November 13, 2014

Episode 519: Lost In A Technical Headspace

Russian cosmonauts participate in a session of International Space Station extravehicular activity - 09 Nov 2013

It is quite easy to become lost in a “technical headspace” when you’re trying to figure out things like why we only even see one side of the moon from Earth. Not only does it require critical thinking abilities, but you’ll also need to understand a bit of physics. On this Technology & Science episode of The Axiom Amnesia Theory, which also happens to be Christmas Eve, Heit & Cheri discuss a variety of topics related to space, astrophysics, gadgets, and Christmas technology.

Topics discussed include the topic schedule for The Axiom Amnesia Theory, the NASA mission for repairs of the International Space Station, NASA and others trying to get people interested in space again, why we never see the far side of the moon from earth, whether we actually landed on the moon, a show called “Orbit” that Heit & Cheri watched on Hulu, the Egg Minder egg tray that keeps track of the age of eggs in your fridge, smart light bulbs, controlling your devices using your smartphone, the variety of available Christmas lights, pre-lit Christmas trees, why Heit & Cheri’s Christmas tree has a basket of shoes underneath it, the limits Heit had placed on his Chase bank card because he shopped at Target, and more!

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  • Discussion about the topic schedule for The Axiom Amnesia Theory: Monday-Music, Tuesday-Science & Technology, Wednesday-Music, Thursday-Philosophy, Friday-Open Talk.
  • Discussion about the NASA mission for repairs of the International Space Station.

    Nearly two weeks after a faulty coolant valve crippled the International Space Station, two NASA astronauts went on a Christmas Eve spacewalk to get things back to normal.

    Spacewalkers Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins opened the air lock and set the clock running at 6:53 a.m. ET for what’s expected to be a six-hour-plus outing. They’re due to install a refrigerator-sized coolant pump module with an assist from Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who’s operating the station’s 58-foot-long (18-meter-long) robotic arm.

    Mastracchio was in the holiday spirit as he unpacked his tools for the job. “It’s like Christmas morning, opening up a little present here,” he joked.

    Tuesday’s spacewalk follows up on Saturday’s successful operation to remove the faulty pump module. A valve inside that apparatus failed on Dec. 11, forcing one of the station’s two ammonia coolant loops to go offline.

    The cooling system plays an essential role in keeping the onboard electronics from overheating. When the first loop failed, NASA had to shut down non-essential systems and switch other systems over to the second loop, reducing the station’s safety margin in the process. If the other loop were to fail, that would spark an emergency that could have forced the six-man crew to abandon the station.

    A similar situation required three difficult spacewalks in 2010, but this time around, the repairs have gone more quickly than expected. Aided by the robotic arm, Mastracchio and Hopkins are scheduled to pull a spare pump module out of storage, set it in place and get it hooked up on Tuesday.

    “If the reconnections go as smoothly as the disconnections did, we should be able to do everything we need to do in less than the six and a half hours that’s planned,” NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries told NBC News.
    Source: NBC

  • Discussion about being on a spacewalk for six straight hours. Even though you’ve had training, you’ve left your comfort zone and are in space. The physics is not the same as in the simulation.
  • NASA and others are trying to get people interested in space again.
  • It takes the moon 28 to 29 days to revolve around the earth.
  • Discussion about the far side of the moon. We only see one side of the moon. Here’s why:
  • Did we actually go to the moon? If they did actually land on the moon, was it on the far side?
  • Discussion about whether the location of the earth in its orbit around the sun, or the tilt, determines the difference in seasons between the northern and southern hemispheres.
  • Discussion about a show called “Orbit” that Heit & Cheri watched on Hulu. The show discusses the effect of the atmosphere on weather and other natural phenomena around the world.
  • Discussion about the Egg Minder egg tray that keeps track of the age of eggs in your fridge.
  • Discussion about smart light bulbs.
  • Discussion about controlling your devices using your smartphone.
  • Discussion about the variety of available Christmas lights.
  • Discussion about pre-lit Christmas trees.
  • Heit discusses a pre-lit Christmas tree design that will allow customization of light colors.
  • Heit & Cheri discuss their Christmas tree and why they have a basket of shoes under their tree.
  • Discussion about the limits Heit had placed on his Chase bank card because he shopped at Target during the time when the recent credit security breach occurred.

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