Scratching the Surface on Planetary Society list!

The Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla publishes an annual list of recommended children’s books about space. Scratching the Surface made it onto this year’s list!

I’m honored to be included with all these other great titles.

Rust as radiation shielding

About that radiation… what about rust as a shield?
 
The research focused on shielding for electronics, but could this scale? Imagine our Mars transit ships being the same color as the planet itself, coated in a layer of rust for protection.

The perennial question: Moon or Mars?

We don’t need to go to the Moon in order to go to Mars. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go to the Moon. It’s just not a prerequisite.

I love this quote from John Grunsfeld, when asked about the radiation risk of a Mars trip: “How does that compare to the risk of blowing up on the launchpad or on ascent; getting hit by a meteor, asteroid, debris, some kind of space junk on the way there; burning up in the Mars atmosphere; burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere on the way back; or missing the Earth? You add up all those risks, and the [risk of radiation exposure] is kind of just another one.”

Climbing on Mars

Pacific Spaceflight is field testing ideas for Mars suits.
 
“We bet a lot of early Mars climbing will be like nineteenth-century mountaineering—scrambling/third class/5.0 stuff where robots can’t go, or aid climbing with some crazy rack of tools.”

Crew Dragon abort test tomorrow

SpaceX will conduct an inflight abort test of Crew Dragon tomorrow morning. As the Falcon 9 reaches max-Q, it will shut off its engines to simulate a worst case failure. This should trigger the Crew Dragon to separate from the rocket and fire its own Super Draco engines to get away from the failing rocket. Once clear, Crew Dragon will pop its parachutes and land gently in the Atlantic. This should be quite a show and is the last major milestone before an actual crewed launch.

Curiosity’s path

This is incredibly cool. Sean Doran has used imagery from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and ESA’s Mars Express to create a massive image of the landscape Curiosity has traveled through. The detail here is astonishing.

 

Astronaut training for cancer patients

A new study suggests that following the training regimen of astronauts may help cancer patients during treatment.