The essence is do it right the first time because space, she is a harsh mistress. In space engineers have to deal with extreme environments, one minute it’s blistering cold, the next it’s hellish heat. Materials must become complex, like self healing suits and ship exteriors.
A megawatt-class nuclear propulsion spaceship is being developed in Russia starting in 2017. The reactor will be used to generate the enormous amount of electricity the craft will need and not be used to propel the craft directly by heating the propellent. A separate plasma engine will be used that will create a specific impulse 20 times greater than conventional chemical rockets. Definitely an interesting development.
My five crew mates and I will be living and acting as astronauts exploring a Martian environment, conducting experiments, and testing protocols. In particular, we are examining the hypothesis that astronauts cannot live by rehydrated foods alone: we will be cooking and baking with shelf-stable ingredients as astronauts on future Mars missions might.
Living and working on a ship (AKA, deep space habitat) for up to a year is going to be a huge challenge for humanity. NASA is working on some next generation technology that will allow us to realistically and effectively take on manned missions to Mars, asteroids, and other deep space targets.
I’m a little concerned there is no provision for artificial gravity, at least partial time. It seems to me a 6+ month journey will be hard on the human body. The muscle atrophy and loss of bone mass are especially worrisome.
I think when the history books are written, Elon Musk will be among the top 5 visionaries of the 21st century because his visions are the ones that will impact humanity in the most profound way, from energy to private space.
By cutting out the inefficiencies like the bureaucracy, reduce sub-contractor dependancies, and no reliance on patent applications, they’ve managed to cut launch costs down an order of magnitude of what NASA was spending. Amazing. And on reusable space craft:
America would never have been colonized if ships weren’t reusable.
The test was part of Blue Origin’s work under a funded agreement with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP), which aims to spur the development of private American vehicles to fill the void left by the retirement of the space shuttle fleet.
Interesting. Appears robots replace jobs in dangerous manufacturing areas and people are making up for them in distribution and services. There is also the potential for 700,000 to 1 million jobs by 2016. (Source link is a PDF file.)
A great series on the YouTube channel, THNKR. Question asked all the time: Do we need to send human if robots have proven to be so capable? Ashwin Vasavada gives us a compelling reason why human exploration is essential.
“It’s still science fiction,” says Geoffrey Landis, a NASA physicist and scifi author, “but it’s near-term science fiction.”
Great piece at Centauri Dreams. Planet Bb may not be an ideal target for humanities first interstellar probe, but this discovery means there is a lot more exciting things to discover in that system.
A week ago we didn’t think planetary systems could have formed around trinary star systems. Now we know of one right next door.
A look at future missions that will seek out more exoplanets like Gaia, NEAT and New Worlds.
Gaia’s keen vision will allow it to detect Jupiter-sized planets orbiting stars out to a distance of 600 light-years.