Recently in the Astronauts Category


"A team of scientists at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have developed the world's smallest medical implant to monitor critical chemicals in the blood. The 14mm device measures up to five indicators, including proteins like troponin, that show if and when a heart attack has occurred. Using Bluetooth, the device can then transmit the data to a smartphone for tracking. The device can also track levels of glucose, lactate, and ATP, providing valuable data for physiologic monitoring during activity, or in possible disease conditions like diabetes. As far as tricorders go, this device may be the one you have been waiting for, provided you are on board for the implant." more at ExtremeTech

Imagine the potential of such technology to monitor the health of astronauts. No more wires.

"TopCoder(R), Inc., the world's largest open innovation platform and competitive community of digital creators, today launched the first two of a series of open innovation challenges to create a new dietary tracking application for use by astronauts in an International Space Station (ISS) -type environment. The ISS FIT (Food Intake Tracker) iPad App Conceptualization and Voice Command Idea Generation and other competitions are now open on the ISS FIT Challenge home page (TopCoder and TopCoder Studio registration required). These are the first two of multiple phases of the challenge which will build a fully functioning iPad application from concept to deployment using TopCoder's open innovation Community and process. The complete challenge series is sponsored by NASA through its NASA Tournament Lab (NTL), an online virtual facility that harnesses the capabilities of the TopCoder Community to create innovative, efficient solutions for specific, real-world challenges being faced by the space agency." More

Terraforming a landscape for a robotic rover, ESA

"Challenged to design a background for a small rover controlled from space, students in Germany have delivered a futuristic cityscape. The cool space art will be seen by astronauts in orbit via the rover's camera eye as they remotely control their avatar later this year. The ultimate goal is for robot astronauts to roam around hazardous places like Mars and asteroids guided by human controllers safely orbiting overhead in their spacecraft. As a first step, ESA is linking the International Space Station and Earth for remotely controlling terrestrial test robots from the orbital outpost."

Ron Garan Receives 2011 Spirit of Yuri's Night Award

"NASA Astronaut Ron Garan was officially presented with the 2011 Spirit of Yuri's Night Award on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, after a day of special events welcoming him back to his childhood home of Yonkers, NY. "This is a great honor, and especially personal for me since I traveled to the International Space Station in a Soyuz spacecraft dubbed "Gagarin", launched from the same launch pad that Yuri Gagarin launched from more than 50 years ago," said Garan."

Astronaut Janice Voss Has Died

NASA astronaut Janice Voss passed away from cancer overnight after a courageous battle. One of only six women who have flown in space five times, Voss' career was highlighted by her work and dedication to scientific payloads and exploration.

A New Scanner Bed for Sickbay

Augmented Reality Promises Astronauts Instant Medical Knowhow

"A new augmented reality unit developed by ESA can provide just-in-time medical expertise to astronauts. All they need to do is put on a head-mounted display for 3D guidance in diagnosing problems or even performing surgery. The Computer Assisted Medical Diagnosis and Surgery System, CAMDASS, is a wearable augmented reality prototype. Augmented reality merges actual and virtual reality by precisely combining computer-generated graphics with the wearer's view. CAMDASS is focused for now on ultrasound examinations but in principle could guide other procedures."

More than 6,300 individuals applied to become a NASA astronaut between Nov. 15, 2011 and Jan. 27, the second highest number of applications ever received by the agency. After a thorough selection process, which includes interviews and medical examinations, nine to 15 people will be selected to become part of the 21st astronaut class.

The Collaboration Project, Astronaut Ron Garan via open.nasa.gov

"For thousands of years of human history, the vast majority of people in the world believed that it was impossible to fly to the Moon - simply because it had never been done before. Up until about 50 years ago people would have thought you were crazy to suggest we could go to the Moon, but human ingenuity and the determination of the human spirit proved that it was possible. Today, many people believe that it is impossible to solve the problems of the world. It is widely believed that is impossible to lift the poor out of poverty. 'There have always been poor in the world and there always will be,' they say. If we can land on the Moon and return to Earth safely, if nations can join together and build an enormous research facility in orbit, we can, by working together, solve many of the challenges facing our planet including the alleviation of poverty. Nothing is impossible."

Ask An Astronaut A Question

Space Station Astronaut Will Answer Video Questions From Public

"NASA has announced a unique opportunity to ask the commander of the International Space Station a question about his role on the orbiting outpost. Commander Dan Burbank will answer videotaped questions from the public during a live event tentatively set for Friday, Jan. 20 on NASA Television. The video questions must be less than 30 seconds. Submitters should introduce themselves and mention their location. Questions must be posted as responses to a video Burbank recorded on YouTube at: http://go.nasa.gov/sDYpzP"

ESA's Mission X Astronaut Training Program

Mission X: train like an astronaut in 2012

"ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers is inviting thousands of schoolchildren to perform physical activities and to learn about healthy nutrition to compete with teams from around the world to become as fit as astronauts. Mission X kicks off again in February! ESA is teaming up with NASA as well as other space agencies and using space explorers as models to promote regular exercise and healthy nutrition among young people worldwide."

Do You Want To Be A NASA Astronaut?

NASA Accepting Applications For Future Astronauts

"Do you dream of flying in space? Now is your chance. NASA is accepting applications for the agency's next class for the Astronaut Candidate Program. Starting today, qualified individuals can submit their applications through the federal government's USAJobs.gov website. Those selected will be among the first to pioneer a new generation of commercial launch vehicles and travel aboard a new heavy-lift rocket to distant destinations in deep space."

Help Fund "The Astronaut's Secret"

How an astronaut with Parkinson's Disease still won his own space race, The Telgraph

"They never told me to keep it quiet but I knew if I told the world I had Parkinson's that would put Nasa in a bad place. It would make press conferences all about me, it would raise questions."

The Astronaut's Secret, Kickstarter

"What is "The Astronaut's Secret"? "The Astronaut's Secret" will be a 60 minute documentary about the life of Astronaut Rich Clifford. It will uncover how he and NASA kept his Parkinson's Disease a secret for 17 years, explore the impact of the end of the Shuttle Program on Rich's life, and follow him as he speaks nationwide about the importance of Early Detection of Parkinson's Disease."

The Astronaut's Secret, official website

Keith's note: NASA Watch readers need to fund this project. I have pledged $100. Rich has a compelling story to tell. Help him tell it.

Status: 143 BACKERS - $18,679 PLEDGED OF $48,000 GOAL - 4 DAYS TO GO

ESA's Blood Testing Tricorder Sensor

Spinning Blood Device Set to Safeguard Astronaut Health

"ESA has begun developing a new blood-testing device for astronauts on the International Space Station. A wide range of ailments from diabetes to heart disease should be diagnosable in moments from a single drop of astronaut blood. A pinprick of blood is added to a mini-disc embedded with a wide variety of miniaturised test procedures. The disc is then inserted into the 'point-of-care' device and set spinning to spread the blood sample across the surface."

Live Challenger Center Webcast with Former NASA Deputy Administrator and Astronaut Frederick Gregory

"Join Challenger Center for Space Science Education on Thursday November 10th, 2011 at 1:00pm (Eastern Time) for a live interactive webcast with former NASA astronaut Frederick Gregory. The interview is part of an exciting series of interactive webcasts celebrating the 25th anniversary of Challenger Center's educational programs."

Novel ISS Outreach Ideas Sought

NASA Seeks Hosts for Space Station Interactive Education Events

"NASA is seeking proposals from educators who are looking for a unique way to inspire the next generation of explorers. Formal and informal education organizations can apply to host live interactive education downlinks with astronauts onboard the International Space Station. During Expeditions 31 and 32, NASA crew members Don Pettit, Joseph Acaba and Sunita Williams will participate in the 20-minute downlink opportunities. Participants on Earth see and hear the crew members live from space, while the crew hears the questions but does not see the audience."

Using Caves To Simulate Space Missions

Video: ESA Astronaut Cave Crew Returns to Earth

"Take five astronauts and instead of sending them into space take them underground. ESA's CAVES venture prepares astronauts to work in an international team under real exploration conditions. The latest 'crew' has returned after six days in the dark."

Mind Reading Computer System May Allow Paralyzed People To Communicate and Control Robots, NSF

"Imagine living a life in which you are completely aware of the world around you but you're prevented from engaging in it because you are completely paralyzed. Even speaking is impossible. For an estimated 50,000 Americans, this is a harsh reality. It's called locked-in syndrome, a condition in which people with normal cognitive brain activity suffer severe paralysis, often from injuries or an illness such as Lou Gehrig's disease."

Think about this: this is clearly one of the major steps in the path toward creading the human/machine interface used inthe film "Avatar" wherein a paraplegic person was able to remotely control an "avatar" body. The same technology could aid astronauts n the operation of various robotic vehicles in remote and hazardous locations.

The Astronaut's Secret, Kickstarter

"What is "The Astronaut's Secret"? "The Astronaut's Secret" will be a 30 minute documentary about the life of Astronaut Rich Clifford. It will uncover how he and NASA kept his Parkinson's Disease a secret for 17 years, explore the impact of the end of the Shuttle Program on Rich's life, and follow him as he speaks nationwide about the importance of Early Detection of Parkinson's Disease."

The Astronaut's Secret, official website

Keith's note: I just donated $100. Rich has a compelling story to tell.

Do You Want To Be An Astronaut?

NASA To Seek Applicants For Next Astronaut Candidate Class

"In early November, NASA will seek applicants for its next class of astronaut candidates who will support long-duration missions to the International Space Station and future deep space exploration activities. After applicant interviews and evaluations, NASA expects to announce the final selections in 2013, and training to begin that August."

NASA Needs to Preserve Skilled Astronaut Corps In Post-Shuttle Era, Says New Report

Researchers from Louisiana Tech University will be floating high above the Gulf of Mexico this month to conduct zero-gravity testing of an experimental DNA analysis instrument developed at Tech that could benefit future NASA astronauts. Dr. Niel Crews, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Collin Tranter, a graduate student with the Institute for Micromanufacturing (IfM) say the instrument could be used to monitor the health of astronauts exposed to cosmic radiation beyond Earth's protective atmosphere. More

Nancy Conrad visited McMoon's today at NASA Ames Research Center and stopped to have a look at the Titan 1 ICBM we are restoring/upgrading. Nancy's husband, legendary astronaut Pete Conrad, flew on a Titan II - twice - on Gemini 5 and 11. We are enlisting students in our restoration project - so you know that Nancy is interested! Nancy is at Ames for the Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Awards which start tomorrow. Larger image

"After eight weeks of exercises and classroom activities, 4000 children from more than 25 cities worldwide are about to conclude their 'Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut' challenge that promotes healthy nutrition and regular exercise. Acrobatic space somersaults and climbing martian mountains are some of the fun activities - inspired by astronaut training - performed by children and teachers from Austria, Belgium, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom and the USA. This has helped pupils aged 8-12 years to understand the importance of staying fit for astronauts and children alike, in space as on Earth." More.

Image: Astronaut Scott Parazynski in May 2009 using a Jaz spectroradiometer from Ocean Optics at Everest Base Camp to measure solar irradiance [See "Using a Tricorder on Mount Everest"]

"A five-time astronaut, [Scott] Parazynski said he's especially eager to tackle projects in the fields of minimally invasive surgery and nanomedicine, with its potential to use targeted drugs to destroy tumors and plaques in arteries. Some inspiration, he admits, comes from Star Trek. "I'm hoping to leverage my background to create the next generation of minimally invasive surgery and diagnostic tools," Parazynski said. "As a physician growing up and watching Star Trek, we all wanted a medical tricorder. So one of the things I'd love to do is think big and push the envelope on what is possible." For those who don't grok Spock, a "tricorder "is a fictional device that can scan a person and immediately diagnose a disease or injury." More at Ultimate Clear Lake

RSC Energia: "In the scope of operations for prelaunch processing of cargo transport vehicle (CTV) Progress M-09M under the International Space Station program small spacecraft - satellite Kedr was accommodated in the vehicle cargo compartment on January 18. The satellite is designed to carry out space experiment RadioSkaf: development, preparation and launch of supersmall spacecraft during extravehicular activity (EVA). The experiment investigator is S.P. Korolev RSC Energia. The launch of CTV Progress M-09M is scheduled to be performed on January 28 at 04:31 Moscow Time."

NASA and 14 international space agencies are challenging students to complete a nutrition and fitness program known as "Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut." Approximately 3,700 students from more than 25 different cities worldwide are participating in this six-week pilot project.

NASA's Human Research Program is sponsoring the U.S. component of the international challenge that began Tuesday. Teams of students between eight and 12 years old will learn principles of healthy eating, exercise and compete for points by finishing training modules. Students also will practice scientific reasoning and teamwork while participating in hands-on training that targets strength, endurance, coordination, balance and spatial awareness. The exercises will involve the same types of skills astronauts learn during training for spaceflights.