Volunteer For Space Travel Study

space travel
Sweetie187/Flickr

Like the idea of space travel but you’re not a NASA astronaut? The University of Hawaii is looking for volunteers age 18-65 to take part in a new series of space exploration studies. Odds are you won’t exactly be in space, but the studies hope to provide information that is essential for long-duration space exploration missions, like human travel to Mars. To do that, they need some humans. You might do just fine.

“The upcoming missions are focused on evaluating the social, interpersonal and cognitive factors that affect team performance over time,” says the University of Hawaii in a news release. To do that, volunteers will bring with them some research project or scholarly work they have in progress to work on in a group setting. That work might include engineering design and technology evaluation, scholarly writing, or artistic endeavors.While they don’t need to be NASA astronauts, participants in the study must meet the basic requirements of the NASA astronaut program. Candidates must be tobacco-free, able to pass a Class 2 flight physical examination, and understand, speak and write fluently in English.

The opportunity is part of the University of Hawaii’s Hi-Seas project that is simulating long-duration Mars missions here on Earth, detailed in this video:

Over 100,000 People Want a 1-Way Ticket to Mars

Thousands Have Applied for a One-Way Ticket to Mars
Australia may have tempted you with the best job in the world, but a new competition is taking social to outer space, giving people the chance to colonize another planet: Mars. Wannabe space travelers are submitting videos to apply for one of 40 spots on the one-way mission, scheduled to launch in 2022.

If you’re wondering what sort of people sign up for a one-way ticket to another planet, check out some of the videos here.

PayPal Galactic Makes Buying Stuff On Your Space Trip Easy

PayPal Galactic
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So you’re on your way to Mars and forgot to pay a bill back on Earth. Before today, there would really be no way to do that, what with interplanetary currency still undefined. No problem. Now, on its 15th anniversary, PayPal announced the launch of PayPal Galactic and there is indeed a way to make universal space payments.

“Trips to Mars, the moon, even orbit will require we provide astronauts and astro-tourists with as many comforts from home as possible, including how to pay each other,” said astronaut/author Buzz Aldrin in an announcement made with PayPal President David Marcus reported by Laboratory Equipment.

PayPal Galactic addresses concerns of the SETI Institute and Space Tourism Society about how to prepare and support the future of space commerce. Working with PayPal, leaders in the space industry will address real life questions ranging from what currency will look like in a cash-free interplanetary society to the evolution of risk and fraud management.

“Whether it’s paying a bill, even helping a family member on Earth, we’ll need access to money. I think humans will reach Mars, and I would like to see it happen in my lifetime,” said Aldrin.Right now the need for PayPal Galactic exists, with astronauts manning the International Space Station year-round. “Within five to 10 years the earliest types of ‘space hotels’ and orbital and lunar commerce will be operational and in need of a payment system,” said John Spencer, founder and president of the Space Tourism Society.

Yet another good reason why space travel will happen in your lifetime; Buzz Aldrin, 83, is banking on it.

Wanted: Married Couple For Mission To Mars

Inspiration Mars plans to send a couple to the red planet in 2018Last week we brought you preliminary information on a proposed mission to Mars that is being spearheaded by Dennis Tito, the American multi-millionaire who became the world’s first space-tourist back in 2001. At the time, Tito’s plans were a bit nebulous but he promised more information was coming soon. On Wednesday of this week, he shared more details, including the possibility of sending a husband and wife team on a flyby of the red planet.

Tito’s new non-profit organization, Inspiration Mars, was launched with the expressed purpose of mounting a manned mission to Earth’s neighbor in just five years time. Tito believes that we have a unique window of opportunity early in 2018 when the Earth and Mars will be aligned with one another, making the flight path relatively straightforward and simple. He is aiming to launch his currently unknown spacecraft on January 5 of that year on what is expected to be a 501-day journey.

To combat the loneliness that could come from a prolonged space voyage of this type, Tito is proposing that the crew consist of two members – a man and a woman. He went on to say that it would be preferable if they were a husband and wife team to prevent issues of incompatibility along the way. After all, the two people selected to go will be sharing small, cramped quarters for well over a year. It would make sense that they have a solid relationship and know each other well before they depart.While it would be easy to simply dismiss Tito’s plans as being too ambitious to succeed, he is taking an approach that may allow him to achieve his goals. Unlike other commercial space programs that are looking to turn their ventures into a profitable business, Tito says this is a one-shot deal. He plans to use technology that either already exists or is close to completion to build his rocket and spacecraft, and he plans to fund much of it with his own money. As the mission gets closer to becoming a reality, however, he expects to solicit sponsorships and other funding as well.

As noted above, this journey to Mars will just be a fly by. The spacecraft would pass within 100 miles of the planet before beginning the long journey back to Earth, although it wouldn’t enter orbit at all – nor would it touch down on the surface. The crew would still get one heck of a view as they pass by, however, becoming the first humans to visit an alien planet in the process.

That is about the extent of what we know on this project at the moment. Inspiration Mars isn’t expected to announce the process for selecting a crew for at least six months or more. But they plan to move ahead with their plans to select a rocket and space capsule that can accomplish the mission.

In the meantime, I’m looking for a girl who wouldn’t mind taking a honeymoon to Mars.

[Photo Credit: Inspiration Mars]

Celebrate MarsFest In Death Valley National Park This Weekend

MarsFest takes place in Death Valley this weekendDeath Valley National Park may look otherworldly at times but this weekend it will actually play host to an event that is definitely out of this world.

The second annual MarsFest will take place in the park starting Friday, March 1, running through Sunday, March 3. The event is designed to allow scientists and space enthusiasts to interact with one another as they jointly explore the possibilities of space exploration, something that Death Valley has played a crucial role in for decades.

Because of the extreme environments and conditions that exist in the Valley, it has long served as a testing ground for new gear and equipment for NASA. The park is often used to simulate hostile alien environments such as those founds on the surface of Mars. In fact, many of the instruments that are currently in use on the Curiosity Rover were first put through their paces in Death Valley. Attendees of MarsFest will get to see just how NASA uses Death Valley as a proving ground before sending their multi-million dollar equipment into space.

The three-day festival has a full schedule of events on tap, including field trips to a variety of locations inside the park, guest lectures from scientists and guided hikes to remote locations. A daylong expo with informational booths will provide demonstrations of some of the delicate instruments used by NASA, while panel discussions on the future of space travel should prove enlightening as well.

If you’re interested in attending MarsFest 2013 click here for more details.

[Photo Credit: NASA]