Exploration: April 2009 Archives

Scott at Everest - with the Sun Shining, Miles O'Brien

"Eventually, we are going to get these vidchats from Everest Base Camp down to a science. At 11pm EDT on Wednesday - 8:45am Thursday at EBC, I spoke with Scott Parazynski and Keith Cowing. The weather is much better at this time of day there - and so we finally saw the amazing peaks behind them."

Scott Parazynski checks in from Everest, Miles O'Brien

"Astronaut Scott Parazynski checks in from Everest Base Camp. He is resting and eating - a lot (5,000 calories a day) in preparation for his summit bid. What's his favorite food at EBC? Not the Yak!"

Skype vidchat with Astronaut Scott Parazynski at Everest Base Camp, Miles O'Brien

"Mallory, come quickly! - great chat with Scott Parazynski and Keith Cowing this morning (EDT) - their afternoon (Everest time). Scott is in good spirits and "feeling strong like bull". He was joined by Keith Cowing (who is his multimedia sherpa for this season). Eric Simonson, the lead dog at IMG made a cameo as well."

More info at onorbit.com/everest

Editor's note: I arrived at Everest Base Camp at around 9:30 am Nepal time this morning (27 April). I have more or less settled in and have started to work. Scott is looking just fine - but tired after several days up on the mountain. He arrived back at the IMG base camp this morning the precise second I came around the last turn in the path toward the IMG tents. What timing! The NASA Trek Team is due here tomorrow morning and we are planning a satellite telephone call to the ISS crew around 7:22 GMT tomorrow. Stay tuned. Follow us at onorbit.com/everest and at SPOTscott on Twitter

Heading Off To Everest

Editor's note: I leave on Sunday for Nepal and will be there until 31 May. I will have Internet access while I am trekking in to Everest Base Camp via a variety of means albeit limited. At Everest Base Camp, I should have good comms, but they are expensive and I need to conserve them for the tasks at hand. As such, I really won't be responding to email, phone calls, etc. the way that I normally do. My email will be monitored by Marc Boucher and important messages will get to me. I hope to keep an eye (and a hand) on NASA Watch from time to time while Marc and guest bloggers hold down the fort.

You can follow what Scott Parazynski and I are up to at onorbit.com/everest. I will also be blogging for the Discovery Channel. Once I begin trekking you can follow me at SPOT. And of course, I will be twittering as well at KeithCowing.

Back in the States, Miles O'Brien will be our main anchor or "news sherpa" at our main expedition webpage. Scott, Miles, and I - plus the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, NASA PAO, Discovery Channel, Explorers Club, Boy Scouts, and SPOT - plan to try some things that have not been done before from this remote location.

We plan to do all of this in the spirit of what has now come to be called "participatory exploration" at NASA. If all the technology, weather, climbers, and logistics work out, we will have some interesting - and unprecedented - things to share with everyone. We will also be soliciting your imput at our main website.

Ad Astra - and Namaste

Ed Wardle: Everest Base Camp, Discovery

"For those trekking up from below, it spells hardship, extreme cold, nausea, headaches that won't go away and the risk of potentially lethal altitude sickness. For those climbing down from the dangers above, it's a haven with hot water, comfortable beds, warm climate, good food and safety. Right now, everyone is coming up to Everest base camp from below."

Scott parazynski: Icefall Revisited, then well-needed rest, OnOrbit

"It took 2 and a half hours to get to our high point, and a full 2 hours to return to Crampon Point ("Crampoff Point?"). I was totally exhausted coming back into camp, and after lunch I completely cratered in my tent for the rest of the afternoon! In retrospect, I didn't stop to drink and rest often enough, and as a result ended up with a mild altitude-related headache in the evening. This morning I feel much better owing to lots of warm tea and orange drink (I think a knock-off of Tang, which I used to love as a kid, but can hardly stand now!)."

Miles O'Brien Interviews Scott Parazynski About His Return to Everest

"Preparing for a space shuttle flight or an EVA is a very intense process. It's the physical training, of course, since going on a space walk is very physically demanding. There is also mental preparation and knowing your tasks. There is knowing your equipment and how it works and how the gear might fail. Then there is the process of going through everything in your head, training runs - the things that you will be doing outside on a space walk. Going to Mount Everest is quite similar. You need to be getting your body ready, your gear, mentally preparing for the rigors of summit day and what leads up to it. It takes a lot of work. There are a number of differences as well. Out on a spacewalk we are wearing what is essentially our own personal spacecraft. We a have a visor, an oxygen backpack, cooling systems, battery power, and protection from the elements. Similarly, on our summit day on Everest, for example, we will have a down suit, an oxygen system, goggles to protect us from the ultraviolet radiation that could basically fry our eyeballs in very short order. The physical workload of that summit day, in particular, is very, very intense. But when you are out on a spacewalk you are typically very comfortable. There are brief bursts of very hard physical work that. But on the mountain you have to give it everything you have got every step of the way."

Scott Parazynski is heading up the Khumbu Icefall on Mt. Everest. Track him here - pick the "satellite" view.

"Going through some old papers, I found a school publication which contained an essay I wrote in 1971. If memory serves, I had just read Gerard K. O'Neill's "The Case for Space", and of course, the Apollo lunar expeditions were in full swing.

I would like to hear your thoughts on how these arguments have held up for the last four decades. Are they true, has time shown them to be specious, or have they been overcome by events?

Your comments please on this tidbit of history."

Making a NASA Themselves, The Harvard Crimson

"Why has NASA had such a dismal track record since the Apollo program? Reduced funding tells part of the story. The space program received around $40 billion a year (adjusted for inflation) in the mid-1960s, which was at least four percent of the federal budget. But, back then, Americans also had a much greater tolerance for risk: The first successful Apollo mission was launched just eight months after the three astronauts in Apollo 1 died during testing. NASAs tighter leash today means that riskier programs like nuclear-powered spacecraft dont make it off the drawing board. Ultimately, NASAs 1960s miracles were enabled by widespread public and congressional support fueled by the Cold War race to the moon."

Editor's 12:00 am note: Scott Parazynski checked in a few minutes ago at Everest Base Camp using his SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker. After settling in we should start to get a lot more from Scott via a BGAN (INMARSAT satellite) phone. You can track Scott's progress here and on Twitter. You can see the path he took (and the one I will take in a week or so) here.

Editor's update: More updates just in from Scott at Everest Base Camp:

Trip Up Memory Lane: Pheriche to Lobuche
Rest Day in Lobuche: The Clinic is Open
Everest Base Camp with an extended stay at Gorak Shep

Editor's note: There is an interesting post titled "Same Choices, Same Story Here" on NASA's blog site. No name is affixed to the posting.

Editor's update: NASA PAO tells me that ESMD PAO representative Gray Hautaluomawrote this post with input from ESMD staff.

"There've been a lot of stories in the press lately about Constellation and its progress or supposed lack thereof. The alleged danger that the program is in. Could it be that when there's nothing real to report that people try to stir up old news?

The fact is that Constellation is targeting March 2015 for the first crewed flight to the International Space Station, with Orion aboard the Ares I rocket. That date hasn't changed for some time. We did originally give our teams a very tough challenge in the early days of the program of making this milestone in September 2013. And they worked hard toward it. But the fact is, we needed more money early on. Given the way budget cycles work, we were given a budget to initial operational capability, but the critical mass we would have needed to make that earlier date just wasn't there right away.

Ed at 4000 Meters in His Kitchen: An Email From Ed Wardle to Trisha Creekmore, Discovery.com Interactive Producer, Discovery Channel

"Dick mentioned you might want me to write somoething for the web this year and I thought this cd be an inetersting starter. Im doing an experiment with a new piece of equip,ent that simulates breathing at altitiude. Despite spelling like a drunk man, right nowIm totally sober an dhavent had a drink in weeks. Its 730 am and I'm siting in my kitchen at home in Londonbreathing air at 4000m in preparation for Everest. I have to concenrate really hard to type this. I have to look at the keys and punch in each letter."

Editor's note: I will be blogging for the Discovery Channel from Everest Base Camp during the Spring climbing season.



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This page is an archive of entries in the Exploration category from April 2009.

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