Tag Archives: ISS

Science Sunday – A Year in Space

Continuing this ongoing weekly series, I share a major science news story from the past week, but I let the video tell the story.

This week, American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko returned to Earth after spending 340 days on the International Space Station. This mission is especially interesting because Kelly’s twin brother, Mark Kelly, was down here on Earth, and they’re comparing the changes in Scott’s body with his twin. This mission was a year-long experiment to help prepare for the upcoming manned Mars mission. You can read NASA’s story on this mission here.

The video is a bit long, but it shows you the return of Kelly and Kornienko to Earth.

Scott Kelly says that he has mixed feelings about the end of the mission. I can understand that, having mixed feelings about our move to Canada. He’s lived on the station for nearly a year, and it had become his home.

Comments are greatly appreciated! Would you consider spending a year, or even just a month, in space? Let me know in the comments below.

3D Printer in Space

The most recent SpaceX commercial resupply mission has something interesting on it for the International Space Station, a 3D Printer.  They’re going to use it to make replacement parts, so they don’t have to wait for them to arrive on later resupply missions.

But I have a question.  Is this really a printer?  To me, printers print text or pictures onto paper.  A 3D printer doesn’t print ink or use lasers to create images on paper.  It actually uses a material that is chosen for the object and thin slices are laid on top additively to create the object.  This technology has been around for around 30 years and uses a CAD software to create the objects.  But is this printing?

It’s more like assembling or manufacturing, actually.  But in a way it’s replicating existing objects based on a plan stored in a computer.  Doesn’t that sound familiar?  In Star Trek, replicators have been used since The Next Generation, and they’ve been replicating things using a similar principle, except they do it atom by atom.  This does it in a more crude way, layer by layer.  But still, I think this is a rudimentary replicator.  So why keep calling it a 3D Printer?  Let’s call it a Replicator!  Who’s with me?