Video: A Week In The Life Of The International Space Station

The International Space Station is one of the wonders of modern technology. A series of interconnected orbital modules are home to a rotating crew of astronauts and cosmonauts plus a host of ongoing experiments. While the ISS only gets into the news every now and then, interesting things are happening there daily.

Right now three astronauts – two American and one Canadian – are on duty up there along with three cosmonauts from Russia. This video is a weekly update showing what they did last week. The main work has been preparing for the arrival of the Dragon spacecraft, which will bring supplies and take some completed experiments and waste back to Earth.

Besides that, the crew has been conducting experiments, doing maintenance work on their spacesuits, troubleshooting a partial communications failure, training with the robotic arm, and answering questions from the public back on Earth.

The three astronauts even got a break for Presidents Day. I didn’t know they got days off up there. I wonder what they do? Stare out the window a lot, I bet.

The weekly update gets uploaded every Friday and there are daily updates throughout the week. You can followed them on the ISS website.

For more about this giant orbital laboratory take this video tour of the International Space Station.

Space Travel Robots Take Tiny Steps Toward Future

Still fascinated by space travel, Americans can’t seem to get enough of the romantic side of it all. But in the day-to-day business of space exploration, scientists and those who make a living in space have little time to be sentimental. NASA planning and implementation people are looking to get there in a realistic, cost-conscious way, one step at a time.

“Space and space exploration have always been romanticized. I think this is because space is inherently impossible for most everyone to get to, and because space is so far away, we wonder what it’s like,” said Patrick Pattamanuch, Materials and Processes Engineer, Boeing Satellite Systems on future-thinking

NASA’s Mars Program Planning Group, the people charged with developing a new strategy for exploration of Mars, is looking at future robotic missions that can help meet a call for sending humans to Mars in the 2030s.

“We’re moving quickly to develop options for future Mars exploration missions and pathways,” said five-time space shuttle astronaut John Grunsfeld, an astrophysicist in a NASA news release.

NASA’s robots are actually a work in progress now, being tested to re-fuel satellites.

A challenge that engineering teams face when designing satellites is how much fuel they can carry to operate throughout their lifetime. NASA hopes to refuel satellites rather than letting them become space debris.

Significant results from work being conducted in on-orbit robotics servicing will position Canadian and American exploration missions to come, but will also open doors for commercial applications driven by industry.Coming up in August, NASA will land the robotic Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity on the planet’s surface. This roving science laboratory will assess whether Mars is or was able to support life. Next year, NASA will launch the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution orbiter to help assess the Martian upper atmosphere.

NASA’s strategy is focused on maintaining America’s critical technical skills and to achieve the highest priority science and exploration objectives, now with far less funding and more cuts on the way in 2013 as we see in this video.

[Flickr photo via Flying Jenny]