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NASA Space Science

Houston, We Have a Family Reunion 75

Posted by timothy
from the it's-lonely-in-space dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "If all goes according to plan, the only space sibling team will be hooking up in orbit. And not only are Scott and Mark Kelly brothers, they're identical twins. Scott took off Friday on a Russian Soyuz rocket to begin a five and a half month mission as the next commander of the International Space Station. Mark is the next commander of the space shuttle Endeavour, scheduled to lift off in February and hook up with the space station March 1st."
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Houston, We Have a Family Reunion

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  • Does relativity say that they are now different ages? Because that would be awesome. :p

    • by topham (32406)

      I was thinking about this. If only the oldest one traveled in space, how many days in space would be required for him to be considered younger than his brother?

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      Probably they are just a few seconds apart. Should take a lot of years in orbit to get to minutes of difference.
      • Re:So... (Score:4, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:33PM (#33854906) Journal

        Seconds? I think you vastly overestimate the effect. The experiments that tested special relativity used atomic clocks and measured a few nanoseconds after travelling around the world several times in airliners. Even orbitals speeds for several weeks are going to make well under a millisecond's difference. The ISS travels at around 0.0026% of the speed of light. That's much too low for special relativity to have any effects that measurable with anything less sensitive than an atomic clock.

        The effects of general relativity are even smaller - there's an experiment scheduled for 2013 that will compare an atomic clock taken to the ISS to one on the ground to test general relativity - the theory predicts a difference of one second over 10,000 years.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JorDan Clock (664877)
        If I remember correctly, the current record holder for longest time in orbit has aged .48 seconds slower than the rest of the Earth. I doubt these guys have come anywhere near a full second.
        • by Teancum (67324)

          If I'm not mistaken (please correct me if I'm wrong here!) the furthest somebody has been from the Earth's surface and the fastest that anybody has ever traveled in absolute terms relative to the Earth was on Apollo 13. Not exactly a distinction that those astronauts were trying for, but it was a by product of the free return trajectory that they used to return back to the Earth. I don't know if these astronauts are the ones setting this record or not, but it is at least worth mentioning. Velocities of t

          • If I'm not mistaken (please correct me if I'm wrong here!) the furthest somebody has been from the Earth's surface and the fastest that anybody has ever traveled in absolute terms relative to the Earth was on Apollo 13. Not exactly a distinction that those astronauts were trying for, but it was a by product of the free return trajectory that they used to return back to the Earth. I don't know if these astronauts are the ones setting this record or not, but it is at least worth mentioning. Velocities of the

          • by sznupi (719324)

            I wonder about those turtles on Zond 5... (a 1968 Soyuz mission which followed similar flight profile to Apollo 13; generally the first venture and safe return of macroscopic life beyond LEO...and it did perform more complex skip reentry profile, to limit g-forces, despite being normally capable of direct descend - so perhaps a bit faster)

            And you know, if the speed of something can start to be measured by fractions of c - only then the ISS will have a trivial one. Or perhaps "order of magnitude more" would

    • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by berwiki (989827) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:39PM (#33854932)
      as soon as one of them ran after a baseball or was in an automobile while the other was not, their ages changed.

      this event probably had the biggest impact on their age differentiation, but it had already occurred a long time ago.
    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      Relativity says they have experienced a different amount of elapsed time over the duration of the space journey taken by only one of the siblings.

      The fact that two babies can't come out of one uterus at the exact same time is what says they are already, and always will be, different "Ages" (since birth).

      • pedant

        • by jeffmeden (135043)

          Hey, you were the one too lazy to just ask "does relativity say that the elapsed time since their zygotes split from the embryo is now farther apart than it was before as they certainly have not been going exactly the same speed and subject to the same gravity their whole lives?" /now *thats* pedantic.

  • by thomasdz (178114) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:55PM (#33854678)

    When they both come down, one will have a beard and one will not. The one with the beard must not be allowed to go anywhere near any old volcano islands.

    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      I thought it was a mustache or goatee that made one evil.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sznupi (719324)

      Mission poster is quite telling [wikipedia.org]; also, this photo [wikipedia.org] of "Shuttle twin" can be only summed up by "bitches don't know bout my..."

      On top of that, apparently he's married to a...congresswoman...(shudder)...Democrat. Badass. I think in case of those two we can be pretty sure which is the evil one.

      PS. If only there was a chance of them becoming more known (locally, for me) than Kaczynski twins...one can dream.

    • by revlayle (964221)
      Gentlemen, I need not remind you that this galaxy has an atmosphere of negative 5. This is an atmosphere in which beards cannot grow.
  • hooking up? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:02PM (#33854722)
    really, siblings hooking up in space? I've always wanted to watch that!
  • Coincidence? (Score:1, Insightful)

    There may be more proof here that "It's not what you know, it's who you know!" than people realise... I mean, come on, how many of us young, fit, healthy, brainy people who'd be willing get this chance? What are the odds of them both being "the best of the best of the best, sir"?

    Remember, "Disagree" is not a mod option! Remember, meta-moderation works! (or so they say...)

    • by Kittenman (971447)
      Remember when a husband and wife went up at the same time? I guess we all know what NASA was hoping would happen. I mean, in addition to the Publicity...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Jedi Alec (258881)

      There may be more proof here that "It's not what you know, it's who you know!" than people realise... I mean, come on, how many of us young, fit, healthy, brainy people who'd be willing get this chance? What are the odds of them both being "the best of the best of the best, sir"?

      Yeah, because if an individual has the right combination of nature and nurture to make him suitable to be an astronaut, what are the odds that someone with the exact same nature and a comparable nurture would be as well?

      • by sznupi (719324)

        ...to the tune of both finding themselves in a very small group selected among many? Though it's slightly more twisted, I imagine; something along the lines of "ok, we want him (due to whatever dynamics present, also partly somewhat outside of the hoped for optimums)...but there's two of him."

      • by srussia (884021)

        Yeah, because if an individual has the right combination of nature and nurture to make him suitable to be an astronaut, what are the odds that someone with the exact same nature and a comparable nurture would be as well?

        So that's why things ended not so well for RDA Corporation in Avatar. I guess the nurture part wasn't close enough.

    • Um, if they both have the same genes, had the same upbringing and experiences in life, etc., then there's a good chance that if one of them is the best at something the other will also be rather good at it.

      If anything, this could be seen as proof of the primacy of genes.

    • Really? Here at Slashdot we have those who discount the accomplishment of others on nothing more than "they won life's lottery" - "they were connected"? Then we have the declaration of how a certain poster is obviously astronaut quality while trying to make it appear that he is claiming many of /. is.

      Here, I will give you a hint, instead of trolling bbs message boards in his younger days, or hanging out at the mall (it was the 80s after all) he was probably busting his ass. Actually, reading his and his

  • Why have one when you can have two for twice the price?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This sounds like a bad movie plot. Then something happens and they must confront each others true person. And also something with twin connection. "I could feel he wanted me to eject the pod."

  • by koterica (981373) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:26PM (#33854868) Journal

    If all goes according to plan, the only space sibling team will be hooking up in orbit.

    Yeeeaah. For a second there I thought I had somehow reached slashfic instead of slashdot.

  • Having just read about the Twin Paradox [wikipedia.org] my brain is hurting too much to think about it. Go read it yourself.
    • Yeah, it's the acceleration that does it, not the speed. Freshman physics for engineers.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      What bothers me about it is: doesn't the choice of which one is accelerating and which one isn't depend entirely upon your frame of reference? Neither one of them is standing still!
    • It doesn't appear to be widely known that one of the astronauts who went to the moon, Charles Duke [wikipedia.org], had an identical twin, Dr. William "Bill" Duke, who remained on earth.

      Dr. Duke passed away this year due to lifelong health problems, but if these sorts of experiments were practical surely they could have been done four decades ago.

      Charles Duke has jokingly claimed that the hoax theories were spurred by people who saw Bill visit Mission Control while he was on the moon.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    No wonder it's so easy to find arguments in favor of gutting NASA's budget. How about a movie? Maybe these guys and the Doublemint twins in zero-G.

  • We should, nay must!, send one of them off into space at speeds near that of light! If we do not, future generations will rightly chastise us for missing this once-every-fifty-year opportunity to confirm the Twins Paradox. Ladies and Gentlemen, we know our duty. Now let us act upon it as women and men of science and of action!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    NASA better be careful! They may have swapped classes in Astronaut school, and now only one of them knows, say, how to land the Shuttle, while the other one knows, say, how to work the zero-gee toilet!

  • Stopping saying "hook up". It doesn't mean what you think it means.
  • I suspect this is a cover story to hide the use of cloned cosmonauts.

    • With a four year life span I assume.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      On the other hand, when confronting the unknown dangers of space, it is really nice to have spare parts so readily available... although convincing your twin to give up those spare parts is another matter.
  • This is as meaningful as a Kardashian post. It's evening news filler. I mean it's not terribly usual but not really worth mentioning.
    • It's a pretty sad indictment of our space program. If this is the best they can do with the money, it's no wonder research on space-travel is underfunded.
  • Bet they're really planning on just sending one of them up along with a full-length mirror for the photos, much less to get into orbit and who's really know the difference?
  • How can they be sure that one is not a Cylon?

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed. -- Francis Bacon

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