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Archive for the ‘space travel’ category

Mar 26, 2017

China Begins Development Of Reusable Rockets For Space Exploration

Posted by in categories: futurism, space travel

China has signaled that its future lies with reusable rockets to reduce cost and pollution; although they won’t be copying SpaceX’s landing techniques.

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SpaceX were the early pioneers of reusable rocket technology, successfully landing first stage boosters after delivering cargo into orbit, but it looks as though China are keen to follow suit with their own rockets after recognizing benefits of reusability.

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Mar 26, 2017

NASA taking first steps toward high-speed space internet

Posted by in categories: internet, space travel

The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) will help NASA understand the best ways to operate laser communications systems. They could enable much higher data rates for connections between spacecraft and Earth, such as scientific data downlink and astronaut communications.

“LCRD is the next step in implementing NASA’s vision of using optical communications for both near-Earth and deep space missions,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, which leads the LCRD project. “This technology has the potential to revolutionize space communications, and we are excited to partner with the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate’s Space Communications and Navigation program office, MIT Lincoln Labs and the U.S. Air Force on this effort.”

Laser communications, also known as optical communications, encodes data onto a beam of light, which is then transmitted between spacecraft and eventually to Earth terminals. This technology offers data rates that are 10 to 100 times better than current radio-frequency (RF) communications systems.

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Mar 25, 2017

Photon Rockets Might Make Mars A Three Minute Trip

Posted by in category: space travel

Professor says all spacecraft have an ultimate speed limit just below that of light. Let’s hope he’s wrong.


Hypothetical photon rocket drives might one day dramatically shrink interplanetary travel times.

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Mar 24, 2017

Supertall skyscraper hangs from orbiting asteroid in Clouds Architecture Office concept

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, habitats, space travel

In a bid to get around terrestrial height restrictions, Clouds Architecture Office has proposed suspending the world’s tallest skyscraper from an asteroid, leaving residents to parachute to earth.

New York-based Clouds Architecture Office drew up plans for Analemma Tower to “overturn the established skyscraper typology” by building not up from the ground but down from the sky by affixing the foundations to an orbiting asteroid.

“Harnessing the power of planetary design thinking, it taps into the desire for extreme height, seclusion and constant mobility,” said the architects, who have previously drawn up proposals for space transportation and a 3D-printed ice house on Mars.

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Mar 24, 2017

Critical step in cellualr repair of damaged DNA identifi edwhich could be big for reversing aging and human trials will start within six months

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, space travel

UNSW researchers have identified a critical step in the molecular process that allows cells to repair damaged DNA – and it could mean big things for the future of anti-ageing drugs, childhood cancer survivors and even astronauts. It could lead to a revolutionary drug that actually reverses ageing, improves DNA repair and could even help NASA get its astronauts to Mars.

Their experiments in mice suggest a treatment is possible for DNA damage from ageing and radiation. It is so promising it has attracted the attention of NASA, which believes the treatment can help its Mars mission.

While our cells have an innate capability to repair DNA damage − which happens every time we go out into the sun, for example – their ability to do this declines as we age.

Continue reading “Critical step in cellualr repair of damaged DNA identifi edwhich could be big for reversing aging and human trials will start within six months” »

Mar 24, 2017

Theoretical Physicists Suggest There’s a Portal Linking the Standard Model to Dark Physics

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics, quantum physics, space travel

Theoretical physicists have put forward a new hypothesis that aims to connect the world of visible physics to the hidden forces of our Universe: what if there’s a portal that bridges the gap between the standard model to dark matter and dark energy?

The idea is that the reason we struggle to understand things such as dark matter and dark energy isn’t because they don’t exist — it’s because we’ve been oblivious to a portal through which regular particles and these ‘dark particles’ interact. And it’s something that could be tested experimentally.

The idea of portals in the Universe might sound pretty crazy, but let’s be clear for a second: we’re talking portals on the quantum, teeny-tiny scale here — nothing that you could drive a spacecraft through.

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Mar 23, 2017

Scientists unveil a giant leap for anti-aging

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, space travel

I was under the impression that human trials were already underway, but this says they will start in 6 months.


UNSW researchers have made a discovery that could lead to a revolutionary drug that actually reverses ageing, improves DNA repair and could even help NASA get its astronauts to Mars.

In a paper published in Science today, the team identifies a critical step in the molecular process that allows cells to repair damaged DNA.

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Mar 23, 2017

Mysterious equipment spotted on SpaceX drone ship at Port Canaveral

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI, space travel

Stephen Marr had his suspicions when he photographed a mysterious piece of equipment atop SpaceX’s drone ship at Port Canaveral on Monday.

“I knew there was something different there,” Marr, 34, said.

So he did what any lover of space and social media would do: He posted it online. Reddit users quickly propelled Marr’s clear, high-resolution photo to the top of the website’s SpaceX community and so began discussion that the object was likely a highly anticipated robot that would interact with Falcon 9 first stages.

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Mar 22, 2017

Trump signs NASA funding bill to send astronauts to Mars

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

President Donald Trump has signed a bill authorizing $19.5 billion in funding for NASA, which includes an increased focus on deep space exploration and a new goal of a manned mission to Mars.

The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, or S. 442, provides funding for fiscal year 2018, which begins October 1. It specifically appropriates money for NASA’s deep space exploration, including the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft, as well as for the ongoing medical monitoring and treatment of astronauts. It builds on the current public-private partnership for space, with commercial companies transporting American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and NASA focusing on deep space and the mission to Mars.

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Mar 21, 2017

The cislunar gateway with no gate, revisited

Posted by in categories: habitats, space travel

More than four years ago, I covered the issue of cislunar planning here (see “The cislunar gateway with no gate”, The Space Review, October 1, 2012). Now the same “gateless” base concept has returned, but this time, it is not the only concept on the table. Currently there seem to be a plethora of achievable cislunar and lunar concepts, but few people seem to understand what makes any of them practical and affordable. Multiple reusable launchers, in-space vehicles, and components are being developed or have recently been announced, including the New Glenn, the Blue Moon lunar lander, SpaceX’s gigantic Interplanetary Transport System with its still unnamed booster. In addition, there are various lunar orbit combination habitats and depots proposed by Bigelow and the previously announced vehicles and concepts such as the Falcon Heavy, the XEUS lander, and the Cryote depot concept.

Operational plans that only include cislunar bases are being proposed, as well as plans which call for only lunar surface bases to be supplied directly from the Earth, in addition to the more modern, cislunar resource-supported lunar base scenarios. These plans and designs are all like pieces of a very important jigsaw puzzle, but one that, due to the current circumstances, forces us to start with the individual pieces, instead of a whole original image. Our mission, if we can manage it (politically, fiscally and technically), is to try to create a functional whole—a cislunar transportation system —out of some or most of these pieces.

As the obvious and practical location for a gateway to the Moon, Mars, and the asteroids, a cislunar logistics base is the first component we need in place. I am not as concerned about which orbit any cislunar station is placed in compared to the base components, but it is still clear that the Earth Moon L1 point has an advantage since it is always in the same general area, and can be reached from any location on the moon in about 12 hours at any time without waiting for an orbital position to match. A station placed in the “near-rectilinear (lunar) halo orbit” (NRHO) proposed recently would actually be in a high, elliptical, lunar polar orbit (HELPO) that takes more propellant and time to reach from or to than most other options. The best orbits to support lunar operations have a short and relatively unchanging transit time from or to the lunar surface, a lower delta-V per trip, and which can be reached from most places on the surface at almost any time.

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