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  • Writer's pictureMatt Russell

#160 - Chris Carberry - Alcohol in Space

This week we chat with Chris Carberry about missions to Mars and also his new book about Alcohol in Space. We have an Indian Legend Kalpana Chawla as our A.O.T.W. A new Mars Mystery and the worry of Starlink for Astronomers.

Oast House in Space
"The Earth is so small. It affected me. I could not get over the notion that in such a small planet, with such a small ribbon of life, so much goes on. It is as if the whole place is sacred" Kalpana Chawla

Chris Carberry is the CEO of the non-profit organization Explore Mars, Inc. He has authored more than 100 articles and opinion pieces that have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and online publications around the world

The production and consumption of alcohol has played a significant role in human society since the dawn of civilization. Will this still hold true when humanity is exploring and settling the outer reaches of space? This first book on the topic examines the history of alcohol in space, as well as dozens of companies and projects that are exploring the possibilities of alcohol production in orbit. Covering the long history of alcohol in human society, how alcohol has been addressed in science fiction, and space agriculture technologies, this book investigates a broad sweep of questions that bear on the manufacture of alcohol in space, as well as human space settlement in general.


(Credit: Texas A&M Foundation / Bill Salans.)

Nicholas B. Suntzeff

(born November 22, 1952, San Francisco) is an American of Russian descent a Distinguished Professor famous for setting up the High-Z Supernova Search Team, which would go on to show the expansion of the universe and dark energy and get the nobel prize.

Chadwick A. Trujillo (born November 22, 1973) is another American astronomer, discoverer of minor planets and the co-discoverer of Eris, Sedna,and 55 other TNO’s

Trujillo, along with Michael Brown and David Rabinowitz, discovered Eris in 2003, which was the nail in Pluto’s coffin.

Guion Stewart Bluford Jr., Ph.D. (born November 22, 1942) NASA astronaut, who is the first African American and the second person of African descent to go to space. (who was Arnaldo Tamayo Ménde, cosmonaut, the first Latin American and the first Cuban to fly in space)

  • Time in space 28d 16h 33m

  • Selection 1978 NASA Group 8

  • Missions STS-8, STS-61-A, STS-39, STS-53Space Shuttle flights between 1983 and 1992.

  • logged over 5,200 hours of jet flight time

  • Philadelphia Orchestra premiered Hold Fast to Dreams, a 25-minute piece for orchestra and choir in four movements, commissioned by the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in honour of Bluford, and written by composer Nolan Williams Jr.

Astronaut of the week

Kalpana Chawla - K.C. to her friends- The first Indian Woman in Space, literally an Indian National Hero.

Daughter of a Banarsi who had fled Pakistan during partition with nothing and who as well as helping the poor worked his way up to having a thriving tyre business.

The youngest child among three girls and one boy, her mother encouraged them to be a bit more outspoken than other Indian girls of the time.

Called simply Monto at home it was only when she went to school she settled on her name Kalpana meaning Imagination and early on had a fascination with Planes and Stars, literally obsessed

At the age of eleven, she persuaded her father to take her to a flying Club which happened to be nearby, and actually got a joyride abroad a Pushpak. “how can people be divided into classes, sects and religions, when they all look alike from the sky?”

She loved school and learning but was never the top of her class, except in sports. She embraced everything “Do something because you really want to do it. If you're doing it just for the goal and don't enjoy the path, then I think you're cheating yourself”.

She was definitely not a girly girl and cut her hair short and played rough with the boys. She had her mind set on Flight engineering, and then saw the Viking Lander and thought ...Space Travel!!!

Graduated from Tagore School, Karnal, India, in 1976.

  • Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College, India, the first woman aeronautical engineer of the college (she even wrote papers on relativity effect in space travel) in 1982.

  • Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas, 1984.

  • Doctorate of philosophy in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado, 1988

In 1988, Kalpana Chawla started work at NASA Ames Research Center

Her research concentrated on simulation of complex air flows encountered around aircraft such as the Harrier - Knarly powered-lift computational fluid dynamics

1993 Kalpana Chawla as Vice President and Research Scientist joined Overset Methods Inc., Los Altos, California, to form a team with other researchers

Specializing in the simulation of moving multiple body problems, aerodynamic optimization. documented in technical conference papers and journals.

Selected by NASA in December 1994,

Kalpana Chawla reported to the Johnson Space Center in March 1995 as an astronaut candidate in the 15th Group of Astronauts. assigned as crew representative to work technical issues for the Astronaut Office EVA/Robotics and Computer Branches. Robotic Situational Awareness Displays and testing space shuttle control software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory.

In November 1996, Kalpana Chawla was assigned as a mission specialist and prime robotic arm operator on STS-87. In January 1998, she was assigned as crew representative for shuttle and station flight crew equipment lead for Astronaut Office’s Crew Systems and Habitability section.

STS-87 Columbia (November 19 to December 5, 1997).

  • The fourth U.S Microgravity Payload flight

  • First-time fliers were assigned responsibility for the design of the mission patch, a spacesuit helmet containing various symbols and insignia pertaining to the mission objectives.

  • how the weightless environment of space affects various physical processes,

  • observations of the Sun's outer atmospheric layers.

  • she was responsible for deploying the Spartan Satellite which malfunctioned, necessitating a spacewalk by Winston Scott and Takao Doi to do a manual capture of the Spartan satellite, (totally exonerated)

  • in addition to testing EVA tools and procedures for future Space Station assembly.

Chawla carried three Deep Purple CDs into space and woke up every morning to the piercing sounds of Space Truckin' from the album Machine head. During her 16-day space odyssey, she exchanged e-mail with the band members.

STS-87 made 252 orbits of the Earth, travelling 6.5 million miles in 376 hours and 34 minutes.

When you lift off, the pressure is supposed to be maximum. But actually, it was very benign. Very enjoyable. But as soon as the engines cut off and you get to zero gravity, you felt as if you were being pushed off your seat. You feel disoriented. You don't feel aligned with anything. I felt for a few good hours that I was falling.

STS-107 Columbia (January 16 to February 1, 2003).

The 16-day flight was a dedicated science and research mission. Working 24 hours a day, in two alternating shifts, the crew successfully conducted approximately 80 experiments.

The STS-107 mission ended abruptly on February 1, 2003, when Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew perished during entry, 16 minutes prior to scheduled landing.

Chawla's remains were identified along with those of the rest of the crew members and were cremated and scattered at Zion National Park in Utah in accordance with her wishes

Bush said, "an administrator at her high school recalled, 'She always said she wanted to reach the stars. She went there and beyond.' Kalpana's native country mourns her today and so does her adopted land."

“She left her Nation as a Student but she would see the nation of her birth, all of it, from hundreds of miles above”

Chawla is survived by her husband of almost 20 years before her death, Jean‐Pierre Harrison, a flying enthusiast, who she met a day after she arrived in the USA.

Sunita Williams took on the responsibilities of Casualty Assistance Case Officer

Kalpana’s name has been given to a hill on Mars, a star in deep space, college, scholarships, and awards

Deep Purple created the song "Contact Lost" in memory of the Columbia tragedy along with her interest in the band, all royalties to the families.

The CD copies of Machine head, Purpendicular and Down to Earth were found among the Columbia debris. NASA used them as part of special commemorative plaques honouring the seven astronauts.

This picture of Columbia commander Rick Husband, bottom center, and his crew was on a roll of film recovered from the debris after the space shuttle broke apart over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003. NASA/AP

Space Station Kalpana One is intended to improve on the free space settlement designs of the mid-1970s: the Bernal Sphere, Stanford Torus, and O'Neill cylinders, as well as on Lewis One, designed at NASA Ames Research Center in the early 1990s. These systems are intended to provide permanent homes for communities of thousands of people. The Kalpana One structure is a cylinder with a radius of 250m and a length of 325m. The population target is 3,000 residents

Space News,

Commercial companies are putting experiments on the ISS

Adidas delivered soccer balls to the ISS during a cargo mission earlier this year in order to run experiments in an attempt to extend the understanding of flight characteristics beyond Earth

"Beyond the Earth's atmosphere, extreme conditions in microgravity and temperature allow for unique exploratory testing that can only be achieved in space," James Carnes, vice president of global brand strategy for Adidas. "This will manifest itself in technology and process innovations for how we make sneakers, advancements in apparel like compression garments, extreme temperature management of both footwear and apparel, and pioneering sustainable materials and circular processes."

An unusual payload launched for the International Space Station 2nd November, twelve bottles of wine, Twelve ISS-bound bottles of an undisclosed varietal are the work of French startup Space Cargo Unlimited, which gave the mission the whimsical Latin name “Vitis Vinum in Spatium Experimentia,” which translates roughly to “Wine Grape in Space Experiment.” T

In this Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 photo provided by Space Cargo Unlimited, researchers with Space Cargo Unlimited prepare bottles of French red wine to be flown aboard a Northrop Grumman capsule from Wallops Island, Va., to the International Space Station. The wine will age for a year up there before returning to the Luxembourg company. Company officials say researchers will study how weightlessness and space radiation affect the aging process. (Space Cargo Unlimited via AP)

the researchers will analyze both earthbound control and space samples to determine how space ageing affects the fermentation process of wine, including a bit of taste testing to see how flavours may have changed.

According to Space Cargo Unlimited’s website, the mission is “the first privately lead comprehensive research program on the ISS” to focus “on the future of agriculture for a changing Earth.”

Astronomers around the world are getting worried about Starlink.

Dr Tyson is the chief scientist for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope -

“If there are lots and lots of bright moving objects in the sky, it tremendously complicates our job,”

“It potentially threatens the science of astronomy itself.” Smith College astronomer James Lowenthal told the NY Times.

Forres, UK, November 19, 2019 – Orbex has let cameras into its working rocket factory in Scotland for the first time. The behind-the-scenes imagery reveals how the company is using advanced engineering techniques and materials to create the next generation of renewably-fuelled European orbital launch vehicles. The company also revealed its new Mission Control Centre that will be used to monitor orbital rocket launches from Scotland and other sites, as well as engine tests from its two propulsion test sites.

ArianeGroup is teaming up with young electronic music artist Pyramid to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Ariane launcher and to thank all the men and women who have made and continue to make this incredible epic European space adventure possible.

ArianeGroup challenged the French artist and space enthusiast Pyramid to compose six tracks, in tribute to the six Ariane launchers, with help from Berlin-based artist Lucas Nätcher. Through the six tracks of the EP Pyramid revisits in his own inimitable way the European space dream, the “rocket science” spirit that drives its engineers, the whole Ariane adventure from the first Ariane 1 launch to the more than 100 launches of the emblematic Ariane 5, the benefits that the satellites launched by the rocket provide every day, and the future missions awaiting the new European launcher Ariane 6 – to the Moon and beyond.

CLPS Providers

Astrobotic Technology | Blue Origin | Ceres Robotics | Deep Space Systems | Draper | Firefly Aerospace | Intuitive Machines | Lockheed Martin Space | Masten Space Systems | Moon Express | Orbit Beyond | Sierra Nevada Corporation | SpaceX | Tyvak Nano

NASA has added five American companies to the pool of vendors that will be eligible to bid on proposals to provide deliveries to the surface of the Moon through the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.

The CLPS contracts are indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts with a combined maximum contract value of $2.6 billion through November 2028. The agency will look at a number of factors when comparing the bids from all vendors, such as technical feasibility, price and schedule. NASA emphasized landers with larger payload capacities in this competition, with Blue Origin offering its Blue Moon lander and SpaceX its Starship vehicle, which the company says could land up to 100 metric tons on the moon

TITAN FULLY MAPPED: Planetary scientists have completed the first geological map of Saturn's largest moon. The map, published Monday, uses radar imagery from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, supplemented with infrared images and spectra, to study the surface of the haze-enshrouded moon. The map identified six different types of geological features, from dunes to lakes, all similar to features found on the Earth.

The first global geologic map of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is based on radar and visible and infrared images from NASA's Cassini mission, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017. Black lines mark 30 degrees of latitude and longitude. Map is in Mollweide projection, a global view that attempts to minimize the size or area distortion, especially at the poles (although shapes are increasingly distorted away from the center of the map). It is centered on 0 degrees latitude, 180 degrees longitude. Map scale is 1:20,000,000. In the annotated figure, the map is labeled with several of the named surface features. Also located is the landing site of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Huygens Probe, part of NASA's Cassini mission. The map legend colors represent the broad types of geologic units found on Titan: plains (broad, relatively flat regions), labyrinth (tectonically disrupted regions often containing fluvial channels), hummocky (hilly, with some mountains), dunes (mostly linear dunes, produced by winds in Titan's atmosphere), craters (formed by impacts) and lakes (regions now or previously filled with liquid methane or ethane). Titan is the only planetary body in our solar system other than Earth known to have stable liquid on its surface — methane and ethane. The map was developed using Cassini radar data and Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) images. Date 14 November 2019, 15:21:36 Source NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

The new mystery on Mars

Oxygen has been observed to show significant seasonal and year‐to‐year variability, suggesting an unknown atmospheric or surface process at work. During the summer months, you have too much oxygen and too little in winter. There is no explanation for this. The meteorological and geological explanations have mostly been ruled out or deemed unlikely.

The fact that oxygen behaviour isn’t perfectly repeatable every season makes us think that it’s not an issue that has to do with atmospheric dynamics. It has to be some chemical source and sink that we can’t yet account for” Malissa Trainer

we think it has to be something in the surface soil that changes seasonally because there aren’t enough available oxygen atoms in the atmosphere to create the behavior we see” Timothy McConnochie, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland,

Most intriguingly this fluctuation in Oxygen is sometimes correlated with the mysterious Methane fluctuations that we have talked about many times.

Previous research strengthens the argument that methane and oxygen together, are very strong signatures of life, see great papers from 2014 by Shawn Domagal-Goldman of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Normally they destroy each other in the atmosphere so it’s an unusual situation indeed, added to the only place we know has life, most of the oxygen and methane on Earth is produced by and consumed by life.

But let’s be cautious here, it sounds very exciting, but by far the most likely scenario is that it’s an unknown non life process. But it certainly isn’t a dead end.

This week Spacewalk

Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano spent six and a half hours outside the station, completing all the tasks planned to start repairs of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) instrument

A former astronaut is scheduled to go on trial next month for a fatal car accident. James Halsell Jr. is charged with reckless murder in a 2016 accident in Alabama that killed two girls, and allegedly was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident. Halsell, who flew on five shuttle missions from 1994 to 2000, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Ex-astronauts lawyer cites Ambien in fatal crash

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