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NASA Announces Commercial Space Flights

Artist's concept of the Crew Dragon
Artist’s concept of the Crew Dragon(Credit: SpaceX)

NASA has announced the dates for the first flights of the commercial manned space capsules that will be used to ferry astronauts from the United States to the International Space Station (ISS). read more

NASA Gets Voyager 1 Going Again

After almost four decades of dormancy, NASA has successfully ordered the Voyager 1 deep space probe to fire a set of thrusters that have been inactive for 37 years. The November 28 test was carried out by mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, as part of an effort to keep the unmanned explorer functional for up to an additional three years as it speeds into interstellar space. read more

Two Candidates Chosen to go to Titan

Dragonfly is a dual-quadcopter lander that would take advantage of the environment on Titan to fly...
Dragonfly is a dual-quadcopter lander that would take advantage of the environment on Titan to fly to multiple locations(Credit: NASA)

NASA has ramped up its next phase of space exploration by green lighting further development of two unmanned mission concepts. Scheduled to launch sometime in the mid-2020s, the proposed missions include the Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return (CAESAR) spacecraft, which is designed to bring back comet materials to Earth, and the Dragonfly dual quadcopter, which is designed to fly about in the atmosphere of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. read more

Does Planet Nine Exist

It has been widely debated among the science community for years, but now Nasa claims that Planet Nine does exist.

The space agency highlights five different lines of evidence pointing to the existence of the mysterious world, and says that imagining that Planet Nine does not exist generates more problems than you solve.

Researchers are now using the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii in the hopes of finding Planet Nine, and hope that its detection will also shed light on its origin.

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Nasa highlights five different lines of evidence pointing to the existence of the mysterious world, and says that imagining that Planet Nine does not exist generates more problems than you solve

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Dream Chaser Spacecraft

A test version of a spacecraft resembling a mini space shuttle was carried aloft over the Mojave Desert by a helicopter Wednesday in a precursor to a free flight in which it will be released to autonomously land on a runway as it would in a return from orbit.

Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dream Chaser craft was lifted off the ground at 7:21 a.m., at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, California, and was carried to the same altitude and flight conditions it will experience before release in a free flight.

A control team sent commands to the wingless vehicle and collected data before the helicopter brought it down at 9:02 a.m., the company said.

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Global Warming Science – It’s Settled – They Lied Again

by: the Common Constitutionalist

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How many times would you put up with being cheated on in a relationship? How many times would you tolerate being lied to? Is it one and done? Or maybe 2 – 3 – a half a dozen?

Obviously, this is a loaded question. It would depend on a number of factors. Independence vs. interdependence – or maybe just how forgiving a person is. Maybe it’s a relationship of convenience – like the Clintons – more a business partnership than a personal, loving relationship.

But what if the relationship were between you and cause? A cause you felt so strongly for, people considered you “wedded” to it. A cause like…oh…I don’t know…Global Warming.

What if you were all-in on man caused global warming because, as experts have oft-repeated, the science of global warming is settled? But then you found out that the cause you’ve been wedded to is almost entirely a lie? What would you do? You just may have to reevaluate your loyalty. read more

Simulations Do Not the Climate Make

By: the Common Constitutionalist

You know, in a murder mystery, there’s always at least one dupe that is convinced that the killer just can’t be the killer. One person who wants to believe so badly, that the facts are just “inconvenient” – he just refuses to see the truth!

These are the kinds of people that the “Climate Change” snake oil merchants seek out and fund to the tune of billions of dollars. No matter what the facts are; no matter what the climate does, some Kool-Aid drinker will always “find” proof that it is caused by man, usually by running a computer simulation.

The latest proof of global warming, or Climate Change, or whatever, are the North and South Poles. One is losing sea ice, one is gaining sea ice, one is melting from the bottom up, the other growing.

See, the thing about the poles is that they are constantly shifting. The South Pole, Antarctica is growing, while the North Pole, the Arctic, is shrinking (I don’t buy it). In other words, the local “climates” are constantly changing. They never stay the same, from year-to-year.

There have always been and, as long as we’ve had the two pole landmasses, will always, be ebbs and flows, shrinkage and growth in the ice. It’s not dirt or rock – it’s frozen water – a little more susceptible to warming and cooling.

So as the Antarctic grows and the Arctic shrinks (and I’m not sure it is) our hyper controlling government only has to find Kool-Aid drinking “men of science”, like NASA scientist Walt Meier who simply state that growing Antarctic sea ice is less significant a measure than is declining Arctic sea ice, cause…you see…um…it’s harder to explain growing ice due to global warming, you know…so we’ll just claim it to be insignificant. read more

Great Lakes Frozen…It’s Global Warming For Sure

After several weeks of abnormally frigid temperatures, the Great Lakes are almost completely frozen over, and stunning photo released by NASA shows the extent of the deep freeze as seen from space.

The photo was taken by the space agency’s Aqua satellite on February 19, when 80.3 percent of the giant lakes were covered in ice, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory – and that’s after the lakes had thawed out a bit.

In early February, 88 percent of the behemoth lakes were frozen over for the first time since 1994. Typically, roughly 50 percent of the lakes are frozen over at their peak.

Frozen: For the first time since 1994, the Great Lakes are almost completely covered by ice

Scientists Stunned Over Latest Mars Mystery

Though the couple billion-dollar Curiosity rover seems to get all the attention on the red planet these days, it’s one of the veteran rovers on Mars that captured an event that is stunning scientists and space fans alike.

The crux of the issue surrounds these photos snapped by the rover Opportunity on two different missions.

sol3528 and sol3540

The image on the left was taken on the SOL3528 mission while the photo on the right, showing the new rock, was taken of the same area in the SOL3540 mission. (Images: NASA/JPL-CALTECH)

The rock perched on the ground in the right photo in the side-by-side comparison was not there before. read more

Ion Propulsion Rocket

Nasa’s advanced ion propulsion rocket engine has run continuously for over five and a half years, setting a new world record.

This makes it the longest test duration any kind of space propulsion system demonstration project ever.

The solar-electric propulsion thruster could be used in a wide range of science missions including intriguing journeys into deep space.

The thruster is part of the space agency’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) project at its Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

 
Nasa's advanced ion propulsion rocket engine could be used in a wide range of science missions including intriguing journeys into deep space
Nasa’s advanced ion propulsion rocket engine could be used for deep space science missons. It has been running continuously for over five and a half years to set a new record for the longest test duration of any space propulsion system demonstration

The project aims to develop a next-generation electric propulsion system, including power processing, propellant management and other components.

Despite setting a new record by operating for more than 48,000 hours, the long-running test will be shut down.

Michael J. Patterson, principal investigator for NEXT at Glenn, said: ‘We will voluntarily terminate this test at the end of this month, with the thruster fully operational.

‘Life and performance have exceeded the requirements for any anticipated science mission.’

The efficient engine is perfect for deep space missions. It is a type of solar-electric propulsion in which thruster systems use the electricity generated by the spacecraft’s solar panels to accelerate the xenon propellant to speeds of up to 90,000 mph.

This provides a dramatic improvement in performance compared to conventional chemical rocket engines.

 
The engine has been running for over 48,000 hours
The engine has been running for over 48,000 hours. It is a type of solar electric propulsion in which thruster systems use the electricity generated by the spacecraft’s solar panel to accelerate the xenon propellant to speeds of up to 90,000 mph. The thrust beam is pictured

HOW THE ROCKET WORKS

  • Nasa’s advanced ion propulsion system runs on the electricity generated by the spacecraft’s solar panels
  • It uses the power to accelerate xenon propellant to speeds of up to 90,000 mph
  • The engine consumed about 870 kilograms of xenon propellant dusting its 48,000 hour test
  • It is more efficient than conventional chemical rocket engines

During the endurance test, which was carried out in a high vacuum test chamber at Glenn Research Center, the engine consumed about 870 kilograms of xenon propellant.

While this sounds like a lot, it provides an amount of total impulse (a measure of the maximum momentum that an engine and fuel can move a vehicle) that would take more than 10,000 kilograms of conventional rocket propellant for the same use.

The test engine’s core ionization chamber was manufactured at Glenn Research Center, while the ion acceleration assembly was designed and built by Aerojet Rocketdyne in California.

Julie Van Kleeck, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s vice president for space advanced programs, said: ‘Nasa developed next generation high power solar electric propulsion systems will enhance our nation’s ability to perform future science and human exploration missions.’

The system could also be used to power Nasa’s Asteroid Initiative.

The imitative aims to find asteroids that are a potential threat to human populations on earth and potentially capture and redirect the most threatening asteroids.

 
 
The solar-electric propulsion thruster uses a magnetic field to generate thrust by accelerating xenon ions and is powered by solar panel
The solar-electric propulsion thruster uses a magnetic field to generate thrust by accelerating xenon ions and is powered by solar panels. While this type of engine cannot produce as much power as chemical rockets, it is perfect for deep space missions as it is more efficient

Attribution: Sarah Griffiths, Mail Online