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Showing posts from December, 2015

Speculation mounts over Elon Musk’s plan for SpaceX’s Mars Colonial Transporter

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In the wake of SpaceX’s successful rocket landing, some of the company’s most ardent fans are guessing at the shape of the biggest thing to come: the Mars Colonial Transporter.

The MCT is a crucial piece in SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s grand plan to send tens of thousands of colonists to the Red Planet, potentially starting in the next decade or two. Such a venture would mark a giant leap toward establishing a second cosmic home for humanity. Musk believes that’s a must if we’re to guard against extinction due to pandemics, asteroid strikes or other planet-wide catastrophes.

Early this year, Musk promised to unveil his architecture for Mars colonization by the end of 2015 – but in a recent GQ interview, he said the big reveal was more likely to come in early 2016. “Before we announce it, I want to make sure that we’re not gonna make really big changes to it,” he said.

Despite Musk’s reticence, space geeks have been chewing over the elements of a potential plan for years, based on the h…

CONGRESS WANTS NASA TO CREATE A DEEP SPACE HABITAT BY 2018

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THE NEXT BIG STEP TOWARDS SENDING HUMANS TO MARS NASA may dream of sending humans to Mars in the coming decades, but the fact remains that nobody's really sure how we'll survive the journey or set up camp on the red planet.

The Orion spacecraft that will drive astronauts to Mars has a diameter that's about the length of a pickup truck. That's not a lot of space when you consider the astronauts' journey to Mars will take at least 6 months.

In order to not go totally bonkers, Mars-bound astronauts will need a larger place to live, complete with private quarters and exercise equipment. NASA envisions the Orion capsule could link up to a habitation module in space, but right now they have no idea what that module could look like. And who knows what the astronauts will live in once they get to Mars.

Now SpaceNews says that a report attached to the recent omnibus spending bill has allocated funds for NASA to figure it out. The bill orders NASA to spend at least $55 mill…

SpaceX Successfully Lands A Giant Falcon 9 Rocket For The First Time

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SpaceX has done it. Elon Musk’s rocket startup just successfully launched and then landed a Falcon 9 rocket some 10 minutes later. This comes after several attempts that ended in fiery explosions.

The rocket was carrying 11 satellites destined for low-Earth orbit. It’s important to note, this rocket isn’t a one-off affair, or a small test rocket like the Blue Origin New Shepard or SpaceX Grasshopper.

The Falcon 9 is a serious rocket, capable of reaching 124 miles up thanks to the 1.5 million pounds of thrust produced by its 9 engines. It’s designed to take serious payloads into serious orbit. The Blue Origin is capable of taking a few humans 62 miles into the sky — which is still great.

SpaceX previously attempted to land a Falcon 9 on a robotic barge. This time around, the company opted for terra firma and a massive concrete landing pad.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2015/12/21/spacex-successfully-lands-a-giant-falcon-9-rocket-for-the-first-time/

How to get to our nearest star in just twenty-two years

Let’s use particle accelerators to propel our spaceships!

Wait, back up, why should we even try to reach Alpha-Centauri? Because the fate of the human race depends on it. Sure, we have five billion years to escape the death of the sun, but we gotta move sometime. Otherwise we’ll just happily inhabit this solar system until our star becomes a red giant and boils away our oceans and continents. Humans tend to be excellent procrastinators, and any kind of deadline over a few months is easy to ignore, but it’s worth starting to think about now.

The single biggest barrier to interstellar travel is the unimaginably vast screaming void of space. Our nearest neighbouring solar system is four light years away. To put that into perspective, light travels three hundred thousand kilometres in a second. Now imagine how far it can travel in the time between federal elections. Nope, you couldn’t, because numbers like that break our primitive brains.

So what’s the big deal? Just strap on a giant rock…

Strange Object In Alpha Centauri Star System Baffles Astronomers

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Astronomers after studying the data captured from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile, discovered a faint object in the Alpha Centauri star system, Astronomy.com reported.

Researchers after analyzing the data said that the newly discovered object can be a star. Astronomers in their research posted on arXiv detailed that the object is orbiting our own sun in the outer area of our solar system.

According to Forbes, it is for the second time that they have spotted an object in that particular region. One of the possibilities is that it could be an extreme trans-Neptunian object about 100 astronomical units (AU) away from the Sun.

“Another possibility (which seems more likely to the object's discoverers) is that it is about 300 AU away and about 1.5 times the size of Earth, making it the first 'super-earth' found in our solar system”, said Forbes contributor Brian Koberlein.

Experts said that a super-earth is a planet that has a mass som…

Leading NASA official says we’re abandoning our post on the ISS for a very good reason

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During a meeting of NASA’s advisory council earlier this month, NASA’s chief of human spaceflight, William Gerstenmaier, said “We’re going to get out of ISS as quickly as we can,” Ars Technica reported.

After leaving its post on board the ISS, NASA hopes to return to a destination that NASA astronauts haven’t visited since 1972: the moon.

It’s unclear whether astronauts will set foot on the moon. What is clear, however, is that NASA’s looking to send manned missions in orbit around the moon — to a region called cislunar space — by the late 2020s.

Out there, astronauts will be days, instead of hours, from Earth. They’ll also be well outside of Earth’s protective geomagnetic shield, that blocks most of the dangerous high-energy radiation from the sun.

For these reasons, astronauts will get a better taste — both psychologically and physiologically — for what it would be like on a trip to Mars. Long stays in cislunar space is the next step toward getting humans ready for Mars.

For NASA, …