January 03, 2007

Space articles roundup

An article discussing evidence for and against ice on the moon I agree that we should continue with sending the robotic probes necessary to be absolutely certain about what ice is or is not there and what can be used.

An article that discusses getting energy from space or deflecting sunlight to counter global warming. I have written about both before. I think that we can get energy from space. Energy from space would be more useful for powering space based projects. Gigawatts for orbiting and lunar bases.

An article that examines an alternative next step in space instead of going to the moon. Going to the L2 (Sun-Earth L2 (SEL2)) point. The Lagrangian points are the five positions in interplanetary space where a small object affected only by gravity can theoretically be stationary relative to two larger objects (such as a satellite with respect to the Earth and Moon).

L2 is a destination for many astronomical missions.

L2 can be used to stage missions to near earth asteroids. It requires far less delta-v than carrying out the same mission from low Earth orbit. As an example, a hypothetical 2025 mission to the near Earth asteroid 1999 AO10, a five-month round-trip that includes a 30-day stay at the asteroid. Staging the mission from SEL2 would require less than half of the total delta-v than if the mission flew from LEO. The total energy requirements for a mission to Phobos would not be much higher although the trip time would be much longer.

further reading:
A 124 page pdf 2004 study of next steps for space The IAA is now engaged in a follow-on to the “Next Steps” study intended to provide a distinct alternative to NASA’s current exploration architecture.

This article discusses the need for less dissent and arguments about how to do things in space will help more dollars to flow to funding the space industry

The message was that if there is a clear choice in the market, “money flows,” but “confusion” causes the money to “stop flowing.” ... The rule at [an IBM invention team] meeting was that we could never say an invention was bad, wouldn’t work or had already been invented. The only way to get the floor was to offer a new, better invention.

This advice could be useful if applied to nanotechnology as well.