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Thread: What's NASA Up To And Other Space Stuff

  1. #301
    Click to view the full version
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  2. #302
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  3. #303
    Anyone remember the Trappist system? The Washington Post put this nice bit together...
    The Rules
    Copper- behave toward others to elicit treatment you would like (the manipulative rule)
    Gold- treat others how you would like them to treat you (the self regard rule)
    Platinum - treat others the way they would like to be treated (the PC rule)

  4. #304
    Ist a Trapp!!
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  5. #305
    So, Deep Space Gateway, aka Lunar Orbital Station....

    Any thoughts on this one? Cool idea? Moondoggle, as at least one detractor calls it?

    NASA Shapes Science Plan for Deep-Space Outpost Near the Moon
    By Leonard David,'s Space Insider Columnist

    DENVER — NASA is pressing forward on plans to build a Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, an outpost for astronauts positioned in the space near Earth's moon.

    According to NASA, the Gateway will not only be a place to live, learn and work around the moon but will also support an array of missions to the lunar surface. And scientists foresee a host of uses for the station.

    By making use of a suite of instruments housed on or inside the structure itself, or free-flying nearby, scientists could make Earth and solar observations.They could also carry out astrophysics and fundamental physics experiments as well as human physiology and space biology studies.

    NASA's fiscal year 2019 budget request calls for launching the first element of the Gateway – its power and propulsion module – into space in 2022. NASA plans to launch the module through a competitive commercial launch contract in an effort to both speed up establishment of the Gateway and advance commercial partnerships in deep space. Under that plan, construction of the Gateway would be complete after two additional launches by 2025, rounding out the complex with habitation, logistics and airlock capabilities. [6 Private Deep-Space Habitat Concepts for Mars]

    Breadth of science

    Several hundred scientists gathered here between Feb. 27 and March 1 to take part in a Deep Space Gateway Concept Science Workshop that discussed how best to use what is billed by NASA as developing "a strategic presence" in cislunar space (or the space near the moon).

    "We invited scientists from a wide range of disciplines and thrilled with the breadth of science that's represented," said Ben Bussey, chief exploration scientist in NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

    "The different science areas are really embracing the idea of a human-tended Gateway around the moon and it doesn't compete with what they currently do. It represents a new opportunity for them," Bussey told Even though the Gateway isn't science-driven, he said, NASA would like science to be performed at the facility and wants to identify what the Gateway could enable.

    One thing is clear: Don't think of the Gateway as International Space Station 2.0.

    "It's a lot smaller," Bussey said, and would be an uncrewed platform that has a crew once a year.

    The Gateway could be parked in what scientists call a Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO), an orbit in cislunar space that could serve as a staging area for future missions.

    Such orbits, which make close passes by the moon and loop far out, have the advantage of being near the moon, but always keep a station within the line of sight of flight controllers on Earth, as well as in sunlight for solar arrays.

    "It ends up being a very interesting orbit," Bussey said, with NRHOs now seen as a viable candidate for long-term cislunar operations and aggregation.

    Multiple priority goals

    "A Gateway in the vicinity of the moon has been the goal of scientists and designers of space exploration scenarios for almost two decades," said Harley Thronson, a senior technologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

    More than a half century later, Thronson said, professionals at the Deep Space Gateway workshop discussed how a habitation system might be adapted to achieve multiple priority goals in space and Earth sciences. "The Gateway, as planned, offers some of the same advantages to scientists as the space shuttle and the International Space Station , although in a much different location," he said.

    Learning from the experience of NASA's space shuttle missions' servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers at the workshop presented concepts for upgrading future very large observatories "or even one day actually assembling them in space, taking advantage of both astronauts and robots on site," Thronson said.

    Whole-Earth observations

    The Gateway's unique vantage point permits astronaut operation of telerobots on the lunar surface, Thronson said.

    These could include exploring the youngest craters on the moon, or laying out radio antennae to investigate the faint radio emission from hydrogen, emitted when the universe was a tiny fraction of its present age, he said. No other planned observatory will observe the universe any younger, he added.

    "The Earth itself could become a target of observation from the Gateway," Thronson said. "Remarkably, there have been very few whole-Earth observations from space that closely duplicate how Earth-like planets might appear to future astronomical observatories. A telescope at the Deep Space Gateway might accomplish this."

    Lunar telerobotics

    The role of exploration telepresence from the Gateway also garnered discussion at the meeting.

    "But we really don't have a lot of information about the value of doing lunar telerobotics from the Deep Space Gateway, as opposed to doing it from the Earth," said Dan Lester, a senior research scientist at Exinetics in Austin, Texas.

    Lester said that telepresence depends a lot on the cognitive load of what you're trying to do, and the price of modest control latency. "If you're trying to pick up a rock … probably not that much. If you're trying to tie a shoelace, it would make a big difference," he said.

    Some would say that telerobotic control from the Gateway, or from an Orion spacecraft, enables operation on the moon's far side, Lester added. On the other hand, it is cheap and easy to put a relay satellite at, for example, the Earth-moon Lagrangian point (L2) that would provide direct communications from Earth to the lunar far side.

    "[There's] no question, however, that the value of low latency telepresence for Mars is enormous, and implementation of that control strategy on the moon is exquisite practice for doing it on Mars in the future," Lester said.

    Agency alignment

    Just like the International Space Station today, where 15 different countries work together in space, there will be a role for international cooperation on the NASA's Lunar Orbiting Platform-Gateway.

    "The NASA Gateway Science workshop was a valuable meeting that highlighted the many opportunities that the Gateway presents for science," said James Carpenter, a strategy officer in the European Space Agency's (ESA) Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration.

    What was discussed at the workshop was very much aligned with recent discussions within a European science community event held by ESA last December, Carpenter told

    "It is exciting to see the alignment of international ideas about the future of exploration and the opportunities that could be offered by the Gateway on our journey to the moon," Carpenter said.


    Not everyone is thrilled with NASA's Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway plan.

    The concept has received a thumbs-down from Robert Zubrin, president of the Colorado-based Pioneer Astronautics as well as founder and president of the public advocacy group, the Mars Society.

    Zubrin did not attend the recent gathering, but in a recent Op-Ed piece he labeled the Gateway as a "boondoggle" that has a price tag of several tens of billions of dollars, at the least, and serves no useful purpose.

    "We do not need a lunar-orbiting station to go to the moon, or to Mars, or to near-Earth asteroids. We do not need it to go anywhere," Zubrin said.

    "There is nothing worth doing in lunar orbit, nothing to use, and nothing to explore," Zubrin said. "It is true that one could operate rovers on the lunar surface from orbit, but the argument that it is worth the expense of such a station in order to eliminate the two-second time delay involved in controlling them from Earth is absurd."

    "We are on the verge of having self-driving cars on Earth that can handle traffic conditions in New York City and Los Angeles," Zubrin added. "There's a lot less traffic on the moon."
    The Rules
    Copper- behave toward others to elicit treatment you would like (the manipulative rule)
    Gold- treat others how you would like them to treat you (the self regard rule)
    Platinum - treat others the way they would like to be treated (the PC rule)

  6. #306
    Any thoughts on this one?
    Will be canceled before anything is ever put into orbit.
    Have you ever seen the televised St. Vitus Subcommittee Prize Investigation Dance, those ants-in-pants glaces?
    Well, look behind the eyes: it's a hallowed, hollow anaesthetised "Save me own ass, screw these guys" smoke and mirror lock down

  7. #307
    Bullshit, it'll be the HQ for Space Force. Have you heard of it? They're putting a lot of money into it right now.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  8. #308
    I think I had some of those when I was 9.
    Have you ever seen the televised St. Vitus Subcommittee Prize Investigation Dance, those ants-in-pants glaces?
    Well, look behind the eyes: it's a hallowed, hollow anaesthetised "Save me own ass, screw these guys" smoke and mirror lock down

  9. #309
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  10. #310
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    Will be canceled before anything is ever put into orbit.
    Well, NASA is still developing the SLS rocket and vehicle, which is sort of an anti-shuttle in that the vehicle is designed to go beyond LEO and 100% not reusable. So the missions keep changing, but the capability will eventually be ready -- maybe not before Space-X sets up a hotel on Mars, but you never know. It's either the Moon or a nearby asteroid - there definitely won't be funding to do anything more than that. And if it is the Moon, it'll be a station because there won't be funding for landings. With heavy lifters like the Falcon Heavy under development, it makes me wonder what's the point of the SLS rocket anymore anyway. Sigh. I thought we were making America great again, like with Apollo....
    The Rules
    Copper- behave toward others to elicit treatment you would like (the manipulative rule)
    Gold- treat others how you would like them to treat you (the self regard rule)
    Platinum - treat others the way they would like to be treated (the PC rule)

  11. #311
    Speaking of SpaceX and their upcoming BFR, see the article below. Twice the payload capability of the Saturn V, but with full re-usability - that is the booster and the second stage spacecraft will both be re-usable. It's ambitious and necessarily so to be viable. And if it works as designed (rapid and lowish cost re-usability, the two key elements the Space Shuttle program never achieved), it would apparently make NASA's SLS obsolete practically before its first launch.

    The first SpaceX BFR should make orbital launches by 2020

    Elon Musk has a reputation for pushing the envelop and making bold declarations. In 2002, he founded SpaceX with the intention of making spaceflight affordable through entirely reusable rockets. In April of 2014, his company achieved success with the first successful recovery of a Falcon 9 first stage. And in February of this year, his company successfully launched its Falcon Heavy and managed to recover two of the three boosters.

    But above and beyond Musk's commitment to reusability, there is also his longer-term plans to use his proposed Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) to explore and colonize Mars. The topic of when this rocket will be ready to conduct launches was the subject of a recent interview between Musk and famed director Jonathon Nolan, which took place at the 2018 South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

    During the interview, Musk reiterated his earlier statements that test flights would begin in 2019 and an orbital launch of the full BFR and Big Falcon Spaceship (BFS) would take place by 2020. And while this might seem like a very optimistic prediction (something Musk is famous for), this timeline does not seem entirely implausible given his company's work on the necessary components and their success with reusability.

    As Musk emphasized during the course of the interview:

    "People have told me that my timelines have historically been optimistic. So I am trying to re-calibrate to some degree here. But I can tell what I know currently is the case is that we are building the first ship, the first Mars or interplanetary ship, right now, and I think we'll probably be able to do short flights, short sort of up-and-down flights probably in the first half of next year."

    To break it down, the BFR – formerly known as the Interplanetary Transport System – consists of a massive first stage booster and an equally massive second stage/spaceship (the BFS). Once the spacecraft is launched, the second stage would detach and use its thrusters to assume a parking orbit around Earth. The first stage would then guide itself back to its launchpad, take on a propellant tanker, and return to orbit.

    The propellant tanker would then attach to the BFS and refuel it and return to Earth with the first stage. The BFS would then fire its thrusters again and make the journey to Mars with its payload and crew. While much of the technology and concepts have been tested and developed through the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, the BFR is distinct from anything else SpaceX has built in a number of ways.

    For one, it will be much larger (hence the nickname, Big F—— Rocket), have significantly more thrust, and be able carry a much larger payload. The BFR's specifications were the subject of a presentation Musk made at the 68th International Astronautical Congress on September 28th, 2017, in Adelaide, Australia. Titled "Making Life Interplanetary", his presentation outlined his vision for colonizing Mars and presented an overview of the ship that would make it happen.

    According to Musk, the BFR will measure 106 meters (348 ft) in height and 9 meters (30 ft) in diameter. It will carry 110 tons (~99,700 kg) of propellant and will have an ascent mass of 150 tons (~136,000 kg) and a return mass of 50 tons (~45,300 kg). All told, it will be able to deliver a payload of 150,000 kg (330,000 lb) to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) – almost two and a half times the payload of the Falcon Heavy (63,800 kg; 140,660 lb)

    "This a very big booster and ship," said Musk. "The liftoff thrust of this would be about twice that of a Saturn V (the rockets that sent the Apollo astronauts to the Moon). So it's capable of doing 150 metric tons to orbit and be fully reusable. So the expendable payload is about double that number."

    In addition, the BFR uses a new type of propellant and tanker system in order to refuel the spacecraft once its in orbit. This goes beyond what SpaceX is used to, but the company's history of retrieving rockets and reusing them means the technical challenges this poses are not entirely new. By far, the greatest challenges will be those of cost and safety, since this will be only the second reusable second stage spacecraft in history – the first being the NASA Space Shuttle.

    Where costs are concerned, the Space Shuttle Program provides a pretty good glimpse into what Musk and his company will be facing in the years ahead. According to estimates compiled in 2010 (shortly before the Space Shuttle was retired), the program cost a total of about $ 210 billion USD. Much of these costs were due to maintenance between launches and the costs of propellant, which will need to be kept low for the BFR to be economically viable.

    Addressing the question of costs, Musk once again stressed how reusability will be key:

    "What's amazing about this ship, assuming we can make full and rapid reusability work, is that we can reduce the marginal cost per flight dramatically, by orders of magnitude compared to where it is today. This question of reusability is so fundamental to rocketry, it is the fundamental breakthrough that's needed."

    As an example, Musk compared the cost of renting a 747 with full cargo (about $500,000) and flying from California to Australia to buying a single engine turboprop plane, – which would run about $1.5 million and cannot even reach Australia. In short, the BFR relies on the principle that it costs less for an entirely reusable large spaceship to make a long trip that it does to launch a single rocket on a short trip that would never return.

    "A BFR flight will actually cost less than our Falcon 1 flight did," he said. "That was about a 5 or 6 million dollar marginal cost per flight. We're confident the BFR will be less than that. That's profound, and that is what will enable the integration of a permanent base on the Moon and a city on Mars. And that's the equivalent of like the Union Pacific Railroad, or having ships that can quickly cross the oceans."

    Beyond manufacturing and refurbishing costs, the BFR will also need to have an impeccable safety record if SpaceX is to have a hope of making money from it. In this respect, SpaceX hopes to follow a development process similar to what they did with the Falcon 9. Before conducting full launch tests to see if the first stage of the rocket could safely make it to orbit and then be retrieved, the company conducted short hop tests using their "Grasshopper" rocket.

    According to the timeline Musk offered at the 2018 SXSW, the company will be using the spaceship that is currently being built to conduct suborbital tests as soon as 2019. Orbital launches, which may include both the booster and the spaceship, are expected to occur by 2020. At present, Musk's earlier statements that the first flight of the BFR would take place by 2022 and the first crewed flight by 2024 still appear to be on.

    For comparison, the Space Launch System (SLS) – which is NASA's proposed means of getting to Mars – is scheduled to conduct its first launch in 2019 as well. Known as Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), this launch will involve sending an uncrewed Orion capsule on a trip around the Moon. EM-2, in which a crewed Orion capsule will delver the first module of the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G, formerly the Deep Space Gateway) to lunar orbit, will take place in 2022.

    The ensuing missions will consist of more modules being delivered to lunar orbit to complete construction of the LOP-G, as well as the Deep Space Transport (DST). The first interplanetary trip to Mars, Exploration Mission 11 (EM-11), won't to take place until 2033. So if Musk's timelines are to be believed, SpaceX will be beating NASA to Mars, both in terms of uncrewed and crewed missions.

    As for who will be enabling a permanent stay on both the Moon and Mars, that remains to be seen. And as Musk emphasized, he hopes that by showing that creating an interplanetary spaceship is possible, agencies and organizations all over the planet will mobilize to do the same. For all we know, the creation of the BFR could enable the creation of an entire fleet of Interplanetary Transport Systems.
    The Rules
    Copper- behave toward others to elicit treatment you would like (the manipulative rule)
    Gold- treat others how you would like them to treat you (the self regard rule)
    Platinum - treat others the way they would like to be treated (the PC rule)

  12. #312
    It's a good question.... I think the answer is that the SLS will either continue as a national prestige thing, or it will get defunded and turned into commercial rocket purchases.


    The one key factor that has broken NASA in the decades since Apollo is politics, with a change in direction every 4/8 years, especially since the space station was completed. Unless the new program(s) get funded at a level to create big momentum in 8 years, then it's the mess we've seen. And that kind of funding will never happen again.

    NASA chief explains why agency won’t buy a bunch of Falcon Heavy rockets
    “It’s going to be large-volume, monolithic pieces that are going to require an SLS.”

    Since the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket in February, NASA has faced some uncomfortable questions about the affordability of its own Space Launch System rocket. By some estimates, NASA could afford 17 to 27 Falcon Heavy launches a year for what it is paying annually to develop the SLS rocket, which won't fly before 2020. Even President Trump has mused about the high costs of NASA's rocket.

    On Monday, during a committee meeting of NASA's Advisory Council, former Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale raised this issue. Following a presentation by Bill Gerstenmaier, chief of human spaceflight for NASA, Hale asked whether the space agency wouldn't be better off going with the cheaper commercial rocket.

    "Now that the Falcon Heavy has flown and been demonstrated, the advertised cost for that is quite low," Hale said. "So there are a lot of folks who ask why don't we just buy four or five or six of those and do what we need to do without building this big, heavy rocket and assemble things like we did with the space station?"

    In response, Gerstenmaier pointed Hale and other members of the advisory committee—composed of external aerospace experts who provide non-binding advice to the space agency—to a chart he had shown earlier in the presentation. This chart showed the payload capacity of the Space Launch System in various configurations in terms of mass sent to the Moon.

    “A lot smaller”

    "It's a lot smaller than any of those," Gerstenmaier said, referring to the Falcon Heavy's payload capacity to TLI, or "trans-lunar injection," which effectively means the amount of mass that can be broken out of low-Earth orbit and sent into a lunar trajectory. In the chart, the SLS Block 1 rocket has a TLI capacity of 26 metric tons. (The chart also contains the more advanced Block 2 version of the SLS, with a capacity of 45 tons. However, this rocket is at least a decade away, and it will require billions of dollars more to design and develop.)

    SpaceX has not publicly stated the TLI capacity of the Falcon Heavy rocket, but for the fully expendable version of the booster it is probably somewhere in the range of 18 and 22 tons. This is a value roughly between the vehicle's published capacity for geostationary orbit, 26.7 tons, and Mars, 16.8 tons.

    Gerstenmaier then said NASA's exploration program will require the unique capabilities of the SLS rocket. "I think it's still going to be large-volume, monolithic pieces that are going to require an SLS kind of capability to get them out into space," he said. "Then for routine servicing and bringing cargo, maybe bringing smaller crew vehicles other than Orion, then Falcon Heavy can play a role. What's been talked about by [Jeff] Bezos can play a role. What United Launch Alliance has talked about can play a role."

    “And,” not “or”

    After this, Gerstenmaier reiterated NASA's default position with regard to the SLS and much cheaper commercial launch solutions—that there is room for everyone in the industry. "I don't see it as an 'either/or;' I see it as an 'and,'" he said. "We're trying to build a plan that uses SLS for its unique capability of large volumes and a large single mass in one launch. The cargo capability is pretty amazing with SLS. You can launch a big chunk of gateway in one flight; where it would take multiple flights, I'm not sure you could even break some of those pieces up into those smaller pieces to get them on a smaller rocket."

    One difficulty with Gerstenmaier's response to Hale's question is that NASA does not, in fact, yet have any "large-volume, monolithic pieces" that could only be launched by the Space Launch System. The cornerstone of its 2020s exploration plans is the Lunar Orbiting Platform-Gateway, a small space station to fly in orbit around the Moon. The first piece of this station, a power and propulsion module, will launch in 2022 aboard a commercial rocket.

    In fact, beyond this power element, NASA remains in the beginning stages of soliciting and accepting designs for the other components of this "gateway," including airlocks and habitation areas. These could, in theory at least, simply be designed to fit within the mass and size restrictions of a Falcon Heavy or other planned commercial launch vehicles. Potentially, this would save NASA billions of dollars and allow it to spend considerably more money on exploration activities.
    The Rules
    Copper- behave toward others to elicit treatment you would like (the manipulative rule)
    Gold- treat others how you would like them to treat you (the self regard rule)
    Platinum - treat others the way they would like to be treated (the PC rule)

  13. #313
    Interesting update on SpaceX's reusable rockets:
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  14. #314
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Interesting update on SpaceX's reusable rockets:
    I remember when they first started landing the rockets Musk tweeted something about how beat up the rockets were. That data must have informed design changes for Block 5. I also read the Block 5 has some NASA-required changes for manned space flight to the ISS.
    The Rules
    Copper- behave toward others to elicit treatment you would like (the manipulative rule)
    Gold- treat others how you would like them to treat you (the self regard rule)
    Platinum - treat others the way they would like to be treated (the PC rule)

  15. #315
    Planetary Resources' (Asteroid mining startup) tech development is moving along.... If the description of their 2020 mission is for real, I wonder if they'll keep the data they take as business proprietary or if they'll share it with the science community. I mean, its going to be unique and potentially of groundbreaking interest to space science generally.

    Asteroid Miners' Arkyd-6 Satellite Aces Big Test in Space

    Some of Planetary Resources' asteroid-mining tech just passed a major space test.

    The Washington-based company's tiny Arkyd-6 satellite has completed all its mission goals in Earth orbit, just three months after lifting off atop an Indian rocket, Planetary Resources representatives said.

    "The spacecraft successfully demonstrated its distributed computing system, communications, attitude-control system, power generation and storage with deployable solar arrays and batteries, star tracker and reaction wheels, and the first commercial mid-wave infrared (MWIR) imager operated in space," Planetary Resources President and CEO Chris Lewicki wrote in an update Tuesday (April 24).

    The cereal-box-size Arkyd-6 launched on Jan. 12 atop a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, along with several dozen other payloads. The cubesat set up shop in a sun-synchronous polar orbit, where it's been working to prove out technology required for Planetary Resources' next spacecraft, an asteroid prospector known as Arkyd-301.

    he MWIR imager is particularly important to Arkyd-301 development and to the company's overall goals. The instrument can detect water, which is what Planetary Resources will be going after on asteroids, at least at first.

    Water can be split into its constituent parts, hydrogen and oxygen, the chief components of rocket fuel. Asteroid mining should therefore lead to the construction and operation of off-Earth propellant depots, which could revolutionize spaceflight and exploration by allowing spaceships to top up their fuel tanks on the go, Planetary Resources representatives and other space-mining advocates have said.

    If all goes according to plan, the company will launch multiple Arkyd-301 spacecraft atop a single rocket in 2020. Each spacecraft will cruise to a different asteroid, then assess the space rock's resource potential using onboard instruments such as the MWIR imager. The Arkyd-301s will also carry piggyback miniprobes, which will deploy from their motherships and burrow into their target asteroid to get even closer looks at the space rocks.
    The Rules
    Copper- behave toward others to elicit treatment you would like (the manipulative rule)
    Gold- treat others how you would like them to treat you (the self regard rule)
    Platinum - treat others the way they would like to be treated (the PC rule)

  16. #316
    Have you ever seen the televised St. Vitus Subcommittee Prize Investigation Dance, those ants-in-pants glaces?
    Well, look behind the eyes: it's a hallowed, hollow anaesthetised "Save me own ass, screw these guys" smoke and mirror lock down

  17. #317
    I saw that too, pretty cool stuff. Is it me, or does it seem like the ESA is slow to release cool stuff like that? NASA seems to put cool media out there right away - almost as soon as they get it.
    The Rules
    Copper- behave toward others to elicit treatment you would like (the manipulative rule)
    Gold- treat others how you would like them to treat you (the self regard rule)
    Platinum - treat others the way they would like to be treated (the PC rule)

  18. #318
    I posted something about the EM-Drive about a hundred years ago and just read this article about testing it, and testing what the article calls "space unicorn" drives in general. It's a good read. Too bad about the EM Drive...

    NASA’s EM-drive is a magnetic WTF-thruster
    Test reveals that the magic space unicorns pushing the EM-drive are magnetic fields.

    It was bound to happen eventually. A group of researchers that may actually be competent and well-funded is investigating alternative thrust concepts. This includes our favorite, the WTF-thruster EM-drive, as well as something called a Mach-Effect thruster. The results, presented at Space Propulsion 2018, are pretty much as expected: a big fat meh.

    The key motivation behind all of this is that rocket technology largely sucks for getting people around the Solar System. And it sucks even worse as soon as you consider the problem of interstellar travel. The result is that good people spend a lot of time eliminating even the most far-fetched ideas. The EM-drive is a case in point. It's basically a truncated hollow copper cone that you feed electromagnetic radiation into. The radiation bounces around in the cone. And, by some physics-defying magic, unicorns materialize to push you through space.

    Well, that explanation is at least as plausible as any of the others. There is no physics explaining how this could work, but some people at NASA have claimed that it does.

    Up until now, the people behind these ideas have basically funded their work off scraps and haven't had a solid testing setup, so the experimental data was all over the place. There was absolutely no consistent relationship between thrust and power nor between different setups. The experiments had progressively eliminated possible sources of noise, but, as they did so, they introduced new sources of noise, or the amount of thrust kept falling off.

    The key problem seemed to be that the main proponents of crazy space thrusters may actually be pretty bad at doing experiments. All in all, I would have moved on, but others are more thorough than I am.

    Let the adults have a go

    A group of German scientists has now gotten a reasonable amount of money under the rubric of testing all the things. Basically, because the various space agencies have whispered that no idea is too silly to ignore, we need an effective way to quickly test all the stupid space stuff on the Internet. The Germans are currently building something that is designed to do all that testing. It is an awesome bit of equipment.

    First, everything is done in vacuum. And, not just the poor vacuum that you might get by attaching a Hoover to a leaky box—they can get down to a respectable billionth of atmospheric pressure. This is not world-class vacuum, but it is certainly overkill for testing the various WTF-thrusters.

    Inside the vacuum, the researchers use a torsion balance attached to a calibrated spring to measure thrust. They’ve got the whole thing automated, so they can level the balance, change the tension of the spring, run calibrations on the torsion bar (they have two methods of calibration), and do tests without ever opening the box. They can even rotate the thruster during the test. Being automated, they can repeat the same measurement under the same conditions multiple times and take the average. The current system is sensitive to around 10nN (nano-Newtons) of force.

    During tests, they also measure temperature and can, based on a model, compensate for temperature drifts that change the mass distribution on the balance. It gets better, though. Many of these thrusters rely on driving something at resonance (like pushing on a swing, you need to push at the right time). That's tricky, because the resonance frequency of most resonators changes with temperature. The researchers' setup automatically tracks the resonance frequency and adjusts the drive appropriately. This eliminates the possibility of identifying some transient response as “thrust” and then claiming that it is transient because the resonator and drive were no longer in tune.

    To prevent extra electromagnetic interference between the drive, power amplifier, and the rest of the electronics, they are shielded from each other. The last remaining factor that the researchers mention is the Earth’s magnetic field. Here, you need to use something called mu metal. A box made of mu metal will effectively create a region with only a tiny, tiny fraction of the Earth’s magnetic field inside. Unfortunately, the researchers did not have sufficient mu metal to shield all the cables and electronics. Installing more mu metal is a planned upgrade.

    Testing all the things

    Instead of getting ahold of someone else’s EM drive, or Mach-effect device, the researchers created their own, along with the driving electronics. Let’s start with the EM drive.

    The researchers used precision machining and polishing to obtain a microwave cavity that was much better than those previously published. If anything was going to work, this would be the one. The researchers built up a very nice driving circuit that was capable of supplying 50W of power to the cavity. However, the amplifier mountings still needed to be worked on. So, to keep thermal management problems under control, they limited themselves to a couple of Watts in the current tests.

    The researchers also inserted an enormous attenuator. This meant that they could, without physically changing the setup, switch on all the electronics and have the amplifiers working at full noise, and all the power would either go to the EM drive or be absorbed in the attenuator. That gives them much more freedom to determine if the thrust was coming from the drive or not.

    WTF-thruster is a magnetic WTF-thruster

    And the winner is… Physics, without much doubt. Even with a power of just a couple of Watts, the EM-drive generates thrust in the expected direction (e.g., the torsion bar twists in the right direction). If you reverse the direction of the thruster, the balance swings back the other way: the thrust is reversed. Unfortunately, the EM drive also generates the thrust when the thruster is directed so that it cannot produce a torque on the balance (e.g., the null test also produces thrust). And likewise, that “thrust” reverses when you reverse the direction of the thruster.

    The best part is that the results are the same when the attenuator is put into the circuit. In this case, there is basically no radiation in the microwave cavity, yet the WTF-thruster thrusts on.

    So, where does the force come from? The Earth’s magnetic field, most likely. The cables that carry the current to the microwave amplifier run along the arm of the torsion bar. Although the cable is shielded, it is not perfect (because the researchers did not have enough mu metal). The current in the cable experiences a force due to the Earth’s magnetic field that is precisely perpendicular to the torsion bar. And, depending on the orientation of the thruster, the direction of the current will reverse and the force will reverse. The researchers made some calculations, based on the location of the experiment and the amplifier current, and got a torque that agreed quite well with the measured torque.

    This is, of course, not the final word. But it is an excellent cautionary tale. The thrust that the researchers measured with just a couple of Watts of power was the same as that measured previously with 50W of power. And that was all due to a shielding problem. When the amplifiers are properly mounted and the shielding is in place, it will be even more difficult to detect the thrust, because the effects of noise will grow as well. I expect a flood of null results in the next year.

    The Mach-effect thruster

    I must admit that I treasured my ignorance of the Mach-effect thruster. And I will not pretend to give an explanation for how it works here. Essentially, the idea is that if a mass is vibrated vigorously, it interacts gravitationally with the entire Universe. You supposedly get thrust because, if you take a linear version of Einstein’s equations, this interaction leads to a time-averaged non-zero force on the mass. At least there is some math involved, so it is possible to argue about the physics and the reasonableness of the underlying assumptions.

    Again, the researchers built their own Mach-effect test unit. Essentially, it’s a stack of piezo-electric crystals that expand and contract in response to an applied electric field. The stack of crystals is attached to a brass mass that, according to the concept, is supposed to amplify the expected thrust. The electronics are an impressive pair of high-voltage, high-power amplifiers that operate at frequencies just beyond the range of audio amplifiers. The drive electronics are much better suited to testing the Mach-effect thruster than previous attempts. And, as with the EM-drive test, the drive frequency tracked the resonance frequency of the piezo stack.

    And the result? Well, a bit more promising, but still most likely noise. The main finding is that the thrust is in the right direction, and the null positions produce no thrust. The thrust, however, is about 100 times more than expected from the math. And manually flipping the thruster did not reverse the thrust as expected. This indicates that there is probably still some hidden bias in the experiment because the difference between rotating the orientation using the stepper motor and manually flipping the orientation is that the cabling flips in one case and not in the other.

    Space unicorns are not your friend

    I know I tend to be flippant about these alternative thrusters. But frankly, physics is physics, and there are a lot of physicists working really hard to understand the Universe. I think we are now beyond the point where a couple of dudes with a copper cone and an amplifier can find a huge hole in the underpinnings of modern physics, and that makes me very suspicious of these claims. And, even though I respect the effort in testing them, I cannot help feeling that we might be able to apply a better filter to these ideas.

    I like the researchers' conclusions best, though: “At least, SpaceDrive [the name of the test setup] is an excellent educational project by developing highly demanding test setups, evaluating theoretical models and possible experimental errors. It’s a great learning experience with the possibility to find something that can drive space exploration into its next generation.” Yes, even something as utterly unphysical as the WTF-thruster is an excellent teaching tool.
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  19. #319
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    The Netherlands

    Not sure how feasible it is but interesting plan.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  20. #320
    When using starting conditions of an atmosphere and an ocean in simulations of Proxima Centauri B, the likelihood of liquid water and life-sustaining conditions is pretty good. The article calls those starting condition assumptions "reasonable guesses." I don't know enough to judge whether reasonable is the right word. I guess the finding really means that, with all the other conditions (gravity, goldilocks zone location, sunlight), then a liquid ocean and an atmosphere could be sustained, even if the planet is tidally locked...

    The Closest Exoplanet to Earth Could Be “Highly Habitable”
    A new study suggests Proxima Centauri could sustain liquid water on its surface

    Just a cosmic hop, skip and jump away, an Earth-size planet orbits the closest star to our sun, Proxima Centauri.

    Ever since the discovery of the exoplanet—known as Proxima Centauri b—in 2016, people have wondered whether it could be capable of sustaining life.

    Now, using computer models similar to those used to study climate change on Earth, researchers have found that, under a wide range of conditions, Proxima Centauri b can sustain enormous areas of liquid water on its surface, potentially raising its prospects for harboring living organisms. [9 Strange, Scientific Excuses for Why Humans Haven’t Found Aliens Yet]

    “The major message from our simulations is that there’s a decent chance that the planet would be habitable,” said Anthony Del Genio, a planetary scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. Del Genio is also the lead author of a paper describing the new research, which was published Sept. 5 in the journal Astrobiology.

    Proxima Centauri is a small, cool red-dwarf star located just 4.2 light-years from the sun. Despite its proximity, scientists still know very little about Proxima Centauri’s planetary companion, besides that its mass is at least 1.3 times that of Earth and that it goes around its parent starevery 11 days. Therefore, Del Genio and his colleagues had to make some reasonable guesses about the exoplanet Proxima Centauri b—namely, that it had an atmosphere and an ocean on its surface—for their work to proceed.

    Proxima Centauri b orbits in its star’s habitable zone, meaning it’s at just the right distance to receive enough starlight to keep its surface above the freezing temperature of water. But this zone i“ extremely close to the star,, a Live Science sister site, reported. So it’s likely that the planet has become tidally locked due to gravitational forces. This means that the same side of Proxima Centauri b always faces its parent star, much like how the moon always shows the same side to Earth.

    Previous simulations published in a 2016 paper in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics modeled a hypothetical atmosphere on Proxima Centauri b and suggested that the star-facing hemisphere of the exoplanet might be baked under an intense glare, while a space-facing ocean would be frozen over. Therefore, only a circle of warm sea might exist on Proxima Centauri b—a scenario Del Genio’s team calls “eyeball Earth.”

    But the new simulations were more comprehensive than prior ones; they also included a dynamic, circulating ocean, which was able to transfer heat from one side of the exoplanet to the other very effectively. In the researchers’ findings, the movement of the atmosphere and ocean combined so that "even though the night side never sees any starlight, there’s a band of liquid water that’s sustained around the equatorial region," Del Genio told Live Science.

    He likened this heat circulation to our own planet’s seaside climates. The U.S. East Coast is balmier than it would be otherwise, he said, because the Gulf Stream carries warm water up from the tropics. In California, by contrast, ocean currents bring cold water down from the North, and the West Coast is colder than it otherwise would be, Del Genio added.

    The team ran 18 separate simulation scenarios in total, looking at the effects of giant continents, thin atmospheres, different atmospheric compositions and even changes in the amount of salt in the global ocean. In almost all of the models, Proxima Centauri b ended up having open ocean that persisted over at least some part of its surface.

    “The larger the fraction of the planet with liquid water, the better the odds that if there’s life there, we can find evidence of that life with future telescopes,” Del Genio said.

    Ravi Kopparapu, a geoscientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who was not involved in the study, agreed.

    “I think it’s exciting that some of these climate outcomes can be observed,” Kopparapu told Live Science. Next-generation facilities, such as the Extremely Large Telescope currently under construction in Chile, might be able to witness heat coming off Proxima Centauri b and differentiate its possible surface conditions, he added.
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  21. #321
    Complicit with the military-industrialized complex?

  22. #322
    This is pretty cool. The link has some photos from the rovers as they "dropped" to the asteroid's surface. I believe the rovers are going to take samples that will somehow be returned to Earth. It's interesting, this is the second try by JAXA to land on an asteroid and return a sample - the first being only somewhat successful - and it makes me wonder if Japan is pursuing this tech development with dual purpose in mind, science and economic. In other words, are these missions baby steps toward an asteroid mining capability?

    In any case, there's gong to be some great stuff from this one I think. Kudos to JAXA!

    A Japanese spacecraft just landed two rovers on an asteroid
    In a remarkable feat of scientific endeavor, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has successfully landed two small rovers on the surface of an asteroid hundreds of millions of miles from Earth.

    “Both rovers … are in good condition,” Japan’s space agency tweeted on Saturday.



    SciAm just posted an article which speaks to how the sample return will be accomplished. It also says the "mother" craft has two additional landers to deploy. Interestingly, the rovers don't rove, they hop, and each hop lasts about 15 minutes before the craft returns to the surface. Super cool stuff.

    Japanese Mission Becomes first to Land Rovers on Asteroid
    Twin probes from Hayabusa2 mission have sent back their first pictures from Ryugu’s surface

    Japan’s asteroid mission Hayabusa2 has become the first to land moving rovers on the surface of an asteroid.

    On 22 September, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) tweeted that it had confirmed the mission’s twin rovers, called MINERVA-II 1A and 1B, had landed safely on the space rock Ryugu, and were moving on the surface.

    The Hayabusa2 mothership deployed the small probes late last week as it dropped to just 55 metres above the surface, later pulling up to a higher orbit.

    Mission controllers at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) lost communication with the MINERVA rovers in the hours after deployment. The team said the silence was probably down to the landers being on the far side of the asteroid, as seen from the orbiter.

    But the hexagonal rovers have now sent back their first, slightly blurry, colour images of their surface and made their first ‘hop’—their primary means of movement on the rock’s surface. The probes use rotating motors to make jumps, each lasting some 15 minutes owing to the body’s low gravity.

    As well as taking images of the asteroid, the landers are designed to measure its temperature.

    Before it leaves Ryugu next year, the Hayabusa2 mothership will release two more landers and, in late October, touch the surface itself to collect a sample to bring back to Earth.

    Scientists hope that studying the 1-kilometre-wide-asteroid, which is made up of primitive material from the early Solar System, will help them to understand the origins and evolution of Earth and other planets.

    This is not the first time scientists have explored an asteroid. In 2005, the mission’s predecessor, Hayabusa, landed on the surface of a smaller asteroid, called Itokawa, and collected a sample that it later returned to Earth. But this is the first time a lander has moved on an asteroid’s surface.

    JAXA scientists reported their joy at the rovers’ success. “I cannot find words to express how happy I am,” said Yuichi Tsuda, project manager for the Hayabusa2 mission, in a statement.

    This article is reproduced with permission and was first published on September 21, 2018.
    Last edited by EyeKhan; 09-24-2018 at 04:07 PM.
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  23. #323

    Have you ever seen the televised St. Vitus Subcommittee Prize Investigation Dance, those ants-in-pants glaces?
    Well, look behind the eyes: it's a hallowed, hollow anaesthetised "Save me own ass, screw these guys" smoke and mirror lock down

  24. #324

    Yes! That is top notch thing naming, astronomers.
    Have you ever seen the televised St. Vitus Subcommittee Prize Investigation Dance, those ants-in-pants glaces?
    Well, look behind the eyes: it's a hallowed, hollow anaesthetised "Save me own ass, screw these guys" smoke and mirror lock down

  25. #325
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post

    Yes! That is top notch thing naming, astronomers.
    That name's going to stick too. The people that end up settling there in 137 years will be derided as Goblins.
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  26. #326
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post

    Yes! That is top notch thing naming, astronomers.
    It would be nice if we could get to a place where our community didn’t need a constant stream of fresh corpses to remind it how to behave.

    "Science and faith are fundamentally incompatible, and for precisely the same reason that irrationality and rationality are incompatible. They are different forms of inquiry, with only one, science, equipped to find real truth. And while they may have a dialogue, it's not a constructive one. Science helps religion only by disproving its claims, while religion has nothing to add to science." - J.A.Coyne

  27. #327
    This is an interesting idea. Given the rather large, ah, hole in understanding left by the discovery of the universe's accelerating expansion, dark matter and energy and all that goes with it, I rather think some out of the box hypothesizing is in order. It would be delightful for a really unexpected result to come from the observation of Sagittarius A.

    Like the article concludes, whatever else happens, I agree the Event Horizon Telescope people will be confused by what they see. (Hardly a daring prediction! )

    Are Black Holes Actually Dark Energy Stars?

    What does the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way look like? Early next year, we might find out. The Event Horizon Telescope—really a virtual telescope with an effective diameter of the Earth—has been pointing at Sagittarius A* for the last several years. Most researchers in the astrophysics community expect that its images, taken from telescopes all over the Earth, will show the telltale signs of a black hole: a bright swirl of light, produced by a disc of gases trapped in the black hole’s orbit, surrounding a black shadow at the center—the event horizon. This encloses the region of space where the black-hole singularity’s gravitational pull is too strong for light to escape.

    But George Chapline, a physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, doesn’t expect to see a black hole. He doesn’t believe they’re real. In 2005, he told Nature that “it’s a near certainty that black holes don’t exist” and—building on previous work he’d done with physics Nobel laureate Robert Laughlin—introduced an alternative model that he dubbed “dark energy stars.” Dark energy is a term physicists use to describe a peculiar kind of energy that appears to permeate the entire universe. It expands the fabric of spacetime itself, even as gravity attempts to bring objects closer together. Chapline believes that the immense energies in a collapsing star cause its protons and neutrons to decay into a gas of photons and other elementary particles, along with what he refers to as “droplets of vacuum energy.” These form a “condensed” phase of spacetime—much like a gas under enough pressure transitions to liquid—that has a much higher density of dark energy than the spacetime surrounding the star. This provides the pressure necessary to hold gravity at bay and prevent a singularity from forming. Without a singularity in spacetime, there is no black hole.

    The idea has found no support in the astrophysical community—over the last decade, Chapline’s papers on this topic have garnered only single-digit citations. His most popular paper in particle physics, by contrast, has been cited over 600 times. But Chapline suspects his days of wandering in the scientific wilderness may soon be over. He believes that the Event Horizon Telescope will offer evidence that dark energy stars are real.

    The idea goes back to a 2000 paper, with Evan Hohlfeld and David Santiago, in which Chapline and Laughlin modeled spacetime as a Bose-Einstein condensate—a state of matter that arises when taking an extremely low-density gas to extremely low temperatures, near absolute zero. Chapline and Laughlin’s model is quantum mechanical in nature: General relativity emerges as a consequence of the way that the spacetime condensate behaves on large scales. Spacetime in this model also undergoes phase transformations when it gains or loses energy. Other scientists find this to be a promising path, too. A 2009 paper by a group of Japanese physicists stated that “[Bose-Einstein Condensates] are one of the most promising quantum fluids for” analogizing curved spacetime.

    Chapline and Laughlin argue that they can describe the collapsed stars that most scientists take to be black holes as regions where spacetime has undergone a phase transition. They find that the laws of general relativity are valid everywhere in the vicinity of the collapsed star, except at the event horizon, which marks the boundary between two different phases of spacetime.

    In the condensate model the event horizon surrounding a collapsed star is no longer a point of no return but instead a traversable, physical surface. This feature, along with the lack of a singularity that is the signature feature of black holes, means that paradoxes associated with black holes, like the destruction of information, don’t arise. Laughlin has been reticent to conjecture too far beyond his and Chapline’s initial ideas. He believes Chapline is onto something with dark energy stars, “but where we part company is in the amount of speculating we are willing to do about what ‘phase’ of the vacuum might be inside” what most scientists call black holes, Laughlin said. He’s holding off until experimental data reveals more about the interior phase. “I will then write my second paper on the subject,” he said.

    In recent years Chapline has continued to refine his dark energy star model in collaboration with several other authors, including Pawel Mazur of the University of South Carolina and Piotr Marecki of Leipzig University. He’s concluded that dark energy stars aren’t spherical or oblate, like black holes. Instead, they have the shape of a torus, or donut. In a rotating compact object, like a dark energy star, Chapline believes quantum effects in the spacetime condensate generate a large vortex along the object’s axis of rotation. Because the region inside the vortex is empty—think of the depression that forms at the center of whirlpool—the center of the dark energy star is hollow, like an apple without its core. A similar effect is observed when quantum mechanics is used to model rotating drops of superfluid. There too, a central vortex can form at the center of a rotating drop and, surprisingly, change its shape from a sphere to a torus.

    For Chapline, this strange toroidal geometry isn’t a bug of dark energy stars, but a feature, as it helps explain the origin and shape of astrophysical jets—the highly energetic beams of ionized matter that are generated along the axis of rotation of a compact object like a black hole. Chapline believes he’s identified a mechanism in dark energy stars that explains observations of astrophysical jets better than mainstream ones, which posit that energy is extracted from the accretion disk outside of a black hole and focused into a narrow beam along the black hole’s axis of rotation. To Chapline, matter and energy falling toward a dark energy star would make its way to the inner throat (the “donut hole”), where electrons orbiting the throat would, as in a Biermann Battery, generate magnetic fields powerful enough to drive the jets.

    Chapline points to recent experimental work where scientists, at the OMEGA Laser Facility at the University of Rochester, created magnetized jets using lasers to form a ring-like excitation on a flat surface. Though the experiments were not conducted with dark energy stars in mind, Chapline believes it provides support for his theory since the ring-like excitation—Chapline calls it a “ring of fire”—is exactly what he would expect to happen along the throat of a dark energy star. He believes the ring could be the key to supporting the existence of dark energy stars. “This ought to eventually show up clearly” in the Event Horizon Telescope images, Chapline said, referring to the ring.

    Chapline also points out that dark energy stars will not be completely opaque to light, as matter and light can pass into, but also out of, a dark energy star. A dark energy star won’t have a completely black interior—instead it will show a distorted image of any stars behind it. Other physicists, though, are skeptical that these kinds of deviations from conventional black hole models would show up in the Event Horizon Telescope data. Raul Carballo-Rubio, a physicist at the International School for Advanced Studies, in Trieste, Italy, has developed his own alternative model to black holes known as semi-classical relativistic stars. Speaking more generally about alternative black hole models Caraballo-Rubio said, “The differences [with black holes] that would arise in these models are too minute to be detected” by the Event Horizon Telescope.

    Chapline plans to discuss his dark energy star predictions in December, at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara. But even if his predictions are confirmed, he said he doesn’t expect the scientific community to become convinced overnight. “I expect that for the next few years the [Event Horizon Telescope] people will be confused by what they see.”
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  28. #328
    Have you ever seen the televised St. Vitus Subcommittee Prize Investigation Dance, those ants-in-pants glaces?
    Well, look behind the eyes: it's a hallowed, hollow anaesthetised "Save me own ass, screw these guys" smoke and mirror lock down

  29. #329
    Okayyyyy... So, changing the outdoor day/night cycle on the proposed scale (i.e rendering streetlights unnecessary for an area up to 50 miles across) is going to wreak ecological havoc on animals and plants, most, if not all, of which take biological and/or behavioral cues from the timing and period of light/ darkness. But... this loony idea is so cool, I really want them to do it just to see what happens.

    China wants to put a big fake moon in orbit to reflect sunlight back down at night

    The Moon is great, but apparently it’s just not enough for the city of Chengdu in China. Not satisfied with the meager light the Moon reflects back down to Earth at night, scientists in the region plan to launch a satellite that will actually reflect sunlight back down to Earth and turn night into day… sort of.

    The satellite is effectively a giant mirror that will redirect sunlight back down on Chengdu even after the Sun sets. The spacecraft will be roughly eight times brighter than the Moon, according to the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute, and should provide enough light that it will actually make street lights totally irrelevant for at least part of the city.

    If this all sounds kind of bizarre that’s because it is. It really, really is. The group planning the satellite says the mirror will produce light over an area of between 5 and 50 miles. That’s, well, not a very specific, and it’s unclear from current reports just how long the satellite will last.

    There’s also been some very real concern that the mirror’s never-ending glow could seriously impact natural cycles of animals. Scientists have long been critical of human light pollution and its ability to potentially throw off the day/night rhythm of animals, and the same could be true of this fake moon plan. Some experts who support the plan suggest that it’ll produce little more than a “twilight glow” that shouldn’t change how animals behave, but nobody will know for certain until the satellite is up and running.

    The institute working on the satellite plans to have the fake moon deployed by 2020. There seems to be some conflicting information over just how bright the light will be — something bright enough to make street lights obsolete sure sounds like it’s brighter than a “glow” — so it’ll be interesting to see just how well the mirror works… or doesn’t.
    The Rules
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  30. #330
    Such a satellite would have to be enormous. Much bigger than any ever launched.

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