Archive for the ‘space travel’ category

Jul 18, 2018

Researchers develop new solar sailing technology for NASA

Posted by in categories: materials, space travel

Spacecraft outfitted with sails and propelled by the sun are no longer the stuff of science fiction or theoretical space missions. Now, a Rochester Institute of Technology researcher is taking solar sailing to the next level with advanced photonic materials.

Metamaterials—a new class of manmade structures with unconventional properties—could represent the next technological leap forward for solar sails, according to Grover Swartzlander, professor in RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science. He proposes replacing reflective metallic sails with diffractive metafilm sails. The new materials could be used to steer reflected or transmitted photons for near-Earth, interplanetary and interstellar space travel.

“Diffractive films may also be designed to replace heavy and failure-prone mechanical systems with lighter electro-optic controls having no moving parts,” he said.

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Jul 17, 2018

Thousands of scientists pledge not to help build killer AI robots

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel

Co-founder of Google DeepMind and CEO of SpaceX amongst the 2,400 signatories of pledge to block lethal autonomous weapons.

Science editor.

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Jul 16, 2018

NASA Scientists Imagine Studying Venus From A Floating Research Colony

Posted by in category: space travel

NASA engineers have proposed a manned mission to Venus. Though the technology doesn’t exist yet, astronauts would live on a floating research blimp.

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Jul 14, 2018

Space Cruise Reflections: Exploring Sea and Space Aboard the Viking Orion

Posted by in category: space travel

Throughout history, humans have shared an innate interest in exploration — to travel to new reaches of our planet, and even our universe.

Last month, I sailed with the Viking Orion for its maiden voyage in the Mediterranean. Traveling to new places served as a reminder of the deeply curious human nature that continues to inspire space exploration.

The ship is named after the prominent constellation and NASA’s Orion spacecraft — the first crewed capsule designed to carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit. The name also honors retired NASA astronaut Anna Fisher, who was recognized as the ship’s “godmother” during the ship’s naming ceremony on June 14. The Orion spacecraft is the last project Fisher worked on before she retired in May 2017. [Photo Tour: All Aboard the Space-Themed Viking Orion Cruise Ship!].

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Jul 14, 2018

The Nuclear Reactor Renaissance: Space Exploration and National Security

Posted by in categories: climatology, nuclear energy, security, solar power, space travel, sustainability

The nuclear power sector is seeing a resurgence in innovation, supported by new policies and emerging technologies. The general public and various governments are starting to grasp the value of nuclear power as an alternative, sustainable energy source. Unlike renewables, such as wind and solar power, nuclear energy is not dependent on weather conditions for power generation, having a capacity factor of over 90 percent. Nuclear power is also more eco-friendly than natural gas and coal and its “carbon-free” attributes are seen as critical in the fight against climate change.

For decades, advancements in the nuclear power sector have been incremental and focused largely on making systems “walk away safe.” Today, the industry is pushing the boundaries and exploring applications for nuclear power in ways that have never before been considered.

BWXT is at the forefront of this nuclear renaissance. This 6,000-employee company operates on the model of letting capital drive strategy. BWXT is constantly evaluating new ways to ensure workers, funding, and policies are utilized in the most effective way possible. The company also analyzes the needs of numerous other industries to determine how nuclear power could provide innovative solutions.

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Jul 13, 2018

Method of making oxygen from water in zero gravity raises hope for long-distance space travel

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, space travel

In the new study, the researchers dropped the full experimental set up for photocatalysis down a 120m drop tower, creating an environment similar to microgravity. As objects accelerate towards Earth in free fall, the effect of gravity diminishes as forces exerted by gravity are cancelled out by equal and opposite forces due to the acceleration. This is opposite to the G forces experienced by astronauts and fighter pilots as they accelerate in their aircraft.

The researchers managed to show that it is indeed possible to split water in this environment. However, as water is split to create gas, bubbles form. Getting rid of bubbles from the catalyst material once formed is important – bubbles hinder the process of creating gas. On Earth, gravity makes the bubbles automatically float to the surface (the water near the surface is denser than the bubbles, which makes them buyonant) – freeing the space on the catalyst for the next bubble to be produced.

In zero gravity this is not possible and the bubble will remain on or near the catalyst. However, the scientists adjusted the shape of nanoscale features in the catalyst by creating pyramid-shaped zones where the bubble could easily disengage from the tip and float off into the medium.

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Jul 12, 2018

End of an era for space exploration

Posted by in category: space travel

Two ground-breaking NASA missions are coming to an end.

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Jul 12, 2018

Internally, NASA believes Boeing ahead of SpaceX in commercial crew

Posted by in category: space travel

Based on NASA’s “schedule risk analysis” from April, the agency estimates that Boeing will reach this milestone sometime between May 1, 2019, and August 30, 2020. For SpaceX, the estimated range is August 1, 2019, and November 30, 2020.

Both of the companies are well behind schedule, forcing the agency to scramble.

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Jul 10, 2018

Space Exploration World News

Posted by in category: space travel

News that takes us off Earth and into the great beyond!

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Jul 10, 2018

Turbo inductor cogeneration with MSR nuclear can economically replace oil

Posted by in categories: engineering, nuclear energy, space travel

Bucknell has led advanced engineering teams at Chrysler and General Motors for three production high performance engine families. Was Senior Propulsion Engineer for the Raptor full-flow staged combustion methalox rocket at Space Exploration Technologies then Senior Propulsion Scientist for Divergent3D developing vehicle technologies.

In 2017, he described how high temperature (820−1000 degree celsius) nuclear power plants can solve produce synthetic fuel to replace oil.

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