NOVA scienceNOW : 54 – Space Dangers, Next-Gen Space Suits, Space Food, Plasma Rockets, Vandi Verma

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Can we make it to Mars?

Can humans survive a trip to Mars and back that could take two to three years? This episode of NOVA scienceNOW examines all of the perils of this journey, including deadly meteoroids, bone and muscle deterioration, and cosmic radiation. Host Neil deGrasse Tyson checks in with scientists who are developing new ways to keep astronauts alive on such a journey. Among the innovations covered are meteoroid-proof materials, new space foods and spacesuits, and novel modes of transport, such as plasma rockets. This episode also profiles young female scientist and daredevil Vandi Verma, part of the team that drives the Mars rovers on the martian surface.

Space Dangers – 02:07

A trip to Mars and back could take two to three years. Can humans survive the journey, fraught with deadly meteoroids, bone and muscle wasting, and perilous levels of radiation? Scientists are developing new ways to keep astronauts alive, using novel meteoroid-proof materials, artificial gravity, and exercise. But will they be enough?

Next-Generation Space Suits – 15:27

Today’s space suits are mini spaceships, cumbersome oxygen-filled balloons that provide life-saving air pressure but that are notoriously difficult to move and work in. MIT’s Dava Newman wants to design a space suit for future Mars explorers that’s more like that worn by Captain Kirk than by Neil Armstrong—form-fitting and mobile. But protecting our cells from the vacuum of space is a lot harder than you might think.

Space Food – 26:12

Would you want to eat a three-year-old meal? If you’re returning from Mars, you might have to. At the Space Food Systems Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center, chefs are devising new ways of cooking up dishes that will taste as fresh and healthy on the last day of the trip as they did on the first.

Plasma Rockets – 33:05

What if astronauts could take an express voyage to Mars—one that would last not two-and-a-half years but just a few weeks? A new rocket called VASIMR, powered by a million-degree plasma instead of traditional chemicals, could be the answer NASA is looking for—if only its designers could keep the super-hot engine from melting under its own heat.

Profile: Vandi Verma – 39:44

Vandi Verma is a wanderer. Born and raised partly in India, she moved around a lot thanks to her father’s air force career. Always motivated to explore new environments and cultures, she also had one constant—her fascination with flying and outer space. Today Verma is part of the team that drives the Mars rovers, and her unique combination of daredevil thrill-seeking and rigorous preparedness make her just right for the job.

Cosmic Perspective & Space Travel – 49:42

Turkish subtitles will be added soon.

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Historyman says:

Neil Degrasse Tyson is a joy to watch. Not only is he brilliant, but he knows how to dumb things down a bit for all of us scientifically challenged mortals out here so that the subject matter is fairly easy to understand! I bet he'd be a riot to party with, too!

Thomas White says:

I've always thought it was subzero temps anywhere away from the sun.

Is it subzero temps with high levels of radiation?

Now I'm lost…

Usha Nair says:


Paul Smith says:

Did he, he jus did. How are we supposed to look past the fact that a voice over of Neil just corrected himself (also Neil) in the video!

rdbob61 says:

Tyson you're a moron OREO

James D says:

(Something I just felt like sharing)
   One ideal I have for combating radiation effects in space on astronauts. Is by taking their new ideal of space suits and somehow merge them with plants & how they work.
Because plants have the ability to take in the sun's light which is radiation & turn it into energy.
so in theory if this can be a possibility for future space suits. It would be one way to protect the astronauts in space.
   As well as with today's know how. They can take a plant of sort & engineer it to do the same with other forms of cosmic radiations in theory.

   As well as for the radiation effects on the wear & plants. The engineers can take their know how & engineer a protective outer layer like they do on the space station. 

   Everyone one have a great day & this is just one ideal of many, However it's up to the scientist that works in such fields if this ideal is useful to their future ideals and engineering & ect.

   Also to give an ideal in theory on how this might/would  work. When plants are merged with space suits.
(For starters plants only need water and carbon dioxide to survive. Besides the nutrients needed in the soil for them to grow.)

   Which can or could be added to the plants DNA when growing it, or added to the suit in theory. So the plant can live off the suit and the wear.

   Because with a built-in filtering system, or ect  in the lower part of the suit. The plant can use the wears natural resources from the human body like water and carbon, However the plant would have to be engineered to use less water and provide more oxygen for the amount of carbon the human body puts off.

   So the plant can provide the oxygen needed to survive in spaces harsh environment.

   Your friend & hope this helps others to understanding how I see this working in theory and from my view point. Thanks and everyone have a great day. 🙂

PS: Only limits from my view point is the way we view everything with in the in the box way of thinking, But when it comes to fully understanding the box you need to understand all the boxes dimensions inside & out 🙂 & if I overlooked anything that's fine.

   Because in short with the right understanding anything is possible & I hope by doing so inspires others to have a open mind & to never limit their self's to thinking a ideal or ect is impossible. Because in truth the only limits our the ones we set for our self's for the human imagination has no limits beyond such & I enjoy science in all it's forms & what the future may have in store for us all for space travel & other factors down here on earth. 🙂

So know however, you view this know this is only my viewing & doesn't reflect on anyone else's viewing & ect. I just believe in sharing my thoughts on such it maybe useful to others in some form or another. :)

Gil Rocha says:

So easy to go to space, just ask NASA how they did it on Apollo's missions 50 years ago and so many times. They even walked on the moon, so no big deal for sure, right? They solved all those problems long time ago…

Protherium says:

Two words. PEMMICAN and MEAD!!! The Norse always knew best.

Jean Etchepare says:

So many plans for the benefit of humanity, and yet humans keep on killing each other in senseless wars.

Twinkie16002 says:

Who else's science teachers told them there were only 3 states of matter solid, gas & liquid leaving out plasma? Mine even left it out AFTER it had been known about for years xD

Bob Noturbusiness says:

Can we make it to mars? No, obviously not. If we can't record in anything higher than 240p then Mars is really out of our reach.

Thumbs down for a fuzzy, lores recording.

Robert Pruitt says:

why do they make such a big deal out of 8 year old food? you can look up where they opened over 100 year old lamb and 80 year old corn and they were perfect. The regular canning process makes food good for many decades.

Herp Derp says:

1:10 – "The gas in your lungs would boil."
I didn't know gas can boil |:

Kiku Bughda says:

What happens when you pee in zero gravity? Does It stick to you? How do astronauts pee? 

Brian Yelov says:

One ideal scientific advancement is that we have developed these spontaneous technology that will help us explore even further.Even explore a new planet such as Kepler 6 2f which is like earth

Bob Jones says:

I wonder how scientifically literate astronauts are. Why don't they just make scientist and engineers astronauts? These people can do more and learn more during space missions.

Fred Blogs says:

As much as I respect NOVA's attempts to give insight, I notice 99.999% of the science programs are set to entertain and inform the 10 year old child. However, the majority of viewers happen to be adults. I would appreciate, if, from time to time, NOVA began pitching toward the adult viewer.

Jose Santiago says:

Its hard to believe that Mike Tyson is his half brother!

David Hutchinson says:

Astronauts really are the best of us…in spite of their human ness.

LorenChristian Brown says:

if we know why we are safe on earth because of our magnetic field around earth to protect us from  the rays… why can't we just make a magnetic field around the ship? and what happened with the plasma rockets? it's 2014 now. 

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