As science and technology advance, we’re asking our space missions to deliver more and more results. NASA’s MSL Curiosity and Perseverance rovers illustrate this fact. Perseverance is an exceptionally exquisite assemblage of technologies. These cutting-edge rovers need a lot of power to fulfill their tasks, and that means bulky and expensive power sources.Continue reading “Exploring the Outer Solar System Takes Power, Here’s a Way to Miniaturize Nuclear Batteries for Deep Space”
Continue reading ““To Boldy Go”: The Nichelle Nichols Foundation Continues Actress’ Legacy of Inspiration”
“Science is not a boy’s game, it’s not a girl’s game. It’s everyone’s game. It’s about where we are and where we’re going. Space travel benefits us here on Earth. And we ain’t stopped yet. There’s more exploration to come.”
–Nichelle Nichols (1932-2022)
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If space colonization is in our future, we’ll have to use the resources available there. But we won’t be able to bring our established industrial methods and processes from Earth into space. Transporting heavy mining machinery to the Moon, Mars, or anywhere else in space is not feasible. And each of those environments is wildly different from Earth. We’ll need novel approaches to solve all of the problems facing us, and the approaches will have to be sustainable.
Terrestrial microbes are the foundation of Earth’s biosphere, and they could play an outsized role in space colonization.Continue reading “Want to Colonize Space? Unleash the Power of Microbes”
Japan and Germany have a history of collaboration in scientific and technological endeavours. The countries have a Joint Committee on Cooperation in Science Technology that has met many times over the decades. Both countries have advanced, powerful economies and sophisticated technological know-how, so it makes sense they’d collaborate on scientific activities.
This time, their cooperation concerns a small, potato-shaped chunk of rock: Mars’ moon Phobos.Continue reading “JAXA’s Ambitious Mission to Phobos Will Even Have European-Built Rover”
Edward Stone is retiring after 50 years as Project Scientist for the Voyager mission. The twin spacecraft revolutionized our understanding of our Solar System, and Stone was along for the ride every step of the way. Both spacecraft are still going, travelling deeper into interplanetary space, and still sending data home.
But after a long and rewarding career full of achievements and recognition, Stone is moving on.Continue reading “Edward Stone Has Been the Voyagers’ Project Scientist for 50 Years. He Just Retired”
Space settlement proponents and science fiction fans are likely familiar with the Stanford Torus, a gigantic donut-shaped spinning space habitat that could provide Earth-like gravity and climate for as many as 140,000 people.
But you’ve never seen it like this.Continue reading “Check out This Amazing Fly-through of a Futuristic Space Habitat”
How great are wheels, really? Wheels need axles. Suspension. Power of some kind. And roads, or at least swaths of relatively flat and stable terrain. Then you need to maintain all of it. Because of their cost many civilizations across human history, who knew all about wheels and axles, didn’t bother using them for transportation. Another way to look at it – much of human technology mimics nature. Of the simple machines, levers, inclined planes, wedges, and even screws are observed in nature. Why not the wheel?Continue reading “Robots Might Jump Around to Explore the Moon”
In this decade, multiple space agencies will send astronauts to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo Era. In addition to NASA, the ESA, China, and Roscosmos, commercial space entities like SpaceX and Blue Origin are hoping to conduct regular missions in support of human exploration while also mounting their own private ventures. In time, this activity could result in the creation of permanent infrastructure, a regular human presence, and the emergence of a lunar economy. Nevertheless, there are many questions about how humans will live in lunar conditions and what type of facilities will be needed.
To this end, the Austrian-based inflatable structures specialist Pneumocell recently conducted a study to determine if lightweight prefabricated structures would be a suitable option. According to this study, a series of donut-shaped inflatable structures could be transported to the Moon at a low cost, where they would then be inflated. The habitats would be partially buried beneath the lunar regolith and surrounded by solar mirrors that could direct sunlight into their greenhouses. This “Inflatable Moon Habitat” offers a cost-effective and highly self-sufficient means of establishing a foothold on the Moon.Continue reading “Bouncy Castles on the Moon. Inflated Habitats Might be the Best Way to Get Started on a Lunar Base”
What is the greatest challenge facing humans as we prepare for the first crewed missions to Mars? Solar and cosmic radiation? Atrophying bone and muscle? Growing food? How about laundry? It’s strange but true, right now we don’t have a way to clean laundry in space.Continue reading “Socks, The Final Frontier”
Spaceflight can be dangerous – and not just because astronauts are strapped to an ongoing massive explosion for their ascent into orbit. Its long-term effects on the human body are starting to come more clearly into focus, and so far, none of the answers have been good. Now a new study from Mount Sinai Medical Hospital has found that, even on relatively short duration spaceflights, astronauts suffer potentially damaging DNS mutations.Continue reading “Even Short Flights to Space Cause Cell Mutations That Could Lead to Cancer and Heart Disease”