Tagged With space camp

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How do you test a new method for CPR in space without actually going into space? You take flight in a microgravity plane, obviously. For the last 20 years, NASA's Reduced Gravity Office has opened up its zero-g planes to college students from around the country, who get the once in a lifetime opportunity to test physical experiments in a weightless environment. Yes, they get to play with fire in zero g. Lucky...

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Deep in the belly of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, lie "The Domes". Step into one of them and suddenly you're standing on the surface of Mars, or you're flying high above the Earth, looking out from the International Space Station. This is the Systems Engineering Simulator, where we learnt to fly, drive and design better space vehicles.

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For the last 25 years, scientists have been able to monitor the "greenness" of trees from space and use that as a tool for evaluating plant health. The problem is that greenness isn't a good indicator for stresses — such as drought — because some trees (think pines) continue to be a lovely green until they're dead. Researchers are thus turning to a new indicator: the way plants glow.

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While Curiosity was still flying through space, way before it landed on Mars, scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory were busy working with a clone rover back on earth. In a simulation area called the Mars Yard, scientists put the duplicate Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) through a series of experiments to perfect the rover's software and reevaluate its capabilities. The tests answered critical questions like, "Can it go over that big rock?"

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Numbers, facts, figures, equations. These are all obviously critical components of the space program. But numbers don't speak to our emotions. It's hard to commit millions of dollars and thousand of hours to an equation. We need something visceral that we can connect to.