“Do you want to be an Asteroid Miner? Well, here’s your chance!” — an email we just received.
“We’re looking for passionate college students for paid coop positions to help us mine asteroids this spring and summer,” it reads. “If you love space and want to contribute directly to the development of the next generation of space exploration technologies, we want to hear from you (or from anyone you know that you think would be interested). Click here to apply today!
— Chris Lewicki, President & Chief Asteroid Miner, Planetary Resources, Inc.
Planetary Resources’ Asteroid Miners Wanted page reads:
If you are a college student passionate about space and want to be a part of history by helping us develop the technologies that we’ll use to mine asteroids, we want to hear from you today.
This your chance to join our team onsite in Bellevue, Washington for a paid cooperative education position and get hands on experience working with our team.
PRI provides a unique and intimate work environment where you can make an immediate impact on product development and the fulfillment of primary company objectives. Join us in changing the way we explore the solar system!
I hope this is for real, hiring future asteroid miners might be a glamor job now, but it will be a top blue-collar occupation of the 21st century.
Scientist’s claim that by using the Moon, they can determine that the Earth is habitable and thus, astrophysicists can find extrasolar Earth-like worlds:
Scientists looking at Earthshine reflected from the moon have concluded that, indeed, there is life on our planet. Though the result may be obvious, the findings can help in the search for life on other worlds.
This is not the first time that researchers have tried to see what the Earth would look like when viewed remotely. For example, the Voyager 1 spacecraft’s famous Pale Blue Dot image shows the Earth from nearly 4 billion miles away, giving a rough idea of what extraterrestrial telescopes looking at our planet would observe.
The recent study tried to get an outsider perspective from slightly closer to home. The sun’s rays hit the surface of the Earth and are reflected through the atmosphere. Most of that light escapes into the blackness of space but some of it bounces off the moon.
“Essentially, we use the moon as a giant mirror to look back at the Earth,” said astronomer Michael Sterzik of the European Southern Observatory in Chile, who co-authored the new paper out in Nature on Feb. 29.
This light contains a great deal of information. Break the light from a distant star into a spectrum and you can determine what elements are present.
One day, when scientists can directly detect light from an Earth-like planet, they may be able to check if its atmosphere contains things like oxygen, nitrogen, and methane. If present, these gases may represent biosignatures for distant life.
In addition to checking the Earthshine’s color, Sterzik and his team looked at the polarization, or direction, of the light waves bouncing off the moon. They were able to match the polarized light to different models, where our planet’s surface contained potential percentages of things like oceans, continents, and vegetation.
The model that best fit the polarized light contained a combination of these elements that looked exactly like, well, Earth. Though it may seem trivial at first glance, the finding has profound implications in the search for extraterrestrial life, said astronomer Darren Williams at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, who was not involved with the study.
“It’s a demonstration that we have a fighting chance of learning what the surface of a distant planet is like,” he said.
Recently an “Earth-like” world was found ( https://dad2059.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/alien-planet-discovered-at-a-nice-safe-distance/ ) , but without a “Moon” to reflect light from.
Currently we do not have the technology to find a planet with moons. But the embattled James Webb Telescope would be capable of finding such planets.
Maybe by the end of this decade, we’ll have a list of actual Earth-type planets to study, either by stronger telescopes, advanced space probes or a combination of both.
I’m not betting on the space probes though.
I show this sun-set display this past weekend on Saturday night when my youngest daughter and son-in-law were here.
If you’re into star-gazing, nothing puts on a show like Mother Nature!
The glitterati of the solar system turned out this weekend for an Oscar-worthy show: a triple play featuring Jupiter, the moon and Venus in evening skies. This photo, snapped by photographer Jeff Berkes in Pennsylvania’s Chester County, is a classic portrayal.
“The crescent moon, Venus and Jupiter have formed a slim triangle in the western skies at sunset,” Berkes told me in an email today. “It is also visible tonight, with the moon right next to Jupiter and Venus shining bright below them.”
And that’s not all: Mars rises in the east a few hours after sunset. This sky guide from Space.com’s Tariq Malik provides the details. Even if the skies are cloudy all night, you can still get in on the fun online via Slooh.com’s planet-watching webcast.
The weather forecast calls for clear at sun-down again. I plan to check it out!
While NASA is in the throes of budgetary Purgatory, they did manage to come up with an unique, inexpensive way to put a couple of probes that have finished their primary mission into Lunar orbit to do some extra science:
A pair of Earth-orbiting satellites designed to study the auroras are making a detour to visit the moon.
The two spacecraft are part of a fleet of five launched into Earth orbit by NASA in 2007 on a mission called THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms). They have been studying the space storms that trigger the northern and southern lights, or auroras, on Earth.
But two of the satellites were set to go on death row earlier this year. If they had been left in their original orbits, the solar-powered craft would have made lengthy passages through Earth’s shadow in March 2010, fatally draining their batteries, according to a Discovery News story.
To avoid this and to squeeze some more science out of the two spacecraft, the THEMIS team decided to send them farther from Earth and park them in orbit around the moon.
But there was a problem. Getting into orbit around the moon takes a lot of energy, and the two spacecraft simply didn’t have enough fuel to get the job done. So the team devised a clever, roundabout way to get there on a shoestring.
“We realized that if we had enough fuel to change their orbits, the moon’s gravity would start pulling them up,” the mission’s chief scientist Vassilis Angelopoulos of the University of California, Berkeley, told Discovery News.
The spacecraft were already in elongated orbits that passed close to Earth at one end and looped far into space at the other end. Starting in 2009, the spacecraft used their thrusters to extend the far end of their orbits, setting them up for close encounters with the moon.
The gravitational slingshot effect from these lunar encounters, as well as the probes’ close passes near Earth, changed their trajectories drastically – you can see the technical details here (pdf). Their own thrusters should be able to do the rest of the job, putting them in orbit around the moon in 2011. There, they will measure tenuous gas surrounding the moon, called the exosphere, and record the interaction of the solar wind with the moon.
Not bad for two spacecraft that would have been space junk by now without this creative rescue plan.
So NASA is capable of planning economic missions if pressed. We need more thinking like this.
Remember Atlantropa? The German idea from the early 20th Century to put a dam in the Straits of Gibraltar and divert the waters of the Mediterranean Sea into Africa in order to modify the Sahara Desert? (link)
Well, the Shimizu Corporation has a similar idea with its ‘Aqua-Net’:
Challenges of the future include energy use and continued population growth. And, while there are millions of square miles of land available in the world, not all of it is considered fit for human habitation. Shimizu Corporation, the company contemplating the Luna Ring, has another interesting project in the “just coming up with an idea” stage: The Desert Aqua-Net.
The Desert Aqua-Net is an idea that involves the building of interconnected lakes in the desert. These 18-mile-diameter lakes would be connected by canals fed from the ocean. The lakes would include built islands that could serve as homes for cities teeming with people. Supposedly, this would work because water from the lake would cool the cities, making them livable. There would also be arable land, theoretically, after this cooling above the desert lake islands. The cities would be powered by satellite power stations, and by the sun.
One of the biggest draw backs is that the lakes would be filled with seawater. While the salt water would provide the opportunities for water-based wildlife, and even for biomass development, it doesn’t provide much opportunity for drinking. However, Shimizu plans that the some of the water would be desalinated, and thus made fit for human consumption and for irrigation of crops.
Of course, cost is a huge barrier to a project like the Aqua-Net. It would be extremely expensive, not to mention use vast resources, to build this Desert Aqua-Net. Other problems could easily arise, related to impacts on oceans and rivers. And, of course, predicting weather patterns, and changes to the climate, could present problems, since these cities could be impacted quite a bit. Finally, and not least, issues of sovereignty would likely arise — especially since the Desert Aqua-Net would require a great deal of cooperation between countries.
I think I would try this project in Australia first. They have experienced an extended drought in their interior for over seven years plus they have an advanced sea-water desalinization technology.
If the powers that be are trying to push for a Kardashev “Type One” civilization here, control of all of the planet’s resources and climate is necessary.
Today’s hat tip is Graham Hancock’s NewsDesk.
On March 7, 2010, the ESA (European Space Agency)’s probe Mars Express performed a fly-by of Mars’ moon Phobos to take pictures and check its mass using radar. The camera was able to measure a field 15 feet across, quite an accomplishment on a small object 15 miles long. The amazing feature of Phobos however is its layered striations and lateral pockmarks:
Quite interesting, is it not? Not surprisingly, that purveyor of Lunar crystal cities and Mars faces, Richard Hoagland, points out these features prove that Phobos is artificial!
To be fair however, Hoagland uses the probe’s radar readings to measure the moon’s mass to make his point. Amazingly, he could actually have something to go on here!:
[…]By extremely careful measurements of the actual “radio frequency drift,” recorded during these Phobos “close-approaches,” and by then plugging that data into sophisticated ESA computer models of Phobos interior mass distribution, each varying slightly, and designed according to “Newtonian and Einsteinien Laws of Gravity” … the ESA folks expected to not only be able to measure accurately the overall MASS of Phobos far more precisely than ever before … but, even more importantly–
For the first time, resolve”how” that detected mass was arranged — INSIDE — as measured against the Mars Express “gravity tracking data.”
Normally, even the first results of such a delicate experiment would “wait weeks before it was posted … if it ever was”; ESA this timeposted the “early Doppler results of this ‘super close’ Phobos March 3rd pass” … on March 9th–
Barely one week after the fly-by itself!
And then — described in detail, the science behind the published radio-tracking graph (below):
“ … The Mars Express Radio-Science team, led by Martin Pätzold (Cologne University), has performed a preliminary analysis of the radiometric data recorded during the evening of closest approach, 3 March 2010 …
“The grey line in the image [above] shows the frequency change due to Phobos during a 20-minute window, centered on the closest approach. Before closest approach, the effect of Phobos on the spacecraft is negligible. Then there is a clear jump in frequency at closest approach. This is Phobos slightly changing the orbit of Mars Express.
“The blue line is the expected frequency change assuming the mass of Phobos, as measured during a previous flyby, is evenly distributed throughout the moon’s interior. There are clearly small differences between the blue and grey lines. The challenge now for the Radio-Science team is to dig into these small differences to pries out information on the mass distribution. “The real work starts right here,” says Pätzold.“It may take a few weeks for the extraction of precise information on the interior of Phobos,” says Tom Andert, from Munich University [emphasis added] ….”
One of the responders to this post, on the official ESA “Phobos Blog,” shrewdly observed—
Posted by: Daniel Fischer • Thanks for sharing these data! • reply
09-03-2010 • 17:37:42
Thanks to the Cologne people and ESA for sharing these hot non-imaging data, even without vertical scales – a clever (and accepted) way in showing success without compromising scientific details.
Though, as the total mass of Phobos and C/A distance are both known, reconstructing the ‘missing’ Hertz residuals scale in the 1st plot should be possible for any physicist, right [emphasis added]?
By putting out the actual raw “gravity tracking” data this early, ESA was (apparently) “hedging its bets”; if it WAS planning to release ALL the data, from ALL the experiments carried out during this unique “dozen Phobos fly-by orbit sequence …” — revealing that it IS an “ancient, manufactured object” (as I was beginning to seriously suspect …), this was a MAJOR, additional step in signaling thatultimate intention ….
Providing the perfect segue into what came next–
The Phobos Blog — published on March 25th … posted this “little bit of ‘tracking news'”:
General , Science 25 March, 2010 17:21
Radio science result from 2008 Phobos Flyby now accepted for publication
I’ve just heard that the technical paper discussing the mass and density of Phobos, as determined during the 2008 flyby, has been accepted by Geophysical Research Letters. The abstract is:
We report independent results from two subgroups of the Mars Express Radio Science (MaRS) team who independently analyzed Mars Express (MEX) radio tracking data for the purpose of determining consistently the gravitational attraction of the moon Phobos on the MEX spacecraft, and hence the mass of Phobos. New values for the gravitational parameter (GM=0.7127 ± 0.0021 x 10-³ km³/s²) and density of Phobos (1876 ± 20 kg/m³) provide meaningful new constraints on the corresponding range of the body’s porosity (30% ± 5%), provide a basis for improved interpretation of the internal structure. We conclude that the interior of Phobos likely contains large voids. When applied to various hypotheses bearing on the origin of Phobos, these results are inconsistent with the proposition that Phobos is a captured asteroid [emphasis added] ….
No … this was NOT “the rest of the radio-tracking results” from the March 3rd fly-by, that we were all eagerly anticipating ….
A nominal announcement of “scientific journal (peer-reviewed) publication” … of earlier Phobos “gravity-tracking” results–
From data acquired two YEARS earlier by Mars Express … back in 2008!!
Another major clue that … the political goals of the current, ultra-close Phobos “fly-by campaign” were predicated on the provocative results discovered earlier … in the 2008 fly-bys ….
Which, quoting from the just-published abstract–
” … provide meaningful new constraints on the corresponding range of the body’s [Phobos’] porosity (30% ± 5%), [and thus] provide a basis for improved interpretation of the internal structure. We conclude that theinterior of Phobos likely contains large voids. When applied to various hypotheses bearing on the origin of Phobos, these results are inconsistent with the proposition that Phobos is a captured asteroid[emphasis added] …”
“Inconsistent … that Phobos is a captured asteroid …?”
There … the “ticking time bomb to Disclosure” —
For, Phobos IS — according to these officially-published ESA 2008 Mars Express tracking measurements–
Precisely the same result … as the Soviets reported from their own “mysteriously lost” Phobos-2 Mission — back in 1989 (below)!
Which, of course, is how we at Enterprise have KNOWN about “the reality of an artificial Phobos …” since “Bush 1” … for 21 years–
From correctly interpreting official Soviet spacecraft findings at Mars, in 1989 — data published openly in “the most prestigious science journal in the world,” Nature — of the observed, artificial nature of the evidence transmitted back from the Soviet’s first “Phobos Mission” … Phobos-2 … before it “disappeared.”
Findings which now — from ALL the political clues and “dots’ we’ve been publishing here at Enterprise on “real disclosure,” for months on end — are about to be openly confirmed by ESA [….]
I have serious doubts about any “disclosure.” The word leaves a bad taste in my mouth in that the Euros, or any world government for that matter will admit finding any exo-archeological artifact, no matter how old, dead or benign the object appears to be.
People on Earth aren’t ready to share the Universe yet, especially the radical extreme Abrahamaic religious types.
But if true, this would be the type of proof the SETI types need to prove their hypothesis.
I don’t think so though. They can be just as dogmatic and extreme as the above!
The Nibiru Myth gets another reboot from scientists:
AN invisible star responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs may be circling the Sun and causing comets to bombard the Earth, scientists said.
Now NASA scientists believe they will be able to find Nemesis using a new heat-seeking telescope that began scanning the skies in January.
The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer – expected to find a thousand brown dwarf stars within 25 light years of the Sun – has already sent back a photo of a comet possibly dislodged from the Oort Cloud.
Scientists’ first clue to the existence of Nemesis was the bizarre orbit of a dwarf planet called Sedna. Scientists believe its unusual, 12,000-year-long oval orbit could be explained by a massive celestial body.
Mike Brown, who discovered Sedna in 2003, said: “Sedna is a very odd object – it shouldn’t be there.
The only way to get on an eccentric orbit is to have some giant body kick you – so what is out there?”
Professor John Matese, of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said most comets come from the same part of the Oort Cloud.
He added: “There is statistically significant evidence that this concentration of comets could be caused by a companion to the Sun.”
I think until we actually send a probe to “Nemesis”, all this news will do is fuel the fire of Niribu, End Times and 2012.
But it does make you wonder how the Sumerians knew about these outer planets 5,000 years ago.
It’s been quite a while since mainstream media has said anything serious about UFOs. Usually the corporate media has nothing but derision concerning the subject.
However since the appearance of UFOs over Lake Erie near the city of Cleveland have UFOs once again in the mainstream ken:
I was kind of impressed MSNBC interviewed Nick Pope. But being a former UK Minister of Defense does help the credibility factor somewhat.
The discovery by NASA of water at the Lunar South via the LCROSS Mission was a pleasant surprise by the agency and the scientific community in general and has recently prompted serious discussions of further lunar exploration in the future, because water can be used for various things by a human base there like drinking, bathing, fuel production and for regolith cement for housing.
One has never considered that these rare pools of water could contain organic materials, i.e., life.
But Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists have analyzed 2008 information from their now dead Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe and discovered organic compounds on the moon’s surface:
Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) are on the brink of a path-breaking discovery. They may have found signs of life in some form or the other on the Moon.
They believe so because scientific instruments on India’s first unmanned lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, picked up signatures of organic matter on parts of the Moon’s surface, Surendra Pal, associate director, Isro Satellite Centre (Isac), said at the international radar symposium here on Friday.
Organic matter consists of organic compounds, which consists of carbon — the building block of life.
It indicates the formation of life or decay of a once-living matter.
Pal said the signatures were relayed back to the Bylalu deep space network station near Bangalore by the mass spectrometer on board the Indian payload, the moon impact probe (MIP), on November 14, 2008.
The relay of data happened moments before it crashed near the Moon’s south pole. The MIP was the first experiment of the Chandrayaan-1 mission, which was launched on October 22, 2008.
Pal, however, did not elaborate, but concluded saying “the findings are being analysed and scrutinised for validation by Isro scientists and peer reviewers”.
“It is too early to say anything,” said the director of Isro’s space physics laboratory R Sridharan, who is heading the team of MIP data analysis and study. He, however, did not deny the finding.
DNA later inquired with other senior Chandrayaan-1 mission scientists, who not only confirmed the finding, but gave further details.
“Certain atomic numbers were observed that indicated the presence of carbon components. This indicates the possibility of the presence of organic matter (on the Moon),” a senior scientist told DNA.
Interestingly, similar observations were made by the US’s first manned Moon landing mission, the Apollo-11, in July 1969, which brought lunar soil samples back to Earth. But due to a lack of sophisticated equipment then, the scientists could not confirm the finding.
However, traces of amino acids, which are basic to life, were found in the soil retrieved by the Apollo-11 astronauts.
The Chandrayaan-1 scientists, at present, are analysing the source of origin of the Moon’s organic matter. “It could be comets or meteorites which have deposited the matter on the Moon’s surface; or the instrument that landed on the Moon could have left traces,” a senior space scientist said.
“But the presence of large sheets of ice in the polar regions of the Moon, and the discovery of water molecules there, lend credence to the possibility of organic matter there,” he said.
This is an important discovery and only deepens the mysteries surrounding the Moon.
It has been said that it would be easier exploring Mars, since it acts like it supposed to (like a planet).
The Moon however, doesn’t act like a Moon should.
It acts like a huge spaceship.
Well, that’s a theory to some.
And finding possible life on a supposedly ‘airless’ surface is one in a long line of anomalous characteristics about our nearest celestial neighbor.
Virgin Galactic Satellite Company?
The company is working with UK space exploration company Surrey Small Satellites on plans to develop a launcher that could propel a 200kg satellite into space at roughly 10pc the cost of current technology.
Will Whitehorn, president of Virgin Galactic said: “We have the technology and the investment to put this together. We hope to develop a preliminary satellite launch vehicle ourselves, but will go to the wider market to produce something capable of carrying 200kg, which we believe is the sweet spot in the market.”
Mr Whitehorn said that the company hoped to have proposals to put to the market for the development of the satellite launch vehicle in the next four months.
Virgin Galactic has secured $100m of funding from Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments for the commercial satellite business on top of the $280m co-investment in its space tourism business announced last week. The extra investment would take Aabar’s stake in Virgin Galactic from 32pc to 38pc.
The satellite business will target the growing market for low-orbit earth observation and communication satellites.
According to Mr Whitehorn, it could also be used to start construction of server farms in space and to create mobile and broadband networks that could serve areas such as Africa that do not have good cable networks.
Although the development is in its early stages, it could provide a significant boost to the UK space industry, which according to Mr Whitehorn employs around 70,000 people and represents £2.5bn per year in net exports.
Mr Whitehorn said: “This is a hidden industry in the UK but a very important one. In terms of net exports it is bigger than the car industry.
“We hope to be able to use the development of our commercial satellite business to leverage off the tourism work we are already doing and to add real value to the UK economy.”
Was the 1908 Tunguska, Siberia explosion actually ‘Tesla Tech?‘
1908: Tesla repeated the idea of destruction by electrical waves to the newspaper on April 21st. His letter to the editor stated, “When I spoke of future warfare I meant that it should be conducted by direct application of electrical waves without the use of aerial engines or other implements of destruction.” He added: “This is not a dream. Even now wireless power plants could be constructed by which any region of the globe might be rendered uninhabitable without subjecting the population of other parts to serious danger or inconvenience.”(27)
In the period from 1900 to 1910 Tesla’s creative thrust was to establish his plan for wireless transmission of energy. Undercut by Marconi’s accomplishment, beset by financial problems, and spurned by the scientific establishment, Tesla was in a desperate situation by mid-decade. The strain became too great by 1906-1907 and, according to Tesla biographers, he suffered an emotional collapse.(28),(29)In order to make a final effort to have his grand scheme recognized, he may have tried one high power test of his transmitter to show off its destructive potential. This would have been in 1908.
The Tunguska event took place on the morning of June 30th, 1908. An explosion estimated to be equivalent to 10-15 megatons of TNT flattened 500,000 acres of pine forest near the Stony Tunguska River in central Siberia. Whole herds of reindeer were destroyed. Several nomadic villages were reported to have vanished. The explosion was heard over a radius of 620 miles. When an expedition was made to the area in 1927 to find evidence of the meteorite presumed to have caused the blast, no impact crater was found. When the ground was drilled for pieces of nickel, iron, or stone, the main constituents of meteorites, none were found down to a depth of 118 feet.
Several explanations have been given for the Tunguska event. The officially accepted version is that a 100,000 ton fragment of Encke’s Comet, composed mainly of dust and ice, entered the atmosphere at 62,000 mph, heated up, and exploded over the earth’s surface creating a fireball and shock wave but no crater. Alternative explanations of the disaster include a renegade mini-black hole or an alien space ship crashing into the earth with the resulting release of energy.
Associating Tesla with the Tunguska event comes close to putting the inventor’s power transmission idea in the same speculative category as ancient astronauts. However, historical facts point to the possibility that this event was caused by a test firing of Tesla’s energy weapon.
In 1907 and 1908, Tesla wrote about the destructive effects of his energy transmitter. His Wardenclyffe facility was much larger than the Colorado Springs device that destroyed the power station’s generator. Then, in 1915, he stated bluntly:
It is perfectly practical to transmit electrical energy without wires and produce destructive effects at a distance. I have already constructed a wireless transmitter which makes this possible. … But when unavoidable [it] may be used to destroy property and life. The art is already so far developed that the great destructive effects can be produced at any point on the globe, defined beforehand with great accuracy (emphasis added).(30) Nikola Tesla, 1915
He seems to confess to such a test having taken place before 1915, and, though the evidence is circumstantial, Tesla had the motive and the means to cause the Tunguska event. His transmitter could generate energy levels and frequencies capable of releasing the destructive force of 10 megatons, or more, of TNT. And the overlooked genius was desperate.
The nature of the Tunguska event, also, is consistent with what would happen during the sudden release of wireless power. No fiery object was reported in the skies at that time by professional or amateur astronomers as would be expected when a 200,000,000 pound object enters the atmosphere at tens of thousands miles an hour. Also, the first reporters, from the town of Tomsk, to reach the area judged the stories about a body falling from the sky was the result of the imagination of an impressionable people. He noted there was considerable noise coming from the explosion, but no stones fell. The absence of an impact crater can be explained by there having been no material body to impact. An explosion caused by broadcast power would not leave a crater.
This sounds amazingly like HAARP tech also.
Are the two related?
Nuclear Energy Redux
We can make a case for improving living standards through space exploration, but only if we take the necessary next steps. Today, our launch technologies are essentially half a century old, with only minor improvements along the way. In our attempt to bootstrap a spacefaring civilization, we need to be thinking long-term and improving our ways of getting out of Earth’s gravity well. On this score, Genta is a proponent of nuclear energy, believing it alone will allow our emergence as a true spacefaring species. Here he speaks from his perspective as a deeply practical mechanical engineer:
The use of nuclear energy for space propulsion in Earth orbit and beyond is just a matter of political will and only marginally of technology: sure, technological advances are required, but after more than 50 years of theoretical studies the ideas are clear and what are still needed are just details. Nuclear-thermal propulsion was demonstrated on the ground in the 1970s and could be used by now for deep-space propulsion. It is true that the performance of such systems can be improved well beyond those demonstrated up to now, but what we have could allow anyway a large improvement if compared with chemical propulsion.
But transitioning to next generation technologies — or catching up in terms of a developing but unused capability — is a demanding process. More on this:
What we really need is to have nuclear powered spacecraft for interplanetary missions, even if their performance were only marginally better than those of chemical propulsion: we need to gain experience in building and operating nuclear systems in space and to make people used to this technology. Performance of nuclear thermal propulsion will improve in due course, but if we wait to start until improved systems are available, everything will be delayed indefinitely.
Anyone advocating nuclear propulsion in today’s climate of opinion is sure to have a fight on his hands, but Genta believes the time for this fight is propitious. We’re already seeing signs that in the power industry, nuclear options are making a comeback in terms of public acceptance — the phrase ‘nuclear renaissance’ is in the air in some quarters, indicating that we may be ready to move past the era of kneejerk rejection of the nuclear idea. Funding remains a problem, but we come back again to having to sell our future in space one mission at a time, a laborious task but an essential one.
The space option is a long-term perspective, which will naturally be implemented in due time. Perhaps it is hard to accept that progress toward space must be done step by step, but trying shortcuts may be dangerous. In a situation of scarce funds a hard competition between missions and technologies should be avoided. The efforts should be concentrated in areas that may prove to be enabling technologies, even if this may result in postponing some important scientific results.
There is no more important enabling technology than one that would get us to low-Earth orbit cheaply. Genta noted the space elevator concept in his talk but expressed concerns about the size of the investment needed to build it. In any case, a space elevator raises its own safety concerns. He sees nuclear technology as an achievable solution to the low-Earth orbit problem that should not be put off in hopes of a vastly more expensive future solution. Political will is a tricky thing to summon, but making a sustained, long-term case for space as a key player in our economic future may help overcome the obstacle.
Paul makes an excellent case for the use of nuclear power and uses Genta’s paper to great effect, and I totally agree with the meme 100%.
Without utilizing nuclear energy of some sort, mankind will never make it off its’ planet in numbers large enough to colonize the Solar System, let alone interstellar space.
Somehow, I’m not too optimistic about our prospects lately.
Inflatable Tower of Babel?
Pneumatic modules already used in some spacecraft could be assembled into a 15-kilometre-high towerThe team envisages assembling the structure from a series of modules constructed from Kevlar-polyethylene composite tubes made rigid by inflating them with a lightweight gas such as helium. To test the idea, they built a 7-metre scale model made up of six modules (see image). Each module was built out of three laminated polyethylene tubes 8 centimetres in diameter, mounted around circular spacers and inflated with air.
To stay upright and withstand winds, full-scale structures would require gyroscopes and active stabilisation systems in each module. The team modelled a 15-kilometre tower made up of 100 modules, each one 150 metres tall and 230 metres in diameter, built from inflatable tubes 2 metres across. Quine estimates it would weigh about 800,000 tonnes when pressurised – around twice the weight of the world’s largest supertanker.
“Twenty kilometres up is about as dark as outer space. You can see about 600 kilometres in any direction,” Quine says. Tourists could get a view almost like that from space, but without the difficulties of coping with zero gravity. He calculates the tower could be extended up to low Earth orbit at 200 kilometres.
“Beetle-juice – beetle-juice – beetle-juice!”
A 15-year, continuous observation of the red supergiant Betelgeuse has found the star, one of the largest known, is shrinking – but astronomers don’t understand why.“We don’t know what is causing the shrinking of Betelgeuse. This is part of the surprise and puzzle,” astrophysicist and Nobel laureate Charles Townes told Cosmos Online.
Betelgeuse is a red supergiant red star about 20 times as massive as the Sun. It sits in the western shoulder of the constellation Orion, and is one of the brightest stars in the sky.
Maybe it’s disappearing into the under-verse and we need to say its name three times fast?
Just when you thought you were beginning to understand the twin paradox (maybe), scientists have found something new to ponder. In the original version of the famous thought experiment on time dilation, one twin stays on Earth while the other twin takes a rocket at nearly light speed into space, and returns to find that he is younger than his twin on Earth. But a new version of the story now shows that the twin who experiences an acceleration can be older than the twin who doesn’t accelerate, under slightly different conditions.
In 1905, Einstein described the ideas behind the twin paradox to demonstrate the effects of time dilation according to special relativity. In 1911, physicist Paul Langevin turned the concept into a concrete story involving two hypothetical twins. Ever since then, scientists have offered various explanations for exactly why this aging paradox occurs, and whether it is even a true paradox at all.
As Abramowicz and Bajtlik note in their study, it is often claimed that the twin paradox can be explained by the acceleration of the traveling twin that occurs when he turns around to go back to Earth. Abramowicz and Bajtlik show, however, that it is not the acceleration that causes the age difference in most cases. By presenting a scenario in which the accelerated twin is older at the reunion, the scientists show that the final time difference between the twins often depends only on their velocities as measured with respect to an absolute standard of rest, and not on acceleration.
In the new scenario, both twins are in circular orbit at different velocities around a large body, with the velocities measured by observers rotating with zero angular momentum with respect to the sky. Abramowicz and Bajtlik considered what happens when twin A stops moving, and so has a velocity of zero, and therefore a non-zero acceleration. Twin B continues to orbit at a set velocity corresponding to Keplerian free orbit and therefore has zero acceleration. Twin A is the accelerated twin, and twin B is not accelerated. As the scientists calculate, contrary to the classical version of the paradox, twin B is younger.
Do you grok that pilgrim? It’s the final velocity, not the acceleration that does the time travel schtick.
I think they need to try this in a particle accelerator to get this right. Real experiments versus esoteric math is better science.