Getting out of Earth's gravity well is hard. Conventional rockets are expensive, wasteful, and as we're frequently reminded, very dangerous. Thankfully, there are alternative ways of getting ourselves and all our stuff off this rock. Here's how we'll get from Earth to space in the future.
The "magnificent desolation" of the Moon might offer some great views, but otherwise it's a lousy place to live. Human explorers would need protection from a constant bombardment of radiation and extreme temperature shifts. A new video shows how we can inexpensively build an ideal shelter with robotic 3D printers.
The icy moon Europa is perhaps the most tantalising destination in our solar system. Scientists have been trying for years to kickstart a mission to Jupiter’s most enigmatic moon, with very Earth-like…
A private mission to Europa is not a new idea. In 2013, an international team of volunteers headed up by Kristian von Bengtson, the founder of Copenhagen Suborbitals, an open source DIY space program based in Denmark, announced the plan of sending a crewed mission to the icy moon. But before they launch any spacecraft, they're launching a crowd-researching campaign.
A plus long terme, une voile solaire pourrait permettre de s'aventurer plus loin et faire baisser drastiquement le coût d'un voyage vers Mars, alors que le carburant représente une grosse part de tout budget spatial. En 2005, un concept utilisant un rayon de micro-ondes estimait pouvoir réduire la durée d'un aller simple vers la Planète rouge de neuf à un mois.
In a recent op-ed published in the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, titled“Why humans shouldn’t go to Mars,” University of Virginia biology professor Michael Menaker argues that human exploration of Mars doesn’t “make good sense.” We are already exploring Mars with robotic spacecraft, he states, and “there are urgent Earth-bound problems to solve.”
The exhortation by Menaker to “stay home” on the Earth would, if followed, greatly impede both our ability to understand the Earth and to protect it.
However, he has not made his case, which is based on several wrong fundamental assumptions. It’s possible he may be reacting to the blatant “Mars Hype” that was recently put out by some people within NASA who support the SLS and Orion programs, since the article does mention the Orion test launch. What the article really represents, however, is the “zero sum game” attitude by a few within the science community, some of whom depend on government science programs for their employment. I must emphasize that this point is not meant to denigrate the vast majority of scientists, many of whom work on valid and important research and struggle every year to maintain their lab’s financial survival. I suspect the majority of those who work on robotic spacecraft programs do strongly support the human space program, but those who do not sometimes get more media attention when they speak out, since taking such a position is controversial. Their attitude is that funding for a human Mars mission would take money away from their science. What Menaker forgets is thatany human spaceflight program uses funding that could possibly go to the robotic or pure science programs instead, so that opposition to Mars programs is also in effect opposition to all human spaceflight. His comments later in the essay, about “urgent Earth-bound problems,” confirm that this is his position.
Owing to the extreme conditions on the Venusian surface, it's going to be quite some time before a human ever steps foot on that planet. That's why NASA is developing a plan to deploy human-occupied airships in Venus's upper atmosphere. And yes, permanent occupation is the ultimate goal.
A pair of Russian scientists are proposing a radical new propulsion technique that would accelerate a rocket while in flight, by using a ground-based laser. Should it work, it could push aircraft to go beyond Mach 10.
Forget a boring old rover and try nuclear-powered boats or quadcopter space drones. If we want to explore Saturn's moon Titan--with its liquid methane lakes and dense nitrogen atmosphere--we'll need exploration schemes that are just as unique as the alien moon itself.
Many of us dream of living on other planets, but are two things we'll need before it can actually happen: money and raw materials. Now some companies say they have a solution to this problem. They'll mine asteroids for valuable metal ores, and for basic resources like water that we'll need once we're far from Earth.
Vincent Lieser's insight:
Opening up the planetary highway, or the post-earth economy
Yesterday, an unmanned experimental spacecraft from the European Space Agency took off from French Guiana and, 100 minutes later, splashed down into the Pacific Ocean just west of the Galapagos Islands. The spacecraft, called the Intermediate Experimental Vehicle, or IXV, didn’t look like your standard cone, though. It looked more—well, cinematic, for lack of a better word, kind of like a miniature space shuttle minus the wings and tail. And that odd shape might presage the future of space travel.
Slated to be the world’s most powerful rocket when it flies, Falcon Heavy will attempt to return it’s core stage and boosters for rapid refurbishment and reuse. SpaceX is confident its accuracy will be sufficient to park the booster elements on land
Quel point commun entre 2001, Odyssée de l'espace de Stanley Kubrick, Alien, le huitième passager de Ridley Scott et le plus récent Interstellar de Christopher Nolan ? Au-delà de la réponse évidente – la promenade spatiale –, ce qui relie ces trois films, c'est la manière dont les astronautes passent une partie du voyage : ils roupillent. Ou plutôt, ils hibernent. Etant donné les distances véritablement astronomiques qui séparent les différents corps du Système solaire (sans parler des années-lumière qu'il faudrait parcourir pour se rendre autour d'autres étoiles), il y a un véritable intérêt à ne rien faire pendant le parcours et la NASA, qui garde l'expédition vers Mars dans un coin de son agenda, l'a bien compris, qui envisage sérieusement de passer de la fiction à la réalité.
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