Meet the Astronauts NASA Just Picked to Return Space Launches to U.S. Soil

Krystian Science SpaceJuly is shaping up to be a great month for America. This year we celebrated our independence, U.S.A. won the Women’s World Cup, the U.S. is about to become the first nation to visit Pluto on the 14th, and now, NASA has announced the four astronauts that will usher space travel back to American soil.

Clockwise from top left: Douglas G. Hurley, Sunita L. Williams, Eric A. Boe, and Robert L. Behnken. PHOTOGRAPHER:  BILL STAFFORD/NASA
Clockwise from top left: Douglas G. Hurley, Sunita L. Williams, Eric A. Boe, and Robert L. Behnken.
PHOTOGRAPHER: BILL STAFFORD/NASA

I’d like to introduce you to Robert Behnken, Sunita Williams, Eric Boe, and Douglas Hurley. These four astronauts will begin training now with the hopes of launching in 2017.

These distinguished, veteran astronauts are blazing a new trail, a trail that will one day land them in the history books and Americans on the surface of Mars,” said NASA administrator Charles Bolden in a blog post.

Bolden explained that sending commercial flights to space is “all part of our ambitious plan to return space launches to U.S. soil, create good-paying American jobs and advance our goal of sending humans farther into the solar system than ever before.

Since the space shuttle program was retired in 2011, NASA has relied on Russia to take astronauts to the International Space Station, which costs upwards of $76 million dollars a seat.

Instead, NASA has over 350 American companies working across 36 states on their commercial crew initiative. These four brave men and women will fly on commercially owned and operated spacecraft, built by contractors, not NASA – which will take the cost from $76 million to $58 million per astronaut. This means that every dollar the U.S. invests in commercial crew is a dollar we invest in ourselves, not the Russian economy.

Last year NASA awarded contracts to Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts to the ISS. NASA hopes that by outsourcing the missions to low-Earth orbit they can focus on flying to deep space – even Mars!

I can barely contain my excitement!

pumped up

 

Meet the Astronauts NASA Just Picked to Return Space Launches to U.S. Soil

Will This Flag Represent Planet Earth on Mars in 2025?

Krystian Science Space

Image: OSKAR PERNEFELDT
Image: OSKAR PERNEFELDT

Each of the Apollo missions that touched down on the Moon planted an American flag in the soil. What if, instead of planting a flag that represented our country, we planted a flag that represented our WORLD? 🌎

Oskar Pernefeldt of the Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, Sweden, has proposed one simple blue flag to represent all of planet Earth as part of his graduation project.

Here is the symbolic explanation, according to Pernefeldt: “Centered in the flag, seven rings form a flower – a symbol of the life on Earth. The rings are linked to each other, which represents how everything on our planet, directly or indirectly, are linked. The blue field represents water which is essential for life – also as the oceans cover most of our planet’s surface. The flower’s outer rings form a circle which could be seen as a symbol of Earth as a planet and the blue surface could represent the universe.”

Pernefeldt’s flag is designed to represent planet Earth and help remind people that we all share this planet, regardless of national boundaries. I’m in love with this idea! It is part of the reason I love following the International Space Station. The ISS is one of those magical places where multiple nationalities come together to work towards a common goal, no matter what country they call home.

These photos provide a glimpse into the future if Pernefeldt’s vision ever became a reality.

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Click the video below for a more detailed explanation of how the International Flag of Planet Earth was constructed.

Construction video of The International Flag of Planet Earth.
The video is a part of the graduation project by Oskar Pernefeldt, 2015.

Animation by: Johan Fredriksson / http://www.fredrikssondesign.se

 

Will This Flag Represent Planet Earth on Mars in 2025?