Storage is hard to come by aboard the International Space Station. Even if a rocket had room to ferry thousands of pounds of water and oxygen to supply a six-month mission, you’d struggle to find anywhere to stash it. So engineers have devised creative ways to squeeze essentials from astronauts’ sweat, urine, and breath. But we’re not at total recovery yet. Right now, the ISS recycles 90 percent of its water—or more than 1,000 gallons annually—and 40 percent of the oxygen astronauts breathe. The rest comes up on resupply missions. This diagram shows how NASA gets so close to a self-sustaining space home.
Continue reading How the ISS recycles its air and water
Solar winds are no threat to people on Earth, but can pose a danger to astronauts and spacecraft. NASA has selected two new missions that aims to better our understanding of how the Sun drives extreme space weather. The first mission, Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere (or PUNCH) will consist of four suitcase-shaped satellites that will track solar wind as it leaves the sun. The second, Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites (or TRACERS) will use two spacecraft to study how magnetic fields around Earth interact with the Sun.
Continue reading NASA will study solar weather in two new missions