May 28, 2012

Compare Comets and Asteroids with 'FindTheData' (Source: FindTheData)
Comets and asteroids are believed to be ancient remnants of the earliest years of the formation of our solar system more than four billion years ago. From the beginning of life on Earth to the recent spectacular impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter, these so-called "small bodies" play a key role in many of the fundamental processes that have shaped the planetary neighborhood in which we live. Visit Comets and Asteroids. You can also compare Planets, Telescopes, and Astrogeology. (5/28)

An 'Abundance' of Targets for Asteroid Miners (Source: USA Today)
"Space is big. Really Big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely, mind-bogglingly big," as the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxyonce noted. About the only thing nearly as big, it seems safe to say, are today's hopes of making money exploring space. Which are looking a lot brighter today, for at least two reasons. The big news, of course, is that the SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule managed to dock with the International Space Station on Friday.

But another reason, almost lost amid the excitement over the Dragon mission, offers some comfort to even more ambitious folks, including would-be asteroid miners at the recently-announced start-up Planetary Resources of Bellevue, Washington. There are about twice as many nearby asteroids whose orbits tilt to match Earth's as previously estimated, it turns out, according to results announced earlier this month from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft. Click here. (5/28)

Dragon at ISS: Shedding a Tear Over A Heckuva Deal (Source: Orbital Inclinations)
Some say this wasn’t a pure commercial, private effort because taxpayer money paid for it. I say so what if taxpayer money is involved? The way NASA is contracting with SpaceX for these services is completely different than the usual way it’s done, and that means that any way you slice this, as an average taxpayer, I’m getting more bang for my buck, and that’s a big deal. Click here. (5/28)

Charlize Theron Wants to Go Into Space (Source: CTV)
The actress thinks it would be a "scary" experience, but would love to be onboard Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic commercial space flights. She said: "I'm totally open to going up in space. Isn't Richard Branson doing it? But I hear it's expensive! You can go up for $200,000. I'm open to all of that stuff. I'm sure it would be scary, but hopefully I'd just be going to see what it looks like, so I'd be coming back. I wouldn't miss anything here because I try to live in the present." (5/28)

Tackling Space Debris With Nanobots And Lasers (Source: Asian Scientist)
Three students of the Institute of Science and Technology at Klawad in Haryana, India have proposed a revolutionary method to tackle the problem of space debris. In a paper entitled Space Debris and its Mitigation published in the Moon Miners’ Manifesto India quarterly, Sourabh Kaushal and Nishant Arora propose the use of decayable material when manufacturing space machines, and nanobots that collect these machines upon decay.

The work has also earned the team – which includes a third student Niraj Pachpnde – acclaim from space experts like V. Adimurthy, Dean (R&D) of ISRO’s Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, and Priyankar Bandhopadhyay, a space debris expert at ISRO. The method proposed in this paper involves a mesh made out of carbon nanotubes that acts as a touch screen. When debris brushes onto the screen, nanobots placed at specific coordinates collect the particles for storage. (5/24)

Indian Students Visit KSC for Space Training (Source: The Hindu)
A group of thirty four students from Ryan International Schools in Bangalore had a unique learning experience when they attended a week long mission - Space Challenge program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center near Orlando - Florida. In this program, the students were assigned a mission of designing and launching their own satellite payload within a budget of time and money.

Students spent their week long training, touring the facilities at Kennedy Space Centre, interacting with NASA astronauts, exploring the launching - landing facilities for space shuttles , shuttle manufacturing sites, making robots, riding on a shuttle launch simulator, and doing many more exciting things. The highlight of the program was designing satellite payload with instrumentations such as GPS, video camera and altimeter. The mission was to launch it to the height of 100,000 feet above the earth's surface. (5/28)

South Korea to Develop Geostationary Satellite for Environmental Monitoring (Source: Xinhua)
South Korea has fully embarked on the development of a geostationary environmental satellite with the goal of launching it in 2018, the government said Monday. The Ministry of Environment said that it is pushing ahead with efforts to promote the development of the satellite, which will monitor air pollution and climate change in Northeast Asia and the Korean peninsula. The National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) will select overseas companies for development cooperation within this year and will manufacture the satellite by 2015. (5/28)

Our Future on Mars is Looking Up (Source: America Space)
The future of Martian exploration might be looking up. Last week, NASA received nearly 400 submissions for missions as part of the Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration Workshop held in Houston. NASA’s future on Mars has taken a bit of a turn lately. When the 2013 budget was released last year, funding for planetary missions was hit hard. The space agency pulled out of the ExoMars mission – a joint mission with the European Space Agency (ESA) – which effectively killed its plans for a sample return mission by 2022.

The prospect of a 2018 mission, a year that sees the fastest transit time between the two planets in 15 years, failed to gain traction under the current budget crunch. But Obama has sought to inspire the future of space by challenging NASA To put a manned crew in orbit around Mars by 2030. It’s a goal that, despite the current financial situation, NASA is still working towards. (5/28)

Astronauts Say Crews Would be Comfortable in Dragon (Source:
Two astronauts who helped capture and berth the Dragon supply ship said Saturday they would be comfortable flying a human-rated version of the craft on commercial flights to the International Space Station. Don Pettit, who launched to the station on a Soyuz in December, said Dragon is bigger than Russia's venerable Soyuz capsule. "It's roomier than a Soyuz, so flying up in a human-rated Dragon is not going to be an issue," Pettit said.

"I spent quite a bit of time poking around in here this morning just looking at the engineering and the layout, and I'm very pleased," Pettit said Saturday. "It looks like it carries about as much cargo as I could put in my pickup truck." Andre Kuipers, who hails from the Netherlands, called Dragon "beautiful, spacious [and] modern" on his Flickr photo page. With blue interior lighting, Kuipers said Dragon "feels a bit like a sci-fi film set."

Pettit said Dragon was plenty spacious for quick trips to the complex, which orbits 250 miles above Earth. It would take between just a few hours to a couple of days for astronauts to arrive at the space station after launch. "There's not enough room in here to hold a barn dance, but for transportation for crew up and down through Earth's atmosphere and into space, which is a rather short period of time, there's plenty of room in here for the envisioned crews," Pettit said. (5/28)

SpaceX's No. 1 Rule for Naming Private Spaceship Parts: Be Cool (Source:
A fire-breathing "Dragon" flew atop a "Falcon" that was granted its powers by "Merlin." Though the scene could be out of a fantasy novel, it is also literally true. Though many pieces of SpaceX hardware have fantastical monikers, company spokeswoman Kirstin Brost Grantham said they weren't all planned to fit a theme. "They are named independently, the rule is names must be cool," Grantham told (5/28)

Sea Launch Plans to Orbit Three Satellites Before Year-End (Source: Interfax)
The Sea Launch international consortium plans to launch two telecom satellites of Intelsat this summer. "The launch of Intelsat 19 with a Zenit-3SL carrier vehicle from the mobile launch pad in the Pacific is scheduled for 9:23 a.m. Moscow time on June 1. The Intelsat 21 launch is due on August 7," a source said. Sea Launch Consortium also plans to put the Eutelsat 70B satellite to orbit in the fourth quarter of 2012, he said. (5/28)

No comments: