Computers are a large part of life in space these days, equipping astronauts with the tools they need to complete their missions. But unfortunately, the computers we use on land can’t be sent into space, since equipment designed for land degrades quickly in space.

Thanks to a new effort between NASA and Hewlett Packard, space travelers could soon have a supercomputer to take along on their missions. The computer, which will be tested on the International Space Station for one year, is slated to accompany astronauts on Mars missions, assuming testing goes well. NASA predicts a mission to Mars would take approximately one year, leading to a need to test the computer for that period of time before putting it into use.

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Saturday, 29 July 2017 00:00

NASA Measures Human Impact on Space Fungi

Whether we intend to or not, humans leave an impact on the areas we inhabit. This is even true in space, where the mere existence of astronauts can change the biological makeup of a planet. As NASA continues in its plans to send manned spacecraft to Mars, the agency is researching how human presence can impact outer space.

To conduct their research, the agency is recreating the environment seen on the International Space Station, which humans have occupied since 1998. For its most recent study, they looked at the affect only a few people living in an inflatable space would have. Even with four occupants, the species of fungi present in the habitat changed.

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If you want to simulate what life on Mars might be like, the Utah desert could be the closest thing you’ll find on this planet. At least that’s the thinking at a research facility in the Utah desert, where a group of college students and teachers lived this past spring for a week. The goal was to learn as much as possible about life on Mars.

The Utah site was created by the Mars Society, a nonprofit that set it up in 2001 to let students and companies simulate missions on the planet. This isn’t to be confused with a similar type of site set up by NASA in Hawaii to let professional space agency crews simulate missions for up to a year at a time.

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