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ISS NASA Science

Video Tour of the International Space Station 71

Posted by timothy
from the look-for-the-new-kitchen-tiles dept.
SternisheFan writes with an excerpt from Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, writing at Slate: "Before she came back to Earth in a ball of fire surrounding her Russian re-entry capsule, astronaut Sunita Williams took time out of her packing for the trip home to give a nickel tour of the International Space Station. ... I know the video's long, but if you have the time I do suggest watching the whole thing. I have very mixed feelings about the space station; it cost a lot of money, and in my opinion it hasn't lived up to the scientific potential NASA promised when it was being designed. But watching this video reminded me of the good that's come out of it: There is science being done there; we're learning how to design and build hardware for long-term space travel; we're learning just how to live in space (and NASA just announced it will be sending humans into space for an entire year, an unprecedented experiment); and we're finding new ways for nations and individuals to cooperate in space."
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Video Tour of the International Space Station

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    unprecedented /npresdntid/
    Adjective
    Only been done 4 times before

    • Re:unprecedented ? (Score:5, Informative)

      by stephanruby (542433) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @07:51PM (#42304341)

      They probably meant unprecedented for the US.

      When it comes to manned space exploration, the US is lowering the bar lower and lower every day.

      Valeri Vladimirovich Polyakov (Russian: , born Valeri Ivanovich Korshunov on April 27, 1942) is a former Russian cosmonaut. He is the holder of the record for the longest single spaceflight in human history, staying aboard the Mir space station for more than 14 months (437 days 18 hours) during one trip.[1] His combined space experience is more than 22 months.[2]

      Hopefully, the Russians will help us. I don't think we'd be able to do this without their help anyway.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jonadab (583620)
        Something about Russian culture makes long periods of isolation more tolerable for them somehow (or perhaps their society is more accepting of the mental irregularities that result from overdoing it, which I guess ultimately amounts to basically the same thing). Their Antarctic teams routinely winter-over at Vostok two years in a row; whereas, the Americans at Amundsen-Scott have to cycle out every summer.
        • by manu0601 (2221348)

          Something about Russian culture makes long periods of isolation more tolerable for them somehow

          The US has ballisitic missile submarines, with crew members that get isolated for months.

          • by lucm (889690)

            Something about Russian culture makes long periods of isolation more tolerable for them somehow

            The US has ballisitic missile submarines, with crew members that get isolated for months.

            Sometimes they get to live on nice islands and sleep with cute native bar owners. And since there is not a single non-NATO army that has at the moment the naval capability to sink them they have it good.

            • by manu0601 (2221348)

              And since there is not a single non-NATO army that has at the moment the naval capability to sink them they have it good.

              I am pretty convinced that US navy does not take for granted that their submarines could not be sunk by Russia or China

              • by lucm (889690)

                In blue water, no they can't. Russia used to, China will someday, but right now it's pretty safe out there except for friendly fire.

                When you get closer to the coast it's a different story, but then, unless there is a war it should not happen.

  • Research (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @07:37PM (#42304269)

    Research is rarely profitable. Most of our knowledge of how to do it right comes from testing out all possible ways of doing it wrong. So when you point and say "Well, this particular project didn't pan out" as a reason not to undertake any future projects, you're misrepresenting the facts. It's true, most research fails. But the research that succeeds more than makes up for the costs of all that other research before it. Every technology within your range of vision right now was developed through a iterative process of failure.

    And yet, here we are, and I am thankful that, unlike the editor and submitter, I can see the big picture. The space program has contributed way more in commercial developments than it has cost us. Way, way, massively way more. And that's in spite of its bureaucratic failures (of which many have written small books on -- see Appendix D of the Challenger Disaster report for one such example). Research is essential. If you want to argue about the cost of the space program, pick something else -- there are juicier targets than that.

    • Re:Research (Score:5, Informative)

      by SternisheFan (2529412) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @08:07PM (#42304415)

      Research is rarely profitable. Most of our knowledge of how to do it right comes from testing out all possible ways of doing it wrong. So when you point and say "Well, this particular project didn't pan out" as a reason not to undertake any future projects, you're misrepresenting the facts. It's true, most research fails. But the research that succeeds more than makes up for the costs of all that other research before it. Every technology within your range of vision right now was developed through a iterative process of failure.

      And yet, here we are, and I am thankful that, unlike the editor and submitter, I can see the big picture. The space program has contributed way more in commercial developments than it has cost us. Way, way, massively way more. And that's in spite of its bureaucratic failures (of which many have written small books on -- see Appendix D of the Challenger Disaster report for one such example). Research is essential. If you want to argue about the cost of the space program, pick something else -- there are juicier targets than that.

      Submitter here:, just FYI, I or Timothy didn't offer our opinion here, it's the author of the article's opinion. I happen to like anything space related, and submitted this because it's an interesting video, and thought other people here would think it is too.

      • Submitter here:, just FYI, I or Timothy didn't offer our opinion here, it's the author of the article's opinion. I happen to like anything space related, and submitted this because it's an interesting video, and thought other people here would think it is too.

        My apologies. As I'm sure you're aware, slashdot doesn't exactly go through a lot of effort to delineate quotes by the author, submitter, or editor. You just have to guess on those quotation marks a lot of times. Well then, my comments are directed towards the Bad Astronomy blogger, who should know better because I regularly read his work. The whole space station was an experiment, on many levels both technical, scientific, and cultural. I don't think its value is in whether or not we succeeded in any of th

        • "Well then, my comments are directed towards the Bad Astronomy blogger, who should know better because I regularly read his work."

          Phil Plait ("Bad Astronomer") is a genuine scientist and astronomer, and has done much to foster an appreciation of science in young people particularly. He gets kudos for that.

          Unfortunately, there is a bad side: Phil often displays a blatant tendency toward bias on certain subjects; his objectivity has been severely wanting.

          • by Sockatume (732728)

            Surely the whole point of blogs is that you can read what interesting people actually think, and not a watered-down recitation of facts as you could get in any newspaper?

        • No worries here. :) I don't know if I'd want the job of a /. editor, can't be easy when, if you make a mistake or omission, you got the entire internet community that'll call you on it. I agree with all that you said, though reading through Phil Plait's article, his thoughts on NASA seem to be,... "evolving"?
        • "I don't think its value is in whether or not we succeeded in any of those areas, but in how much we learned about each of those things."

          A fair enough point: that fundamental research is worth pursuing even without a specific profit motive.

          But the ISS has cost $150 billion.

          Is it impolite to even ask if what we've learned is worth $150 billion, or if that knowledge might have been gained in a more cost-conscious manner?

      • Thanks, and full marks for the submission. The video is fascinating.

      • by qbel (1792064)
        Thanks a lot for submitting this, it was awesome to see!
      • I happen to like anything space related, and submitted this because it's an interesting video, and thought other people here would think it is too.

        As an adjective to describe this video the word "Interesting" is a radical understatement. Thanks for linking this amazing video. I was fully expecting to see a small claustrophobic can and instead I got the real life 2012 version of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    • Those of us old enough to remember times before the space station will recall that scientists at the time felt that the space station would be a waste. They felt that more important and useful science could be accomplished by spending the money in other areas of space research.

      Furthermore, when various sources of research are ranked by "return on investment", government research always lands on the bottom of the list. Government-funded research is always more expensive and less controversial than research f

      • I wish people would stop focusing on "research" and "science" and look at the bigger picture.

        Before anyone could get into space in order to do those things comfortably, a whole lot of engineering needed to be done.

        I reckon the space station has more than paid its way in the amount learned in the design, construction and operation of large, multi-section structures in orbit, much of which will be re-used or built on when future orbital habitats are proposed.

      • by Zen Punk (785385)

        "Government-funded research is always more expensive and less controversial than research from the private sector."

        Right. Like those long-range missile programs. What did any of that ever lead to? And that ARPANET stuff? Pretty useless that all turned out to be, huh? And that Manhattan project, that was a real flash in the pan, wasn't it?

        • by lennier (44736)

          Right. Like those long-range missile programs. What did any of that ever lead to?

          Yeah! We were promised a world-ending atomic holocaust back in the 1950s! When DO we get our world-ending atomic holocaust, you lazy government missile researchers?

          Good ol' Reagan tried his best to unleash the forces of capitalism in the nuclear arms race in the 1980s, but the Democrats in Congress and that pinko-lefty Gorbachev blocked him. The Soviet Union fell apart and there wasn't even a single kiloton-level detonation. Talk about government incompetence! That's what Communism did for the Russians. Cou

    • The space program has contributed way more in commercial developments than it has cost us.

      Other than satellite communications and weather forecasting... not so much.

      Despite decades of NASA propaganda and uncritical fanboy echoing of the same... When you look into it NASA 'contributions' to the commercial/private sector - it frequently turns out to be someone else's idea/process/technology that NASA has co-opted or adapted for it's own needs and then turned around and taken credit for.

      • So you're saying "other than a $100B industry, not so much?"
        What does it take to impress you?

        The "space economy" was estimated at about $180 billion in 2005, according to a report by the Space Foundation released in 2006. More than 60 percent of space-related economic activity came from commercial goods and services.

        ( from here [nasa.gov] and here [google.com])

  • Firstly I noticed how loud it is in there. I read read about that in the past but the video really makes that clear. Also I would absolutely want to shoot along that long passage we see early in the video. I reckon you could build up a lot of speed and probably do a lot of damage too.

    • by icebike (68054)

      First thing I notices is the claustrophobia. I actually couldn't watch the whole thing.
      Cub Scout pup tent has more room than that sleeping hole.
      I'm glad there are people who can do that type of work. I'm not one of them.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... for the 2001 Space Station.

    I want to see a space station I can dock into to the sound of the Blue Danube, one where I can get cleared through voice-print identification, walk the corridors to my Hilton suite and chat to a few Russian space engineers coming back down from spending three months calibrating the new antenna at Tchalinko....

  • Compare and contrast (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ford Prefect (8777) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @08:24PM (#42304521) Homepage

    IMAX (!) video [youtube.com] from inside the Russian Mir space station. Dark, cramped and most likely very smelly - still an incredible achievement. International Space Station? Some kind of progress!

  • by u64 (1450711) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @08:39PM (#42304605) Homepage

    What about adding a module that spins - to simulate gravity.

    But i guess it has to be carefully balanced to avoid wobbling. Maybe this can be compensated somehow with liquids?

  • That was my first impression. It's probably all pretty well organized, but necessarily compact. As a very temporary resident, I think it would be impossible for someone (like myself) to ever know everything about the ISS -- it's so incredibly complex. Think of all the different components needed to make life possible on the station, keeping track of all the consumables and trash, the ship to ground communications, the space suits, the myriad science experiments, needing to know everything in both Russian a

  • Wouldn't we all like to have one.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That was a great video. The station is amazingly big! And Sunita Williams was inspiring - NASA really picks their people well. She just seemed so smart, unaffecting, competant and good-natured.. I just might have a crush on her.

    FYI, there is another video tour, this one by Mike Fincke (another amazing person - look at his wiki page, he has about 6 advanced degrees). It's in two parts:

    Part 1 [youtube.com]
    Part 2 [youtube.com]

    Thanks to the submitter - it was half an hour well spent!

    • ...FYI, there is another video tour, this one by Mike Fincke (another amazing person - look at his wiki page, he has about 6 advanced degrees). It's in two parts:

      Part 1 [youtube.com] Part 2 [youtube.com]

      Thanks to the submitter - it was half an hour well spent!

      Thanks for those links, very cool to see. Way more informative than the spelling nazi's post! :-)

  • Weren't there plans to scuttle the ISS at one point?
    • Weren't there plans to scuttle the ISS at one point?

      You may be thinking of "Freedom", a Reagan era space station proposal that never happened. From Wikipedia:

      "The new Space Station configuration was named Freedom by Reagan in June 1988. Originally, Freedom would have carried two 37.5 kW solar arrays. However, Congress quickly insisted on adding two more arrays for scientific users. The Space Station programme was plagued by conflicts during the entire 1984–87 definition phase. In 1987, the Department of Defense (DoD) briefly demanded to have full ac

  • by stevegee58 (1179505) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @10:28PM (#42305057) Journal
    Seriously how can you face coming back to earth and NOT having hair like that!
    • She's like Yahoo Serious with oobages. Seems kinda like that would get in the way - be distracting to crewmates, maybe. Don't they have room for Scunchies or hairnets in the budget?

  • That was one of the coolest things I have ever seen! Thanks for sharing that Slashdot!

    Some interesting observations/thoughts I had watching that (most of them centered around things I never thought about but are obvious once you think it through):
    1) Never thought about it, but of course without any gravity, hair does not fall straight down, so her hair is flying in all directions giving a slightly âoecrazedâ look.
    2) Very cool to see how they sleep, and the cozy little cubbies they have
    3) Again ne

  • by ausoleil (322752) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @10:44PM (#42305119) Homepage

    I really like Phil Plait but he consistently misses one of the major points of ISS was building and operating a working spacecraft in space. That knowledge in and of itself will prove invaluable for longer term missions where resupply and spare parts will be impossible to provide.

    That attitude seems to be all too common among scientists: the constantly overlook engineering and take it for granted.

  • by fredrik70 (161208) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @03:37PM (#42308177) Homepage

    ...personally I prefer this one as it shows on a map where in the station you are, an hour' s tour as well!!:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afBm0Dpfj_k [youtube.com]

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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