jueves, 29 de marzo de 2012

¿Quién quiere ser astronauta?

Rusia Hoy * Idiomas

¿Quién quiere ser astronauta?
29 de marzo de 2012 * Spanish English Russian French Italian Portuguese German
A finales de 2011 Roskosmos presentó un concurso para seleccionar astronautas. 

En aquel momento, Popovkin, director de la agencia espacial rusa, declaró: “Modificaremos ligeramente los principios de selección de astronautas”.

Hasta el momento, según informó Roskosmos, sólo 25 personas en toda Rusia han presentado su solicitud para participar en este concurso. A modo de comparación, en la selección de candidatos para la NASA del año 2009 se recibieron más de 3.500 solicitudes de las que se seleccionaron nueve personas. 

La selección de los candidatos se llevará a cabo en los alrededores de Moscú por el comité del Centro de Formación de Astronautas Yuri Gagarin. De las 25 personas sólo cuatro serán seleccionadas conforme a los requisitos. “Habiendo examinado la documentación de los 25 candidatos recibida hasta la fecha, el comité ha tomado la decisión de invitar a cuatro candidatos que cumplen con los requisitos establecidos a la fase interna de selección”, se cita en el documento. 

Russia Hoy (Russia Today Magazine ) 

martes, 27 de marzo de 2012

Androide al espacio

Un androide ruso volará al cosmos en 2014

El hermano mayor del robot que “saludó” en 2008 al presidente Dmitri Medvédev, se prepara para su envío a la Estación Espacial Internacional. 

En Rusia han creado un robot-cosmanauta parecido a un humano, capaz de trabajar en órbita. Tal y como relataron a Izvestia los investigadores, SAR-400 copia por completo los movimientos de un operador y puede realizar de forma autónoma un sencillo trabajo mecánico, como girar tornillos, jugar al ajedrez e inspeccionar los revestimientos. 

En los próximos dos años, el robot se enviará a la Estación Espacial Internacional, y en perspectiva se pretende enviar a la Luna, Marte y otros planetas. Sin embargo, los cosmonautas están seguros de que ningún robot puede sustituir al hombre.  

“Lo más importante es la cualidad de la persona, la capacidad de conocer el mundo de alrededor. Y esto no lo va a hacer ninguna máquina”, considera el cosmonauta Serguéi Avdéyev. 

Rusia Hoy Com (magazine) 

domingo, 11 de marzo de 2012

Agua pura en la Antártida


Revealing details on one of the world's most freshwater sources 

Polar explorers from Russia’s Antarctic station describe how they extracted water samples from the sub-glacial lake.

Generally, it isn’t allowed to fly to Vostok Station just for the sake of it. Russian expeditions either arrive to the Antarctic by sea, although this takes several months, or by plane from South Africa. There are only 10–12 of these special flights per year, and only during the three to four short months that the weather is good enough for the trip to be made

It takes five hours to get from the African heat to the polar cold. The airstrip at Novolazarevskaya Station, Russia’s gateway to the Antarctic, resembles a hostel or alpine campsite. There are huge tents, skis, backpacks, and flags upon flags from all over the world. Antarctic tourists constitute a club of a select few, like visitors to Mount Everest or space. It is the start and finish line of gutsy adventures. Some ride to the Pole on bicycle, and some run the Antarctic Marathon. Paul, an Englishman, paid a lot of money to get here and, judging from his burnt face and frostbitten lips, he has already gotten a taste of Antarctica.

“We reached the South Pole on skis. After all, this is the 100th anniversary of Amundsen and Scott first reaching it. It took us a month. Frankly, we were at our breaking point. But we made it. It was cool, a real adventure!”

Vostok is the coldest place on the entire continent, where extreme winds hold sway along with zero humidity and a lack of oxygen comparable to that at an altitude of 16,000 feet.

Russia does not have its own South Polar aircrafts. Within the continent, Russian polar explorers fly on Canadian airplanes, small Basler turbo-props. When the plane climbs to 16,000 feet, the pressure inside the cabin is the same as it is outside. Breathing is difficult––even in your sleep. Cheyne-Stokes syndrome sets in, which is when the body manages a deep breath with one out of every five. It’s important not to make any sudden, jerky movements. The crew recommends the passengers breathe oxygen “through a tube” but no one wants to be the first to show weakness.

The polar explorers who live at Vostok for months on end acclimatize; they say that within just a week, and a half their heads stop hurting, they stop vomiting, and the begin to be able to sleep. This is partially the reason there are only three permanent scientific bases deep in the Antarctic continent. At the South Pole, there are the American Amundsen-Scott base and the French-Italian base Concordia. And at the Pole of Cold, there’s  Russia’s Vostok. For nine months a year, it is cut off from the outside world––completely. And that’s no exaggeration: planes can’t make their way through the constant storms. Ships get stuck in the ice. At Vostok, there is no stop valve, no red button. No matter what happens, there will be no outside help.

At Vostok Station, there is no time to talk about polar romantics. After two or, at the most three, hours, the plane has to depart. If it gets colder than -56, the plane cannot take off, even in windless weather. Skis won’t work. At this temperature, the snow freezes into tough, sandpaper-like grit.

What is Vostok? A white desert. Several buildings, antennas, and a drilling rig. Fifty years ago, the station looked different, a small village that has now gone completely beneath the snow. To get inside requires descending into a narrow, frozen labyrinth. It’s a sort of avenue, dug under the snow. In the niches of this ice corridor there is a bookcase, a bust of a legendary polar explorer, and a potable water supply––cubes of snow the size of a soccer ball. There is nowhere to get liquid water.

Russia Beyond The Headlines * Magazine