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Old December 2nd, 2012, 02:03 PM   #1141
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^awesome detail!

What's the scale of that thing?
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 02:24 PM   #1142
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wow
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 07:50 PM   #1143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FREKI View Post

What's the scale of that thing?
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/ca...0121128b.html#
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 08:37 PM   #1144
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so when is nasa revealing the curiosity finding?
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 10:45 PM   #1145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gramercy View Post
so when is nasa revealing the curiosity finding?
It was trolling by some scientist. Not more.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 01:05 AM   #1146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gramercy View Post
so when is nasa revealing the curiosity finding?
The scientist probably found some ancient artifact on Mars and was duly silenced by the powers that be.
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Old December 9th, 2012, 12:53 PM   #1147
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The full story: http://www.technologyreview.com/feat...-big-problems/



We indeed need to focus on the big issues again! Let's finally get humans to Mars!
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Old December 11th, 2012, 10:05 AM   #1148
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WIRED MAGAZINE

Will a Secret Private Manned Mission to the Moon Be Announced This Week?

BY ADAM MANN12.03.121:33 PM



Internet rumors have been swirling for several weeks of a secret venture backed by private entrepreneurs that would return people to the moon’s surface. It seems that the veil will finally be lifted this week, during a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 6.

“The Golden Spike Company invites you to attend a game-changing announcement about the future of commercial human space travel to the Moon,” reads the announcement for the media briefing. ”Executives from the company will describe the team, the mission architecture, and the business model.”

Many questions remain about the prospects for such a mission, including its feasibility, rationale, and how the company intends to fund the endeavor, which will likely run to billions of dollars. Early rumors suggested that backers included Warren Buffet and Richard Branson, though these have since been shown false. The plan may also include a $120 million deal with SpaceX to provide a heavy rocket to reach the moon. SpaceX had no statement about such a deal when Wired reached out to them on Dec. 2.


The Golden Spike Company is registered in Colorado to planetary scientist and aerospace engineer Alan Stern, who ran NASA’s science directorate from 2007 to 2008. Stern also worked in the private spaceflight sector that year, as an independent research representative for Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. In a 2011 interview he said, “I hope that in 10 to 20 years’ time, we are on the hills of human return to the moon, so that we could then go on with humans to explore the solar system. I think this is our destiny.”

Golden Spike is a reference to the ceremonial spike driven into the rails connecting the U.S. transcontinental railroad in 1869, which helped open up the American West. The company has recently started both a Facebook group and Twitter account.

The company has apparently been around for a while. A conference presentation from May mentioned a company called Golden Spike that was “backed by respected scientific and astronautical entities” and “envisions the development of a reliable ‘Cislunar Superhighway.’” That same presentation mentioned a “cooperative initiative coalescing between independent, national and international enterprises [that] could see 2 to 4 people on the surface for 1 to 4 weeks at an estimated cost of US$5-10 billion.” Whether this plan is the same as Golden Spike’s is unclear.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 07:34 PM   #1149
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it was supposed to be announced at December 6th. Today is 11th december.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 07:58 PM   #1150
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20635597
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Old December 16th, 2012, 11:08 AM   #1151
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Old December 20th, 2012, 10:25 PM   #1152
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Building an Open-Source Manned Space Rocket in Denmark



Two Danish amateur engineers and entrepreneurs plan to create a homemade, manned spacecraft to launch into suborbital flight within the next few years.



In 2008 Kristian von Bengston and Peter Madsen founded Copenhagen Suborbitals. They have 20 people around them helping them realize their ambition.

If they succeed it would make Denmark the fourth country in the world to launch a manned rocket into space. They would not be the first privateers, but, unlike companies such as Virgin, SpaceX or Bigelow their budget is measured in hundreds of thousands of dollars, rather than millions. Motherboard tells the story of Copenhagen Suborbital.

So far, their accomplishments are impressive: their solid-and-liquid-fuel rocket, the HEAT-1X, is the first “amateur” rocket flown with a payload of a full-size crash test dummy, and the first to perform a successful Main Engine Cut-Off, or MECO command, and the first launched from a “low budget” sea-based platform. It’s also the most powerful amateur rocket ever flown.

If you’re trying to go to space, there’s no point in being tight-lipped about it. By making the spaceflight project open-source, Copenhagen Suborbitals were not only able to attract space-crazed specialists to volunteer their human capital in exchange for being part of something new and exciting, but they also raised donations, product support and constructive feedback from avid followers from all over the world. They haven’t specifically said how much they need to raise, but they estimate that a typical launch should eventually cost €50,000, or about $63,000. Today, they continue to raise donations using an IndieGogo campaign.

The tight budget means improvising with components, such as using a hair dryer used to stop a valve from freezing or using a fairground ride at the Tivoli Gardens instead of a centrifuge to test a g-force threshold. There is, reportedly, a deliberate strategy to keep quality low otherwise it will cost too much in terms of time and money to get the project finished. There is no firm date for the manned launch, but the next engine test is scheduled for Dec. 30
http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/201...et-in-denmark/
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Old December 25th, 2012, 11:01 PM   #1153
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A Message from ISS to All Humankind!

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Old December 31st, 2012, 09:27 PM   #1154
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NASA’s NEXT ion drive breaks world record, will eventually power interplanetary missions



Proving yet again that Star Trek was scarily prescient, NASA has announced that its NEXT ion drive — NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster — has operated continually for over 43,000 hours (five years). This is an important development, as ion thrusters are pegged as one of the best ways to power long-term deep-space missions to other planets and solar systems. With a proven life time of at least five years, NEXT engines just made a very big step towards powering NASA’s next-gen spacecraft.

Ion thrusters work, as the name suggests, by firing ions (charged atoms or molecules) out of a nozzle at high speed (pictured above). In the case of NEXT, operation is fairly simple. Xenon (a noble gas) is squirted into a chamber. An electron gun (think cathode ray tube TV) fires electrons at the xenon atoms, creating a plasma of negative and positive ions. The positive ions diffuse to the back of the chamber, where high-charged accelerator grids grabs the ions and propel them out of the engine, creating thrust. The energy to power the electron gun can either come from solar panels, or from a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (i.e. a nuclear battery, just like Curiosity).



The downside of ion thrusters, though, is that the amount of thrust produced is minuscule: State-of-the-art ion thrusters can deliver a grand total of 0.5 newtons of thrust (equivalent to the force of a few coins pushing down on your hand), while chemical thrusters (which power just about every spacecraft ever launched) on a satellite or probe deliver hundreds or thousands of newtons. The flip side of this, though — and the reason ion thrusters are so interesting — is that they have a fuel efficiency that’s 10 to 12 times greater than chemical thrusters. Obviously, for long trips through space, fuel efficiency is very important.

With such puny thrust, a NEXT-based ion drive would need to run for 10,000 hours — just over a year — to reach a suitable speed for space travel. Dawn, a NASA probe that’s powered by previous-generation NSTAR ion thrusters, accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in four days. As a corollary, ion thrusters only work at all because of the near-vacuum of space; if there was any friction at all, like here on Earth, an ion drive would be useless. The good news, though, is that the (eventual) max speed of a spacecraft propelled by an ion drive is in the region of 200,000 miles per hour (321,000 kph).

Moving forward, it now remains to be seen if NASA will use the NEXT on an actual spacecraft. In 2011, NASA put out a request-for-proposals for a test mission that will likely use a NEXT engine, and presumably, following this successful engine test, we might soon hear more news about that. Other space agencies, including the ESA, are also working on spacecraft propelled by ion thrusters.
http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/1...etary-missions
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Old January 1st, 2013, 12:43 AM   #1155
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Electric propulsion all the way! But to accompany that we will need light and powerful nuclear reactors to do the really big missions.
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Old January 1st, 2013, 10:20 AM   #1156
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Just a minor note here, NASA isn't proving Star Trek right only, but Star Wars too :p TIE fighters are supposedly propelled by ion engines ( TIE fighter = Twin Ion Engine fighter )
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Old January 1st, 2013, 05:09 PM   #1157
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2013 set to be an exciting year for astronomy



Two comets and two asteroids will pass close to the Earth in 2013. Stargazers can also look forward to solar eclipses in Australasia and Central Africa, as well as the launch of Europe's magnetic field mission, Swarm.

The infamous asteroid Apophis, named after the Egyptian god of darkness, will pass by the Earth - at a safe distance of almost 15 million kilometers - on January 10, 2013. Astronomers will however be anxiously following its path, and collecting data with optical telescopes and radar antennae.

This 300-meter-wide asteroid may come uncomfortably close when it passes again a decade and a half later. On Friday, April 13, 2029, it will be just 30,000 kilometers (18,640 miles) away from the surface of the planet. That's closer than weather and communications satellites in geostationary orbit, which are 36,000 kilometers (22,370 miles) from the equator.

And seven years after that, there's a one in 100,000 chance that Apophis might even collide with the Earth - with potentially catastrophic results. So everyone has a stake in what scientists find out with their precise radar observations as Apophis passes in January - hopefully confirmation that the asteroid will miss the Earth in 2036 as well.

Close shave in February

In mid-February, the asteroid 2012 DA 14 will give some idea of just how close the encounter with Apophis might be, as this space rock will come within 24,000 kilometers (15,000 miles) of the Earth. But this time the astronomers aren't worried about a collision.

On the evening of February 15, stargazers will be able to watch 2012 DA14 through their telescopes as it passes through the constellations of Virgo and the Coma Berenices. As this asteroid is less than 40 meters (130 feet) wide, even if it did crash into Earth, its impact would be regional.

If an asteroid is very porous, it disintegrates almost completely in the Earth's atmosphere. Only if it is made of metal will it impact and form a crater. The encounters with Apophis and 2012 DA14 will not present a problem in 2013, but they do highlight the fact that the Earth is in constant danger of cosmic bombardment.

This is why NASA and the European Space Agency, ESA, are working on extending their surveillance systems to recognize potentially dangerous asteroids and plan possible defense missions. A United Nations committee will be presenting a recommendation in February on how best to deal with any concrete threat.

Big comets in March and November

The comet Pan-STARRS will be visible in March - an unexpected visitor from the depths of the solar system. The automatic Pan-STARRS telescope system in Hawaii spotted this chunk of ice in March 2011.

March 10, 2013 will see it pass perihelion, the closest point to the sun - and at the same time it will be closer to the Earth than Mercury, the nearest of the eight planets. After taking its turn around the Sun, Pan-STARRS will pass through the constellations of Pisces and Andromeda, and will be perfectly positioned for observers in the Northern Hemisphere.

Astronomers calculate that Pan-STARRS should then be visible to the naked eye, and will have an impressive tail, providing a good chance that - 15 years after Hale-Bopp - we will finally get to see another great comet streak across our skies.

Later in the year, the comet ISON may prove even more impressive. This body of ice, discovered just last September by the ISON observatory in the Caucasus, will travel around the Sun on November 28, 2013, at a distance of a mere 2 million kilometers (1.24 million miles).

Such proximity means that large quantities of ice and dust will be absolutely boiling off, so the comet should be clearly visible by day as a bright light alongside the Sun. And if it survives its close encounter with the Sun, it will stay as a shining light in the night sky in the days leading up to Christmas.
Not many eclipses

The cosmic play of solar and lunar eclipses will be relatively sparse in 2013. On April 25, the full Moon will just touch the shadow of the Earth, darkening one percent of its surface for observers in Europe, Africa, large parts of Asia and Australia.

However, on May 9 and 10, stargazers in Australia, Indonesia and the Central Pacific will be treated to an annular, or "Ring of Fire," eclipse of the Sun.
And November 3 will see the only total solar eclipse of 2013. The zone of totality will mostly be across the Atlantic, but will also touch Gabon, Congo, Uganda and Kenya. It will be partially visible across Africa, in the far east of the United States, the northern part of South America, in southern Europe, and on the Arabian peninsula.

Europe's magnetic field satellite

For the ESA, the high point of 2013 will be the launch of its three Swarm satellites in April. Built in Friedrichshafen by the firm Astrium, the satellites will carry out unprecedented exploration of the Earth's magnetic field. The Swarm mission cements ESA's status as a leading international player in scientific observation of the Earth.

The probes have been ready for almost a year, but problems with the Russian rocket that was to carry them have meant that the launch was repeatedly postponed. In 2013, the satellites will be sending back data from their position 500 kilometers above the Earth.

And China is currently planning a manned flight to its space station, Tiangong. On the political level, there are likely to be further efforts throughout 2013 to make China a partner in the International Space Station - something that, until now, the United States has categorically rejected.

Meanwhile, it's business as usual at the International Space Station (ISS). The ESA will again have an astronaut at the outpost in 2013: Luca Parmitano moved in this past May, and will be conducting experiments in the Columbus space laboratory for six months. Another ESA astronaut, the German Alexander Gerst, is also due to travel to the ISS for a six-month stint in 2014.
http://www.dw.de/2013-set-to-be-an-e...omy/a-16489680
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Old January 2nd, 2013, 09:14 AM   #1158
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13 new space missions for 2013
Quote:
Final-frontier adventures range from suborbital flights to the moon and Mars
Though NASA has retired its space shuttles, astronauts and cosmonauts are still launching regularly on Russian rockets to the International Space Station, and will continue to do so. Plus, China is planning another manned docking mission for 2013, and many more countries, such as South Korea, India, Canada and a coalition of European nations, are due to launch robotic science probes.

1. Suborbital test flights: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo has flown numerous glide tests, but it's due to make its first powered flight using its rocket engine sometime in 2013. Another company called XCOR Aerospace plans to test-fly its Lynx suborbital vehicle in 2013. Both firms aim to carry their first passengers in 2014.

2. South Korea's third launch: South Korea will try for a third time to loft its Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV 1) booster successfully to orbit. Previous launch attempts in August 2009 and June 2010, which lifted off from a site in southern South Korea, both failed.

3. Indian/French SARAL/AltiKa: This satellite, a collaboration between India and France, is intended to study the surface height of Earth's seas from space. Called ocean altimetry, the research has many applications for environmental science and oceanography.

4. First Cygnus flights: The private space company Orbital Sciences Corp. is one of two firms with a NASA contract to deliver cargo to the International Space Station on unmanned spacecraft (the other is SpaceX).

5. SpaceX Dragon flights: SpaceX, also known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., is the other commercial space company hired by NASA to carry supplies to the space station. SpaceX launched its Dragon cargo ship maiden test flight to the orbital laboratory last May.

6. Space station crew launches: Three launches of crew members to the International Space Station are planned for 2013, with liftoffs from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan scheduled for March 28, May 28 and Sept. 25.

7. Canada's Cassiope: The Canadian Space Agency's Cassiope (short for Cascade Smallsat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer) spacecraft is due to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base sometime in April. The satellite will carry a suite of science instruments to study how solar storms interact with charged particles in Earth's ionosphere.

8. Space station cargo launches: Russian Progress launches are scheduled for Feb. 12, April 24 and July 24, while Japan's HTV freighter will lift off July 15, and the European Space Agency's ATV is scheduled for a liftoff April 18. Each of these tried-and-true robotic spacecraft will deliver food, hardware and science experiments for the crew of the orbital outpost. [Photos: Space Station's Robotic Cargo Ship Fleet]

9. ESA's Space Swarm: The Swarm spacecraft, built by the European Space Agency, is due to launch into a polar orbit in April on a Eurockot Rockot rocket from Russia. The satellite will carry three instruments to study how Earth's geomagnetic field changes over time. The mission aims to offer insight into Earth's climate and interior composition.

10. NASA's Iris: NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (Iris) satellite is a sun-studying mission to analyze the flow of energy through our star's atmosphere and heliosphere. Iris is due to launch aboard an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket, which takes off in midair after being lofted by a carrier plane from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The flight is scheduled for April 28 or 29.

11. China's Shenzhou 10: Scheduled for June, China's Shenzhou 10 mission will be the fifth manned spaceflight for China. The mission will take launch three Chinese astronauts, including a female spaceflier, to dock with the nation's Tiangong 1 module in orbit.

12. NASA's Ladee: The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Experiment (Ladee) from NASA is a moon orbiter intended to study the moon's transient atmosphere and the ubiquitous particles of dust blanketing its surface that are often seen levitating due to electrostatic forces.

13. NASA's Mars Maven: NASA's next Mars orbiter is due to launch sometime in a 20-day window between Nov. 18 and Dec. 7 to enable it to enter orbit around the Red Planet in September 2014.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50334639...science-space/

Last edited by desiyogi; January 2nd, 2013 at 09:27 AM.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 04:50 PM   #1159
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Originally Posted by Spartan_X View Post
Just a minor note here, NASA isn't proving Star Trek right only, but Star Wars too :p TIE fighters are supposedly propelled by ion engines ( TIE fighter = Twin Ion Engine fighter )
which of course is ridiculous. Lucas only wrote technobabble... ion engine for a Tie Fighter? As the article says... 4 days to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 03:01 AM   #1160
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haha, yes correct. Of course someone in defence of star wars could argue that supposedly TIE use some kind of super ion engines
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