With quarantines back in the public consciousness, you’d be surprised to hear that the Apollo 11 astronauts were themselves quarantined upon returning to Earth.

Vox explains:

In this episode of History Club, Vox’s Phil Edwards and Coleman Lowndes chat with Amy Shira Teitel of The Vintage Space about the Apollo 11 quarantine.

It was an unusual process for an unprecedented task: keeping potential moon germs from entering the Earth’s atmosphere (and affecting its population).

To try to isolate the Apollo astronauts from the Earth, NASA went to extraordinary lengths. They clothed them in “Biological Isolation Garments,” transported them on a converted Airstream trailer, and then quarantined them for weeks in a Lunar Receiving Lab specially built to analyze moon samples and, of course, the men who went there.

The quarantine was a strange capstone to the journey to the moon — but also a necessary one that’s surprisingly resonant today.

Why is it that we can see these multiple histories play out on the quantum scale, and why do lose sight of them on our macroscopic scale?

Many physicists believe that the answer lies in a process known as quantum decoherence.

Does conscious observation of a quantum system cause the wavefunction to collapse? The upshot is that more and more physicists think that consciousness – and even measurement – doesn’t directly cause wavefunction collapse.

In fact probably there IS no clear Heisenberg cut. The collapse itself may be an illusion, and the alternate histories that the wavefunction represents may continue forever. The question then becomes: why is it that we can see these multiple histories play out on the quantum scale, and why do lose sight of them on our macroscopic scale? Many physicists believe that the answer lies in a process known as quantum decoherence. 

It’s not surprising that the profound weirdness of the quantum world has inspired some outlandish explanations – nor that these have strayed into the realm of what we might call mysticism.

One particularly pervasive notion is the idea that consciousness can directly influence quantum systems – and so influence reality.

PBS Space Time examines where this idea comes from, and whether quantum theory really supports it. 

Stephen Petranek explains why colonizing Mars may be sooner than you’d think in this TED Talk.

It sounds like science fiction, but journalist Stephen Petranek considers it fact: within 20 years, humans will live on Mars. In this provocative talk, Petranek makes the case that humans will become a spacefaring species and describes in fascinating detail how we’ll make Mars our next home. “Humans will survive no matter what happens on Earth,” Petranek says. “We will never be the last of our kind.” 

In the middle of the New Mexico desert lies Spaceport America, a glittering, alien structure advertised as the very first purpose-built commercial spaceport.

It’s home to Virgin Galactic, a space startup that promises to send tourists into orbit as early as next year.

But even if that milestone happens, it will follow years of delays, setbacks, and even tragedy. Local residents in the nearby town of Truth or Consequences were told to expect big things when New Mexico joined the private space economy, but many now wonder if the dream of a space industry will ever materialize. 

Verge Science explores.

Microgravity can be used to unlock old materials and make new ones in ways that can’t be replicated on Earth. Private companies know this, and are leading the charge toward the next gold rush. But can they turn low Earth orbit into a home for the next industrial revolution?

Bloomberg takes a look at the future of non-terrestrial real estate.

Over the past few decades, the International Space Station has allowed astronauts to live, work and conduct research in microgravity. But with the station’s planned retirement by 2030, private companies are being asked to create the next generation of space habitat.