Friday, July 14, 2006

Spacecraft blows up … as intended

The watermelon-shaped inflatable Genesis I spacecraft launched by Bigelow Aerospace on Wednesday is now orbiting the earth, and has successfully expanded.

The solar arrays unfolded and picking up enough of the suns rays to keep the on-board batteries fully charged. The BBC’s latest news report read ok, until the word "marinating” jumped out of the screen at me.

“Nearly 24 hours after the inflation was complete, Mr Bigelow also confirmed that the hull was marinating a constant pressure.”

Are we cooking meat up there? No. Not meat. Well, would insects count as meat?

Genesis I is a prototype for a concept of space hotel. And it turns out that Genesis I has some non-paying guests on board, no doubt enjoying the 26 degrees Celsius temperature and 7.5 PSI pressure. The BBC report continues:

“This should keep alive the module's inhabitants, which include cockroaches and Mexican jumping bean moths.”

So once the on-board cameras start downloading their images to the ground, we should have something to seriously rival Channel 4’s Big Brother and ITV’s struggling Love Island.

And just imagine the fun that interior designers will have trying to design hotel furniture that can be stowed fully collapsed for the launch, before being built inside the inflatable structure.

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