Reporting from Edwards Air Force Base — NASA rolled out its next-generation space capsule here Wednesday, revealing a bulbous module that is scheduled to carry humans back to the moon in 2020 and eventually onward to Mars.Unlike the space-plane shape of the shuttles, the new Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle looks strikingly similar to the old Apollo space capsule that carried Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon and back in 1969, with Armstrong and Aldrin becoming the first humans to walk on the lunar surface.There is one key difference, however. The test module, unveiled at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, is substantially bigger — 16.5 feet in diameter compared with Apollo 11’s 12.8 feet.Still, cramming six astronauts inside will make it “pretty cozy,” he said.
The craft’s extra girth will allow it to carry six astronauts instead of Apollo’s three.
“This is the same shape as Apollo,” said Gary Martin, the project manager for the test program at Dryden. “But the extra space translates into twice as much volume as Apollo.”
Oooh, I’m impressed! /not!
How many times can the wheel be reinvented?
Quite a few apparently.
Finding ancient meteorites on the moon would be exciting enough, but what they may contain really interests Houtkooper.
Consider simple bacterial life on the early Earth, existing inside a rock which is then blasted off the surface of the planet by a large impact. In theory, some of these samples could have landed in lunar craters like Shackleton. Once there, they would be perfectly preserved in a deep freeze for billions of years. Life carried to the moon in this way would almost certainly be dead, although it is possible that some hardy creatures could survive the journey in a dormant state. As Houtkooper succinctly states, “there could be signs of life from early Earth on the moon.”
Things get particularly interesting when a large impact on the moon by an object around 10 km in diameter is considered. If that were to occur, enough material would be thrown up to create a very thin lunar atmosphere. This tenuous atmosphere could last a few hundred years, just enough time to spark into action any dormant life that had been carried to the moon from other worlds.
So it is possible that, dotted throughout the moon’s colorful history, it may have hosted simple but live alien organisms.
Panspermia has made a comeback in recent months, both as a means of transferring life throughout the Cosmos naturally and artificially.
Viability of the organisms being transported about is the issue.
How can living things withstand the rigors of freezing cold, solar and cosmic radiation?
Here are some articles that might answer some of these questions:
A ~ 10-metre object on a heliocentric orbit, now catalogued as 1991 VG, made a close approach to the Earth in 1991 December, and was discovered a month before perigee with the Spacewatch telescope at Kitt Peak. Its very Earth-like orbit and observations of rapid brightness fluctuations argue for it being an artificial body rather than an asteroid. None of the handful of man-made rocket bodies left in heliocentric orbits during the space age have purely gravitational orbits returning to the Earth at that time, and in an3′ case the a priori probability of discovery for 1991 VG was very small, of order one in 100,000 per anmun. In addition, the small perigee distance observed might be interpreted as an indicator of a controlled rather than a random encounter with the Earth, and thus it might be argued that 1991 VG is a candidate as an alien probe observed in the vicinity of our planet.
I think mainstream SETI is afraid of finding Bracewell Probes, because it shakes them from the comfortable notion that material interstellar travel is impossible and any civilization is a safe thousands of light-years away, accessible only by micro and radio waves.
Adam Crowl does ask an interesting question, “…if it is a probe, then why is it suddenly becoming visible? Based on our primitive attempts at invisibility cloaks using meta-materials I suspect any advanced technological species will be able to remain unseen by primitive eyes… yet here we have a probe making itself blatant. Hmmm…”
Hmmm indeed Adam.