The two man U.S. and Russian crew of the International Space Station heard a metallic crunching noise the day before Thanksgiving, but Russian space officials and NASA say the ISS was not hit by an object from space. “All systems are intact,” says NASA’s Rob Navias. “All of the data from the U.S. and Russian sides shows nothing out of the ordinary.”

Mark Carreau writes in the Houston Chronicle that astronaut Mike Foale thought it sounded as if something had struck the part of the ISS the houses the crew’s sleeping quarters, kitchen and bathroom. “It sounded like a metal tin can kind of being expanded and compressed,” Foale says. “It was a noise that lasted about a second. It sounded like an impact or something.”
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How can astronauts practice for future missions without actually traveling in space? Veteran astronauts Scott Kelly and Rex Walheim and their team will spend 5 days 63 feet underwater off the Florida Coast near Key Largo. Wearing diving gear, they swam down to the Aquarius undersea laboratory to begin the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) exercise, which will mimic a stay on board the International Space Station. The Aquarius laboratory is three miles off the Florida coast at Key Largo.
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Pepsi-Cola is planning a contest with the winner getting a free ride aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The deal will cost them $35 million, including a payment to the Russians of $15 million. The rest of the money will go toward promotion, possibly including a game show of some kind. The promotion will run through 2003. The new plan comes just after Russia announced that rock star Lance Bass won’t become the 3rd tourist in space, because he can’t come up with the $20 million price tag.

This won?t be the first time the Russians have used capitalism to finance their spacecraft. PepsiCo paid Russia to float a can of its soft drink outside the now defunct Mir space station, and Russia also once put the Pizza Hut logo on one of its rockets.
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People who listen to loud rock music may lose some of their hearing. Astronauts are worried about the same thing, because there?s such a racket inside the International Space Station (ISS), you can hardly hear yourself think.

Fans, compressors, motors, transformers and pumps create a deafening cacophony that is hazardous to the health and well-being of the space crew. The noise situation has been rated as “bad”–and it’s getting worse, as more equipment goes up.

Space station designers knew that noise could be a problem, but their attention was focused on more serious problems. “Noise was one of those issues that never seemed to get much respect,” says NASA acoustics engineer Jerry Goodman.
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