May 04, 2013

Carnival of Space 300

Holy round numbers. The Carnival of space has been running every week for nearly 6 years and has hit the big 300.

1. Fraknoi - This column is about brown dwarfs (objects that don't have what it takes to be a star -- like many actors waiting tables in Hollywood.) Interestingly, astronomers have recently discovered that the third-closest star system to the Sun consists of a pair of brown dwarfs orbiting one another.

2. Chandra XRay space telescope Observatory blog - Colossal Hot Cloud Envelops Colliding Galaxies

3. Spacer Pam Hoffman introduced a series of posts from guest blogger Heather R. Archuletta. Heather has created an interesting resource in maps for us. Sounds like she did so while serving as a ‘pillownaut‘ research subject for NASA. We’ll have to ask her.

Below, is the first in the series…

When one thinks of “Space agencies,” the big players probably spring to mind: NASA in America and Roskosmos in Russia. I started with those two when I first had the idea to...

4. The Urban Astronomer looks back a few months at the GRAIL mission, which produced detailed maps of the Moon's gravity field

5. Armagh Planet - This year marks 40 years since Skylab, NASA’s first space station, was sent into orbit. Let’s review the history of this rather overlooked space project which saw nine astronauts discover how people could live in space.

6. Artsnova - Judging space art for the National Space Society's Roadmap to Space Settlement Student Art Contest

7. Ray Sanders from the "Dear Astronomer" blog has a new episode of "The Cosmic Ray Show" - a science/astronomy talk show airing on Google+. Catch the latest episode with guests Kim Arcand and Megan Watzke - authors of "Your Ticket To The Universe" on May 7th, at 8PM Pacific.

8. Cassini sees meteor impacts in Saturn’s rings

9. Nextbigfuture looked at the NASA space propulsion technology roadmap. Highlights were the status of solar sails, advanced Hall thrusters and MPD thrusters. Electric sails will have more development from a European space agency project in 2013 and 2014.

10. Nextbigfuture looked the NASA space power and energy storage technology roadmap. NASA covered advanced solar power, fission power and fusion power and energy storage with advanced batteries and flywheels.

11. Nextbigfuture covers the announcement of the Starship Congress which is the interstellar summit that Icarus Interstellar is hosting this summer in Dallas, August 15-18. As an event, Starship Congress will play host and give voice to a wide variety of interstellar organizations and distinguished proponents from the interstellar community.

NBF on the next 20 years in space

Keys here are Spacex and other reusable spacecraft to lower costs and enable near space industrialization, development and colonization

Planetary Resources being able to develop asteroid resources would be helpful along with making satellites cost only about $100,000 instead of tens of millions.

Superconductors should become cheaper, more powerful and available in higher volume. This will help with better propulsion, power and radiation protection.

Inflatable space habitats will help mostly once low cost access is resolved

Additive manufacturing could lower costs and help bootstrap industrialization. Making space concrete using in-situ materials will reduce supply chain issues and enable more robust industrialization

Energy and propulsion breakthroughs will help. Electric sails and solar sails seem on the verge on making significant impact.

Synthetic biology could enable advances in feeding ourselves in space and making biosystems that reduce supply chain constraints.

12. Forbes [Jim Conca] - Obtaining energy to fuel human habitation of near-Earth Space and the nearby worlds of the Moon, Mars and near-Earth Asteroids is weirdly achievable in a remarkably economic way revolving around energy.

Currently, a stand-alone solar array on Earth provides an average energy output of 3W per square meter (W/m2) of ground area. Earthbound power storage, conversion systems, and long-distance transmission lines greatly decrease the effective output of solar cells or concentrators. For example, 20 TW of Earth-based electric power requires approximately 2.7 million square miles (7 million km2) of collector area, representing approximately 5% of the landmass of Earth. This is unlikely to change in this century.

On the Moon, which has no atmosphere, a lunar solar-power (LSP) system can capture hundreds of times the energy per area than on Earth. An LSP system can economically gather solar power and convert it into streams of electromagnetic waves that are designed to dependably and safely deliver power efficiently to inexpensive receivers (rectennas) on Earth when power is needed.

Operating at 2.5 GHz to pass through Earth’s clouds and atmosphere, 20 TW from lunar-based electric power requires only 40,000 square miles (100,000 km2) of rectenna area on Earth.

Nuclear Power and Associated Environmental Issues in the Transition of Exploration and Mining on Earth to the Development of Off-World Natural Resources in the 21st Century (Chapter 9). This chapter delves into the nuclear energy and environmental radiation aspects of living off-world.

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