You Can Now Book a Stay at the World's First Space Hotel

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iStock

Looking for an exotic vacation destination with stellar views? If you're willing to wait a few years, you may be able to stay aboard the Aurora Station, a luxury space hotel that developer Orion Span plans to have open to guests by 2022.

According to The Architect's Newspaper, the hotel will be the world's first fully-modular space station, if Orion Span's current timeline comes together. It will also be the first space station to operate as a hotel. The initial capsule will be 43.5 feet long and 14 feet wide, with extensions potentially being added to accommodate more guests.

To experience the Aurora in person, guests will first need to complete a three-month training program. That includes an online course, classes at Orion Span's training facility in Houston, Texas, and final training on the space station itself. While that's a lot more prep time than what's required for your average hotel stay, it's just a fraction of the time invested by astronauts training on Earth.

Once on board the Aurora, up to six passengers, including professional astronaut guides, will share a 35-foot-by-14-foot living space. Orion Span's website reads:

"At an altitude of 200 miles, your views will be far superior than those of other space destinations: close enough for great detail and photographing your hometown, far enough to get a glimpse of our broader pale blue dot. With an orbit complete every 90 minutes, you'll see countless sunrises and sunsets."

Start-ups have been promising to pioneer space tourism for years, but so far these plans have been mostly talk and little action. If Orion Span wants to be different, it will need to raise a lot of funding and find a launch provider in just four years, and the company has yet to reveal how it plans to do either. Even if the project does make it off the ground, booking a ticket will be difficult for most people: A 12-day trip will cost $9.5 million per person, and reservations for the first four months have already sold out.

If you're still interested, you can contact Orion Span to put down your refundable $80,000 deposit.

[h/t The Architect's Newspaper]

A Super Pink Moon—the Biggest Supermoon of 2020—Is Coming In April

April's super pink moon will be extra big and bright (but still white).
April's super pink moon will be extra big and bright (but still white).
jakkapan21/iStock via Getty Images

The sky has already given us several spectacular reasons to look up this year. In addition to a few beautiful full moons, we’ve also gotten opportunities to see the moon share a “kiss” with Venus and even make Mars briefly disappear.

In early April, avid sky-gazers are in for another treat—a super pink moon, the biggest supermoon of 2020. This full moon is considered a supermoon because it coincides with the moon’s perigee, or the point in the moon’s monthly orbit when it’s closest to Earth. According to EarthSky, the lunar perigee occurs on April 7 at 2:08 p.m. EST, and the peak of the full moon follows just hours later, at 10:35 p.m. EST.

How a supermoon is different.

Since the super pink moon will be closer to Earth than any other full moon this year, it will be 2020’s biggest and brightest. It’s also the second of three consecutive supermoons, sandwiched between March’s worm moon and May’s flower moon. Because supermoons only appear about 7 percent bigger and 15 percent brighter than regular full moons, you might not notice a huge difference—but even the most ordinary full moon is pretty breathtaking, so the super pink moon is worth an upward glance when night falls on April 7.

The meaning of pink moon.

Despite its name, the super pink moon will still shine with a normal golden-white glow. As The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains, April’s full moon derives its misleading moniker from an eastern North American wildflower called Phlox subulata, or moss pink, that usually blooms in early April. It’s also called the paschal moon, since its timing helps the Catholic Church set the date for Easter (the word paschal means “of or relating to Easter”).

[h/t EarthSky]

Are Any of the Scientific Instruments Left on the Moon By the Apollo Astronauts Still Functional?

Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong left the first footprint on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong left the first footprint on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
Heritage Space/Heritage Images/Getty Images

C Stuart Hardwick:

The retroreflectors left as part of the Apollo Lunar Ranging Experiment are still fully functional, though their reflective efficiency has diminished over the years.

This deterioration is actually now delivering valuable data. The deterioration has multiple causes including micrometeorite impacts and dust deposition on the reflector surface, and chemical degradation of the mirror surface on the underside—among other things.

As technology has advanced, ground station sensitivity has been repeatedly upgraded faster than the reflectors have deteriorated. As a result, measurements have gotten better, not worse, and measurements of the degradation itself have, among other things, lent support to the idea that static electric charge gives the moon an ephemeral periodic near-surface pseudo-atmosphere of electrically levitating dust.

No other Apollo experiments on the moon remain functional. All the missions except the first included experiment packages powered by radiothermoelectric generators (RTGs), which operated until they were ordered to shut down on September 30, 1977. This was done to save money, but also because by then the RTGs could no longer power the transmitters or any instruments, and the control room used to maintain contact was needed for other purposes.

Because of fears that some problem might force Apollo 11 to abort back to orbit soon after landing, Apollo 11 deployed a simplified experiment package including a solar-powered seismometer which failed after 21 days.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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