Posts Tagged Space Exploration
ATI offers Mission Analysis for Solar System Exploration course. We think the news about Solar Orbiter will be of interest to our readers.
Space is humanity’s newest frontier. And what could be more exciting than to get close to our star next door? Well, according to European Space Agency, their newest project Solar Orbiter will take up-close pictures of the sun by 2017.
The project involves the construction of complexly heat-shielded probe due to be launched sometime in 2017. On its orbit around the sun, it’ll come as close as 42 million km, a record-breaking proximity. While it’s largely an ESA undertaking, NASA will be lending a helping hand, providing a few of the components for the probe and the rocket that’ll take it into orbit.
The project rose up out of the ESA’s Cosmic Vision initiative, which plans missions as far as 10 years into the future. The various candidates were subject to four years of debate and consideration before the Solar Orbiter was chosen as a successful one. Considering the probe will have a 1 billion euro price tag, every second of that debate was probably worthwhile.
The technology behind the Solar Orbiter has been in the works since the 1990s, but it still manages to be extremely high tech, and it’ll need to be if it wants to get that close to the sun. The Orbiter’s fun bits that’ll actually be doing all the data capture will need to hide behind a huge heat shield in order to survive the 500 degree heat at that distance. The shield will have some small slits and openings through which the cameras and such can peak out for just long enough to get their jobs done before going back to hide.
The goal of the Orbiter is not necessarily to take crazy, close-up, pictures of the sun, although it probably will do that while it’s over there. Instead, the idea is to try and understand the way things work on the sun and the way that relates to the things that happen in the space around it.
It’s a pretty worthy cause I think. We spend a lot of time searching out into the depths of space for exotic, planets and stars, but it’s about time we really explore the relationship we have with the star next door. After all, she’s pretty important to us.
Read more here.
US space transport company Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announced Thursday that it plans to develop a fully reusable orbital launch system, with the goal of one day helping humans settle on Mars.
The vehicle would be a reusable version of the Falcon 9 rocket which SpaceX used to propel its Dragon space capsule to low-Earth orbit during a test mission last year. Its first cargo trip to the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for January.
A trip to Mars would cost about $500,000 per person, which could be affordable for at least one person in a million. If Earth’s population is 8 billion by the time a Mars mission is available, that would imply at least 8,000 people could afford the trip.
Wouldn’t you like to go?
There is a lot of debate on what should be the next step in space exploration. Some suggest that we should go back to the Moon since 1969 moonshot resulted in a multitude of discoveries and inventions from simple tennis shoes to Teflon. Yet others insist that Mars should be our next destination and argue that it is the closest planet to us and should be explored thoroughly considering the dwindling natural resources.
Yet, ATI instructor and the founder of The Tau Zero Foundation, Dr. Marc Millis, insists that we should strive to develop new technologies that will allow the humanity to travel outside our solar system. This is a complex task that will involve anti matter, artificial gravity and hibernation.
What is your opinion? Please comment below…
Dr. Millis teaches the following ATI courses:
The answer is “Yes” according to a lot of experts.
The Obama administration has instructed Nasa to hand over to private companies the job of ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station. That is supposed to free NASA to focus on more ambitious goals, ultimately to take crews beyond the realm of low Earth orbit. So the thinking goes, anyway…
However, it is obvious that the transition will not be swift and the replacement of the shuttle is many years off. So, if NASA still wants to carry its astronauts into orbit, there is only one way to do that: they must buy seats on the Russian Soyuz rocket.
What do we know about Soyuz and how does it compare to NASA’s Space Shuttle program?
Soyuz (Сою́з) is a series of spacecraft designed for the Soviet space program by the Korolyov Design Bureau in the 1960s. The Soyuz spacecraft family is still in service today. Soyuz spacecraft were used to carry personnel to and from Salyut and later Mir Soviet space stations, and are now used for transport to and from the International Space Station. The International Space Station maintains a docked Soyuz spacecraft at all times to be used as escape craft in the event of an emergency.
How do the costs compare?
According to the industry experts, the Soyuz represents the triumph of a low-cost approach to human space exploration. The Russian capsules are launched on massive expendable rockets, carrying astronauts in a kind of guided cannonball to and from orbit. By contrast, the U.S. built its space program around the most complex flying machine ever, the reusable space shuttle. While the U.S. has spent $209.1 billion on the space shuttle since its inception, the entire Russian space program currently costs just $2 billion a year.
Do YOU think that reusable ships are not economically justified?
Please comment below.