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Warp drive looks more promising than ever in recent NASA studies

Warp drive looks more promising than ever in recent NASA studies
"Interstellar travel may still be in its infancy, but adulthood is fast approaching, and our descendants will someday see childhood's end." The Starflight Handbook The first steps towards interstellar travel have been taken, but the stars are very far away. Voyager 1 is about 17 light-hours distant from Earth and is traveling with a velocity of 0.006 percent of light speed, meaning it will take about 17,000 years to travel one light-year. Fortunately, the elusive "warp drive" now appears to be evolving past difficulties with new theoretical advances and a NASA test rig under development to measure artificially generated warping of space-time. The warp drive broke away from being a wholly fictional concept in 1994, when physicist Miguel Alcubierre suggested that faster-than-light (FTL) travel was possible if you remained still on a flat piece of spacetime inside a warp bubble that was made to move at superluminal velocity. This sounds too easy, and in many ways, it is. Related:  Traveling throughout SpacePropulsion systems

"PROPULSION" Calling All Rocketeers! Calling All Rocketeers! "PROPULSION" is On the Air! EPISODE 02 “Pasadena” In this Episode… Meet young Jack Parsons and his pal Ed Forman: two dreamers and model rocket enthusiasts with a passion for blowing things up. After more than 70 years, the story of Frank Malina, Jack Parsons and Caltech’s infamous “Suicide Squad” is brought to life in “PROPULSION” a 30 min. documentary produced by the fine team at BLLR Entertainment. Set against the backdrop of 1930s Pasadena, through WWII and into the Cold War, “PROPULSION” is the heartwarming, inspirational, and sometimes controversial tale of a group of misfits, dreamers, and mavericks, the founding of NASA’s JPL, and the Birth of Modern Rocketry. It’s 1936. Filed under jpl von karman jules verne hg welles rocketry dreams science fiction pasadena jack parsons jet propulsion chemistry engineering history california aeronautics aviation nasa space "PROPULSION" is on the Air!

X's Reusable 'Grasshopper' Rocket Makes 1st Test Flight It's one small hop for a rocket, but one giant leap for reusable rocket ships: A private rocket prototype has sailed through a 6-foot hop that, while short, marked a major test for a novel reusable launch system being developed by commercial spaceflight company SpaceX. Called "Grasshopper," the rocket lifted off briefly then set back down on four spidery legs during the recent test at SpaceX's proving ground in McGregor, Texas. "The short hop of approximately 6 feet is the first major milestone for Grasshopper, and a critical step toward a reusable first stage for SpaceX’s proven Falcon 9 rocket," SpaceX officials said of the Sept. 21 test. The Grasshopper rocket uses the first stage of SpaceX's successful Falcon 9 rocket, a two-stage booster that stands nearly 227 feet tall (70 meters) and is used to launch the company's Dragon space capsules and other payloads into low-Earth orbit. The Sept. 21 test hop is just the first in a series of flight demonstrations, SpaceX officials said.

NASA Reveals Latest Warp-Drive Ship Designs | IFLScience Look at the picture above. Nope, it’s not a snapshot of a Star Wars scene, or any other sci-fi movie. It’s what you get if you combine a NASA physicist working on achieving faster-than-light travel with a 3D artist, and the result is freaking AWESOME. And yes, you heard correctly, there are scientists working on faster-than-light travel, and this is what the ship could look like in the future. You might be thinking to yourself right now “Faster-than-light travel? If a spaceship could be designed in such a way that it created a warp bubble, then the space in front of the ship would be compressed and the space behind would expand. “Remember, nothing locally exceeds the speed of light, but space can expand and contract at any speed,” White told io9. So of course, White’s new design incorporates these ideas and involves “a sleek ship nestled at the center of two enormous rings, which create the warp bubble,” 3D artist Mark Rademaker explained to io9.

The Prometheus Gas Turbine Project Introduces A New Electric Gas Turbine Canada Unveils Next-Generation Robotic Arms for Spaceships The Canadian-built robotic arms built for NASA's space shuttle fleet and the International Space Station are about to get two new siblings. Last week, the Canadian Space Agency showed off the Next-Generation Canadarm (NGC) prototypes, which were unveiled after three years of development at Canadian company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates. The mechanical limbs are the successors to the shuttle fleet's Canadarm and station's Canadarm2, which played pivotal rolls in the station's construction for more than a decade. The CSA and MDA plan to use this technology to position Canada for newer space business opportunities in areas such as in-orbit refuelling of satellites, said Gilles Leclerc, the agency's director-general of space exploration. "We prepared all these new systems so that we will be well-positioned for the next thing in space," Leclerc said. Fuelling competition One of the prototype arms spans 49 feet (15 meters), the same length as the space station's Canadarm2. Canadarm's legacy

'Impossible' Space Engine May Actually Work, NASA Test Suggests It's really starting to look as if an "impossible" space propulsion technology actually works. Researchers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston have found that a microwave thruster system that requires no propellant does indeed generate a small amount of thrust, Wired UK reported Thursday (July 31). If the technology pans out, it could make spaceflight far cheaper and speedier, potentially opening up much of the cosmos to exploration, advocates say. "Test results indicate that the RF [radio frequency] resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and, therefore, is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma," the NASA team wrote in their study, which they presented Wednesday (July 30) at the 50th Joint Propulsion Conference in Cleveland.

Robert Bussard on Fusion Power Dr. Robert Bussard shares his vision for clean, affordable fusion power. The late Dr. Bussard was a founding member of America’s fusion power establishment, spent over 20 years developing the Polywell fusor, which he claimed to generate over 100,000 times the fusion power of Farnsworth’s original experiments. Polywell was awarded the “Outstanding Technology of the Year” for 2006 by the International Academy of Science, and though Bussard passed in 2007, his research team continues to develop the Polywell fusor. Bussard was best known as the namesake for the legendary “Bussard Ramjet”. Bussard describes his disenchantment with big-science Tokamak research that led him to return to the roots of fusion power with the “Polywell” project that he initiated in 1986. The Polywell design is a modified Farnsworth-Hirsch style fusor which traps electrons in a magnetic confinement inside its hollow center.

Sailing by solar winds The electric solar wind sail will not use sunlight, but hydrogen nuclei and electrons that blast away from the Sun. (Illustration: Alexandre Szames, Antigravite, Paris) A new type of spacecraft could use long extremely thin and delicate metal threads to exploit the power of solar winds. It could become a viable way of exploring the solar system. What’s more, an initial trial will be made in 2013 when a Finnish satellite is launched. Until now sun sail proposals have involved gigantic, ultrathin foils that reflect solar light. A photon sail was tested on the Japanese Ikaros space probe that orbited Venus. But Pekka Janhunen of the Finnish Kumpula Space Centre has another approach. At the recent meeting of the International Astronautical Congress in Naples he explained his plan: A spaceship that sails by means of the solar wind. The solar wind consists of hydrogen nuclei and electrons that blast away from the Sun. A sail of threads How do you make a sail of threads? Electrical field Reference:

New Propulsion System could Revolutionize Space Travel NASA has announced that an experimental propulsion system that needs only energy from sunlight appears to produce sufficient thrust to power spacecraft. This means that, once a spacecraft is in orbit, it will be able to accelerate away from the earth to the edges of the solar system, without fuel. This means that travel throughout the solar system is going to become much more possible and far cheaper. Researchers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston have determined that a microwave thruster system that requires no propellant generates a small but useful amount of thrust. In a paper published by the Eagleworks Laboratories, Nasa engineers confirmed that they had produced tiny amounts of thrust from an engine without fuel. The engine has been named the ‘Cannae Drive’ by engineer Guido Fetta. This is not the only such engine. So it appears that the laws of physics are being demonstrably violated--which means only one thing: they aren't complete.

Firestar Selected for SBIR Contract for Green Propulsion System On Thursday, NASA announced the selection of 39 proposals for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards. Parabolic Arc will be looking at several of the proposals being undertaken by companies we have been following. This post looks at Firestar Engineering, a company based in Mojave, Calif., that is developing non-toxic propellant that will be tested at the International Space Station next year. Firestar Engineering, LLC Mojave, CA PROPOSAL TITLE: Low Energy Electronic Ignition System for NOFBX ThrustersSUBTOPIC TITLE: Propulsion Technologies Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract: Begin: 3 End: 5 The proposed igniter development is specific to NOFBX™ propellant-based systems. NOFBX technology is currently being developed under a NASA BAA for flight on the International Space Station as a commercial flight experiment. Share

NASA Is Building A Mocked-Up Deep-Space Habitat In Texas Testing the technology that might bring humans to Mars Deep Space Habitat Concept NASA When it's done, the concept for a ship that'll take astronauts to deep space won't look like much. Actually, it kind of sounds like a mess: the "Deep Space Habitat" is being cobbled together from scrap parts of the International Space Station, and even a museum mockup. Obviously, it's not going to send anyone to deep space. Engineers at Marshall Space Flight Center and experts Johnson Space Center in Houston (led by astronaut Alvin Drew) are tinkering with the spaceship mockup, deciding the right size, necessary equipment, and everything else that's going to make a mission to Mars, a near-by asteroid, or the second Earth-Moon Lagrangian point (277,000 miles away from Earth) as pleasant as possible. Multi Purpose Logistics Module Mockup: NASA The team's also planning what kind of toys will be sent along and built in. Now we just have to wait for the mission. [ Aviation Week via Yahoo!

NASA gives the go-ahead to the world's most powerful rocket It's not a Saturn V but it will make a big noise and be a cool sight to see. It will make a bigger noise because it's more powerful than a Saturn V. The Block I crew carrier they are launching first has 4 main engines and is just a little bit smaller but the Block II has 5 engines and is the real beast that beats it. That one will be well worth the trip to see it

Dennis Bushnell on Space Exploration Dr. Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist at NASA Langley Research Center, joins us to discuss the scientific and technical challenges faced by NASA in planning future manned missions to Mars and beyond. He describes the National Space Exploration Vision, which cites human expeditions to Mars, and indicates that cost and safety are the two major obstacles faced by NASA in realizing this vision. According to Bushnell, hexavalent chromium in martian dust, interstellar radiation, and lengthy trips in a microgravity environment damage the immune system of astronauts and increase their risk for cancer, which is caused by both radiation and chromium VI. Bushnell describes research into launch-assist technologies such as magnetic accelerators and the space elevator that may assist future spacecraft in reaching orbit with less fuel, and describes advanced propulsion technologies such as aneutronic fusion and antiproton drives that may provide higher specific impulse.