Toyota’s Lunar Cruiser

Artist's concept of the JASA/Toyota lunar rover
Artist’s concept of the JASA/Toyota lunar rover
JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation have released the official nickname for their manned pressurized, long-range lunar rover that is powered by fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) technology. It’s been dubbed the Lunar Cruiser.

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Weapon Wednesday – What is Spacepower?

us space force

U.S. SPACE FORCE
  • The U.S. Space Force has articulated the meaning of “spacepower,” likely the most important definition in the new service’s mission.
  • Spacepower is everything from sensors on the ground that peek at satellites to reconnaissance, communications, and navigation satellites in space.
  • “Spacepower” doesn’t include armed spaceships … yet.

The U.S. Space Force has finally articulated its vision of “spacepower.” The service’s new Space Capstone doctrine describes spacepower as what military systems will be used to further American power on Earth. While spacepower doesn’t currently include actual spaceships and laser guns, that’s probably just a matter of time. read more

Just how Old is the Universe?

Multiple studies have come to different conclusions about the age of the universe
Multiple studies have come to different conclusions about the age of the universe

The universe likes to play coy about its age, but astronomers believe they have a pretty good idea of the range. Now, a series of new studies has investigated the question using different methods – and they’ve come up with two different answers, separated by more than a billion years. read more

Another Milestone for SpaceX

A screen grab showing a rocket fairing recovered by a SpaceX ship during an earlier mission
A screen grab showing a rocket fairing recovered by a SpaceX ship during an earlier mission
SpaceX

Using a ship out at sea to catch pieces of falling pieces of rocket might not be the most sophisticated of SpaceX’s recovery techniques, but it is a key part of its mission to recycle as many materials as possible. The company has today ticked off this significant milestone, after its Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched a satellite into orbit for South Korea. read more

Georgia Tech’s Supernova Machine

Using a new "supernova machine," researchers can study the formation of nebulae, such as the Little Ghost Nebula pictured here

Using a new “supernova machine,” researchers can study the formation of nebulae, such as the Little Ghost Nebula pictured here

NGC 6369 is also known as the Little Ghost Nebula, because in smaller telescopes it appears ghostly and faded. Using Hubble, astronomers can resolve far more detail.
NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Supernovae are some of the most energetic events in the universe, and the resulting nebulas are a favorite for stargazers. To better understand the physics behind them, researchers at Georgia Tech have created a “supernova machine” in the lab. read more

Weapon Wednesday – U.S. Military Project Blackjack

darpa

DARPA
  • The Pentagon wants mesh networks of small satellites capable of replacing its larger, more expensive satellites.
  • Project Blackjack’s satellites would replace one satellite with many, making for a more resilient system in wartime.
  • The first test satellites will launch in 2021. read more

PHILIP Laser Powered Lunar Rover

An ESA rover undergoes night-time field tests in Spain
An ESA rover undergoes night-time field tests in Spain
Fernando Gandía/GMV

Solar power is not just a great energy source on Earth, it can work on the Moon and Mars too. But there are some places that a solar-powered rover just can’t reach, like the Moon’s polar regions that are permanently in shadow. Now, ESA has outlined a new system where a lander shines a laser at a rover to keep it powered from miles away. read more

Pentagon Declassifies UFOs. Does this Legitimize them?

from the American Spectator:

UFOs Get Realer

Science is real. UFOS are realer.

The Pentagon confirmed it late last month. They declassified three UFO videos. Only they weren’t UFOS — they were UAPs [Unidentified Aerial Phenomena]. That’s military lingo for UFOs. Defense doesn’t like to say UFOs. It makes them sound kooky. Kooky gets in the way of military procurement. You need gravitas when you ask for $718 billion. UFOs are anti-gravitas.

Which is why on April 27 the Pentagon felt put out when it released those three videos of UAPs, or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, and admitted they’re real and they’re spectacular, to borrow a Seinfeld phrase. But never mind — “Look over there! A pandemic!” read more

Spirograph in Space

An artist's impression of the rosette-shaped orbit of the star S2 around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy
An artist’s impression of the rosette-shaped orbit of the star S2 around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy
ESO/L. Calçada

In space, most orbiting objects will have circular- or elliptical-shaped orbits. But now, almost 30 years of observations has revealed that a star in the center of our galaxy orbits the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) in a rosette, or spirograph shape. The find once again confirms a prediction made by Einstein’s General Relativity. read more

Unique Recycling of Rocket Boosters

Rocket Lab tested out its aerial booster recovery technique in New Zealand in early March
Rocket Lab tested out its aerial booster recovery technique in New Zealand in early March
Rocket Lab

Recovering rockets for re-use is becoming a key consideration for those in the private spaceflight game, with the likes of SpaceX and Blue Origin leading the charge. Rocket Lab is looking to join the party by collecting the first stage of its Electron launch vehicle in midair using a helicopter, a method that it has now successfully demonstrated over the open ocean in New Zealand.

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