Studying Circadian Rhythms and Sleep in Space

Do you remember the last time you stayed awake all night? Maybe you had a major exam, or flew across the ocean. How did you feel the following day? The time at which you would normally feel sleepy was probably different from usual. Your eyes “told” you that it was day, time for work or school. Your brain or muscles disagreed. They “told” you that it was middle of the night, and that you should sleep.

Changing when you sleep, or being in areas where daytime and nighttime are “off-schedule”, affects your circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm exists in humans as a roughly 24-hour clock that prompts us to sleep or wake.

The European Space Agency’s experiment, Circadian Rhythms, investigates the role of this “biological clock” and its changes during spaceflight. Researchers hypothesize that a non-24-hour cycle of light and dark affects crew members’ circadian rhythms. Understanding the effects of life in space on astronauts’ circadian rhythms may help improve performance and health for future crew members.

Researchers collect data on astronaut’s circadian rhythms by using a “double-sensor,” which measures the temperature at the core of the body. The crew attaches one sensor to their head, and the other to their chest.

Based on results from this research, future crew members could more accurately adjust their sleep, work and physical activity scheduled to accommodate natural circadian cycles, which could improve productivity and health.

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Once again NASA has been caught shutting down a live transmission from the International Space Station (ISS) to hide evidence of aliens & UFOs in space. This time it appears NASA cut the live feed after a large four-armed UFO appeared in the video.

The incident adds to mounting evidence that despite denials, the agency maintains a rigid policy of non-disclosure of evidence of extraterrestrial life and intelligence. The latest UFO sighting was reported by Ufologist Streetcap1 on Thursday, October 20, The live video shows a strange craft loitering in the distance apparently monitoring the International Space Station. The strange craft has multiple arms extending from its main body.

The video shows sunlight reflecting from the body and arms of the UFO, causing it to glisten in deep space. The glistening of the mysterious object due to reflection of sunlight proves it was a real, solid, metallic object flying or hovering in space in the vicinity of the ISS. But as the UFO begins to glisten brightly in the sun, NASA interrupts transmission with its infamous blue screen.


ESA’s ExoMars mission orbiter successfully circling Mars, but contact with lander was lost 

This dense post represents what a wild, intricate, and global effort space technology is.

On Oct. 19, 2016, European Space Agency and Russian space agency’s (Roscosmos) two spacecraft of the ExoMars programme reached the red planet. 

One of the two spacecraft, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) “successfully performed the long 139-minute burn required to be captured by Mars and entered an elliptical orbit” as planned. The lander, named Schiaparelli, entered the martian atmosphere, but contact was lost before expected touchdown.

From ESA: “Schiaparelli was programmed to autonomously perform an automated landing sequence, with parachute deployment and front heat shield release between 11 and 7 km, followed by a retrorocket braking starting at 1100 m from the ground, and a final fall from a height of 2 m protected by a crushable structure.”

Contact was established before the atmospheric entry though the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), the world’s largest interferometric array, located near Pune, India, but “lost some time prior to landing”.

With ESA’s Trace Gas Orbiter, there are now six operational spacecraft orbiting Mars. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is one of them, and its low-resolution camera took pictures (see above) of Schiaparelli’s expected touchdown site on 20 October.

Compared to the image taken of the landing site in spring, there have appeared two new features, which ESA associates with the lander itself and its parachute.

Keep reading


Hubble Spins a Web Into a Giant Red Spider Nebula by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
Via Flickr:
Huge waves are sculpted in this two-lobed nebula called the Red Spider Nebula, located some 3,000 light-years away in the constellation of Sagittarius. This warm planetary nebula harbors one of the hottest stars known and its powerful stellar winds generate waves 100 billion kilometers (62.4 billion miles) high. The waves are caused by supersonic shocks, formed when the local gas is compressed and heated in front of the rapidly expanding lobes. The atoms caught in the shock emit the spectacular radiation seen in this image. NASA Media Usage Guidelines
*WORLD PREMIERE* In 1962, spurred by the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy famously made the bold proclamation that NASA would send astronauts to the moon by the end of the decade, not because it was easy, but because it was a challenge. The Space Race inspired a generation to pursue careers in science and technology, but as the balance of world power shifted, interest in space exploration declined. Fight for Space serves as an urgent call to re-awaken our sense of wonder and discovery. When: November 14 (5:15PM EST), November 15 (12:45PM EST) Where: DOC NYC 2016, IFC Center

What are these hexagonal clouds found over the Bermuda Triangle?
No, these clouds don't solve the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. But they are cool.

Fair warning of some pseudoscience floating around there! I noticed a lot of articles like these ones talking about how rare seeing hexagonal cloud patterns are and some go as far to blame the clouds for disappearances in the bermuda triangle. THIS IS BAD REPORTING! What you see in the pictures is very well known open cell convection (or here’s a powerpoint). This does not explain and is not definitively connected to the claimed wind speed observations, and I’m not seeing any publications on the matter. This occurs when you have a large temperature difference of cold air moving over warmer ocean water. We see it a lot over the Pacific, but you can find it in a lot of places during winter. Feel free to google “open cell convection” and look at more pictures of the cool hexagonal clouds, though!

Clouds on Pluto? Dwarf Planet’s Weather Gets Weirder

Scientists may have spotted more than a half dozen clouds in Pluto’s hazy atmosphere, researchers announced today (Oct. 18).

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto in July 2015, revealing a bounty of unexpected details about the frozen world. For instance, the mission discovered that Pluto possesses a complex, layered atmosphere.

“We’ve noticed a large number of concentric layers of haze, more than two dozen,” New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said during a news conference here at the 2016 American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Science meeting. “These haze layers stretch very high into the sky — more than a half million feet, or 200 kilometers.” [Photos of Pluto and Its Moons]

Preliminary images of Pluto hinted at the presence of a cloud in the dwarf planet’s atmosphere. Now, Stern and his colleagues have revealed seven bright features that might be clouds in that world’s exotic skies.

Read more ~

Images: Scientists from NASA’s New Horizons mission have identified some cloud candidates in the atmosphere of Pluto, using images taken by the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager and Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera, during the spacecraft’s July 2015 flight through the Pluto system. None of the features can be confirmed as clouds with stereo imaging, but the scientists say they are suggestive of possible, rare condensation clouds.
    Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

NASA Considers a New Approach to Mars Exploration

NASA is looking at a new way of studying Mars.

Starting in the 2020s, scientists who participate in the agency’s Mars missions might no longer design and build their own highly specialized payloads to explore the red planet. Instead, planetary scientists could find themselves operating much as astronomers who use large telescopes do now: applying for time to use a spacecraft built with a generic suite of scientific instruments.

The proposed change is spurred by NASA’s waning influence at Mars. The agency’s long-running string of spacecraft is winding to a close, and international and commercial interests are on the rise. By the middle of the next decade, European, Chinese, Emirati and SpaceX missions are as likely to be at Mars as NASA is.

Read more ~ Scientific American

Image: As international interest in Mars grows, NASA’s current missions to the Red Planet are winding down.
    Credit: NASA, JPL