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Archive for the ‘space travel’ category

Jan 24, 2020

Computer model shows ancient Earth with an atmosphere 70 percent carbon dioxide

Posted by in categories: computing, space travel

A team of researchers from the University of Washington has found evidence that the Earth’s atmosphere approximately 2.7 billion years ago might have been up to 70 percent carbon dioxide. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their study of micrometeorites and what they learned from them.

As scientists continue to study Earth’s past, they look for evidence of what environmental conditions might have been like in hopes of understanding how life arose. One important piece of the puzzle is the atmosphere. Scientists suspect that its ingredients were far different billions of years ago, but they have little in the way of evidence to prove it. In this new endeavor, the researchers looked to micrometeorites as a possible source of clues. Their thinking was that any material from space that made its way to the surface of the planet had to travel first through the atmosphere—and any material that travels through the atmosphere is highly influenced by its materials, largely due to the high temperatures of atmospheric entry.

Several years ago, researchers found a host of micrometeorites that had landed on Earth approximately 2.7 billion years ago, putting them squarely in the Archean Eon—the time during which it is believed life first appeared on Earth. Study of the micrometeorites showed that they contained high levels of iron along with wüstite. Wüstite forms when iron is exposed to oxygen, but not on the Earth’s surface. It must have been created as the grain-sized meteorites burned and fell through the Earth’s atmosphere. Intrigued by the finding, the researchers created a to simulate the conditions that would lead to the creation of materials such as wüstite on a rock falling through the atmosphere.

Jan 24, 2020

SpaceX releases preliminary results from Crew Dragon abort test

Posted by in category: space travel

Data from the Jan. 19 in-flight launch escape demonstration of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft indicate the performance of the capsule’s SuperDraco abort engines was “flawless” as the thrusters boosted the ship away from the top of a Falcon 9 rocket with a peak acceleration of about 3.3Gs, officials said Thursday.

The Jan. 19 test demonstrated the Crew Dragon’s ability to safely carry astronauts away from a launch emergency, such as a rocket failure, and return the crew to a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

For its final full-scale test before astronauts ride it into space, the Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off at 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT) on Jan. 19 from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A Falcon 9 rocket carried the capsule aloft — just as it would on a crewed mission — for the first 85 seconds of the mission.

Continue reading “SpaceX releases preliminary results from Crew Dragon abort test” »

Jan 23, 2020

Helium-3 mining on the lunar surface

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, space travel

The idea of harvesting a clean and efficient form of energy from the Moon has stimulated science fiction and fact in recent decades. Unlike Earth, which is protected by its magnetic field, the Moon has been bombarded with large quantities of Helium-3 by the solar wind. It is thought that this isotope could provide safer nuclear energy in a fusion reactor, since it is not radioactive and would not produce dangerous waste products.

The Apollo programme’s own geologist, Harrison Schmidt, has repeatedly made the argument for Helium-3 mining, whilst Gerald Kulcinski at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is another leading proponent. He has created a small reactor at the Fusion Technology Institute, but so far it has not been possible to create the helium fusion reaction with a net power output.

This has not stopped the search for Helium-3 from being a motivating factor in space exploration, however. Apart from the traditional space-faring nations, the India has previously indicated its interest in mining the lunar surface. The use of Moon resources was also part of Newt Gingrich’s unsuccessful candidacy for the Republican party’s nomination for the US presidency in 2012.

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Jan 22, 2020

Navy Files Patent for Compact Fusion Reactor

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics, space travel

Essentially beyond this is a higgs boson reactor essentially a universe of power in a jar.


Scientists have longed to create the perfect energy source. Ideally, that source would eventually replace greenhouse gas-spewing fossil fuels, power cars, boats, and planes, and send spacecraft to remote parts of the universe. So far, nuclear fusion energy has seemed like the most likely option to help us reach those goals.

Continue reading “Navy Files Patent for Compact Fusion Reactor” »

Jan 22, 2020

NRO, the U.S. spy satellite agency, preps for first dedicated launch on foreign soil

Posted by in category: space travel

Coming up in the next week: Launches by Soyuz, Falcon 9 and H-2A rockets from spaceports in Russia, Florida and Japan.

See our list of confirmed launch dates for upcoming missions:


A regularly updated listing of planned orbital missions from spaceports around the globe. Dates and times are given in Greenwich Mean Time. “NET” stands for no earlier than. “TBD” means to be determined. Recent updates appear in red type. Please send any corrections, additions or updates by e-mail to: [email protected].

See our Launch Log for a listing of completed space missions since 2004.

Continue reading “NRO, the U.S. spy satellite agency, preps for first dedicated launch on foreign soil” »

Jan 22, 2020

These photos of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon abort launch are just stunning

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel

On Sunday (Jan. 19), SpaceX’s Crew Dragon launched on a brilliant a high-altitude test of its launch escape system.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk called the in-flight abort test flight “picture perfect,” and, in looking at the stunning images of the test, he was absolutely right. Following a weather delay, Crew Dragon lifted off at 10:30 a.m. EST (1430 GMT) atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Jan 22, 2020

Physicists Develop Reversible Laser Tractor Beam Functional Over Long Distances

Posted by in categories: entertainment, particle physics, space travel, tractor beam

Circa 2015


Spaceships in movies and TV shows routinely use tractor beams to tow other vessels or keep them in place. Physicists have been hard at work trying take this technology from science fiction to reality. Significant process has recently been made by a team who have developed a laser tractor beam able to attract and repel particles about 100 times further than has been previously achieved. The lead author of the paper, published in Nature Photonics, is Vladlen Shvedov at Australian National University in Canberra.

Other recent tractor beams have used acoustics or water, but this one uses a single laser beam to control tiny particles about 0.2 millimeters in diameter. The tractor beam was able to manipulate the particles from a distance of 20 centimeters, shattering previous records. Despite this incredible distance, the researchers claim it is still on the short end of what is possible for this tractor beam technique.

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Jan 21, 2020

‘India took only five years to move from USD 2 to USD 3 trillion economy’

Posted by in categories: economics, space travel

It took us nearly 60 years after independence to achieve USD 1 trillion mark. It took 12 years to achieve our second trillion (dollar economy). And it has taken only five years, 2014 to 2019, to achieve the third trillion economy,” Indian Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, said in his address to the Indian-American community. Washington: India took only five years to move from a USD 2 trillion to USD 3 trillion economy, the Indian envoy to the US has said as he exuded confidence that the country would touch the USD 5 trillion mark in the coming years. In 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office, India was the 11th largest economy in the world. Five years down the line, India is either the fifth or sixth-largest economy of the world, the Indian Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, said “This is a result of the leadership of the prime minister and the political stability in the country,” Shringla said in his keynote address to the 2019 Annual Gala of Asian Indian Americans of Central Pennsylvania. “It took us nearly 60 years after independence to achieve USD 1 trillion mark. It took 12 years to achieve our second trillion (dollar economy). And it has taken only five years, 2014 to 2019, to achieve the third trillion economy,” Shringla said in his address to the Indian-American community. The prime minister envisions an India that becomes a USD 5 trillion economy, meaning jumping by another USD 2 trillion in the next five years to come, Shringla said. “Soon, we will have the largest productive workforce in the world,” he said. Referring to the fact that India is only the third country to send a satellite to Mars, he said the average age of the scientists working on that mission was 29 years. Observing that India has developed unique ties across the world, he said New Delhi had extended its hand of friendship in its neighbourhood. India-US relationship is one of the paradigms of such co-operation, friendship, and partnership, he said. In last 10–15 years, this relationship has become very multifaceted and comprehensive. The United States, today, is not only India’s largest trading partner, but most importantly, the two countries enjoys excellent people-to-people contact, Shringla said. Indian-Americans, he said, have played a vital role in this relationship, he told the audience. Referring to the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston on September 30, Shringla said that the prime minister addressing 50,000 Indian-Americans, along with US President Donald Trump, was a proud moment for the community. “It also reflects the partnership between the two countries,” he said.

Jan 21, 2020

Spacewalkers to complete another round of solar array battery replacements

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel

SpaceX simulated an in-flight emergency Sunday to verify the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft has the capability to catapult itself away from a failing Falcon 9 rocket.

The in-flight abort test demonstrated the human-rated capsule can safely and rapidly fly away from a Falcon 9 rocket experiencing a failure.

As intended, the Falcon 9’s engines prematurely shut down around 84 seconds after liftoff Sunday from the Kennedy Space Center. The automated Crew Dragon capsule fired its own thrusters to escape the rocket before it disintegrated in an orange fireball high over Florida’s Space Coast.

Continue reading “Spacewalkers to complete another round of solar array battery replacements” »

Jan 20, 2020

Photos: Ariane 5’s fiery climb to space from French Guiana

Posted by in category: space travel

SpaceX simulated an in-flight emergency Sunday to verify the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft has the capability to catapult itself away from a failing Falcon 9 rocket.

Check out more spectacular photos of as a fireball engulfed the Falcon 9 — as expected — and the unpiloted Crew Dragon fired thrusters escape the launch vehicle (📷: Katie Darby & Spaceflight Now):

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