The United Space School – Days Four to Eight

I apologize for not having written earlier, but I have, for the last four days, had very little time and even less energy (I’m slightly ill).  At present, however, I feel considerably better, and I’ve a night before me.  I will therefore update you!

Thursday began extremely interestingly – we were given a lecture on nanotechnology by Padraig Moloney, holder of an Aerospace Engineering Bachelor’s degree from M.I.T.  His speech prompted me to immediately consider the following questions:

  • Would it be holistically useful to create some form of carbon dioxide and oxygen exchange mechanism for long-duration spaceflight?  Specifically, I had a “nanowall” in mind – some form of solid composed of nanotubes that would permit specific gases entrance and would conveniently expel others.
  • Could one utilize carbon nanotubes to readily make cancer-resistant additions to the surface areas of cells and thus increase their nutrient intakes?
  • Which hypothetical alternative biochemistry seems to be the most likely to exist?  Would it simply be one in which the molecules exhibit differing chirality?

Friday arrived, and with it a tour of the Ad Astra Rocket Company and Excalibur Almaz.  The former is a company which seeks to further develop plasma rocket propulsion technology; it is headed [and was founded] by Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz.  It is currently, for example, working on VASIMR – the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket.  Excalibur Almaz, on the other hand, is a private spaceflight company which is geared at enabling orbital space tourism.  Both were fascinating visits.

We then participated in a simulated mission at the Houston Museum of Natural Science; whilst we did quite well, the project was extremely difficult to coordinate.

Saturday was particularly compelling, too, as we managed to gain access to an A.R.I.S.S. link – this means, basically, that we were permitted to radio with those on board the International Space Station.  This was a fascinating opportunity to pose questions.  The day concluded with something moderately less interesting – a soccer game as played by the Houston Dynamo.

Sunday was a day that has been dubbed “The Culture Fair”.  Each student was asked to create some form of culturally applicable food, and to perform a talent.  I attempted poutine, a classic Québécois dish; the entirety of the Canadian delegation engaged in a merry round of singing that was more comedic than particularly compelling.  All of the food was delicious; we also exchanged small cultural gifts, all of which were intriguing.

Finally, we’ve Monday; this was basically a lecture-saturated day that also included some opportunities to work on our projects.

Today is another day!  Good night!

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The United Space School – Days Four to Eight

  1. Theo says:

    Would not such a nanowall require an energy input, or else reduce overall entropy? Perhaps a pressure gap between the sides could do it. Would that not be very similar to reverse osmosis, and water purification?

    It also brings to mind Maxwell’s Demon [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell’s_demon]

    • Sophia says:

      It would; much like a lipid bilayer, it would be depolarized in certain regions; the should reduce the overall energy required. It would indeed be very similar to those two processes, but it would be a more compact means of utilizing cell-respiration-esque techniques to recycle the gaseous and liquid resources aboard.

      Haha, it does! Perhaps he is nanotechnology.

  2. neo63 says:

    You probably have realized this already but I found it hilarious that the company was called Ad Astra.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s