November 06, 2012

Carnival of Space 274

The Carnival of Space 274 is up at Dear Astronomer.

Centauri Dreams looks at Earth's future in the context of what we might observe around other stars.G-class stars have a 'window' for complex life that closes as the star begins the changes that will turn it into a red giant. Statistically, we might expect most planets we find around such stars to have no more than unicellular life. But what about M-class dwarfs?

Nextbigfuture summarizes a NASA FISO presentation - This Way To Deep Space Electric Propulsion Human Missions to the Moon, Asteroids, and Mars (27 pages). New solar array technologies (e.g. ROSA, FAST, Ultraflex) could provide the power for a high-­‐power SEP stage (with specific powers of 130-­‐220 W/kg). Space Solar array technology has been doubling every four years. Improvement of Japan's heliogyro thin film solar sail technology combined with ion drive could be about twenty times better with 6000 watts per kg.

Nextbigfuture - SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft returned to Earth from the International Space Station, safely splashing down approximately 250 miles off the coast of southern California. This restores the capability to return samples from the space station.

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