Tag Archives: Russia

Mission Abort: ISS in Danger of Being Abandoned

On Thursday, a Soyuz rocket carrying an American and a Russian had to abort its mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station after the rocket suffered a failure that resulted in an emergency landing.

Astronauts Alexei Ovchinin and Nick Hague were the men who made the emergency landing. According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, both men were very calm in the moment.  Bridenstine did have one communication issue with the astronauts as Hague was speaking in Russian to Bridenstine.

The International Space Station

The rocket, which was meant to go to the International Space Station, failed only two minutes after launch. The capsule fell at an altitude of 31 miles, which caused the men to experience gravitational forces 6-7 times the amount felt on Earth.

The failed attempt was the first manned mission for Russia in nearly three decades, although Russia has had to deal with failed missions involving unmanned missions.

Investigators are looking into why the spacecraft failed. Bridenstine has stated another mission, which involves taking a crew to the ISS in December, may be delayed.

The current crew at ISS which includes an American, a Russian, and a German, is scheduled to leave the space station in December. They could stay at the ISS until next year if needed, according to a Russian official.

If a crew cannot be brought to the ISS by the time the current crew leaves, the ISS may be abandoned for the time period.  That would be the first time since its launch in 1998. The ISS is expected to be fully operational until 2028.

Death by selfie

Earlier this month, a teenager in India was killed while trying to take a picture of himself in front of an oncoming train. The economics site Priceonomics has aimed to assemble the existing data about the individuals who have died while taking selfies, scouring through three years of news reports stating that an individual had died while trying to take a selfie.

One of India's 'no-selfie zones'. Image from www.compareraja.in
One of India’s ‘no-selfie zones’. Image from www.compareraja.in

They discovered that since 2014, 49 individuals had been reported dead as a result of some sort of unfortunate incident that was selfie-related. More than 25 percent of deaths involving selfies are concentrated among 21-year-olds, and 75 percent are male.

The most threatening places to take a selfie appear to be high places or in water: 16 individuals died from falling off a tall building or a cliff, while 14 drowned. Eight individuals died while posing next to an oncoming train. Four individuals died of gunshot wounds, two individuals died from a grenade, two from a plane crash, two from car crashes, and one individual died from an animal attack.

As far as  where on the planet these deaths involving selfies happen, the information is skewed to a great degree in India, where 19 of the reported deaths involving selfies occurred. Keeping in mind that India’s higher population has something to do with the bloated number of selfie-related deaths, that doesn’t appear to clarify it completely. India’s higher-than-normal drowning rate has an enormous part to play, and the country has declared 16 ‘no-selfie zones’.

Russia's campaign to urge the public to take care when taking selfies. Image from Russian Interior Ministry.
Russia’s campaign to urge the public to take care when taking selfies. Image from Russian Interior Ministry.

Russia has also attempted to address the death-by-selfie issue, by creating a campaign outlining poor selfie ideas to discourage unsafe selfies on cliffs, mountaintops, or near wild animals.

Priceonomics notes that of the 49 cases they inspected, not a single death was caused by the selfie itself. To their knowledge, no one has ever been lethally pierced by a selfie stick. The selfie appears to serve as a distraction in circumstances where the individual taking the selfie ought to focus on their own wellbeing and safety.

You don’t have to stop taking selfies, simply be cautious of your surroundings when taking one — especially when taking one standing on a cliff.

Weekly Time Wasters: Cybersex and other strange things

Well guys, we’re in the home stretch. One more week to go and then the dreaded finals. I hope you’ve had as much fun watching the Time Wasters every week as I’ve had making them. This will be the last installment of the Wasters of the year and unless one of my fantastic writers picks it up in the fall, the last one ever. I’m leaving my section in the very capable hands of my second in command, Brandon Leatherland, who will also be taking the reigns of Radcentric. I wish you all best and luck on your exams–make sure you come back in the fall for more exciting articles, reviews and exclusive content that will rock your socks off. Cheers. Continue reading Weekly Time Wasters: Cybersex and other strange things

Mars 500, a test in isolation

A Russian experiment that started just under a year and a half ago has come to an end. The test was to determine the affects of isolation on a crew during their trip to the red planet.

Photo from Creative Commons.

The experiment took place in a facility just outside Moscow. The crew of the Mars 500 was made up of a Frenchman, an Italian, a Chinese and three Russians. They spent 520 days locked in isolation. The trip to the simulated Mars took 250 days with 30 following days spent orbiting or working on a simulated planet surface. Then, the six-man crew took a return trip for 240 days. All of this took place inside of a locked 19,500-cubic-foot facility.

During their simulated trip, the crew underwent conditions similar to those experienced by a real crew flying to Mars. Their food and water was rationed, and the crew started with all the supplies they would have for the mission. They underwent days of monotonous tasks, which is where the real experiment lies.

Researchers wanted to examine the impact of isolation and monotony for extended periods of time. They examined the crew’s mental and physical state throughout the mission using a series of tests to watch for degrading conditions on any of the test parameters.

While communication with the outside world was limited, it was not entirely cut off. The crew was allowed to check their email, though it was delayed up to 40 minutes to simulate a real-life delay that would occur from the space craft traveling millions of miles away from its home planet.

This successful mission was the longest time any human being had been in isolation under a controlled environment. The previous record holder was Valeri Polyakov of the Mir space station who spent an impressive 437 days alone. This marked a milestone in the history of space explorations. Now research has shown humans are capable of sustaining long periods of time in isolation in limited amounts of space.

While the future of space exploration in the United States is up for debate, it’s clear that other nations are not just waiting idly for the next great space innovation to be made by the private sector. Increasingly we are seeing evidence that human beings are capable of great things when the time and money is there to allow them to do so. It may only be a matter of time before space is just one more conquered frontier.