Monday, September 18, 2006

Who Weekly Space Edition

All kinds of reports lately about celebrities in space. Paris Hilton (can't they just leave her there? someone quipped), William Shatner (not keen on vomiting, quite right too), and now Madonna. Will this make space travel more topical for a new generation? I feel I'd better start collecting news clippings, as this may be the tip of the iceberg, a new phenomenon in popular culture.

Of course if they are going to have girly celebs out there, the space knobs had better get the space toilet thing sorted out. I read somewhere recently that a Russian spacecraft had to have its toilets adapted for women. Do these people never learn?

In line with my argument that discarded human organic remains in orbit may one day acquire a scientific value, if cosmic rays don't cause complete denaturing of complex biomolecules (note the fluent use of technical terms meant to inspire credibility), it may be that celebrity waste may become a true collector's item for space scavengers of the future.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Space biscuits and recognition for space archaeology

Sometimes the constant struggle to gain recognition for the cultural significance of space heritage can get a girl down. I was feeling rather depressed about life in general when I received an accolade that has made it all worthwhile. The utterly charming Nicey from A Nice Cup Of Tea And A Sit Down, the web's premier site for tea, biscuits, cake and sit downs, has declared that I am their favourite space archaeologist. It has made me happy for the last two days.

Nicey is very interested in space biscuits, as I may have mentioned already in this blog. Below is his take on the news that the Japanese are developing a special biscuit for long-haul space travel.

Nice News: Space biscuits will taste of worms or something

Wednesday 30 Aug 2006
Reporter: Nicey and Dr Alice Gorman

NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown's favourite space archaeologist Dr Alice Gorman has been in touch about Japanese plans for space biscuits. Masamichi Yamashita, a researcher with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has come up with recipe that uses all the things that your typical astronaut might have to hand on a five year long mission to Mars. Soybeans, rice and silkworm pupas are combined, all of which may be farmed in space. Apparently the pupas will need a quick stir frying to mask their fishy taste, before grinding them into a sort of powder which we are assured will taste almost like crab.

Yamashita presented his recipe during the 36th scientific assembly of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). The recipe comprises three to six grams of silkworm pupa powder, 200 grams of rice powder, 50 grams of soy powder and 300 cubic centimetres of soymilk, with soy sauce and salt.

I can't see McVitites beating a path to his door anytime soon. Mind you they could have a good future in that niche market for foods that you eat very late on a Friday night for a bet after you have been drinking heavily, traditionally occupied by Bombay Duck.