Can Six Astronauts Live Together for 17 Months And Not Go Crazy?

The "Mars500" project was the most ambitious attempt yet to simulate the conditions of an expedition to the Red Planet. A newly published study assesses the psychological well-being of the crew during their "mission"—and reveals what it was like to live in cramped quarters with 6 people for 520 days. » 4/02/14 7:40am 4/02/14 7:40am

That Time Penis Bravado Caused NASA to Change its Condom Sizes

After the jump you'll find a video, the first 33 seconds of which contain the best statement ever: The early astronaut urination system used condoms, sized small, medium, and large. But sizes were renamed "large, gigantic, and humongous" when the men would all grab the larges, regardless of their true size. Magical. » 3/23/14 8:00am 3/23/14 8:00am

7 Real Natural Events that Inspired Works of Science Fiction

Science fiction is filled with tales that pit humanity against the natural world: earthquakes, meteor strikes, Sharknados. While some of those stories are birthed from abstract (or entirely made-up) fears, others are inspired by specific occurrences—comets, catastrophes, and climate events. » 8/04/13 7:00am 8/04/13 7:00am

Food in Space: Great Photos of Astronaut Meals, from the Early Space…

Nowadays, astronauts eat food that's as good as what you can get anywhere on Earth. But back in the day, space food came in weird tubes, like toothpaste. Or was shaped into blobs of tasteless goop. Here are some fascinating, colorful photos of food items in space, from the early days of space travel to today. » 4/03/13 3:07pm 4/03/13 3:07pm

Will we ever chow down on kibble made for humans?

Twice a day, I pour my dog a bowl full of kibble, a specially formulated blend of barley, lamb, herring, and few other goodies I'm told will fully meet his nutritional needs. Sorting out my own nutritional needs is a bit more complicated. As much as I appreciate the variety afforded me by the bounty of fruits,… » 2/24/13 7:00am 2/24/13 7:00am

Simulated mission to Mars made astronauts sleepy, lethargic, and less…

Back in November 2011, a multinational crew of six ended their 17-month long simulation to Mars and back. Confined to a trailer for 520 days, the pretend-astronauts had every detail of their lifestyle tracked, including their sleep-wake cycles, physical movements, intellectual activities, and light exposure. Now,… » 1/08/13 7:20am 1/08/13 7:20am

GO VOTE. Even astronauts aboard the ISS do it.

For those of you in the U.S., here's a friendly reminder to get out and vote today. And if, for some reason, you feel like your polling place is a little too far to make the trip, just remember that even astronauts aboard the International Space Station find a way to vote on election day — and not just by voting early, … » 11/06/12 6:30am 11/06/12 6:30am

Bad Luck Blackjack and the Ghost of Yuri Gagarin: Curious…

Space exploration requires technical expertise, careful planning, and test after test after test. But it can be hard to discount the role of luck in missions where so much can go wrong. In the US and Russian space programs, many rituals are attached to missions, perhaps to add a little good fortune to their science. » 8/11/12 3:00pm 8/11/12 3:00pm

What does space smell like?

Astronauts may not expose their nostrils to the vacuum of space, but folks who come back from space walks report that they've brought a very distinctive odor back with them. And the space stations have their own special (and not necessarily pleasant) scents, including perfume of the Mir Space Station, which is… » 7/21/12 11:30am 7/21/12 11:30am

10 Surprising Things That Bacteria Like to Eat

You've probably heard of necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating bacteria. But bacteria do not actually eat human flesh. They're actually trying to gobble up something a lot weirder. Here are ten of the stranger things bacteria naturally (and unnaturally) eat. You'll never look at dirty underwear the same way … » 5/24/12 10:00am 5/24/12 10:00am