The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Some international students at Texas A&M have been struggling to pick up groceries because of limited transportation options from campus to H-E-B and Walmart on Texas Avenue.
Former A&M employee sentenced to 5 years for hiding restroom camera
The employee, who worked for Transportation Services, was sentenced Friday
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • June 24, 2024
Graduate G Tyrece Radford (23) shoots the ball during Texas A&Ms game against Kentucky on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024 at Reed Arena.(Ishka Samant/The Battalion)
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In the 2024 NBA draft, there is an incredible amount of talent available for teams to pick. We have players from college basketball, G-League...

Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Kaiden Wilson (30) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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For the history buffs, there’s a story to why Bryan and College Station are so closely intertwined. In 1871 when the Texas Legislature approved...

Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
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My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
United they fall
June 24, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Kaiden Wilson (30) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Winner-take-all
June 23, 2024

The next giant leap: America’s future in space is bold, bright and focused on Mars

Sci-Tech+editor+John+Rangel+interned+at+Nasa+over+the+summer.
Photo by Courtesy

Sci-Tech editor John Rangel interned at Nasa over the summer.

It all boiled down to one question — how do you keep an astronaut alive long enough to land on Mars? A spacecraft heavy enough to sustain a manned Martian mission reaches the planet with too much energy to attempt a safe entry, but the fuel necessary to slow down is too heavy to haul into orbit. Vehicle atmospheric drag is a great solution if the occupants are robots, but the human body is very fragile and maneuvers must be restricted. 

It was a question I worked on every day over the summer as an intern at NASA Johnson Space Center, and I absolutely loved it. It is easy to dwell on NASA’s past with lazy nostalgia, and 10 weeks of living my childhood dream showed me the future holds an even brighter promise. 

People react to my NASA internship as if I spent 10 weeks in the greatest museum in the world. NASA did not retire with the shuttle program however. Robots rove across the Martian surface, observatories stare deep into the universe and men and women have lived continuously in space for decades aboard the International Space Station. And many may not realize it, but the moon and Mars are very much within reach once more. 

Thousands of engineers and scientists across the United States are working on a 21st century manned spacecraft. The Orion program builds on Apollo’s legacy and will send American astronauts again past low Earth orbit. Politics have changed Orion’s target from the moon to an asteroid to Mars and to combinations of the three, but the spacecraft has been designed such that it can achieve a wide variety of missions. This isn’t just a concept craft either — production floors and testing facilities are building the components right now, and a capsule completed a full-scale reentry test through Earth’s atmosphere earlier this year. 

And while the general public may not know about the incredible work going on right now, space travel is very much on the public mind again. Movies like “Interstellar” and “Gravity” rake in millions of dollars and dominate conversations, and scientists like Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson have become cultural icons. I love the fact that a show centered around a group of awkward young men with astrophysics doctorates — The Big Bang Theory — is so widely accepted and hilarious, instead of nerdy and boring. 

That’s why I’m always surprised when people ask me what NASA is doing now that the shuttles retired, or even if NASA is still funded. Yes, lukewarm politics and a chronically short budget are real dangers to making space travel a reality. But NASA is filled with incredible people who still answer the call John F. Kennedy sounded a half-century ago. Great things are happening in this country again, and space continues to beckon. It’s going to be an exciting decade — sit back and enjoy the show.  

John Rangel is an aerospace engineering senior and science & technology editor for The Battalion.

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  • Sci-Tech editor John Rangel interned at Nasa over the summer.

    Photo by Courtesy
  • Sci-Tech editor John Rangel interned at Nasa over the summer.

    Photo by Courtesy
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