2012 Prometheus Award Finalist


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A young girl sets out to prove herself by resolving a long-forgotten mystery. But when she gets close to the truth, what she thought was a harmless adventure becomes a threat to the future of the independent commercial settlements on Mars.

April 2015
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Archives

Surprisingly, He Wasn’t Using ProE/Creo

I don’t agree with using a firearm in this manner. I’m not saying I don’t fully understand it, mind you, but that there are safer ways to take out your frustrations on electronic equipment. “Fed Up” Colorado Man, 38, Busted For Killing His Computer In Cold Blood.

 

What Do You Get When You Cross IRVE With a Shuttle-Era P/A Module?

ULA’s Vulcan recovery concept:

ULA CEO Outlines BE-4 Engine Reuse Economic Case

It amounts to severing the engines from the stage, post-separation, and bringing them down via IRVE-derived inflatable heatshields.

An interesting method, but AvWeek’s description makes it sound a bit crude compared to going all the way to a single P/A-module-like unit. It may be that the decelerator required to bring down an object of that size and mass becomes impractical given the space and mass available to stow it on the launch vehicle. Or it could simply be the investment required makes the idea impractical (though it’s not necessarily that you’d be designing two vehicles, but rather a single vehicle that flies in two different configurations with a set of structural droptanks).

It’s nice to see the effects serious competition is having on the older players in the space industry.

Almost

But not quite. Falcon landing

Worlds better than the first try, though. It’s like watching the landing from the last DC-X flight – everything’s going great until a leg goes bad and the thing tips over.

It’s a pity (for entertainment value) that the video cuts off just as the stage explodes.

The State of Commercial Space

Not bad: Forget Musk’s Mars: Billionaires Branson, Allen Seek Earth Orbit – Bloomberg Business.

More Ingredients for Life Identified on Mars

Interesting: More Ingredients for Life Identified on Mars.

Inflatables Moving Closer to Use

Bigelow’s already demonstrated that inflatables can be deployed and operated in space. Now they’re moving closer to demonstrating an inflatable habitat with actual people in it: On the BEAM: Headed for the Space Station.

In its packed configuration tucked aboard SpaceX’s Dragon resupply spacecraft, BEAM will measure approximately 8 feet in diameter.

Once BEAM is attached to the International Space Station’s Tranquility Node, onboard crew members will perform initial systems checks before deploying the habitat…

During the BEAM’s minimum two-year test period, crews will routinely enter the BEAM. In addition, the module will be assessed as to its performance to help inform designs for future habitat systems.

The expandable habitat will be monitored as to its adaption to the thermal environment of space, reaction to radiation, as well as micrometeroids and orbital debris strikes.

 

How Far We’ve Come

Since just 1996: Infrared Camera:

The camera weighs only 9.9 pounds and measures 4.4 inches wide, 10.3 inches deep and 7.2 inches long. The prototype plugs into a wall socket for power but the camera can readily be converted to battery power for portability.

That eyeball ain’t gonna fit on a cubesat.

(Note the image suggests that the camera produces 256 x 256 pixel images…0.065MP.)

Rose Eveleth is a Parody

Rose Eveleth: plumbing the important issues in science!

FWIW, I’ve worked in the space industry since 1997, around the time our favorite Twitter-based science expert and fashion critic was in junior high.  Most of that work has been on projects involving vehicles for carrying people. I don’t recall a project or a period from then to now when we didn’t normally refer to such vehicles as “crewed” – Crew Return Vehicle, Crewed Exploration Vehicle, Orion Crew Module, etc.

Young Rose, it would seem, is fighting the battles of the 1970s.

Mystery Mars haze baffles scientists

So maybe Mars isn’t as inert as we’ve come to believe: Mystery Mars haze baffles scientists.

Would be interesting if this was a dust plume kicked up by a small asteroid impact. On the other hand, I’d think if it had been, someone would already have teased evidence of this out of the rover data covering the period in question, if either of them carry sensors sensitive enough to register the faint effects of a rather distant seismic event or transient pressure/acoustic pulse in the thin atmosphere.

Martian Cube-Copters

This is the Drone Helicopter NASA Scientists Want to Send to Mars

Amusing. If lift is the limiting factor rather than volume or mass, that suggests to me that a bunch of these things could be sent on a single entry vehicle. Not unlike a certain NIAC proposal we put in last year, as it happens.