At the crack of dawn on Friday, the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft was transported via specialized train car to its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Russian rocket is scheduled for liftoff this afternoon and will be carrying an eclectic mix of astronauts to the International Space Station. The team includes three crew members from across the globe: commander Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency, flight engineer Terry Virts of NASA, and Italian flight engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency.
A big part of going to the Moon was selling the program to the public. Not only was it important for NASA to gain support for the Apollo program, the agency stood to gain nothing by misrepresenting its missions to the taxpayers who were footing the bill. Part of this marketing strategy was transparency, including public release of unedited mission transcripts, a transparency for which we can thank Paul Haney.
Most everyone supports efforts into space exploration, but there’s always one aspect of space travel that can be a deal breaker: the price tag. Thanks to gravity and our pesky atmosphere, getting off the ground (and back down safely) requires a lot of propulsion and engineering prowess, and that doesn’t come cheap.
One of the best parts of the new film Interstellar is the crazy science permeating the movie’s plot. Wormholes, gravitational forces, relativity, and warped space-time are just a few of the scientific phenomena that play important roles in the astronauts’ deep space journey. Even though the moviemakers take a few liberties with these complicated theories (as some critics have deigned to point out), there is still a plethora of knowledge and research backing up the film’s science and physics.