Tag Archives: space exploration

Mythbusting India’s Mars Mission

he successful launch of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission is a major step forward for an advancing Asian space power. The global space community has applauded the flight, which will help the world to better understand the red planet.

more on marsdaily.com.

My favorite fact about this mission is that it cost 0.7 of “Gravity” production budget.

Going, Going, Still Going? Voyager 1 at Solar System’s Edge

Last July, the spacecraft — which is roughly 1,600 pounds and would fit inside a cube about 13 feet on each side, according to NASA — observed a momentary dip in the intensity of the solar wind. “It was exciting,” said Edward C. Stone, the project scientist for the two Voyagers. “We had never seen such a drop before. It happened in less than a day. Then five days later, it was back up.”

more on nytimes.com.

Voyager 1 on its journey to discover what the edge of our Solar System is like.

Citizen science: Self-portrait with orb

Until now, NASA has generally been supportive of citizen science. It has smoothed over paperwork with its ISS partners and volunteered astronauts to conduct simple research or lob mini-satellites out of the ISS’s airlock (actually a precisely controlled process).

more on economist.com.

Putting your own satellite in space is now easier and cheaper than ever before: the nano satellites cost only about $1m.

Houston, we have another problem: Study shows space travel is harmful to the brain

The researchers studied the impact of a particular form of radiation called high-mass, high-charged (HZE) particles. These particles – which are propelled through space at very high speeds by the force of exploding stars – come in many different forms. For this study the researcher chose iron particles. Unlikely hydrogen protons, which are produced by solar flares, the mass of HZE particles like iron, combined with their speed, enable them to penetrate solid objects such as the wall and protective shielding of a spacecraft.

“Because iron particles pack a bigger wallop it is extremely difficult from an engineering perspective to effectively shield against them,” said O’Banion. “One would have to essentially wrap a spacecraft in a six-foot block of lead or concrete.”

more on phys.org

Some less exciting and difficult to overcome aspects of space travel.

Why Explore Space? A 1970 Letter to a Nun in Africa

Presumably, you will ask now why we must develop first a life support system for our moon-travelling astronauts, before we can build a remote-reading sensor system for heart patients. The answer is simple: significant progress in the solutions of technical problems is frequently made not by a direct approach, but by first setting a goal of high challenge which offers a strong motivation for innovative work, which fires the imagination and spurs men to expend their best efforts, and which acts as a catalyst by including chains of other reactions.

A beautiful explanation of the value of space program.

NASA’s Lunar Orbiter Finds the Moon’s Wetter Regions

None of this makes the moon a wellspring, and it would have a long way to go before it became a remotely hospitable place. But a sine qua non for any lunar base would be a steady supply of water, and transporting even a little bit of it from earth would be very difficult and prohibitively expensive. Knowing that there would be a steady supply on hand for drinking, raising food in greenhouses and even manufacturing rocket fuel allows space planners to check at least one essential box long before we even consider a lunar journey. Now all we need is the will, the wallet and the technical know-how to check all the rest.
more on time.com

Permanently dark areas of the Moon host a soil consisting of up to 2% ice crystals. Not that we’ll do it anything about it in our lifetime.

SpaceX aims to put man on Mars in 10-20 years

“We’ll probably put a first man in space in about three years,” Elon Musk told the Wall Street Journal Saturday. “We’re going all the way to Mars, I think… best case 10 years, worst case 15 to 20 years.”

SpaceX is one of the two leading private space companies in the United States and has won $75 million from the US space agency NASA to help its pursuit of developing a spacecraft to replace the space shuttle.

more on physorg.com

The company that just got $75 million grant hopes to complete the mission with estimated cost of $450 billion.