About a few years ago, space tourism was a concept straight out of sci-fi movies. At present, however, space tourism is talked about as the next big thing for the uber-wealthy traveller. As per reports from Axiom Space, a Houston-based startup owned by a former manager of the NASA-run section of the International Space Station (ISS), two of the three golden tickets for the 10-day tour to the ISS in 2021 are still available for sale. It will cost you a whopping USD 55 million to purchase one of these golden tickets. One of the tickets have already been purchased by an unknown entity for Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket in 2021.
This will be the first privately run human spaceflight. The trip is scheduled for the second half of 2021, and is made possible because of the collaboration between SpaceX and Axiom Space. This was reported by the New York Times.
Axiom Space had announced its collaboration with SpaceX’s Dragon modules. These modules are currently under testing to take NASA astronauts to low earth orbit stations in a few months. Excluding the travel time to and from the ISS, the space tourists will be spending about 8 days and 8 nights at the space station. This is after the SpaceX Crew Dragon module is attached.
Before departing for space, all passengers will have to undergo a mandatory 15 week long training programme on Earth to help them prepare for what they will face in space. Accompanying the space tourists on the voyage will be a trained astronaut sent by Axiom Space, who will also be acting as the flight commander.
Apart from SpaceX and Axiom Space, Virgin Galactic, which is run by Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are also working on similar space adventures. However, their tours are much smaller in scale, lasting anywhere between 11 to 90 minutes and stopping just before they reach the Karman Line (the point where space begins) which is approximately 100 kilometers from the Earth’s surface. Travel dates for these tours have not been confirmed.
Axiom Space is not the only suitable option for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon module. Another privately run space venture called Space Adventures also announced their partnership with SpaceX in February for a free-flying trip for upto 4 space tourists with a duration of 5 days. However, this trip is likely to take place in late 2021 or early 2022.
What makes this a very ambitious space tour is the fact that it is a trip to the International Space Station which is orbiting 350 kilometers above the Earth’s surface at a whopping speed of 28,000 kilometers per hour. This means that it is able to take an entire revolution around the Earth in just 90 minutes!
On the 26th of January, 2020, the bodies of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were found on the site of a helicopter crash.
In addition to these two, the victims had been positively identified by a coroner’s office as Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, John Altobelli, Christina Mauser and the pilot, Ara Zobayan.The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma for all the victims, and the manner of death was listed as an accident.
The group of nine were on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game when they crashed about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
The National Transportation Safety Board has collected some evidence at the crash site but the cause of the crash is still yet to be determined. As of now, however, they believe the weather was most likely the key factor.
Grieving his death
Kobe Bryant was considered one of the best basketball players. He had 18 All-Star Appearances, five NBA championships, and an MVP award. Although he had retired, his death had been felt throughout the league.
In honor of Kobe Bryant, teams held moments of silence before their games. In addition, each game started with 8-second and 24-second violations, a tribute to Kobe’s jersey numbers. Madison Square Garden and a number of NBA stadiums also changed their colors to yellow and purple, the color of Kobe’s jersey.
The Staples Center in Los Angeles became a funeral home for fans. Many gathered outside the stadium while chanting “M-V-P” while others left flowers and basketballs. There was grieving among other sports as well. Tennis players mourned and soccer players paid tribute. The Super Bowl also recognized Kobe Bryant during halftime.
Life after retirement
Once Kobe Bryant turned 40, he was asked about the possibilities after retiring. He said “Giorgio Armani didn't start Armani until he was forty. Forty! There's such a life ahead." And Kobe stuck by this. In just five years of retirement, Kobe Bryant wrote multiple books, won an Academy Award for a short film that he wrote and coached his daughter’s basketball team.
What Bryant will be remembered for, however, is his mamba mentality, which is to always put in your best effort and always aim for ‘domination’ instead of just winning. This mentality led him to become a role model to many. He will be remembered forever as one of the most skilled athletes in history.
When we think of Artificial Intelligence, we think of the technology that allows us to engineer a sense of intellect in man-made machines. We all know that Artificial Intelligence is used to give Robots the ability to think for themselves and make logical decisions - however, neuroscientist Kohitij Kar of MIT and his fellow colleagues are studying a different application of AI: the manipulation of the emotions of living creatures.