… to clusters of galaxies while entering the Virgo supercluster, approaching our milky way and arriving at our solar system. Waving hi to Voyager 1, the farthest spacecraft and man-made object from earth, flying through the Oort Cloud* passing the kuiper belt, dwarf planets, gas giants – their many moons (Europa, Titan and Enceladus are my favorites), the asteroid belt, watching some rovers driving on Mars and arriving at one of the Lagrangian points** L5 to watch the moon orbiting earth and enjoying the sun”.
* a theoretical cloud of predominantly icy planetesimals proposed to surround the Sun to as far as somewhere between 50,000 and 200,000 AU (AU=astronomical unit – an approximation for the average distance between the Earth and the Sun)
** Lagrangian points are positions in an orbital configuration of two large bodies where a small object affected only by gravity can maintain its position relative to the two large bodies
The motivation for founding PLASMA magazine came from the need to provide a better understanding of our time and to anticipate the future. Since then I have had the privilege to visit innovation centers and cultural institutions worldwide and forming a vision for the magazine. To me, it was imperative to show how science and the most modern developments shape our society and how art could be an inspiration to advance research. In the course of the process, the vision has evolved, inspiring young multidisciplinary audiences on the way to engage with science and research.
One of the most exciting things happened this year – I’ve met ISS cosmonaut Alexander M. Samokutjajew. During the time we spent together he spoke about his work on board the station, orbital research projects, and international collaboration.
I learned that, in order to be fit for a space mission you not only have to be physically healthy but you also need the right temperament. In such an intimate and extreme environment, staying calm no matter what and being kind to your colleagues is key.
Alexander mentioned that the standard language on the International Space Station is actually “Runglish” – a mix of Russian and English. Life in space is not easy though. Astronauts have a really hard time sleeping, and it takes them several weeks to adapt to zero gravity. No pillows and casually floating extremities are usually a cause of distress for most astronauts. Additionally, your taste completely changes in space. While you’d normally drink tea without sugar in Earth, on space you have to add sweeteners to be able to put up with its bitter taste. And a fun fact: every astronaut and cosmonaut loves curd with nuts. It’s the cosmic currency!
Alexander arrived to the ISS onboard of the Sojus 7K-STA, a very comfy vehicle for those astronauts who travel there with the space shuttle program. They say it’s like traveling on a Mercedes when you depart, but landing is like driving a car on cobblestone. Watching Planet Earth from space reminds us how Earth is a small and delicate marble in space. No matter nationality, gender or political ideology, we should take care of it. In PLASMA 4 you will delve into the marvels of aerospace engineering and space exploration, learn the new applications of bionics, go behind the scenes of special museums,
visit artists using technology, learn more about the importance of science fiction and understand how the philosophy of science has adapted to them. Enjoy our collection of curiosities from the solar system and beyond!
Diana Wehmeier, 2018
Full article in PLASMA 4 (print edition) http://www.presentbooks.de/product/plasma-4