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January 06, 2013

Carnival of Space 283

1. thevenustransit site has a short explanation about the rising moon with a nice video

2. The Meridiani Journal has more ‘bubbles’ from Curiosity – a lot of them

Mastcam image from sol 137 showing more of the “bubbles” on the bedrock. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

3. Omega Centauri is on the hot spot! Personal observation and interesting links about Omega Centauri globular cluster. Have a look at the biggest globular cluster in our Milky Way @ Links Through Space.



4. Nextbigfuture -Talk Polywell had some calculations of what might be achieved with the Harold White space warping work given plausible power generation and propulsion systems. This information was provided by Paul March who is working on the NASA project to try to create a detectable warping of space.

Paul March did some more calculations with the warp-field analysis tool and found the following -

by decreasing the resonant cavity dielectric density down to a lunar like vacuum level of 5x10^-12 Torr and increasing the warp-core torodial resonant cavity size up to 20 meter OD by 15 meter ID by 20 meter long while still using green light laser frequency for the RF source and using "just" 1.0 gigawatt of electrical input power, that one might be able to obtain a c boost factor of 88,000 times the speed of light. If one pulled back to using an infrared 1x10^12 Hz (THz) RF source using the same 1.0 GWe of input power, then the c boost factor lowers down to ~3,600c.

* First have a successful creation and detection of a one part in ten million space warp

Here is information from a presentation by Harold White that explains the test setup and physics around the concept.


* Develop and increase the level of space warping to a full warping of space

* Develop advanced space propulsion to achieve about 10% of light speed (nuclear fusion propulsion, nuclear fission propulsion, power beamed propulsion)

* Apply the advanced design of warping technology to the sublight space vehicle




5. Nextbigfuture - Winterberg's work in nuclear rocket propulsion earned him the 1979 Hermann Oberth Gold Medal of the Wernher von Braun International Space Flight Foundation. Winterberg is well respected for his work in the fields of nuclear fusion and plasma physics, and Edward Teller has been quoted as saying that he had "perhaps not received the attention he deserves" for his work on fusion.

Winterberg describes how to use a chemical explosive to boost the a nuclear fusion reaction that generates 1000 times the energy of the chemical explosive.

Winterberg describes a 30 cm sphere (1 foot sphere) of high explosive that would generate a 25 ton hybrid chemical - nuclear fusion pulse.

The 14 MeV DT fusion reaction neutrons are slowed down in its dense combustion products, raising the temperature in it to 100000 K. At this temperature the kinetic energy of the expanding fire ball can be converted at a high (almost 100%) efficiency directly into electric energy by an MHD Faraday generator. In this way most of the 80% neutron energy can be converted into electric energy, about three times more than in magnetic (ITER) or inertial (ICF) DT fusion concepts.

6. Nextbigfuture - NASA Kepler released last month 18,406 planet-like detection events from its last three year mission to search for exoplanets (Kepler Q1-Q12 TCE). Further analysis is required by the NASA Kepler Team and the scientific community to extract and identify true planets, including those potentially habitable.

The Planetary Habitability Laboratory @ UPR Arecibo (PHL) performed a preliminary analysis and identified 262 candidates for potentially habitable worlds in this dataset. These candidates become top priority for further analysis, additional observations, and confirmation.

7. Nextbigfuture - A new study from Caltech conckudes that there are over 100 billion planets in the Milky way galaxy. This is based on one planet per star but is conservative and there are likely two or more planets per star.

Like the Caltech group, other teams of astronomers have estimated that there is roughly one planet per star, but this is the first time researchers have made such an estimate by studying M-dwarf systems, the most numerous population of planets known.To do that calculation, the Caltech team determined the probability that an M-dwarf system would provide Kepler-32's edge-on orientation. Combining that probability with the number of planetary systems Kepler is able to detect, the astronomers calculated that there is, on average, one planet for every one of the approximately 100 billion stars in the galaxy. But their analysis only considers planets that are in close orbits around M dwarfs—not the outer planets of an M-dwarf system, or those orbiting other kinds of stars. As a result, they say, their estimate is conservative. In fact, says Swift, a more accurate estimate that includes data from other analyses could lead to an average of two planets per star.

8. Nextbigfuture - Traditionally, Direct Energy (DE), especially High Energy Laser (HEL), has mainly been considered for beaming energy or power, however, it can be exploited for beaming momentum as well. Dr. Y. K . Bae presents an innovative spacecraft maneuvering architecture, DE Momentum Beaming (DEMB), in which momentum is beamed between two spacecraft platforms via the pressure of circulating photons between them with the use of recently developed Photonic Laser Thruster (PLT). Many advanced DoD in-space missions need a wider range of dynamic spacecraft maneuvers than formation flying. Conventional spacecraft maneuvering is performed by momentum applied to a single vehicle by exhausting fuel in forms of plumb or ions, which limits lifetime and delta-V capability. Through momentum beaming, DEMB will drastically reduce the fuel consumption or separate the highly valuable mission vehicle from a lower-cost, replaceable resource vehicle (similar to aerial refueling) to lower the life-cycle cost significantly in a wide range of missions. Therefore, DEMB is projected to enable a wide range of next-generation DoD missions in space and provide ways to enhance existing mission architectures. Exemplary missions that can be enabled by DEMB include that involve orbit-raising or escape, drag compensation, and rendezvous and docking. In addition, the specific DE technologies required for developing DEMB are also discussed.


9. Universe Today - You know that you’re living in a very special point in time when you can watch a man who became famous playing a starship captain on television send a tweet to a man who’s actually working in a spaceship orbiting the Earth — and get an amusing response back. Which is exactly what happened earlier today when William Shatner got a reply from Chris Hadfield, currently part of the Expedition 34 crew aboard the ISS.

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