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Archive for the ‘space’ category

Sep 4, 2015

VASIMR: Here’s How we Might Reach Mars in 39 Days

Posted by in categories: energy, space

The first VASIMR experiment was conducted at MIT in 1983 on their magnetic mirror device plasma device, and in 1998 ASPL created the first VASIMR rocket, the VX-10. By 2005 the ASPL had created the VX-50, which was capable of up to 50kW of plasma discharge. So, what’s so significant about this design?

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Sep 3, 2015

NASA and the Makers of the Hoverboard Are Bringing You Tractor Beams

Posted by in categories: space, transportation

The now-famous hoverboard company will work over the next few years to tug NASA’s tiny satellites.

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Sep 3, 2015

The Search For Elusive Gravitational Waves Is Headed to Space

Posted by in categories: cosmology, space

Great news. It’ll be fascinating to see what they discover.


In the distant reaches of the Universe, exploding stars and supermassive black holes are bending the very fabric of spacetime. It’s hard to wrap our brains around such tremendous forces, but we may be able to quantify them, in the form of gravitational waves. A new European Space Agency mission marks humanity’s first bold attempt to do so in outer space.

This fall, the ESA’s LISA Pathfinder will be blasted into space on a course for the L1 Lagrange point. Situated nearly a million miles from Earth, it’ll begin pilot-testing fundamental technologies for the detection of elusive gravitational waves. The miniature science observatory bid farewell to the public this week, on display at a test centre in Ottobrunn, Germany for the last time before its long journey.

A New Mission Will Search for Ripples in Spacetime

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Sep 3, 2015

Mars One Mission Called ‘Unsustainable,’ And Here’s Why

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, space

Ever heard of 3-D printing? Besides, if humanity had followed this guys advice, MIT or not, we would have never left Africa. Never built a new village, town, or city. Never gone to the moon — and we DEFINITELY would never have created a place like MIT AT ALL.

Life is messy, painful, rough and often unforgiving, but taking risks is part of our collective species identity. To succeed sometimes we have to fail, and if that’s what happens with this endevor then, at the very least we’ll know what NOT to try next time.

Continue reading “Mars One Mission Called 'Unsustainable,' And Here's Why” »


Sep 2, 2015

Rethinking ‘The Martian’: Why Dust Storms Wouldn’t Sabotage A Real Mars Mission

Posted by in categories: entertainment, space

Matt Damon stars as a NASA astronaut stranded on the Martian surface in the forthcoming film adaptation of Andy Weir’s “The Martian.” Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Matt Damon stars as a NASA astronaut stranded on the Martian surface in the forthcoming film adaptation of Andy Weir’s The Martian. Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Martian dust storms rank among the most impressive in our Solar System. But no matter how menacing they appear from Mars orbit, they’re not likely to cause astronauts to abort future surface missions, says a planetary scientist who studies the phenomena.

Although such storms routinely engulf large swaths of the Red Planet for days at a time, any emergency serious enough to evacuate a crew isn’t likely to be triggered by a dust storm of the sort depicted in the forthcoming film adaptation of Andy Weir’s novel The Martian.

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Sep 2, 2015

NASA created a material that can heal itself in seconds—even from bullets

Posted by in categories: materials, space

It could save the lives of tomorrow’s astronauts.

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Sep 2, 2015

60,000 miles up: Space elevator could be built

Posted by in category: space

A new international report lays out the challenges to building Earth’s next great mega-project — and they’re more surmountable than you think.

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Sep 2, 2015

20 kilometer high space elevator tower planned

Posted by in categories: energy, space

By Jim and Drury Ambitious plans to build a twenty kilometer (12.4 miles) tall space elevator tower have been announced by a Canadian space technology firm. Although this distance is a mere fraction of that reached in space missions, Thoth Technology says its ThothX Tower will make a major cost reduction in space flights by helping navigate the difficult first 50 kilometers (31 miles) of travel that traditionally requires rockets. In addition to needing to carry sufficient fuel to get a payload into orbit, they need extra fuel in order to carry the required fuel to reach that point in the first place. Despite first being proposed more than a century ago, the idea of a space elevator has always appeared fanciful. Thoth Technology has been granted a United States (US) patent for the elevator, which is pneumatically pressurized and actively-guided over its base.

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Sep 1, 2015

NASA developing megawatt solar power arrays and will be used with solar electric propulsion

Posted by in categories: engineering, solar power, space, sustainability

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NASA Glenn Research Center, GRC, currently has several programs to advance near-term photovoltaic array development. One project is to design, build, and test two 20 kW-sized deployable solar arrays, bringing them to technology readiness level (TRL) 5, and through analysis show that they should be extensible to 300 kW-class systems (150 kw per wing). These solar arrays are approximately 1500 square meters in total area which is about an order-of-magnitude larger than the 160 square meters solar array blankets on the International Space Station (ISS).

The ISS has the four (pair) sets of solar arrays that can generate 84 to 120 kilowatts of electricity. Each of the eight solar arrays is 112 feet long by 39 feet wide and weighs 2400 pounds. There were space missions involving astronauts working in space to install and deploy the ISS solar panels.

Alliant Technical Systems, ATK, was selected in 2012 by NASA’s Space Technology Program under a Game Changing Technology competition for development of a promising lightweight and compact solar array structure. The MegaFlex™ engineering development unit, EDU, was tested at NASA GRC Plumbrook facility this year. See below for the ATK deployment of the demonstration unit.

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Aug 31, 2015

Double black hole is powering quasar, astronomers find

Posted by in categories: cosmology, space

Astronomers have discovered a galaxy is being powered by a quasar that contains two black holes whirling about each other.

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