We wingless humans have somehow come to take flying for granted.

To help us renew our appreciation of the miracle of flight, we thought it might be worth our time to explore the science behind the engineering that gets our planes in the air — and our bodies from one coast, or one continent, to another. Plus, if you’ve ever wanted to pursue an aircraft engineering career, we’ve got the scoop on how to make that happen.

The Science Behind Aircraft Design

To understand the science behind an aircraft’s ability to sustain flight — and the aircraft engineering that takes advantage of that science — you need to start with the engines. They’re not what keeps the plane in the air, though — not by a longshot.

Anyone announcing the successful sale of tourist trips around the moon would attract ridicule and laughter. Unless your name is Elon Musk. In that case the announcement amounts to nothing more than a logical and rather modest step towards Musk's promise of getting a million people to live on Mars. 
ESA’s Rosetta mission has concluded as planned, with the controlled impact onto the small lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, close to a region of active pits in the Ma’at region, which it had been investigating for more than two years.  

Confirmation of the end of the mission arrived at ESA’s control centre in Darmstadt, Germany at 11:19 GMT (13:19 CEST) with the loss of Rosetta’s signal upon impact, but the descent gave Rosetta the opportunity to study the comet’s gas, dust and plasma environment very close to its surface, as well as take very high-resolution images.  Pits are of particular interest because they play an important role in the comet’s activity. They also provide a unique window into its internal building blocks. 

Cardiovascular disease affects around 46 percent of men and 48 percent of women but scholars in Florida are concerned that Apollo astronauts have died from related diseases 43 percent of the time. Why be worried, when it is lower? Because they have exceptional government health care, not the kind people under the Affordable Care Act get, and that means in a spacefaring environment, there could be unforeseen issues.

It is well-documented that age is the biggest risk factor for all diseases, and cardiovascular disease is the big killer of Americans. The Apollo program began 50 years ago so it is no surprise elderly astronauts have heart issues.

ESA astronaut Tim Peake took this image circling Earth 400 km up in the International Space Station. He commented: “Sometimes looking down on Earth at night can be kinda spooky.”

What happens to your body in space? NASA's Human Research Program has been trying to provide answers for a decade.

Nature is out to kill us all on earth and space is no different. On top of that, we are isolated from family and friends, exposed to more radiation that could increase lifetime risk for cancer, eat a diet high in freeze-dried food, and work hard all while confined with three co-workers picked by your boss.

Scott Kelly will be the first American to spend nearly one year in space aboard the International Space Station, twice the normal time. One year is a stepping stone to a three-year journey to Mars, should that ever happen, so researchers are eager to learn if existing solutions will be suitable for long, onerous journeys.

Researchers have learned more about what happened to the climate on Mars since it was a warm and watery planet billions of years ago.

The researchers announced on Thursday that NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) mission has determined the rate at which the Martian atmosphere currently is losing gas to space via stripping by the solar wind. Loss of gas to space appears to have been an important part of why the Martian climate went from an early, warm, wet one that might have been able to support life at the surface to the cold, dry, desert planet we see today.

If you are planning to take the long trip to Mars, don't forget to pack sleeping pills and skin cream.

A new study examines the medications used by astronauts on long-duration missions to the International Space Station. As one might expect, the study shows that much of the medicine taken by astronauts in space relates to the unusual and confined microgravity environment in which they work or to the actual work that they are doing to complete their missions. Among these medications, the report shows that the use of sleep aids and incidence of skin rashes were higher than expected.  

When Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov conducted the world’s first space walk in 1965, the mission nearly ended in catastrophe. After 12 minutes outside the Voskhod spacecraft, the vacuum of space had caused Leonov’s suit to inflate so much he couldn’t get through the air lock. He was forced to manually vent oxygen from inside the suit to reduce its size and get back onto the ship before the effects of decompression sickness overcame him.

State-of-the-art molecular analysis of dust samples from the International Space Station (ISS) has been employed to reveal new information about some of the potential bacterial agents present in the astronauts' space environment. The research reported presence of the opportunistic bacterial pathogens that are mostly innocuous on Earth but can lead to infections that result in inflammations or skin irritations. 

The ISS is a unique built environment, experiencing microgravity, space radiation and elevated carbon dioxide, and constant presence of humans. Understanding the nature of the communities of microbes -- the microbiome -- in the ISS is key to managing astronaut health and maintenance of ISS equipment.