Escape Pods, Refuge Of ISS Astronauts From Space Junk
ISS astronauts ducked into "escape pods" to avoid oncoming space junk last week. The "pods" in this case are two Russian Soyuz craft kept handy for just this sort of emergency. As it turned out, the tiny piece of debris missed
Science fiction writers have long been interested in the idea of escape pods. In 1941, author Harry Walton wrote about a rescue ship - he called it a "lifeship" - in Moon of Exile. In 1946, Arthur C. Clarke published his first short story, titled Rescue Party, in which aliens on a survey mission arrived to try to evacuate humanity from Earth in the face of the sun going nova:
Alveron read the message from base: then, with a flick of a tentacle that no human eye could have followed, he pressed the General Attention button...
"We are approaching a sun which is about to become a nova. There are ten planets, with a civilization on the third. It is our tragic mission to contact that doomed race, and if possible save some of its members."
Fans of sci-fi movies of course recall the escape pods from the first Star Wars film in 1976.
(Star Wars escape pod)
Scientists and engineers have, of course, also considered this problem. Werner Von Braun pushed the idea of a manned space station in the 1960's; with it he also designed a protective ejection type capsule. A parachute with steel-wire mesh reinforcements and solid rocket booster would break the fall; antenna and radar beacon activate automatically.
(From Von Braun Rescue Vehicles)
After the 1986 shuttle Challenger accident, NASA started seriously looking at alternatives for the Space Station. Some proposals even included the use of refurbished Apollo lunar capsules from the 1960's. The only completed crew rescue capability ever provided by NASA is the Apollo CSM rescue craft. A kit was created to fit out an Apollo command module with five crew couches; in the event that a Skylab crew ran into trouble, a rescue CSM would be launched to rendezvous with the station.
This capability was created partly in response to the sci-fi movie Marooned, released in 1969, starring Gregory Peck, David Janssen and Gene Hackman (among many others). The movie explored what happens when a problem develops in space and astronauts are stranded.
(From NASA Rescue CSM craft)
During the last decade, NASA developed the X-38 prototype, which was intended as an emergency vehicle for up to seven crewmembers on the International Space Station. It would have been carried up to the ISS by shuttle, and attached to a docking port. The craft offered a seven hour life support system, a steerable parafoil parachute deployed at 40,000 feet to carry it through to landing. It was intended to have fully automated navigation and control systems. This program has been cancelled.
(From NASA X-38)
Via Daily Tech.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/12/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 7 )
Related News Stories -
Asteroids Threaten Earth? New Study Details Laser Ablation Method
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...' - Gene Roddenberry, 1968.
Martian Concrete, Rich In Sulphur, Made After Arrival
'We have been mining steadily, and making some photocells...' - John W. Campbell, 1951.
NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission
'[Asteroid] Eighty-eight received a series of gentle pats, always on the side headed along her course...' - Robert Heinlein, 1939.
Space Synthetic Biology Grand Challenges
'What better purifying machine is there than a plot of grass?' - George O. Smith,
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Denisovans, Neandertals... And Us?
'But in far realms, among strange hominids, you couldn't shun each other, either.'
Patented! Google's Autonomous Delivery Trucks
I hope Google's trucks can find my house!
3 Parent Embryos Approved By Bioethicists
' A tkan merely courts a mlenb and is attracted to a good guur...'
DIY Armed UAV (Toy)
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...'
Tired Of Speeders On Your Block? DIY Speed Tracker!
'There is no danger of a vehicle's speed exceeding that allowed in the section in which it happens to be...'
Centriphone Whirling Selfie Camera
''Tight mid-shot and pull out on but behind me,' he told it...'
Eagles Vs. Drones
'Moon bird's view was... partly blocked by the pyramid, so that he did not see the bird-things dark against the brilliant sky...'
SCiO Scanner Wants You To Be Spock
Almost as easy as a tricorder?
Self-Adapting Composite Heals Itself
'...Could seal the punctures that grain-of-sand-sized meteors might make.'
Rigid Clothing, Or Wearable Furniture?
'Earth's scientists solved the problem to some extent by devising rigid metallic clothing...'
Swarming Intelligent Aquatic Surface Robots Ahoy!
'A remote-controlled emulsion, as it were, with uniform center...'
SuitX Cheap Medical Exoskeleton
'... standing on two corrugated-soled titanium footplates...'
Harvesting Energy From Internal Resonance
'Sometimes a man has a windmill on his roof...'
Sticker Harvests Energy From Your Skin
Another way to harvest power from the body.
Twitter Sarcasm Detected By Computer
Myo-Controlled Prosthetic Arm
'Sensitive actuators touch the tendons in your right wrist.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories