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What's new at the crossroads of culture, technology and science
Curated by Artur Alves
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Why we’re going back to the Moon—with or without NASA

Why we’re going back to the Moon—with or without NASA | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Since the Centaur impact, a number of US companies started drawing business plans to unlock the Moon’s water ice for everything from powering spacecraft with liquid hydrogen and oxygen to accessing a wealth of rare metals or building a space-based solar power network.

America’s largest rocket company, United Launch Alliance, has noticed. With an eye on its future, the company is doing critical research on storing and transferring hydrogen and oxygen propellants in space. Many European countries, as well as China and Russia, have also made clear their interest. And just last month, the US Congress signaled its approval, too, by legalizing the mining of lunar resources. More than five years after abandoning it, the space industry appears headed for the Moon
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Since the Centaur impact, a number of US companies started drawing business plans to unlock the Moon’s water ice for everything from powering spacecraft with liquid hydrogen and oxygen to accessing a wealth of rare metals or building a space-based solar power network.

America’s largest rocket company, United Launch Alliance, has noticed. With an eye on its future, the company is doing critical research on storing and transferring hydrogen and oxygen propellants in space. Many European countries, as well as China and Russia, have also made clear their interest. And just last month, the US Congress signaled its approval, too, by legalizing the mining of lunar resources. More than five years after abandoning it, the space industry appears headed for the Moon 

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NASA Completes Key Review of World’s Most Powerful Rocket in Support of Journey to Mars

NASA Completes Key Review of World’s Most Powerful Rocket in Support of Journey to Mars | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
NASA officials Wednesday announced they have completed a rigorous review of the Space Launch System (SLS) -- the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars -- and approved the program's progression from formulation to development, something no other exploration class vehicle has achieved since the agency built the space shuttle.
Artur Alves's insight:

«NASA officials Wednesday announced they have completed a rigorous review of the Space Launch System (SLS) -- the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars -- and approved the program's progression from formulation to development, something no other exploration class vehicle has achieved since the agency built the space shuttle.

"We are on a journey of scientific and human exploration that leads to Mars," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "And we’re firmly committed to building the launch vehicle and other supporting systems that will take us on that journey."

For its first flight test, SLS will be configured for a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit. In its most powerful configuration, SLS will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons), which will enable missions even farther into our solar system, including such destinations as an asteroid and Mars.«

 

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Outer space demilitarisation agreement threatened by new technologies

Outer space demilitarisation agreement threatened by new technologies | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Security experts warn weaknesses in treaties and exploitation of GPS are compromising the prohibition against space weapons
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"Developments in satellite technologies and cyber-warfare are threatening the internationally agreed demilitarisation of outer space, according to legal and security experts.

Weaknesses in existing treaties and military exploitation of GPS location systems are compromising the prohibition against space weapons established during the cold war, a conference in London has been told.

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In 2011, hackers gained control of the Terra Eos and Landsat satellites, Roberts said. The orbiting stations were not damaged. "The threat can now be from a laptop in someone's bedroom," he added.

Professor Richard Crowther, chief engineer at the UK Space Agency, said scientists were now exploring the possibility of robotic systems that grapple with and bring down disused satellites or laser weapons to clear away debris in orbit.

Both technologies, he pointed out, had a potential dual use as military weapons. 3D printing technologies would, furthermore, allow satellite operators to develop new hardware remotely in space."

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After 35 Years, Voyager Nears Edge Of Solar System : NPR

After 35 Years, Voyager Nears Edge Of Solar System : NPR | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

"One of the twin space probes launched 35 years ago has traveled more than 11 billion miles from Earth. The Voyager probes were originally slated just to examine Jupiter and Saturn during a five-year trip.

Scientists have been eagerly waiting for Voyager 1 to become the first human-made object to leave the solar system. And in recent weeks, the spacecraft has sent back intriguing signs that it might be getting close, to the delight of researchers who have been working on it for decades."

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A stunning image of four galaxies smashed together in one tiny corner of the universe

A stunning image of four galaxies smashed together in one tiny corner of the universe | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
When you see multiple galaxies right on top of each other, like in this image, it's usually an optical illusion, and the galaxies are actually millions of light-years apart.
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Distant 'waterworld' is confirmed

Distant 'waterworld' is confirmed | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Astronomers have confirmed the existence of a new class of planet - a waterworld with a thick, steamy atmosphere.

«"The high temperatures and pressures would form exotic materials like 'hot ice' or 'superfluid water', substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience," said Dr Berta.«

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The Long, Strange Trip to Pluto, and How NASA Nearly Missed It

The Long, Strange Trip to Pluto, and How NASA Nearly Missed It | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The flyby of Pluto was a triumph of human ingenuity and the capstone of a mission that unfolded nearly flawlessly. It almost did not happen.
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New Horizons overcame skeptical NASA officials, repeated threats to its funding, laboratory troubles that constricted the amount of plutonium available to power the spacecraft and an unforgiving deadline set by the clockwork of the planets. Though none of the obstacles packed the drama of space-exploration crises like the Apollo 13 mission, their number and magnitude seemed unbelievable.

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Space, Inc - corporations and space exploration

Space, Inc - corporations and space exploration | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

What happens when corporations go in search of profits in the unregulated territory that is space?

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The American government is no longer exerting its space supremacy. NASA’s annual budget has been cut by more than $1bn since 2010. The space shuttle programme has been mothballed. International Space Station resupply missions are being put out to private tender.

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http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2015/05/16/shutting-down-your-computer-before-going-to-sleep-comic/

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SpaceX just made rocket launches affordable. Here’s how it could make them downright cheap.

SpaceX just made rocket launches affordable. Here’s how it could make them downright cheap. | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
When SpaceX put a communications satellite into orbit yesterday, it wasn't a just triumph of technology. It was a victory for cost control.
Artur Alves's insight:

"The success of this first launch for a private client—the company had already contracted  with NASA to deliver supplies to the International Space Station via its rocket and reusable robotic space capsule, called Dragon—clears the way for SpaceX to fulfill its $4 billion book of business. If future launches confirm Falcon 9′s reliability, SpaceX will “own the satellite launch industry,” as space journalist Michael Belfiore puts it. That will give it the cash flow to pursue its more technically challenging plans, such as a trip to Mars."

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Voyager 1 about to cross into interstellar space (Wired UK)

Voyager 1 about to cross into interstellar space (Wired UK) | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered what Nasa suspects is the final area of the solar system before the craft leaves for interstellar space.
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The Case for Space

The Case for Space | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
As Mars looms within reach and China ramps up its space program, the United States is turning its back on the stars through stinginess and partisan bickering. But the country can't afford to abandon space.
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Japanese Company Aims for Space Elevator by 2050

Japanese Company Aims for Space Elevator by 2050 | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Tokyo-based Obayashi Corp. says carbon nanotubes can help make this technology a reality.
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