Friday, April 28, 2006

Prayer time an issue for Muslim astronaut
(UPI Quirks in the News Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Malaysian scientists are working on computer software to help future Muslim astronauts know when to pray, and how to face Mecca at 17,000 mph.With plans to send a Muslim astronaut to the International Space Station next year, about 150 scientists and scholars met at a conference outside Kuala Lumpur to establish proper behavior for an orbiting Muslim, The Telegraph reported.Among other issues is how to maintain the kneeling prayer posture in weightlessness, eating halal -- Islamically permissible -- food and proper washing.A computer program called Muslims in Space is being developed to factor in the station's 17,000 mph velocity, which constantly changes the station's orientation in relation to Mecca. With 16 Earth orbits a day, and the timing of five daily prayers determined in relation to sunrise and sunset, devout Muslim astronauts could find themselves praying 80 times in 24 hours.

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