To say people are excited about this month’s total solar eclipse would be an understatement.

Hotels along the 70-mile wide and 3,000-mile-long swath where the solar eclipse will pass through are completely booked and have been for months.

Starting in Oregon and ending in South Carolina, cities across this cross-country belt expect a surge of historic traffic and, in some cases, a port-a-potty shortage.

“People who live in that shadow path, they will see day turn into night, they will see it get cooler, stars will come out, planets will come out, the birds will go silent,” Tariq Malik, managing editor at space.com said. “Cows on some farms will maybe think its time to go back into the barn – you know a lot of things happen both up in space and on the ground.”

Watch the full interview with Tariq Malik on Pix 11 News.

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Astro-journalist Tariq Malik explains what an inflatable space habitat is and how it will help astronauts gather data

Link to video here: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/nasa-to-test-bouncy-castle-module-on-space-station-1.2847495

The International Space Station is about to get a puffy new playroom.

SpaceX is poised to launch an experimental, inflatable module for testing on the ISS, which could pave the way toward more compact, inexpensive space station modules in the future – including modules for commercial tourism.

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, might sound like a playset for a toddler, but it’s actually a collapsible sort of space tent meant to withstand the rigours of low orbit. The privately-developed module is set to be installed on the ISS this week, for a two-year demonstration to test how well it holds up against the radiation, temperature and micro-meteoroid dangers of space.

On Friday, a SpaceX rocket will carry the folded-up BEAM into orbit, where the Canadarm2 will install it on the ISS. The BEAM is designed to automatically inflate to its full 4.01-metre by 3.23-metre spherical size once it is installed.

Space.com journalist Tariq Malik says NASA paid $17 million for the module, which is far less expensive than the $100-billion it cost to build the five-module ISS.

“This would be an extra room for a fraction of that cost,” he told CTV’s Canada AM on Wednesday.

Malik says the module will mostly serve as a storage area for the ISS, while astronauts run tests to see if it can remain comfortable, habitable and pressurized over a long period of time.

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