Tag Archives: Feature

No Borders in Space: An Astronaut’s Perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

A German astronaut named Alexander Gerst recently created a lot of online attention earlier this week with a picture he posted of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from space.

These photos were taken from the International Space Station as it flew over Israel last week. Below is the image that went viral, getting over 39,000 re-tweets after Gerst posted it on Twitter.

As you can see, from space, borders are indistinguishable…

Gerst also added that the crew could actually see the rocket explosions as they passed over the region at night.

Gerst, a German astronaut is still currently aboard the International Space Station with American Reid Wiseman and Russian Maxim Suarev.

The crew has had some fun since they departed Earth on May 28th, even playing some zero gravity soccer and making friendly wagers on the recent World Cup.

But the mood has become a bit more somber with the end of the Cup and the resurgence of the conflict in the Middle East.

In a blog post he wrote for the European Space Agency’s website, Gerst gave insight into the astronauts’ perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His introduction is very powerful:

“Some things that on Earth we see in the news every day and thus almost tend to accept as a ‘given,’ appear very different from our perspective. We do not see any borders from space.

We just see a unique planet with a thin, fragile atmosphere, suspended in a vast and hostile darkness. From up here it is crystal clear that on Earth we are one humanity, we eventually all share the same fate.

What came to my mind at the time of this photo was, if we ever will be visited by another species from somewhere in the universe, how would we explain to them what they might see as the very first thing when they look at our planet?

How would we explain to them the way we humans treat not only each other but also our fragile blue planet, the only home we have? I do not have an answer for that.”

‘Moonhouse’ Crowdfunding Project Aims to Build First House on the Moon (Video)

Here at the Higher Learning we try to put a strong focus on space exploration and the space industry as it continues to develop and progress.

Just this month an artist named Mikael Genberg and representatives supporting  a project called “the Moonhouse project”, announced plans to land a small, robotic, self-assembling house on the surface of the Moon.

Mikael Genberg

It would be the first art piece on the lunar surface, symbolic of both our accomplishments in space so far and the direction we are heading in the future as colonization becomes feasible.

The Moonhouse will be red with white gables, resembling, “a typical Swedish red cottage,” says its artist. Measuring 2 by 3 meters (6 ½ x 10 feet) at the base, it will be more of an art project than actual human living quarters.

Some more info on the Moonhouse. Click to enlarge

The artist leading the Moonhouse project says the house will stand as a symbol of,

“prosperity, of thinking bigger thoughts, breaking new mental barriers and actually making this planet a lot better.”

The video below was created by the Moonhouse project. Check it out to learn more about the details of their plan…

The Moonhouse is designed to fly to the moon folded up in a shoebox-sized package. After being placed on the moon, the art installation will unfold and self-assemble as an 8-foot-tall (2.5 meters) red house. It’s expected to take anywhere from five to 15 minutes for the Moonhouse to assemble.

There are a number of potential structures. The dark lines represent carbon fiber tape to support the house. The lighter lines represent long, flat metal rods to help stiffen the fabric

According to Space.com:

“The team plans to send the project up to space in late 2015 atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket with the group Astrobotic — a private spaceflight team competing for the $20 million Google Lunar X Prize grand prize.”

Before this project can become a reality, the Moonhouse project needs help from people here on Earth. The project is attempting to raise $15 million in a 186 day period in order to fund the project. Currently the Moonhouse project is far from it’s fundraising goal, last time I checked they were only at around $5,000.

That is why, if you support the project, you should make a contribution and spread the word so this project can actually happen.

In fact, people that pledge at least $50 will get their names engraved inside the real Moonhouse that will self-assemble on the lunar surface. Every dollar donated brings this project 82 feet closer to the Moon, according to Genberg.

Help Support The Moonhouse Project Here!

Read the full story from Space.com here. You can check out the Moonhouse project’s official website here.


A 67-Year-Old Polish Adventurer Crosses the Atlantic Ocean in a Record-Breaking Kayak Journey

On October 5th of last year, a 67-year-old Polish man named Aleksander Doba set out from Lisbon, Portugal in a 21-foot kayak, in hopes of crossing the Atlantic Ocean and reaching Florida.

Aleksander Doba’s 6,000 mile journey ended in a glorious success earlier this month when he landed at New Smyrna Beach, Florida on April 17th. Doba arrived looking like Tom Hanks from Cast Away with weathered skin and long sun bleached beard and hair.

Doba’s journey is believed to be the longest open-water kayak crossing in history.


Previously, Aleksander Doba had paddled 3,345 miles from Senegal, Africa, to Brazil. This journey, which he completed in 2011, spanned 99 days.

Accomplishing this task took great preparation. Doba had to carefully plan his meals and inventories as well as navigate winds, streams, and weather. One minor mistake could have taken Aleksander way off course or left him in the middle of the ocean without food.

Aleksander Doba kissed the ground when he arrived, truly grateful of his achievement. Check out pictures below of Doba and his kayak, and check out more on the story here.



Astronaut “Selfie”: The First Instagram From Space (Video)

The first Instagram from Space was unsurprisingly a selfie. American astronaut Steven Swanson snapped the picture while enjoying the zero-gravity conditions on the ISS.

While astronauts have tweeted, checked in on foursquare and even uploaded music videos from space, Swanson was the first to post on Instagram.