30 March 2012 Last updated at 12:28 ET By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News, Manchester Spacecraft could one day navigate through the cosmos using a particular type of dead star as a kind of GPS.
I was (almost) an astrophysicist, so here's the basic gist of it: It comes down to 2 factors, resolution and light gathering power which are usually related for single mirror telescopes, but aren't for "arrays" of telescopes. Having 2 linked telescopes helps resolution. Resolution is the ability to see fine detail, exactly like people trying to read text at a distance. The further apart the edges of a mirror are, the smaller the details a telescope can resolve. So a bigger mirror, or two widely seperated mirrors linked via interferometry, allow you to see smaller details (1 blurry star becomes 2 very close stars for instance).
The man and woman aboard the Inspiration Mars mission set to fly-by the Red Planet in 2018 will face cramped conditions, muscle atrophy and potential boredom. But their greatest health risk comes from exposure to the radiation from cosmic rays. The solution? Line the spacecraft's walls with water, food and their own faeces. "It's a little queasy sounding, but there's no place for that material to go, and it makes great radiation shielding," says Taber MacCallum, a member of the team funded by multimillionaire Dennis Tito, who announced the audacious plan earlier this week.
This is not, in fact, an entirely new thing. The strategy here is to basically repeat the Mariner 4 mission, which took place in 1964, but with humans. The major difference is that, due to a fortuitous arrangement of the planets, this mission will freely return to Earth rather than get slung into heliocentric space. From a controls/mission architecture sophistication standpoint, this mission is considerably simpler than a Dragon ISS resupply. There is only a single major propulsive maneuver (the calculations for which any senior aerospace engineering undergrad can perform) and then you simply coast home.
Mysterious Cosmic 'Dark Flow' Tracked Deeper into Universe Distant galaxy clusters mysteriously stream at a million miles per hour along a path roughly centered on the southern constellations Centaurus and Hydra. A new study led by Alexander Kashlinsky at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., tracks this collective motion -- dubbed the "dark flow" -- to twice the distance originally reported.
HOUSTON — A warp drive to achieve faster-than-light travel — a concept popularized in television's Star Trek — may not be as unrealistic as once thought, scientists say. A warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from moving faster than light . A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre; however, subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy. Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially bringing the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science. "There is hope," Harold "Sonny" White of NASA's Johnson Space Center said here Friday (Sept. 14) at the 100 Year Starship Symposium , a meeting to discuss the challenges of interstellar spaceflight.
Comet Ison could draw millions out into the dark to witness what could be the brightest comet seen in many generations – brighter even than the full Moon. It was found as a blur on an electronic image of the night sky taken through a telescope at the Kislovodsk Observatory in Russia as part of a project to survey the sky looking for comets and asteroids – chunks of rock and ice that litter space. Astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok were expecting to use the International Scientific Optical Network's (Ison) 40cm telescope on the night of 20 September but clouds halted their plans.
They're simulating a science trip, not a colony. Might as well just go to Antarctica and do something useful. Sure, yes, I can see the usefulness to a writer to see what it's like to live in such a confined way, but it would be far more realistic to have the residents spend their entire day working in a machine shop, a chemical lab, power plant, or a greenhouse. Someone on a science trip might have to suit up and get to drive around in a rover, but most people in a *colony* are going to be making air, growing food, or trying to figure out how to manufacture necessary items, such as fabric or LED grow-lights out of what is already on Mars. 12/25/12 8:52pm
There are two ideas for how spacesuits could potentially be built: pressure suits, like the ones we've seen so far, and mechanical counter-pressure suits, which have not been seriously attempted by NASA. Mechanical counter-pressure suits are the skin-tight spacesuits you've been waiting for, and personally I think they have a lot of advantages over the classic designs currently in use. But there are some problems to be solved, and it's a very predictable move for NASA to stick with what they know works. <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
As it turns out, due to gravitational anomalies (remnants of old impacts under the surface, not any woo-woo with gravity), it's essentially impossible to maintain a stable, low orbit around the moon. In order to do the mapping at that resolution, the probes had to fly below the safe limit. So there was no way of keeping them from crashing, it was just a matter of where. I know you weren't seriously objecting to what happened, I just think there's a cool reason behind what NASA did.
Voyager, The Love Story April 28, 2011: One day, years from now--or maybe billions of years, no one knows--aliens might be surprised to run across an old spaceship from Earth. Improbably far from home, the ancient probe is space cold, its nuclear power source spent long ago; an iconic white antenna points silently into the void, beaming no data to the species that made it. Yet this Voyager may speak to its finders.
That's a really annoying, (likely intentionally) misleading "may have". Yeah, and any of the other rogue planet candidates already identified "may" be the first to be confirmed, too. This is not the first one picked out as likely, nor is it "confirmed". (Hah, "could well make it astronomy's first confirmed" -- nice turn of phrase: interpretable as "it has been confirmed and may be the first such", while leaving semantic wiggle room to claim that what you mean is "could, eventually, be the first to be confirmed". Call me cynical, but that ambiguity seems deliberate, when paired with the headline.) For reference, the discovering astronomers themselves put the likelihood at 85% that it's a rogue planet or sub-brown-dwarf member of the cluster, and not something farther behind.
Earth is doomed!! God is going to wipe the surface of the world clean and start over!