasant thing was the lack of a toilet. Transcripts of the astronauts' conversations regularly contained discussions of the question of "whose" poop "("sausage") is flying around the cockpit."

Image above: The Apollo program was based on the Gemini sewage system. Liquid waste was collected in the same slip-on receptacles with containers and dumped overboard. For each astronaut, a supply of 10 replacement urine cuffs was kept.

During that period of history, the priority of space exploration was assigned to the USSR. The Americans were well aware that their rivals had advanced far ahead in space exploration and that it was not so easy to get ahead of them.

To close the distance, NASA needed to make some kind of breakthrough in space exploration. At this time, the lunar program was created. About 40 thousand employees worked on its development for eight years. The lunar program spent about $ 136 billion in 2005 prices. But no real rivalry with the USSR actually happened.

It turned out that the United States flew to the moon without a toilet in a dense atmosphere of aerosol from E. coli, feces and urine solely for their own "pleasure."

Therefore, realizing, finally, the complete senselessness of the situation of such "competition" with themselves, they also decided to give up this political "pleasure" ahead of schedule. In December 1972, they flew to the moon for the last sixth time.

The seventh, eighth and ninth flights to the moon therefore did not take place. Officially, the reason for the cancellation was called "the absence of a new scientific value with huge expenditures of the state budget and taxpayers."

On the remnants of the unfinished Apollo program, NASA conducted an international Soyuz-Apollo flight ( and launched three variants (2, 3, 4) of the Skylab station with a Saturn rocket -1B ". Unused equipment (two Saturn-5 rockets) was given to museums.

Image above: From left to right: Slayton, Stafford, Brand, Leonov, Kubasov.

The program of docking in orbit between the Soyuz and Apollo spacecraft was approved on May 24, 1972 by the Agreement between the USSR and the USA on cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. Implemented in the period from July 15 to July 21 (24), 1975.

On July 17, 1975, at 19 hours 12 minutes Moscow time, the Soviet Soyuz and the American Apollo docked in Earth orbit - this was the first joint experimental manned flight in the history of cosmonautics.

On July 19, the ships were undocked (the 64th orbit of the Soyuz), after which, after two orbits, the ships were docked again (the 66th orbit of the Soyuz), after another two orbits the ships finally undocked (the 68th orbit "Union").

Experimental flight "Apollo" - "Soyuz" (abbr. ASTP; other names - program "Soyuz - Apollo", program "Apollo - Soyuz"; Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, ASTP), also known as "handshake in space" - program joint experimental manned flight of the Soviet spacecraft Soyuz-19 and the American spacecraft Apollo.

Flight time:

- Soyuz-19 - 5 days 22 hours 31 minutes;
- Apollo - 9 days 1 hour 28 minutes;
- The total flight time in the docked state is almost two days - 46 hours 36 minutes.  


- Soyuz 19 - July 21, 1975
- Apollo - July 24, 1975

Image above: Union docking with Apollo on July 17, 1975. The photo (video) is real, possibly taken from a remote satellite.

Why Wernher Von Braun not Provided a Toilet on the APOLLO Space Ships?

All five days of the flight under the ASTP program in the Soyuz-19 spacecraft the toilet worked properly. And by definition, there was no toilet in the Apollo spacecraft.

The entire Apollo program was designed from the very beginning at NASA as short-term, within no more than two weeks (14 days).

Therefore, the astronauts all 9 days were on a starvation "diet" with swollen overflowing intestines and stomach discomfort. They frankly envied the Soviet cosmonauts with their blessing of civilization - the space toilet.

NASA astronauts were shocked when they saw the super toilet on the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft. Twice Hero of the USSR, pilot-cosmonaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov shared these memories at the solemn event dedicated to the anniversary of the docking of the Soyuz and Apollo. (

This was Wernher von Braun's headache. The engines of the Saturn 5 rocket did not allow the Apollo spacecraft to have a toilet.

The toilet was replaced by a third astronaut. "Bolivar" could not stand the toilet. The longest expedition, Apollo 17, lasted more than 12 days: 301 hours 51 minutes 59 seconds.

It was the world record for flying into space without a toilet. A "burden" like a toilet would have prevented the Americans from landing on the moon. A choice had to be made: either a toilet and two astronauts in the cockpit, or a third astronaut, but no toilet? The latter option was chosen as more reliable in terms of ensuring a successful landing on the moon in a lander with two astronauts, rather than one.

It was physically impossible to fly in space on Apollo without a toilet for more than 13-14 days due to problems with limited nutrition and emptying of the intestines of the astronauts. This was the heavy price the Americans paid for the conquest of the moon.

Alan Shepard, the first US astronaut, had a similar problem with the lack of a toilet. The Mercury program was also developed as an extremely short-term one.

In a flight suit for 15 minutes, no one thought about the sanitary and hygienic needs of the astronaut: there was no urine bag. Shepard emptied his bladder into a spacesuit with the risk of a short circuit (all power had been cut off beforehand), calling himself a "wet back."

The Americans believe that if NASA had not listened to the cautious von Braun, Shepard would have flown on March 24, 1961, and thus would have become the first person in space instead of Gagarin.

Image above: May 5, 1961. 09:34:13. The launch of the Redstone-3 Booster (created by the German Wernher von Braun), which was watched live by 45 to 70 million people. Classes were stopped in schools, institutions stopped working, and traffic stopped. In his autobiography, he wrote that he said to himself only "Don’t fuck up, Shepard"

On May 5, 1961, the Redstone 3 launch vehicle launched the Mercury-Redstone-3 (Freedom 7) capsule spacecraft into the ballistic trajectory of a suborbital flight.

Image above: Scheme of a suborbital flight of astronaut A. Shepard on May 5, 1961

The capsule reached an altitude of approximately 186.5 km and landed in the waters of the US Atlantic Missile Range 486 km from the launch point. The flight lasted 15 minutes 28 seconds.

Image above: 05:15. Alan Bartlet Shepard took a seat in the capsule ship "Mercury-Redstone-3" ("Freedom 7") 2 hours before the start.

NASA did not provide the spacecraft "Mercury-Redstone-3" with the possibility of satisfying natural human needs by an astronaut - it basically did not have a toilet and hygiene means for disposing of human waste. a long unplanned wait for the start and make the flight itself, being in a pool of your own urine.

Image above: Half an hour after landing, Shepard was invited to the phone. President Kennedy called, who watched the entire landing process on TV and personally congratulated Alan on the 1st space flight.

At the age of 47, by then the oldest NASA astronaut, Alan Shepard completed his second space flight as the commander of Apollo 14, which became the third successful American mission to the moon (January 31 - February 9, 1971). The astronaut died on July 21, 1998 at the age of 75 from leukemia in a hospital in Monterey.

Alan Shepard on the lunar surface, 1971

Only at the Skylab 1 station (which was launched into low-Earth orbit by the Saturn 5 rocket) did NASA's excreta disposal system appear as a "vacuum cleaner" fan. True, instead of the funnel of the urine bag, the same cuffs were used as on the Apollo, but at least the ventilator reliably created a vacuum for suction of urine. In the business of collecting solid waste, a toilet with removable bags has appeared.

Space Toilet - The Physiological Nucleus (Central Part) of Any Homeostatic ARK (GC) - Stationary and Mobile, - As Well As Any Long-Term Space Ship

Soviet spacecraft Vostok were designed from the very beginning for multi-day (long-term) flights, so the space toilet issues were resolved immediately (in advance), and even Gagarin went on a 108-minute flight with a completely complete toilet, which would have lasted 10 days. The design made it possible to cope with large and small needs and was relatively simple and versatile for men and women at the same time.

The design of the toilet-"vacuum cleaner" turned out to be so successful that it has not undergone fundamental changes for more than half a century. On modern "Soyuz" there is almost the same toilet, differing only in the shape of the compartment for collecting feces.

Image above: There are two Russian-made toilets on the ISS today: on the left is a toilet in the Zvezda module, on the right - in the Destiny module (ISS).

Today, no one complains about the work of the toilets on the ISS, although they sometimes fail, creating infectious problems with E. coli for the entire crew.

Image above: International Space Station, abbr. The ISS (International Space Station, abbreviated ISS) is a manned orbital station with a mass of 417.3 tons. Crew - up to 7 people. The pinnacle of achievements in manned astronautics in a state of zero gravity (microgravity).

According to Roscosmos, the ISS will expire in 2024. Now Roscosmos is negotiating with its international partners in the station to extend its life until 2030.

Editor's article supplement:

The ISS toilets were not always fun, there were breakdowns (often the clogged toilets), plumbing problems etc. In the equipment and supplies sent during the 14th mission of the Cygnus space freighter (NG-14), new toilet appeared in the on-board inventory.

Related article:

Cygnus Carries Toilet, Cancer Research, VR Camera to Space Station on 14th Mission

And to conclude in the theme of "pee & poo", during their spacewalk, there are no toilets in space, astronauts and cosmonauts wear diapers in their spacesuits.

Astronaut & Cosmonaut diaper

The First Hidden de Facto Epidemic of a Fungus Unknown to Science at the Mir Station and Forced Flooding of the Station

On February 19, 1986, the first module of the Mir station was launched in the USSR, which became the prototype of the International Space Station and the first multi-modular station in orbit with a constant human presence. The station was inhabited for 4594 days.

More than 23,000 experiments were carried out at the station. The program was held within the framework of the international cooperation Mir-Shuttle. The station was visited by 104 cosmonauts from 12 countries.

However, since 1997, the time spent on station maintenance and fixing technical problems was 2.5 times the time spent on scientific experiments. The process of destruction of devices after a series of technical breakdowns was rapidly gaining momentum.

The problems started in 1993. First, the switching device broke down.

When the device was brought to the ground, it was opened, and inside was discovered a greenish mold unknown to science, lying in a thick and extensive, dense bloom.

Then on the space station other devices, in particular, a fire warning sensor and a smoke alarm, went out of order.

Due to such serious malfunctions, it was dangerous to be inside the World, since the devices could catch fire at any moment. One such fire, when using oxygen bombs, was accidentally extinguished by cosmonaut Polyakov personally.

In 1993, cosmonaut Serebrov sent a worm, found by him in a tank with drinking water, 1.5 m, to Earth for study from the Mir station, about which, unfortunately, nothing else was reported later.

Opening another spacesuit for spacewalk, he noticed a strange green dust in it, which literally splashed out on the astronaut. Serebrov commented on it this way: "Imagine, you open the spacesuit from the back (it was there that the" door "was located), and a strange greenish smoke falls out of it."

By the way, if this happened on earth, the dust would quickly fall to the floor, since gravity acts on it.

In outer space, there is no gravity on board the station, so the smallest dust particles are elusive there. When Serebrov looked inside the suit, he saw a layer of green mold. It was easy to guess that it was she who was the source of the dust.

They tried to collect mold and dust in a dust collector. The remaining traces inside the spacesuit were cleaned by the entire crew using available means.

The station was thoroughly disinfected and from January 8, 1994 to March 22, 1995, the longest flight in the history of astronautics was carried out on it - 437 days 17 hours 58 minutes by cosmonaut-doctor Polyakov.

The record-breaking cosmonaut Polyakov was in the 15th, 16th and 17th main expeditions to the Mir station. He had the task of simulating a flyby of Mars in 500 days. But for some reason he did not manage to bring the record to exactly 500 days. Polyakov was evacuated from the station for some reason.

The epidemiological situation at the station has become very bad. They failed to overcome the invasion of mold, which aggressively and dangerously damaged the insulation on the wires. Nothing helped. (

Image above: Colonies of mold unknown to science at the MIR station (1993-1994).

Cosmonaut Serebrov, Alexander Alexandrovich, became seriously ill and terminally ill and resigned on May 10, 1995; he was the first human to become infected with space mold at the MIR station. They could not cure him that way. Until now, no one knows his real diagnosis.

Cosmonaut Serebrov died suddenly on November 12, 2013, at the age of 70. He was buried on November 15, 2013 at the Ostankino cemetery. Science has lost the fight against the first real space epidemic.

The station, on the other hand, was in a very poor condition - worn-out systems broke down every now and then, there were fires, ventilation failed, navigation junked, etc.

The Spektr module was completely out of order after the Progress M-34 cargo ship crashed into it on June 25, 1997.

"Spectrum" had the largest area of ​​solar panels and provided up to 40% of the station's energy, so that its loss was virtually irreplaceable. Therefore, in recent years, even scientific work on Mir has hardly been carried out.

On June 16, 2000, the last expedition (Sergei Zalyotin and Alexander Kaleri) returned from Mir to Soyuz-TM-30, and on November 16, Yuri Koptev, at that time the general director of Roscosmos, suggested flooding the station.

After a series of discussions, mostly of a political nature, his proposal was accepted as a guide to action. (

On March 21, 2001, the station was de-orbited and on March 23, 2001 (15 years and 4 days after the start of operation) at 09.01 there was a planned flooding of the MIR station, affected by an epidemic unknown to science of mold (fungus), in the South Pacific Ocean, closed from navigation "cemetery of spaceships", flooding coordinates: 40 ° 0'S, 160 ° 0'Wc.

It was a total disinfection of the MIR station by cosmic fire - almost all of it burned out while passing through the dense layers of the atmosphere along with unidentified mold.

This first epidemic in space is the first call for civilization at the beginning of the colonization of the Universe. Infection in space in a confined space is more dangerous than on Earth.

In space, special, heightened precautions are needed. This primarily concerns the so-called "space" tourism.

Orbital station "Mir" before sinking in 2001

Editor's article supplement:

To avoid the same problem in the International Space Station (ISS), cleanings and samples of microbes and bacteria and molds are taken regularly.

Astronauts Leave “Microbial Fingerprint” on Space Station

Related articles:

Three Historical Stages of Cosmonautics Development. Part 17.6

Brief Background to Selenopolitics (Industrial Colonization of the Moon). Part 17.5

Exodus of civilization into space - Creation of the first ever mobile homeostatic ark (HA) in the USA. Part 16

Exodus of civilization into space - Apocalypse; View from the UK. Part 15

Exodus of civilization into space - Comparison of plans of NASA and Roscosmos. Part 14

The ideology of space expansion - The question of pregnancy and childbirth in zero gravity. Part 17.4

Colonization of the Moon - The source of the power, wealth and power of civilization in the Universe. Part 17.3

Space manned industrialization of the XXI century - the golden age of civilization. Part 17.2

Exodus of civilization into space - Humanity's strategy to create stationary and mobile Homeostatic arks. Part 17.1

Exodus of civilization into space - Tsiolkovsky Galactic State. Part 9

Exodus of civilization into space - Symbol of the End of the XXI century. Part 8

Exodus of civilization into space - Stopping the process of increasing value added. Part 7

Exodus of civilization into space - The sixth socio-economic formation of civilization. Part 6

Exodus of civilization into space - Space man. Part 5

Exodus of civilization into space - Biological End of the World. Part 4

Exodus of civilization into space - Geochronological Ice Ages, periods, eras. Part 3

Exodus of civilization into space - Astrophysical End of the World. Part 2

The ideology of space expansion - Space calendar. Part 1

Related links:

About Ph.D. Morozov Sergey Lvovich:

Original article in Russian on Zen.Yandex:

Asgardia website:

Author: Ph.D. Morozov Sergey Lvovich / Zen.Yandex. Editor / Translation: Roland Berga. 


Rocket Lab - Electron launches two BlackSky satellites


Rocket Lab - BlackSky / “Running Out Of Toes” Mission patch.

May 15, 2021

Electron launches two BlackSky satellites

Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle launched the “Running Out Of Toes” mission, two of BlackSky’s 60 kg class satellites, from Launch Complex 1 on Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand, on 15 May 2021, at 10:08 UTC (22:08 NZT).

Electron launches two BlackSky satellites

The mission is Rocket Lab’s 20th Electron launch overall and the second of three planned ocean splashdown recovery missions.

BlackSky Constellation

The mission is a dedicated launch set to deploy two Earth-observation satellites for BlackSky. For the first time this year, Rocket Lab also attempt to recover the Electron launch vehicle’s first stage under a parachute for a controlled ocean splashdown. The mission is the next major step in Rocket Lab’s program to make Electron a reusable rocket.  

Rocket Lab:


Images, Video, Text, Credits: Photos and video footage courtesy of Rocket Lab/SciNews/BlackSky/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Best regards,

Zhurong landed on Mars! The Tianwen-1 rover is on Utopia Planitia (Videos)


CNSA - Tianwen-1 (天問-1) Mission to Mars logo.

May 15, 2021

Zhurong landed on Mars! The Tianwen-1 rover is on Utopia Planitia

Zhurong, the Tianwen-1 mission’s rover, successfully landed on the southern part of Utopia Planitia, Mars, on 14 May 2021, at 23:18 UTC (15 May, 07:18 China Standard Time). Tianwen-1 (天问一号) is China’s first Mars exploration mission with an orbiter, a lander and a rover.

Zhurong landing on Mars

The name Tianwen (天问, Questions to Heaven) comes from a poem written by the Chinese poet Qu Yuan. The Tianwen-1 mission’s rover was named Zhurong (祝融) after the god of fire in ancient Chinese mythology.

Zhurong’s landing explained

The designers of the Tianwen-1 Mars mission explain the landing process of the Zhurong rover. Tianwen-1 (天问一号) is China’s first Mars exploration mission with an orbiter, a lander and a rover - Zhurong (祝融).

Related article:

China succeeds in landing its rover on Mars

For more information about China National Space Administration (CNSA), visit:

Image, Videos, Text, Credits: CASC/China Central Television (CCTV)/China National Space Administration (CNSA)/SciNews/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


vendredi 14 mai 2021

China succeeds in landing its rover on Mars


CNSA - Tianwen-1 (天問-1) Mission to Mars logo.

May 14, 2021

The rc rover "Zhurong" has successfully landed on the Red Planet, according to Chinese state media.

Illustration of the capsule entering in the Martian atmosphere

China on Saturday succeeded in landing its small remote-controlled robot "Zhurong" on the surface of Mars, which is a first for the Asian country, according to public television CCTV.

Landing on the Red Planet is particularly complicated, and many European, Soviet and American missions have failed in the past. China previously tried to ship a probe to Mars in 2011 during a joint mission with Russia. But the attempt had collapsed and Beijing then decided to continue the adventure on its own.

Tianwen-1 (天問-1) Mars lander and Zhurong rover

The Chinese thus launched at the end of July 2020 from Earth their uninhabited mission "Tianwen-1", named after the probe sent into space. This is made up of three elements: an orbiter (which orbit around the planet), a lander (which has landed on Mars) and on board a remote-controlled rover, "Zhurong".

"The Tianwen-1 lander successfully landed in the predefined area" on Mars with the "Zhurong" robot, CCTV said, adding that a "signal" had been received on Earth. The landing took place in an area of the red planet called "Utopia Planitia", a vast plain located in the northern hemisphere of Mars.

This is the Chinese’s first independent attempt. And, ambitious, they hope to do all that the Americans have achieved in several Martian missions since the 1960s. In February, China had already succeeded in placing the "Tianwen-1" probe in Martian orbit and taking pictures of the red planet.

World premiere

Early Saturday, this time it managed to land a lander on Mars, which will then allow the rover "Zhurong" to exit. Carrying out these three operations on an inaugural mission to Mars is a world first.

Weighing in excess of 200 kilograms, "Zhurong" is equipped with four solar panels for its power supply, and is supposed to be operational for three months. It is also equipped with cameras, radar and lasers that will allow it, among other things, to study its environment and analyze the composition of Martian rocks.

The name "Zhurong" was chosen after an online survey and refers to the God of Fire in Chinese mythology. A symbolism justified by the name in Chinese of Mars: "huoxing", literally "the planet of fire".

Related articles:

China to land rover on Mars

New images of Mars from Tianwen-1

Tianwen-1 captures Mars in high-resolution images

Tianwen-1 enters parking orbit around Mars

Tianwen-1 Mars Orbit Insertion

China in turn (after UAE) begins its journey to Mars

For more information about China National Space Administration (CNSA), visit:

Images, Text, Credits: CNSA/CASC/Nature/AFP/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Best regards,

New NASA Data Sheds (Sun) Light on Climate Models


NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center logo.

May 14, 2021

Have you ever worn a dark T-shirt on a sunny day and felt the fabric warm in the Sun’s rays? Most of us know dark colors absorb sunlight and light colors reflect it – but did you know this doesn’t work the same way in the Sun’s non-visible wavelengths?

The Sun is Earth’s power source, and it emits energy as visible sunlight, ultraviolet radiation (shorter wavelengths), and near-infrared radiation, which we feel as heat (longer wavelengths). Visible light reflects off light-colored surfaces like snow and ice, while darker surfaces like forests or oceans absorb it. This reflectivity, called albedo, is one key way Earth regulates its temperature – if Earth absorbs more energy than it reflects, it gets warmer, and if it reflects more than it absorbs, it gets cooler.

The picture becomes more complicated when scientists bring the other wavelengths into the mix. In the near-infrared part of the spectrum, surfaces like ice and snow are not reflective – in fact, they absorb near-infrared light in much the same way a dark T-shirt absorbs visible light.

“People think snow is reflective. It’s so shiny,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City and acting NASA senior climate adviser. “But it turns out in the near-infrared part of the spectrum, it’s almost black.”

Clearly, for climate scientists to get the whole picture of how solar energy enters and exits the Earth system, they need to include other wavelengths besides visible light.

NASA: Why does the Sun Matter for Earth’s Energy Budget?

Video above: Earth's energy budget is a metaphor for the delicate equilibrium between energy received from the Sun versus energy radiated back out in to space. Research into precise details of Earth's energy budget is vital for understanding how the planet's climate may be changing, as well as variabilities in solar energy output. Video Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

That’s where NASA’s Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1) comes in. From its vantage point aboard the International Space Station, TSIS-1 measures not only the total solar irradiance (energy) that reaches Earth’s atmosphere, but also how much energy comes in at each wavelength. This measurement is called spectral solar irradiance, or SSI. TSIS-1’s Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM) instrument, developed by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, measures SSI with an accuracy better than 0.2%, or within 99.8% of the true SSI values.

“With TSIS-1, we have more confidence in the measurements of visible and near-infrared light,” said Dr. Xianglei Huang, professor in the department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering at the University of Michigan. “How you partition the amount of energy at each wavelength has implications for the mean climate.”

Seeing the Sun in 1,000 different colors with NASA’s TSIS-1

Video above: The composition of that light that falls on Earth matters to understanding Earth's energy budget. NASA's Total Solar and Spectral Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1) measures the Sun’s energy in 1,000 different wavelengths, including the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared, known as solar spectral irradiance. Video Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Huang and his colleagues at the University of Michigan, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and University of Colorado Boulder recently used TSIS-1 SSI data in a global climate model for the first time. “Several studies used various SSI inputs to analyze the sensitivity of climate models in the past” – however, this study was the first to investigate how the new data changed the modeled reflection and absorption of solar energy at Earth’s poles, said Dong Wu, project scientist for TSIS-1 at Goddard.

They found that when they used the new data, the model showed statistically significant differences in how much energy ice and water absorbed and reflected, compared to using older solar data. The team ran the model, called the Community Earth System Model, or CESM2, twice: Once with new TSIS-1 data averaged over an 18-month period, and once with an older, reconstructed average based on data from NASA’s decommissioned Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE).

Image above: In this photo taken from the International Space Station, the rising Sun casts long shadows across the Philippine Sea. Image Credit: NASA.

The team found that the TSIS-1 data had more energy present in visible light wavelengths and less in the near-infrared wavelengths compared to the older SORCE reconstruction. These differences meant that sea ice absorbed less and reflected more energy in the TSIS-1 run, so polar temperatures were between 0.5 and 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit cooler, and the amount of summer sea ice coverage was about 2.5% greater.

“We wanted to know how the new observations compare to the ones used in previous model studies, and how that affects our view of the climate,” said lead author Dr. Xianwen Jing, who carried out this research as a postdoctoral scholar in the department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering at the University of Michigan. “If there’s more energy in the visible band and less in the near-infrared band, that will affect how much energy is absorbed by the surface. This can affect how the sea ice grows or shrinks and how cold it is over high latitudes.”

This tells us that in addition to monitoring total solar irradiance, Huang said, we also need to keep an eye on the spectra. While more accurate SSI information will not alter the big picture of climate change, it may help modelers better simulate how energy at different wavelengths affects climate processes like ice behavior and atmospheric chemistry.

Even though the polar climate looks different with the new data, there are still more steps to take before scientists can use it to predict future climate change, the authors warned. The team’s next steps include investigating how TSIS data affects the model at lower latitudes, as well as continuing observations into the future to see how SSI varies across the solar cycle.

Learning more about how solar energy interact with Earth’s surface and systems – at all wavelengths – will give scientists more and better information to model the present and future climate. With the help of TSIS-1 and its successor TSIS-2, which will launch aboard its own spacecraft in 2023, NASA is shining a light on Earth’s energy balance and how it is changing.

Related links:

Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1):


Community Earth System Model, or CESM2:

Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE):

Goddard Institute for Space Studies:

Image (mentioned), Videos (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, by Jessica Merzdorf.


Can Space Gardening Help Astronauts Cope With Isolation?


NASA - Vegetable Production System (Veggie) patch.

May 14, 2021

It’s a maxim drilled into us at a young age: “Always eat your veggies!” For astronauts on the International Space Station, heeding this well-known advice is both essential and challenging. Health and nutrition are vital to mission objectives, but how do you ensure astronauts get fresh produce to eat when living off the planet?

One solution involves astronauts growing vegetables for themselves. On the station, plants such as the mizuna mustard greens seen above are grown under LED lighting and watered in plant “pillows” — special bags that contain seed and fertilizer. These plants and their pillows are housed in a unique botany facility called the Vegetable Production System, or Veggie.

Image above: Mizuna mustard plants grow inside plant pillows in the Vegetable Production System, also known as Veggie, on the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA.

Growing fresh vegetables in space offers benefits beyond providing a source of nutrition to crew members, explained Dr. Gioia Massa, project scientist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Here on Earth, pandemic-induced isolation has led people to take up baking or gardening. Could developing a space-faring green thumb also help astronauts ease their sense of confinement and isolation? NASA’s Human Research Program, or HRP, has given Massa and her team of researchers the task of finding out.

To learn more, Massa’s group is asking astronauts who currently cultivate vegetables on the station to each complete a survey about their space-gardening experiences. For example, crew members who grow mizuna mustards take the survey two to three times for the month-long growth cycle of the plant.

Questions on the survey help gauge how space-gardening affects astronauts’ moods. For example: Was gardening engaging, demanding, or meaningful? Did it impact the passage of time, performance of mission tasks, or relationships with crew members? Did gardening enhance their connection to Earth, desire to harvest or consume the plants, or food consumption in general? How effective was gardening as a source of sensory stimulation for sight, touch, smell, and taste?

When the vegetables are ready to eat, the astronauts also complete a sensory assessment. They rate the flavor, color, appearance, aroma, texture, and taste of the produce to see whether the labor over their veggies proved fruitful as a supplement to prepackaged space food.

Thus far, seven astronauts have completed the survey. Massa hopes to survey a total of 24 astronauts before the study is complete.

Initial results show that some participants loved working with the plants during their leisure time, spending many hours caring for them during their mission, while others preferred different activities. Despite the variability, no one viewed their work with the plants as meaningless, and all valued the utility of growing plants in space.

Astronauts’ feedback will help NASA better design food systems for future space missions. “We are learning what crops to grow to help supplement the diet, which activities should be automated or remotely operated, and which should have options for crew involvement,” explained Massa. “Different growth systems and different space missions will have different solutions to these questions.”

HRP, along with the Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS) Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, provides funding for Veggie and related investigations.

HRP is dedicated to discovering the best methods and technologies to support safe, productive human space travel. HRP enables space exploration by reducing the risks to astronaut health and performance using ground research facilities, the International Space Station and analog environments. This leads to the development and delivery of an exploration biomedical program focused on several goals: informing human health, performance, and habitability standards; developing countermeasures and risk-mitigation solutions; and advancing habitability and medical-support technologies. HRP supports innovative, scientific human research by funding more than 300 research grants to respected universities, hospitals and NASA centers to over 200 researchers in more than 30 states.

Related articles:

Mission Commander Thrives as ‘Space Gardener’

Seven Ways the International Space Station Helps Us Study Plant Growth in Space

Related links:

Growing fresh vegetables in space:

Food systems:

Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS):

Vegetable Production System (Veggie):

Human Research Program (HRP):

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Kelli Mars/Human Research Program Strategic Communications/Deepthi Srinidhi/Jennifer L. Turner.

Best regards,

Hubble Spots a Cosmic Cloud’s Silver Lining


NASA - Hubble Space Telescope patch.

May 14, 2021

This image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope showcases the emission nebula NGC 2313. Emission nebulae are bright, diffuse clouds of ionized gas that emit their own light.

The bright star V565 (center of the image) highlights a silvery, fan-shaped veil of gas and dust, while the right half of this image is obscured by a dense cloud of dust. Nebulae with similar shapes were once called “cometary nebulae” because the star with an accompanying bright fan looked like a comet with a bright tail.

The language that astronomers use changes as we become better acquainted with the universe, and astronomical history is littered with now-obsolete phrases to describe objects in the night sky, such as “spiral nebulae” for spiral galaxies.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

For more information about Hubble, visit:

Text Credits: European Space Agency (ESA)/NASA/Lynn Jenner/Image, Animation Credits: ESA/Hubble, R. Sahai.


Space Station Science Highlights: Week of May 10, 2021


ISS - Expedition 65 Mission patch.

May 14, 2021

The week of May 10, research conducted by crew members aboard the International Space Station included studies of how probiotics affect immune function and the effects of the space environment on various materials, as well as testing a method to monitor equipment function using sound analysis.

The space station has been continuously inhabited by humans for 20 years, supporting many scientific breakthroughs. The orbiting lab provides a platform for long-duration research in microgravity and for learning to live and work in space, experience that supports Artemis, NASA’s program to go forward to the Moon and on to Mars.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

Here are details on some of the microgravity investigations currently taking place:

Protecting immune function and the gut microbiome

Immune function and the intestinal microbiota are thought to undergo changes during long-duration spaceflight. An investigation from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Probiotics studies the effects of beneficial bacteria on immune function and intestinal microbiota of crew members. These probiotics could be incorporated into the diet on future space missions, providing basic nutrition and helping to protect overall crew member health. Results also could shed light on changes that bacteria experience during spaceflight, which could contribute to efforts to reduce infections.

Testing shielding, seeds, and more

MISSE-14-NASA exposes materials targeted for potential use in de-orbit, phase change, and radiation shielding applications to the harsh environment of space. It also evaluates the effects of space radiation on 10 types of crop seeds and validates the effectiveness of passive sample containment vessels for storing seeds or other biological samples in space. A series of investigations, MISSE tests how space affects the performance and durability of a wide variety of new materials and material configurations. Similar materials fly on multiple MISSE missions. These investigations help improve models for predicting the suitability of specific materials and components for various uses in space. Such materials also have potential uses in harsh environments and conditions on Earth.

Listening in on equipment

Image above: Audio sensors for SoundSee, an investigation that tests monitoring of the acoustic environment using these sensors on Astrobee, a mobile robotic platform aboard the space station. Monitoring sound can provide early indication of equipment failure and autonomous monitoring could improve crew health and safety and reduce crew workload. Image Credit: NASA.

Sounds can provide an early indication of equipment failure. SoundSee tests a way to detect anomalies in the sounds made by equipment such as life support infrastructure and exercise machines on the space station. The investigation uses an audio sensor on Astrobee, the station’s free-flying robotic platform, and deep audio analytics, which establishes a set of acoustic data for a healthy machine and then uses that baseline to determine the presence of anomalies. Sound can transmit information from components inside a machine that would otherwise be inaccessible. This technology could provide autonomous monitoring of the functioning of equipment and help protect the health and safety of crew members on the space station and future spacecraft by keeping equipment in good working order while also reducing crew workload.

Other investigations on which the crew performed work:

Image above: NASA astronaut Megan McArthur works inside the Kibo laboratory module's Life Science Glovebox for Celestial Immunity, a study of the effects of gravity on functional immune response and the role of age in regulating immune pathways. Image Credit: NASA.

- Celestial Immunity evaluates the effects of gravity on functional immune response and the role of age in regulating immune pathways. Results could support development of new vaccines and drugs to prevent and treat existing and emerging human diseases.

- Antimicrobial Coatings tests a coating to control microbial growth on several different materials that represent high-touch surfaces. Some microbes change characteristics in microgravity, potentially creating new risks to crew health and spacecraft.

- Standard Measures collects a set of core measurements from astronauts before, during, and after long-duration missions to create a data repository to monitor and interpret how humans adapt to living in space.

- Food Physiology examines the effects of an enhanced spaceflight diet on immune function, the gut microbiome, and nutritional status indicators, with the aim of documenting how dietary improvements may enhance adaptation to spaceflight.

- Food Acceptability looks at how the appeal of food changes during long-duration missions. Whether crew members like and actually eat foods directly affects caloric intake and associated nutritional benefits.

- ISS Ham Radio provides students, teachers, parents, and others the opportunity to communicate with astronauts using HAM radio units. Before a scheduled call, students learn about the station, radio waves, and other topics, and prepare a list of questions on topics they have researched.

- Spaceborne Computer-2 explores adapting commercial, off-the-shelf computer systems to process data significantly faster in space with edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

Image above: ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet gathers hardware for a demonstration of a simple heat transfer experiment as part of the Story Time from Space science program for young people. Image Credit: NASA.

- For Story Time from Space, crew members read children's books and complete simple science experiments, helping to inspire interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Space to Ground: Celestial Immunity: 05/14/2021

Related links:

Expedition 65:





ISS National Lab:

Spot the Station:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Animation (mentioned), Images (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Ana Guzman/John Love, ISS Research Planning Integration Scientist Expedition 65.


China to land rover on Mars


CNSA - Tianwen-1 (天問-1) Mission to Mars logo.


 May 14, 2021

Launched last July, the Tianwen-1 probe is to deposit a lander that will allow the “Zhurong” rover to come out to analyze the surface.

An image of the planet Mars taken last March by the Tianwen-1 probe. Image Credit: CNSA

China was preparing on Friday to attempt to land a small unmanned robot on the surface of Mars, a particularly delicate operation that testifies to Beijing's increasingly daring space ambitions. In the midst of diplomatic and technological rivalry with the United States, the Asian giant launched the "Tianwen-1" probe in July last year. The craft took seven months to cover the 55 million kilometers that separated it from the Red Planet, or 1,400 times around the world.

The probe, which arrived in Mars orbit in February, is made up of three components, including a lander that is expected to land in the next few hours. The module must allow a remote-controlled rover, "Zhurong" (the god of fire in Chinese mythology), to come out to analyze the surface. No specific schedule has been released from an official source. The Chinese space agency (CNSA) had simply mentioned a possible window between mid-May and mid-June.

Tianwen-1 (天問-1) Mars lander. Image Credit: CNSA

But speculation was alive on Friday after a prominent spaceflight specialist announced that the rover would land on Mars on Saturday morning. Ye Peijian, chief of the lunar exploration program, expects the module to land at 7:11 a.m. on Saturday Beijing time (1:11 a.m. CET), according to media reports reported Friday at a conference the day before.


"Zhurong" is supposed to be operational for three months. In the event of a successful landing, it should make it possible to study the environment of Mars and analyze the composition of the rocks.  

Landing on the Red Planet is particularly complicated, and several European, Soviet and American missions have failed in the past. The "Tianwen-1" mission sent its first image of Mars in February: a black and white photo showing landforms like the Schiaparelli crater and the Valles Marineris canyon system.

CNSA Press Release: Tianwen-1 probe will land on Mars in next few days

Related articles:

New images of Mars from Tianwen-1

Tianwen-1 captures Mars in high-resolution images

Tianwen-1 enters parking orbit around Mars

Tianwen-1 Mars Orbit Insertion

China in turn (after UAE) begins its journey to Mars

For more information about China National Space Administration (CNSA), visit:

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: CNSA/AFP/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Best regards,

jeudi 13 mai 2021

More than 200 dangerous encounters with the ISS recorded in 2020


ISS - International Space Station logo.

May 13, 2021

The Russian Automated Warning System for Hazardous Situations in Near-Earth Space (ASPOS OKP) in 2020 recorded 220 dangerous encounters between the ISS and space debris. This was stated in an interview with TASS by the head of the information and analytical center of TsNIIMash (part of the State Corporation "Roscosmos") Igor Bakaras.

“In 2020, 220 dangerous encounters with the ISS were recorded and more than 4,000 with domestic spacecraft [spacecraft]. In 2021, the spacecraft orbits were not corrected, ”Bakaras said. The specialist added that, on average, about 4.5 thousand dangerous encounters with Russian spacecraft are recorded annually.

Space debris. Animation Credit: ESA

According to the head of the information and analytical center, for example, in 2020 the ISS had to adjust its orbit twice to avoid collision with space debris. One of the maneuvers was carried out on 23 September. “Due to the high probability of disruption to normal operation due to a possible collision with a fragment of the destruction of the operational element of the Japanese N-2A rocket, the ISS orbit was corrected,” he said.

Items lost by astronauts during spacewalks also become objects of space debris, the specialist explained. After a while, they burn up in the atmosphere. All these objects are entered into the database of the main information and analytical center of the Automated System for Warning of Dangerous Situations in Near-Earth Space (ASPOS OKP).

International Space Station (ISS). Image Credit: NASA

“Such objects also pose a threat to the ISS and other spacecraft, as well as any object of space debris, the orbit of which can intersect with the orbits of spacecraft. The danger for the ISS is quite low and exists only at the initial stage, in the future such objects fall below the ISS orbit and do not pose a threat to it”, Bakaras concluded.

Read the full interview:

ROSCOSMOS Press Release:

Animation (mentioned), Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: ROSCOSMOS/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


More Immunity Studies as Crew Preps for Cargo Mission, Spacewalks


ISS - Expedition 65 Mission patch.

May 13, 2021

The International Space Station hummed with activity on Thursday as the Expedition 65 crew gets ready for the next SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission and continues immune system research. All seven crew members also joined together and practiced their emergency response skills.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide teamed up with ESA Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet during the morning, gathering and organizing items for return to Earth on the next resupply mission from SpaceX. The upgraded Cargo Dragon vehicle is targeted for launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket on June 3 from Kennedy Space Center. It will deliver the first two of six new solar arrays, a kidney disease therapy study, plant and microbe experiments and more, about two days after liftoff.

Image above: Expedition 65 Flight Engineers (from left) Shane Kimbrough and Oleg Novitskiy unpack science hardware for installation inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. Image Credit: NASA.

The Kibo laboratory module’s Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG) once again was the center of activity for NASA Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur. The duo continued servicing donor cell samples inside the LSG, which are being compared to cells on Earth, as scientists document the significant differences in microgravity. The Celestial Immunity study’s results may provide insights into new vaccines and drugs and advance the commercialization of space.

At the end of the day, Vande Hei had his veins scanned with an ultrasound device operated by NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough. Kimbrough earlier joined Pesquet and inspected tethers to be used during a pair of upcoming spacewalks. The spacewalks are planned for June and will see the installation of the soon-to-be delivered solar arrays on the station’s Port 6 truss structure.

International Space Station flying over the Earth. Animation Credit: NASA

Finally, cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov joined their five crewmates and simulated an emergency aboard the station in conjunction with mission controllers on the ground. The drill consisted of locating emergency gear, practicing procedures and decision-making, and coordinating communications with controllers in Houston and Moscow.

Related links:

Expedition 65:

Six new solar arrays:

Kidney disease therapy study:



Kibo laboratory module:

Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG):

Celestial Immunity:

Port 6 truss structure:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

Best regards,