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Archive for the ‘space travel’ category

Nov 16, 2017

Air Force Launching Space Force in Next 3 Years

Posted by in category: space travel

With China taking a strong lead in the militarization of the Final Frontier, the Air Force has announced it’s time for the US to catch up. Air Force Lieutenant General and President of Air University Steve Kwast says we need to change the way we look at space operations.

“Failure is not an option” is probably the most famous slogan to come out of NASA (apart from the closely related “Houston, we have a problem”). Those were the 1970s, though—this is a new age, with new rules. And according to Kwast, one of those rules should be “fail-first, fail-forward.” Even with rockets.

It’s all part of a new proposal Kwast is pushing called “Fast Space: Leveraging Ultra Low-Cost Space Access for 21st Century Challenges.”

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Nov 15, 2017

A New Futuristic Robot Lets Your Arms Lift Half a Ton

Posted by in categories: biological, climatology, cyborgs, Elon Musk, robotics/AI, space travel, sustainability

Have you ever lifted half a ton? With the Guardian GT, a set of robotic arms, you could do so with as little as two kilogram (five pounds) of force, allowing you to have superhuman strength.

Elon Musk recently made headlines asserting that, in order for us to both progress and survive as a species, we must merge with machines and become cyborgs. And, as climate change rages onwards and the biological difficulties of completing a human mission to Mars become ever more apparent, many are beginning to agree.

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Nov 14, 2017

Moon, Mars, Asteroid and orbital colonzation and cities

Posted by in categories: economics, particle physics, space travel

He looked at the science and economics of a lunar colony.

Eighty-five percent of the rocks on the surface of the lunar highlands are anorthite, which contains aluminum as well as a massive supply of oxygen. Smelting aluminum in the quantities necessary to construct and maintain Artemis would produce so much excess oxygen—eight atoms for every two of aluminum—that they would be constantly venting it.

For every kilogram of payload, you need an additional 3.73 kilos of fuel. So a one-way ticket to the moon is calculated to eventually cost about $33,000.

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Nov 10, 2017

Space tourism will lift-off in 2018

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel

Space tourism will take-off in 2018. As the race between spaceflight companies Virgin Galactic and SpaceX heats up, those who can afford it will be able to travel to low Earth orbit and possibly even around the moon.

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Nov 7, 2017

The fission-fragment rocket

Posted by in categories: habitats, space travel

Travelling to very distant objects in space such as stars and exoplanets will require very large amounts of thrust to drive rockets to very high speeds in order that we can travel there in a reasonable amount of time. Conventional chemical rockets are unsuitable for this purpose as the thrust they provide is limited by the amount of fuel that they can carry. So far we have only travelled as far as the Moon, and that’s a mere 380 000 kilometres away.

An artist’s impression of a possible FFR design. The large grey fins are for cooling and the crew habitat or payload area is at the far end, pointing away.

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Nov 7, 2017

Fluidic transistor ushers the age of liquid computers

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience, space travel

Transistors, those tiny electrical switches that process signals and data, are the brain power behind every electronic device – from laptops and smartphones to your digital thermostat. As they continue to shrink in size, computers have become smaller, more powerful, and more pervasive. However, as we look to build squishy, human-friendly machines that have the look and feel of soft natural organisms, we need to look beyond the rigid materials used to create electrical switches and circuits.

Mechanical engineers Carmel Majidi and James Wissman of the Soft Machines Lab at Carnegie Mellon University have been looking at new ways to create electronics that are not just digitally functional but also soft and deformable. Rather than making from rigid metals like copper or silver, they use a special metal alloy that is liquid at room temperature. This alloy, made by mixing indium and gallium, is a non-toxic alternative to mercury and can be infused in rubber to make circuits that are as soft and elastic as natural skin.

Teaming up with Michael Dickey at North Carolina State University, they recently discovered that electronics are not only useful for stretchable circuit wiring but can also be used to make . These fluidic transistors work by opening and closing the connection between two liquid metal droplets. When a voltage drop is applied in one direction, the droplets move towards each other and coalesce to form a metallic bridge for conducting electricity. When voltage is applied in a different direction, the droplets spontaneously break apart and turn the switch to open. By quickly alternating between an open and closed and open switch state with only a small amount of voltage, the researchers were able to mimic the properties of a conventional transistor.

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Nov 2, 2017

Theoretical Physicists Are Getting Closer to Explaining How NASA’s ‘Impossible’ EmDrive Works

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, space travel

The EmDrive propulsion system might be able to take us to the stars, but first it must be reconciled with the laws of physics.

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Oct 31, 2017

Boeing outlines technology for crewed Mars missions

Posted by in categories: habitats, solar power, space travel

With a focus on building the archetypal missions for NASA’s new Space Launch System rocket, the U.S.-based Boeing Corporation has outlined their view of what technologies can be used to accomplish humankind’s goal of visiting crews to the Martian system – missions Boeing believes are possible through the combination of the SLS rocket’s lift capability, the bourgeoning Solar Electric Propulsion technology field, and Bigelow’s soon-to-be-tested inflatable habitat modules.

From the Earth-Moon system to Mars:

Continuing from their initial presentation on potential SLS rocket uses beyond the opening two circumlunar missions, the Boeing Corporation has presented their idea of how to execute a phased approach to deep space exploration – with an eye for the eventual goal of landing human beings on the surface of Mars.

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Oct 28, 2017

NASA is sending its inflatable Mars Ice Home into space

Posted by in categories: habitats, space travel

Before astronauts ever venture to Mars, materials for a red planet habitat will undergo space testing. The inflatable Mars Ice Home, designed by Clouds Architecture Office (Clouds AO), Space Exploration Architecture (SEArch), and NASA’s Langley Research Center, could protect explorers from radiation in the extreme environment of Mars – and the materials that could comprise the dome will soon be assessed aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

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Oct 28, 2017

Getting to and living on Mars will be hell on your body

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, space travel

While NASA and SpaceX figure out how to get to Mars, they’re also thinking about how the 200-day journey and life on the red planet will affect humans. Astronauts will be dealing with nasty things like muscle atrophy and bone loss, intra-cranial pressure, psychological issues, lack of resources and long-term radiation exposure. NASA and its partners are working on things like “torpor,” a type of space hibernation, and protective Mars cave dwellings with a view. To learn more, Engadget spoke with NASA scientist Laura Kerber and Spaceworks COO John Bradford at the Hello Tomorrow symposium in Paris.

“There are a lot of challenges that are preventing us from even getting there in a healthy state,” said Bradford in a keynote speech at the event. As a human-space-exploration expert, he’s been working on a way to mitigate many of those problems by putting astronauts in a “torpor state” of prolonged hypothermia. It not only reduces the human problems but helps with technical and engineering challenges, too.

On the medical side, it addresses the so-called psycho-social challenges (you can’t get depressed if you’re asleep), reduces intra-cranial pressure, opens up new approaches like electrostimulation to reduce muscle atrophy and bone loss, and even helps minimize radiation exposure.

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