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Exploration: Space

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eggshaped
154957.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:25 am Reply with quote

I have some more of space-stuff to bring on Monday, but here's a taster which is similar to a QI classic.

Question: What does space smell like?

Answer: Burnt Almond Cookies

According Anousheh Ansari, the first muslim in space.

Corroborated in a way by this interview:

Quote:
it smells like a fireplace the morning after. It might have been from the thrusters fire, but we define that as the smell of space.


hmmm. "Might have been the thrusters?"

 
Flash
154967.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:41 am Reply with quote

I wonder if there's mileage in the business about how the fuel in a car is mostly expended in moving the car itself, whereas the fuel in a space rocket is mostly used for moving the rest of the fuel. It implies a nightmarish Zeno's paradox-type problem; the more fuel you carry, the more you need. I would think that there's scope for panellists to carry that idea across into their personal experience, which is what we're really aiming for.

 
Gray
155001.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:41 am Reply with quote

Especially Phill Jupitus...

 
Flash
155010.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:55 am Reply with quote

Yes - could we calculate how much fuel it would take to get Phill Jupitus into orbit?

 
Gray
155021.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:18 am Reply with quote

Yes, the energy required is simply little-g (9.8) multiplied by the altitude of space (100,000m), mutiplied by his mass (I estimate 220kg), which gives about 215 megajoules.

1 litre of petrol will get you about 34 megajoules, so we're talking about 6 or seven litres. About what he could hold in his stomach, I should imagine, but only if you could convert petrol straight into lift, which you definitely couldn't (or we'd all be zooming around in orbit).

Putting satellites into orbit, which weigh around a tonne or two, generally requires a large rocket of some kind, which is the only way to 'propel' things in air at this speed - to chuck large amounts of matter out the back and therefore accelerate in the opposite direction.

I see Phill as a small, benevolent moon, really.

 
Flash
155034.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:34 am Reply with quote

That's not enough. Fudge the figures immediately, and don't stop until they're funny.

 
Gray
155332.  Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:11 am Reply with quote

Venn diagram of orbital flight mechanics calculations and laughs:

O O

 
eggshaped
156275.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:01 pm Reply with quote

Question: What would be the biggest disadvantage of having sex in space?

Well there are a number of disadvantages, the funniest of which is probably that you would notice a decrease in penis size due to lower blood pressure in micro-gravity.

According to NASA physician Jim Logan and writer Vanna Bonta, other main problems would be space-sickness, the difficulty of choreographing intimacy, even kissing is apparently tough, and the potential for sweat and other bodily fluids to get in the way. There is no natural convection to carry away body heat also people tend to sweat more in microgravity and the moisture would pool as floating droplets.

There might be a slight advantage for anyone with saggy body-parts though with no gravity working on them.
Animal studies have shown that lack of gravity can cause complication with fetal development and cosmic radiation may also affect pregnancy.

Rumours are abound that humans have already had sex in space, Mark Lee and Jan Davis became the first married couple in space in 1992. However NASA has always denied that any hanky-panky took place.

George & Loretta Whitesides who married in 2006 intend to be the first couple to honeymoon in space thanks to virgin galactic.

source


Last edited by eggshaped on Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:02 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
eggshaped
156276.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:02 pm Reply with quote

Question: What would you use if you were in space and one of your fellow astronauts went mental?

NASA has official procedures for dealing with a suicidal or psychotic astronauts in space. The astronaut's crewmates should bind his wrists and ankles with duct tape, tie him down with a bungee cord and inject him with tranquilizers.

source

 
eggshaped
156277.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:03 pm Reply with quote

Link to Ears:

Astronauts' spacesuits may one day be covered in motion-sensitive proteins similar to those found in the human ear. The protein, called prestin converts electrical voltage into motion, elongating and contracting the cell. It is thought that the same technology could be used to generate power from the astronauts' movement, or from Martian winds.


source

 
Flash
156286.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:39 pm Reply with quote

From those NASA procedures:

Quote:
The crew members might have to rely in large part on brute strength to subdue an out-of-control astronaut, since there are no weapons on the space station or the shuttle. A gun would be out of the question; a bullet could pierce a spaceship and kill everyone. There are no stun guns on hand.


Quote:
Space station medical kits contain tranquilizers and anti-depression, anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic medications. Shuttle medical kits have anti-psychotic medication but not antidepressants, since they take several weeks to be effective and shuttle flights last less than two weeks.

Quote:

During missions in 1985 and 1995, shuttle commanders put padlocks on the spaceships' hatches as a precaution since they did not know the scientists aboard very well.


Quote:
U.S. astronauts at the space station keep a journal for a study by a researcher. But (former NASA psychologist Patricia) Santy said the diaries will not help detect mental illness. "What astronaut is going to tell you they're feeling homicidal?" she asked. "They're very conscious that if they say the wrong thing they could get grounded."

 
Jenny
156297.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:08 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
U.S. astronauts at the space station keep a journal for a study by a researcher. But (former NASA psychologist Patricia) Santy said the diaries will not help detect mental illness. "What astronaut is going to tell you they're feeling homicidal?" she asked. "They're very conscious that if they say the wrong thing they could get grounded."


As evidenced by the recent case of Lisa Nowak. I bet she didn't write about buying diapers in her diary.

 
Flash
156309.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:19 pm Reply with quote

Yes - it was the Nowak case which prompted all the publicity about NASA's contingency plans for in-flight bunny-boiling outbreaks - she was in the Space Station last July. She did fine.

 
MatC
156385.  Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:53 am Reply with quote

Is she the first cosmo to go bonkers, then? Youd think itd be a job which would lead to a fairly high degree of post-demob doolally. Perhaps this is a tribute to the screening methods.

 
eggshaped
163711.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:12 pm Reply with quote

Question: How many miles does a marathon runner cover?

If you're Sunita Williams it's either 0 miles or about 50,000 miles, depending how you look at it.

She will be running this year's Boston Marathon on a treadmill on the International Space Station, not moving more than a couple of meters, but at the same time orbiting the earth twice.

link

 

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