Archive for the ‘space travel’ category

Jan 17, 2018

Major gravity experiment recreated aboard a satellite

Posted by in category: space travel

A spacecraft was used to “drop” two objects and test their rate of fall. The new, super-precise findings confirm objects will fall at the same rate (in the absence of air resistance) — and that when it comes defining the effects of gravity, Einstein got it right.

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Jan 14, 2018

Skycorp planning to make space industries

Posted by in category: space travel

Dennis Wingo sees metals mining, communication stations and telescopes on the moon. The combination of industries will make moon development viable.

The moon is largely made up of metal oxides that could yield new supplies of platinum — perhaps enough to drive prices for the precious metal down to $300 from $1,400 an ounce today. Processing metals on the moon does not require chemicals. Different levels of heat can be used to make different metals. Cheaper platinum will make fuel cells that are so much more effective than combustion engines.

Skycorp’s mission is to fundamentally transform the spacecraft industry, utilizing orbital assembly process, electric propulsion, and modular construction, to create applications unthinkable before.

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Jan 12, 2018

NASA X-Ray Navigation System Aims to Be a Galactic GPS for Space Exploration

Posted by in category: space travel

The navigation system uses x-ray light emitted from pulsars the same way global positioning systems use atomic clocks, which could eliminate the need for costly ground-based guidance systems.

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Jan 11, 2018

Astronomers Detect Almond-Scented Molecule That Will Help Solve Interstellar Radiation Mystery

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space travel

There’s an unidentified source of infrared throughout the universe. By looking at the specific wavelengths of the light, scientists think that come from carbon—but not just any carbon, a special kind where the atoms are arranged in multiple hexagonal rings. No one has been able to spot one of these multi-ring “polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,” or PAHs in space—even though the infrared emissions imply that these PAHs should make up 10 percent of the universe’s carbon. Now, scientists have found a new hint.

A team of researchers in the United States and Russia are now reporting spotting a special single-carbon-ring-containing molecule, called benzonitrile, with a radio telescope in a part of space called the Taurus Molecular Cloud-1. Benzonitrile only has one hexagonal ring of carbon, so it’s not a poly cyclic aromatic hydrocarbon itself. But it could be a potential precursor and could help explain the mysterious radiation.

Before you even ask, yes, this “aromatic” benzonitrile molecule has a smell. “I can tell you from personal experience it smells like almonds,” study first author Brett McGuire from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory told Gizmodo, who has encountered the molecule in the lab.

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Jan 9, 2018

Return to the MOON Photo

Posted by in categories: futurism, space travel

This op-ed originally appeared in the Dec. 12, 2017 of SpaceNews magazine.

America’s space program has long held a special place in the public’s imagination, but NASA missions are limited by budget constraints. NASA must use its funding wisely to implement balanced, cost-efficient programs to develop enabling technologies, such as technologies to power future NASA missions. Speaking as the former project manager of three successful missions — Voyager, Galileo, and Cassini — and the canceled Prometheus-Icy Moons Orbiter, I have a unique perspective to share.

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Jan 5, 2018

Sorry Sci-Fi Fans, Real Wars in Space Not the Stuff of Hollywood

Posted by in categories: law, military, space travel

WASHINGTON — The public’s idea of a war in space is almost entirely a product of Hollywood fantasy: Interstellar empires battling to conquer the cosmos, spaceships going head to head in pitched dogfights.

The reality of how nations will fight in space is much duller and blander. And some of the key players in these conflicts will be hackers and lawyers.

Savvy space warriors like Russia’s military already are giving us a taste of the future. They are jamming GPS navigation signals, electronically disrupting satellite communications links and sensors in space. Not quite star wars. [The Most Dangerous Space Weapons Concepts Ever].

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Dec 31, 2017

Gallium nitride processor: Next-generation technology for space exploration

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, space travel

A material known as gallium nitride (GaN), poised to become the next semiconductor for power electronics, could also be essential for various space applications. Yuji Zhao, an expert in electrical and computer engineering at Arizona State University (ASU), plans to develop the first ever processor from gallium nitride, which could revolutionize future space exploration missions.

Gallium nitride is a semiconductor compound commonly used in light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The material has the ability to conduct electrons more than 1,000 times more efficiently than silicon. It outstrips silicon in speed, temperature, power handling, and is expected to replace it when silicon-based devices will reach their limits.

Besides LEDs, GaN can be used in the production of semiconductor power devices as well as RF components. Now, Yuji Zhao aims to use this material to develop a high-temperature microprocessor for space applications. He received a three-year $750,000 grant from NASA’s Hot Operating Temperature Technology (HOTTech) program for his project.

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Dec 30, 2017

Could a Lunar Fuel Depot Jump-Start Human Exploration of Deep Space? — By Corey S. Powell | Discover

Posted by in categories: space, space travel

“What is the right way to do a lunar gateway, then?”

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Dec 28, 2017

NASA Planning Mission to Alpha Centauri—in 2069

Posted by in category: space travel

NASA is prepping for a trip to the nearby three-star Alpha Centauri system—in 2069.

That’s my kind of advanced planning.

The mission, first announced by New Scientist, would include a 44-year-long expedition to an exoplanet in search of signs of life. Assuming NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) can figure out how to travel at a tenth of the speed of light.

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Dec 28, 2017

Falcon Heavy raised on pad 39A for first time

Posted by in category: space travel

SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy rocket, made up of two previously-flown Falcon 9 boosters and a beefed up central core stage, made the trip to launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and was raised vertical Thursday for testing ahead of its first liftoff next month.

The fully-assembled 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rocket will be the most powerful in the world when it blasts off, and Thursday’s arrival atop pad 39A marks a major step toward readying the Falcon Heavy for flight.

SpaceX engineers are expected to conduct a fit check and complete other tests at pad 39A this week, followed by a hold-down firing of all 27 first stage engines some time after New Year’s Day. The company has not set a target date for the Falcon Heavy’s first liftoff, but officials say the launch is targeted in January, some time after the hold-down hotfire test.

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