Getz on the runESA Top News

Using a 25-year record of satellite observations over the Getz region in West Antarctica, scientists have discovered that the pace at which glaciers flow towards the ocean is accelerating. This new research, which includes data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission and ESA’s CryoSat mission, will help determine if these glaciers could collapse in the next few decades and how this would affect future global sea-level rise.Read More

Space snapshotESA Top News

Does this image make you anxious or are you already tracking where all the wires go? If the latter, you might have what it takes to be an astronaut!It is an exciting time for space. With NASA’s latest rover safely on Mars and ESA’s call for the next class of astronauts, the space industry is teeming with possibilities. This image taken in ESA’s Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station is a snapshot of the many opportunities in space research and exploration.  In the centre is the Biolab facility, a fridge-sized unit that hosts biological experiments on micro-organisms, cells, tissue cultures, small plants and small invertebrates. Performing life science experiments in space identifies the role that weightlessness plays at all levels of an organism, from the effects on a single cell up to a complex organism – including humans.The facility has enabled researchers to make some remarkable discoveries, most notable that mammalian immune cells required a mere 42 seconds to adapt to weightlessness, prompting more questions but also an overall positive outlook for long-duration human spaceflight.  The pink glow in the image is from the greenhouse that has enabled many studies on plant growth in space. With plans to visit the Moon and Mars, future astronauts will need a regular, fresh source of food as they take on these missions farther away from home. In addition to providing much-needed vitamins and minerals, growing plants in space contributes to sustainability and adds a homey touch to exploration.Growing plants in the microgravity conditions of the International Space Station has allowed researchers to fine tune the approach. European research showed plants respond best to red and blue light, giving the Columbus module a disco feel.If you look closely, you can spot Astro Pi Ed to the left of Biolab. As part of ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission (2015–2016) to the International Space Station, two space-hardened Raspberry Pi computers, called Astro Pis and nicknamed Ed and Izzy, equipped with environmental sensors, were sent to the Space Station. They are regularly used to run students’ and young people’s programmes as part of the Astro Pi Challenge. Of course, a whole host of researchers, ground control crew, and mission support specialists make space research and exploration possible. The excitement of space continues. If you think you have what it takes, apply to be part of the team.Read More

ESA moves forward with HarmonyESA Top News

Following the selection of three Earth Explorer candidate missions to enter a first feasibility study in September 2018, ESA has chosen one of the candidates, Harmony, to move to the next phase of development. Harmony is envisaged as a mission with two satellites that orbit in formation with one of the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites to address key scientific questions related to ocean, ice and land dynamics.Read More

The MarsVR Program- training for kicking the red dust

Galactic Social Media/Galaxis Aerospace Media

Inara Tabir

Phillip Mays

The MarsVR Program- training for kicking the red dust

Lakewood, United States– Introducing the integrated, engineering-grade virtual reality Martian exploration training platform to fully prepare us for kicking red dust. Running with Indigogo, MarsVR is a collaboration of scientific and industry pioneers pulling the Red Planet close enough to feel and smell- propelling campaign supporters directly onto the stage of history.

“What we hope to demonstrate with our VR Program, is a new way of exploring Mars- one which could bring millions of people into the game, in terms of participating directly in exploration of the Red Planet,” said Dr. Robert Zubrin, President of the Mars Society, a core collaborator. The goal of MarsVR is to create a one-of-a-kind VR experience that is modular and scalable, available to everyone from students and the public, to scientists and astronauts.

State-of-the-art software for headset and body motion capture, full-motion treadmill, haptic (touch feedback) and even olfactory (smell) systems will merge with real life training bases on Earth to create a realistic Martian environment. To expedite this forward-looking system into the expansive tool it can become, a series of four phases, each marked with successive $25K goal points, will guide backers to have a hand in deploying this revolutionary product:

  • Phase 1 – Complete the initial Mars training landscape including the interiors of settlement facilities, the realistic external martian terrain, and the movement of the person through a guided tour, and also at their free will.
  • Phase 2 – The maturation of a serious set of procedures for wearing and managing a spacesuit and its life-support systems ready for marswalking, and learning to use the heads-up display information.
  • Phase 3 – Team cooperation, with audio and visual interaction in the same virtual location, working together to bring success to the mission. Rover driving and upgraded realism will also be implemented too.
  • Phase 4 – Upgraded feedback experience of touch and force for astronauts walking around on the surface and inside the settlement facilities. Complete personal training for this new technology will be included here too.
  • Funding beyond Phase 4 – This will unleash a brighter and more invigorated leap into a new way of propelling science and education, one which will not only create accomplished and burgeoning astronauts from space agency associated programs such as K-12 and STEM, but give the excited public the experience of learning to live on Mars in a fun and immersive format.
  • Backers will be rewarded with medallions, signed books, real-life simulated habitat experiences and VR participation and more, depending on the amount pledged.

“Our training program is designed both for those who are looking to develop advanced skills, as well as those who have a general interest in Mars exploration,” said Jeff Rayner, President of MXTreality.

MarsVR is seeking supporters to join an Indigogo campaign to bring Mars to Earth. It is a collaboration of the Mars Society and scientists, engineers, software and virtual reality hardware engineers (MXTreality), students and educators and space agencies, to create the most realistic and useful simulation of living on Mars, second only to the near-future event of walking there in reality.

MarsVR is preparing the world in virtual reality to help shape near future reality.