Archive for the ‘space travel’ category: Page 278

Dec 30, 2019

Elon Musk details SpaceX progress on latest Starship spacecraft build and flight timelines

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel

The holidays might be a time of slowed activity for most companies in the tech sector, but for SpaceX, it was a time to ramp production efforts on the latest Starship prototype — “Starship SN1” as it’s called, according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. This flight design prototype of Starship is under construction at SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas development facility, and Musk was in attendance over the weekend overseeing its build and assembly.

Musk shared video of the SpaceX team working on producing the curved dome that will sit atop the completed Starship SN1 (likely stands for “serial number 1,” a move to a more iterative naming system and away from the “Mark” nomenclature used for the original prototype), a part he called “the most difficult” in terms of the main components of the new spacecraft. He added that each new SN version of the rocket SpaceX builds will have minor improvements “at least” through the first 20 or so versions, so it’s clear they expect to iterate and test these quickly.

As for when it might actually fly, Musk said that he hopes this Starship will take off sometime around “2 to 3 months” from now, which is still within range of the projections for a first Starship high-altitude test flight given by the CEO earlier this year at the unveiling of the Starship Mk1 prototype. That prototype was originally positioned as the one that would fly for the high-altitude test, but it blew its top during testing in November and Musk said they’d be moving on to a new design rather than repair or rebuild the Mk1.

Dec 30, 2019

Physicist Proposes Radical New ‘Stellar Engine’ That Could Move Our Entire Solar System

Posted by in category: space travel

The stellar engine – a gigantic contraption built with the purpose of transporting our Solar System somewhere else, if we ever need to move to a different cosmic neighbourhood. Now, new research has put forward another idea for what such a radical stellar engine might look like. Via this beautiful video from Kurzgesagt, Caplan Thruster, would use the Sun’s own energy to propel it across the galaxy and beyond.

As far as hypothetical space megastructures go, the stellar engine is one of our favourites – a gigantic contraption built with the purpose of transporting our Solar System somewhere else, if we ever need to move to a different cosmic neighbourhood.

Continue reading “Physicist Proposes Radical New ‘Stellar Engine’ That Could Move Our Entire Solar System” »

Dec 29, 2019

Scientists recommend building a Martian settlement using bacteria

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, space travel

Researchers from the Dutch Delft University of Technology and NASA/ESA recommend that we build a Mars base with the use of bacteria. In short, the idea is to send a spacecraft containing bacteria to Mars several years ahead of sending human settlers. Those bacteria can then start mining for iron that will later be used by human pioneers when building settlements.

Benjamin Lehner, a Ph.D. student from the Delft University of Technology, mapped out a complete plan to adequately prepare for human settlers. He proposes to send an initial capsule containing a bioreactor, an uncomplicated rover that is capable of digging, and a 3D printer. The reactor will be filled with a type of bacteria called ‘Shewanella oneidensis’ that can convert the non-usable naturally occurring iron in the Martian soil to usable magnetite that is easy to extract. This magnetite can then be converted to components like iron plates with the 3D printer.

Dec 29, 2019

Calculating the time it will take spacecraft to find their way to other star systems

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel

A pair of researchers, one with the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, the other with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at CIT, has found a way to estimate how long it will take already launched space vehicles to arrive at other star systems. The pair, Coryn Bailer-Jones and Davide Farnocchia have written a paper describing their findings and have uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server.

Back in the 1970s, NASA sent four unmanned probes out into the solar system—Pioneer 10 and 11, and Voyager 1 and 2—which, after completion of their missions, kept going—all four are on their way out of the or have already departed. But what will become of them? Will they make their way to other star systems, and if so, how long might it take them? This is what Bailer-Jones and Davide Farnocchia wondered. To find some possible answers, they used the Gaia space telescope. It was launched by the European Space Agency back in 2013 and has been stationed at a point just outside of Earth’s orbit around the sun. It has been collecting information on a billion stars, including their paths through space. The latest dataset was released just last year on 7.2 million stars.

With data describing the paths of the four and data describing the paths of a host of stars in hand, the researchers were able to work out when the paths of the four spacecraft might approach very far away .

Dec 28, 2019

Can We Genetically Engineer Humans to Survive Missions to Mars?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, space travel

We might one day combine tardigrade DNA into our own cells.

Dec 27, 2019

Elon Musk shares video of Starship tank dome progress after pulling all nighter with SpaceX team

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel

SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted a video showing construction progress on the dome tank for Starship, a spacecraft designed to eventually take Earth colonists to the moon and Mars.

Dec 26, 2019

The Construction Robots Building Space Colonies

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel

Sending construction robots into outer space will help pave the way for human exploration, but there are some real challenges that lie ahead.

Dec 26, 2019

1,000 Starships, 20 Years Are Needed to Build Sustainable City on Mars, Says Elon Musk

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel, sustainability

Elon Musk shared an update that building a sustainable city on Mars will take at least two more decades, as the planets align only once every two years.

Dec 25, 2019

New engine tech could get us to Mars faster

Posted by in category: space travel

NASA wants to send humans to Mars one day, but do we have the engines to get us there?

Dec 24, 2019

Why Space Travels Faster Than Light

Posted by in category: space travel

Space travels faster than the speed of light!