Saturn V rocket, used for the American manned lunar landing missions The Moon as seen in a digitally processed image from data collected during a spacecraft flyby While the observation of objects in space, known as astronomy, predates reliable recorded history, it was the development of large and relatively efficient rockets during the early 20th century that allowed physical space exploration to become a reality. Common rationales for exploring space include advancing scientific research, uniting different nations, ensuring the future survival of humanity and developing military and strategic advantages against other countries. Space exploration has often been used as a proxy competition for geopolitical rivalries such as the Cold War. After the first 20 years of exploration, focus shifted from one-off flights to renewable hardware, such as the Space Shuttle program, and from competition to cooperation as with the International Space Station (ISS). First flights
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Space colonizationSpace colonization (also called space settlement, or extraterrestrial colonization) is permanent human habitation that is not on Earth. Many arguments have been made for space colonization. The two most common ones are survival of human civilization and the biosphere from possible disasters (natural or man-made), and the huge resources in space for expansion of human society. However right now the challenges, both technological and economic, involved in building a space colony are as great as the potential payoff. Space settlements would have to provide for all the material needs of hundreds or thousands of humans in an environment out in space that is very hostile to human life. There have been no space colonies built so far, nor are there any governments or large-scale private organizations with a timetable for building any. Reasons Survival of human civilization J. Survival of the biosphere Vast resources in space Expansion with fewer negative consequences
In Defense of Space ExplorationMatt Silver While many in the MIT community are likely thrilled by President’s Bush’s newly announced initiative to return men to the moon, others remain more skeptical. Echoing arguments voiced this week by Democratic hopefuls in New Hampshire, some cynically suggest that, among other things, the plan is an election-year gesture, it will cost too much money, our national resources and attention should be focused on other areas (such as health-care), and that, in short, the gains from human space exploration are really not worth the effort. While such rhetoric may sound good on a campaign platform, it ignores the details of the initiative and overlooks both the tangible and intangible benefits that exploration provides. Let’s take a moment to review both the plan and benefits of space exploration in general. First, is this an election-year stunt? Regarding cost, let’s put some things in perspective. First, money spent on space research and development does not disappear into thin air.
Space Solar PowerAbout Space Solar Power (SSP, also known as Space-Based Solar Power, or SBSP): The United States and the world need to find new sources of clean energy. Space Solar Power gathers energy from sunlight in space and transmits it wirelessly to Earth. Space solar power can solve our energy and greenhouse gas emissions problems. Not just help, not just take a step in the right direction, but solve. The solar energy available in space is literally billions of times greater than we use today. Another need is to move away from fossil fuels for our transportation system. While all viable energy options should be pursued with vigor, space solar power has a number of substantial advantages over other energy sources. Advantages of Space Solar Power Unlike oil, gas, ethanol, and coal plants, space solar power does not emit greenhouse gases. Disadvantages of Space Solar Power High development cost. Requirements for Space Solar Power Low-cost, environmentally-friendly launch vehicles. Videos
Space Sciences LaboratoryCoordinates: The Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) is an Organized Research Unit of the University of California, Berkeley. It is located in the Berkeley Hills above the university campus. It has developed and continues to develop many projects in the space sciences. Current work SSL developed and maintains the SETI@home project which pioneered the application of distributed computing to the space sciences. It created the related projects Stardust@home and BOINC. It is home to the Space Physics Research Group, which does Plasma physics research. It has developed many satellite missions and serves as a ground station for those missions. It does science education outreach via the Center for Science Education (CSE). History The Laboratory began its operations in January 1960 with the appointment of its first director, Professor Samuel Silver. The space physics program directed by Professor Kinsey A. The NASA Facilities Grant precipitated the construction of SSL's original buildings.
Health threat from cosmic raysThe health threat from cosmic rays is the danger posed by galactic cosmic rays and Solar energetic particles to astronauts on interplanetary missions. Galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) consist of high energy protons (85%), helium (14%) and other high energy nuclei HZE ions. Solar energetic particles consist primarily of protons accelerated by the Sun to high energies via proximity to solar flares and coronal mass ejections. They are one of the most important barriers standing in the way of plans for interplanetary travel by crewed spacecraft. The deep-space radiation environment Sources of ionizing radiation in interplanetary space. The radiation environment of deep space is very different from that on the Earth's surface or in low Earth orbit, due to the much larger flux of high-energy galactic cosmic rays (GCRs), along with radiation from solar proton events (SPEs) and the radiation belts. Human health effects Central nervous system Mitigation Drugs
Space lawSpace law is an area of the law that encompasses national and international law governing activities in outer space. International lawyers have been unable to agree on a uniform definition of the term "outer space", although most lawyers agree that outer space generally begins at the lowest altitude above sea level at which objects can orbit the Earth, approximately 100 km (60 mi). The inception of the field of space law began with the launch of the world's first artificial satellite by the Soviet Union in October 1957. Named Sputnik 1, the satellite was launched as part of the International Geophysical Year. NASA STS-121 Launch Early developments International treaties Five international treaties have been negotiated and drafted in the COPUOS: The outer space treaty is the most widely adopted treaty, with 100 parties. The rescue agreement, the liability convention and the registration convention all elaborate on provisions of the outer space treaty. Consensus
The Journal of Technology Transfer, Volume 27, Number 4Since 1958 NASA has invested approximately $3.7 billion in life sciences R&D in the support of the successful human space flight program. There are numerous studies documenting the spin-off technologies that can be traced to NASA research and development activities. Most of these studies describe the technologies and their uses; however only a few measure the economic impact of the spin-offs and most of these are benefit/cost studies that tend to overstate benefits or underestimate costs. This study takes a different approach, measuring only economic impacts to the companies that developed successful spin-off products from NASA life sciences investments. A personal interview was conducted with each company and the benefits are conservatively estimated as the value-added by the NASA technology to the company's output and the amount of additional private R&D stimulated by the NASA R&D.