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

  1. #421
    Quote Originally Posted by Flixy View Post
    It's not that I think it's never aliens. It's just unlikely to be aliens, so you should prove it is and not use it for any unexplained phenomena. Saying we don't understand Oumumua so it's probably aliens or we don't understand a star's light emissions so it's probably aliens is a bit of a cheap argument because you can just assign any skill to the aliens to explain anything. And yeah scientists will be critical because that's how science work, you're supposed to challenge everything until it's proven.
    From his hot Jupiter example, I think he's going for the point that we default de-prioritize (aka underfund/ don't fund, I presume) things like SETI, a crash program to send a probe to catch Oumumua, or telescopes designed to look at extra-solar planet atmospheres, etc, because those programs are only justified by starting with the premise that there could and should be aliens out there. The baseline assumption is nobody's there, so these programs don't get the money they should, because why fund programs to look for something that we already know isn't there.

    EDIT: Probably the *real* heart of the matter is that science is underfunded across the board and scientists are wary of asking for money to do things that are easily ridiculed in the public sphere, lest the funding problem worsen. It's the same situation for longevity research.
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  2. #422
    SpaceX is launching the Falcon Heavy again Tuesday, April 9. This time it's a commercial flight. The space.com article linked below contains a link to a time lapse video of the rocket's assembly. The Heavy's maiden flight last year featured that amazing dual booster landing - I hope they can stick the third booster landing this time around.

    Also, in the same hangar, behind the Heavy, is the Falcon 9 booster that sent the Crew Dragon demo capsule to the ISS back in March. There's a recap video of that launch linked in the article too.

    https://www.space.com/spacex-falcon-...adline+Feed%29
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  3. #423
    I'm watching the Event Horizon news release live. Oooo. Exciting!


    Watch scientists unveil Event Horizon Telescope’s first image of our galaxy’s supermassive black hole
    https://news.yahoo.com/watch-scienti...024830924.html

    EDIT: They did it. Wow. They imaged a black hole event horizon 55 million light years away. Amazing.
    Last edited by EyeKhan; 04-10-2019 at 01:13 PM.
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  4. #424
    A little proud of humanity today If you look really closely at the photo, you can see TARS waving back.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  5. #425
    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    SpaceX is launching the Falcon Heavy again Tuesday, April 9. This time it's a commercial flight. The space.com article linked below contains a link to a time lapse video of the rocket's assembly. The Heavy's maiden flight last year featured that amazing dual booster landing - I hope they can stick the third booster landing this time around.

    Also, in the same hangar, behind the Heavy, is the Falcon 9 booster that sent the Crew Dragon demo capsule to the ISS back in March. There's a recap video of that launch linked in the article too.

    https://www.space.com/spacex-falcon-...adline+Feed%29

    Note- the launch is delayed until 630pm, Wednesday, US eastern standard time.
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  6. #426
    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    Note- the launch is delayed until 630pm, Wednesday, US eastern standard time.
    Delayed again, high atmosphere wind sheer, apparently. 930pm tonight.
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  7. #427
    LIGO generating even more excitement:

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01377-2
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  8. #428
    Was just about to head out to work when I saw the Falcon Heavy was about to launch, so I stuck around to see that first... successful launch, side boosters and core all landed without a hitch. Goosebumps
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  9. #429
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Was just about to head out to work when I saw the Falcon Heavy was about to launch, so I stuck around to see that first... successful launch, side boosters and core all landed without a hitch. Goosebumps
    Uh, that was almost three weeks ago.
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  10. #430
    I was tricked! It looked just like a regular livestream, couldn't skip ahead! I knew they must have faked it
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  11. #431
    Don't remember if this has already been posted, but I love the second part of the video, about decoding the image data:

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

  12. #432
    Jeff Bezos made an announcement about Blue Origin yesterday, unveiling the Blue Moon lunar lander. I'm not sure why they're unveiling a lander before the New Armstrong rocket, which is the model planned for going to the moon. I was hoping the lander would somehow look like a ball sack, in keeping with Blue Origin's design theme, but alas, it only has one spheroid.

    Bezos believes that building colonies on other worlds is the wrong way to go. He's advocating O'Neill style space stations, instead. I can see the advantage of not having to deal with gravity wells, but it again makes me wonder why he just unveiled a lander.

    BTW, a separate article explained Blue Origin's rocket naming scheme. New Shepard, the suborbital rocket, is named for Alan Shepard who was the first US Astronaut to make a suborbital flight. New Glenn, you guessed it, is the orbital model, named for John Glenn. And the New Armstrong will be the Lunar orbit capable model.

    Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/09/s...ezos-moon.html
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  13. #433
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Don't remember if this has already been posted, but I love the second part of the video, about decoding the image data:
    Good video. I agree.
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  14. #434
    One thing is to announce a design. A differebt thing is to make it work.
    Freedom - When people learn to embrace criticism about politicians, since politicians are just employees like you and me.

  15. #435
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  16. #436
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    I thought that link would be Musk saying something stupid. But that string of satellites was pretty cool. Makes me think the night sky's going to look a whole lot different before too long.
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  17. #437
    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    I thought that link would be Musk saying something stupid. But that string of satellites was pretty cool. Makes me think the night sky's going to look a whole lot different before too long.
    It fucks things up for astronomers though
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  18. #438
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    It fucks things up for astronomers though
    Astronomy is way more screwed over by light pollution than even a big ass constellation of satellites would, I would think. Any fast-moving pinpoint of light will be easily identified and doesn't obscure anything for long. Just seems there are much bigger problems with terrestrial astronomy.
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  19. #439
    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    Astronomy is way more screwed over by light pollution than even a big ass constellation of satellites would, I would think. Any fast-moving pinpoint of light will be easily identified and doesn't obscure anything for long. Just seems there are much bigger problems with terrestrial astronomy.
    I obviously have no idea what the problems are but there've been a lot of critical comments from astronomers about these satellites (and the thousands more that are planned) and their potential impact on terrestrial astronomy. I presume many of the problems can be solved but I figure those who work in the field will have a better idea than I do about how much of a hassle this is likely to be
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  20. #440
    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    Astronomy is way more screwed over by light pollution than even a big ass constellation of satellites would, I would think. Any fast-moving pinpoint of light will be easily identified and doesn't obscure anything for long. Just seems there are much bigger problems with terrestrial astronomy.
    I obviously have no idea what the problems are but there've been a lot of critical comments from astronomers about these satellites (and the thousands more that are planned) and their potential impact on terrestrial astronomy. I presume many of the problems can be solved but I figure those who work in the field will have a better idea than I do about how much of a hassle this is likely to be
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  21. #441
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    I obviously have no idea what the problems are but there've been a lot of critical comments from astronomers about these satellites (and the thousands more that are planned) and their potential impact on terrestrial astronomy. I presume many of the problems can be solved but I figure those who work in the field will have a better idea than I do about how much of a hassle this is likely to be
    See the linked NYT article for in-depth discussion of the issue.

    This almost belongs in debate/ discussion. Should billionaires be able to undertake projects that affect everyone on the planet? What if Musk decides to "fix" climate change by dumping sulphur in the upper atmosphere, affecting the entire world's climate? Is that okay?

    Not just because of this, but all the other stuff that's going to be in orbit sooner than later, I think we are on the cusp of literally losing visibility of the night sky that's influenced humanity since before we could even talk about it. Wow.


    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/01/s...tronomers.html
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  22. #442
    A fusion drive (after a fashion) by the late 2020s? Uh-huh. I can't quite tell how bull-shitty this article is, but any time someone says "fusion power/ drive" in my lifetime, I'm skeptical. But the not-quite-dead kid in me does get excited, I confess.

    Fusion-Powered Spacecraft Could Be Just a Decade Away

    Fusion-powered spacecraft may not be just a sci-fi dream for much longer.

    The Direct Fusion Drive (DFD) engine could take flight for the first time in 2028 or so, if all goes according to plan, the concept's developers said.

    That would be big news for space fans; the minivan-size DFD could get a 22,000-lb. (10,000 kilograms) robotic spacecraft to Saturn in just two years, or all the way out to Pluto within five years of launch, project team members said. (For perspective: NASA's Cassini mission made it to Saturn in 6.75 years, and it took the agency's New Horizons probe 9.5 years to get to Pluto.)

    And the engine doubles as a potent power source, meaning the technology could have a broad range of off-Earth applications.

    For example, the DFD could help power NASA's planned moon-orbiting space station, known as the Gateway, as well as bases on the moon and Mars, project team member Stephanie Thomas, vice president of Princeton Satellite Systems in Plainsboro, New Jersey, said late last month during a presentation with NASA's Future In-Space Operations working group.

    The DFD is a variant of the Princeton Field-Reversed Configuration (PFRC), a fusion-reactor concept invented in the early 2000s by Samuel Cohen of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). The DFD is basically a PFRC reactor with an open end, through which exhaust flows to generate thrust, Thomas explained.

    The DFD's interior will feature a magnetically contained hot plasma of helium-3 and deuterium, a special "heavy" type of hydrogen that has one neutron in its nucleus (as opposed to "normal" hydrogen, which has no neutrons). Atoms of these elements will fuse within this plasma, generating lots of energy — and very little dangerous radiation, Thomas said.

    The fusing plasma heats up cool propellant flowing outside the confinement region. This propellant is directed out a nozzle at the back of the engine, producing thrust.

    All that heat translates to a lot of power — likely between 1 and 10 megawatts, Thomas said. The DFD will tap into that power, using a "Brayton cycle" engine to convert much of the heat into electricity.

    That means a DFD mission would be able to do a great deal of science work after reaching its destination. For example, a fusion-equipped Pluto orbiter could beam down power to a lander on the dwarf planet's surface and also send high-definition video back to Earth, Thomas said.

    Nuclear fusion is legendarily difficult to harness; nobody has yet succeeded in demonstrating a full-scale, commercially viable fusion reactor. (As the old joke goes, "Fusion is the energy source of the future, and always will be.") But Thomas and her team think their concept has a very real chance of success.

    "DFD is different from other fusion-reactor concepts," she said, citing the concept's small size, clean operation, low radiation and unique plasma-heating method (which employs a radio-wave antenna).

    The DFD team has secured funding from a variety of agencies recently to continue developing the concept. For example, work from 2016 through 2019 was aided by two rounds of funding from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, which aims to nurture the development of potentially revolutionary spaceflight technology.

    And DFD received an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) award this year, which will fund further development through next year.

    The team has already demonstrated some core concepts with the PFRC-1 experiment, which ran at PPPL from 2008 through 2011, and PFRC-2, which is operating now. The researchers have not yet achieved fusion, but they hope to do so with PFRC-4 in the mid-2020s.

    A flight prototype would follow shortly thereafter. An actual mission could come on the heels of a successful demonstration flight — perhaps as early as 2028, Thomas said.
    https://www.space.com/fusion-powered...adline+Feed%29
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  23. #443
    Oh, please.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  24. #444
    And an Alcubierre Drive by 2035, and dyson swarm at Proxima by 2056. Why not?
    Sing in grief, a requiem, the curse of our millennium, these souls keep whispering from the river beds
    An end to all these violent means, alive in these red water dreams, their haunted burdens stirring in my head on streets still running red
    Most went in the flood, a few were martyred by the flames, yet those who unleashed the waters are still guilty all the same
    When the ignorance of puppets serves the masters larger game, they let it rain, they let it rain
    When I get the chance to rise I'll find the light in their cold eyes or lose myself and carry out revenge
    The righteous hunt has just begun, the dimming of the bleeding sun will let these waters run clear once again



  25. #445
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    And an Alcubierre Drive by 2035, and dyson swarm at Proxima by 2056. Why not?
    :P I doubt the first one for biological creations and the second one is just silly. Maybe by 2200 ----P

    Jokes put aside: *sigh*

  26. #446
    I was listening to an interview about the Apollo program. Apparently, at the program's peak, there were more people working in some way on the moon landing than were fighting the Vietnam War, which in 1969 was at it's peak, with just over 500k military personnel in the country. Given the technology of the time, how far they had to go in development of every aspect of the mission in less than a decade, the achievement just seems more and more incredible.
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  27. #447
    2 Earth-sized exo-planets were found in the habital zone of Teegarden's star, if you're looking for cheap real estate that might skyrocket in price some time in the next millennia.
    Sing in grief, a requiem, the curse of our millennium, these souls keep whispering from the river beds
    An end to all these violent means, alive in these red water dreams, their haunted burdens stirring in my head on streets still running red
    Most went in the flood, a few were martyred by the flames, yet those who unleashed the waters are still guilty all the same
    When the ignorance of puppets serves the masters larger game, they let it rain, they let it rain
    When I get the chance to rise I'll find the light in their cold eyes or lose myself and carry out revenge
    The righteous hunt has just begun, the dimming of the bleeding sun will let these waters run clear once again



  28. #448
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    2 Earth-sized exo-planets were found in the habital zone of Teegarden's star, if you're looking for cheap real estate that might skyrocket in price some time in the next millennia.
    12.5 light years away.... maybe with that new fusion drive we could get settlers there in a thousand years. But we better hurry and build that generation ship, because I suspect our civilization isn't going to be around much longer.
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  29. #449
    I get a kick out of the cigarette-smoking NASA engineers from the 50's and 60's that led the way to the future. Ash trays on every desk. Is that quixotic or paradoxical?

  30. #450
    Another Tabby's star like mystery uncovered. HD139139, some 300 light years away showed 28 light dips over an 87 day period - the weird bit is that these transit were totally random, i.e they are unlikely to have been planets.
    Sing in grief, a requiem, the curse of our millennium, these souls keep whispering from the river beds
    An end to all these violent means, alive in these red water dreams, their haunted burdens stirring in my head on streets still running red
    Most went in the flood, a few were martyred by the flames, yet those who unleashed the waters are still guilty all the same
    When the ignorance of puppets serves the masters larger game, they let it rain, they let it rain
    When I get the chance to rise I'll find the light in their cold eyes or lose myself and carry out revenge
    The righteous hunt has just begun, the dimming of the bleeding sun will let these waters run clear once again



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