Space Links

I woke up Saturday morning thinking about what technology would be needed if you had a cheap means of getting into orbit. Right now the big problem is getting there, not living there. But if you had something like anti-gravity you could do it easily. The first thing I thought of was space suits. So I got on the net to do some research.

I never really understood the problem of getting into space till I read this paragraph, from a NASA site.

Earth’s atmosphere is 20 percent oxygen and 80 percent nitrogen from sea level to about 75 miles up, where space begins. At 18,000 feet (3.4 miles), the atmosphere is half as dense as it is on the ground, and at altitudes above 40/000 feet(7.5 miles), air is so thin and the amount of oxygen so small that pressure oxygen masks no longer do the job. Above the 63,000-foot threshold(11.9 miles), humans must wear spacesuits that supply oxygen for breathing and that maintain a pressure around the body to keep body fluids in the liquid state. At this altitude the total air pressure is no longer sufficient to keep body fluids from boiling.

To me this means a very special airplane can get you about 10% of the way into space. After that the atmosphere is it too thin. That’s why we use rockets and why the X-prise is such a big deal. It isn’t easy to build a device that carries its own propulsion and fuel for 75 miles.

I’ll use another blog to talk about space suits. I had a bunch of links, but lost them to the blog software I was working on at the time. Here though are a couple of cool space links I do still have.

Earth observatory Cool images of Earth from space.

One danger you face in space is micrometorids and space debris