NASA’s Deep Space Lunar Gateway

#NASA #Space #Moon #DeepSpaceGateway #astronauts #Mars #science

NASA aims to have a Deep space Gateway up and running in the 2020s. The gateway will be located on Moon and have a crew habitat, a propulsion module and an airlock. However, the gateway will be occupied intermittently, rather than continuously like the ISS.

The gateway will enable a variety of missions in Earth-Moon space, and will even help get dirt and rocks from other planets. The basis will be that, there will be a system that will let astronauts go from the Earth to the Moon gateway. From there, the crew can go anywhere with the existing capabilities. However, there is no concrete plan regarding the gateway at present.

NASA has quite a few missions lined up for the 2020s, such as the launching of SLS and completing it’s flight tests with crew onboard, the NASA OSIRIS-REx mission that is aimed at returning a sample of space rock from the asteroid Bennu, the development of new Space suits for the astronauts to be used in Mars and many more.

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This is amazing. Exploration, especially in Space, has no bounds and is worth taking note of, considering that most of the population might be living outside Earth in the next century or so. And it is always filled with unique findings, and who knows, someday we might be able to make contact with friendly-Aliens.

Cannot save the great barrier reef?

#GreatBarrierReef #Australia #science #environment #ecosystem #water #marine

Scientists have reported to the Australian government that the Great Barrier Reef cannot be saved by the plans/policies mentioned in the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan. This is mainly due to the mass bleaching events, especially due to climate change.

The AU$2 billion Reef 2050 plan was launched in March 2015, with an aim of improving the “universal value” of the world’s largest coral reef every decade leading up to 2050.

According to the latest results, the coral death in 2017 is much higher than what was predicted. That is to say, the previously estimated 22 percent death of corals has now increased to 29 percent.

It is being asked by the scientists to review the Reef 2050 plan and add measures to counter climate change, such as reducing greenhouse emissions.

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This is a disaster. Coral reefs form one of the world’s most beautiful ecosystem, attracting thousands of tourists. Not only that, it is a habitat of thousands of water species as well.

3D print objects using glass

#3Dprinting #science #technology #glass #stereolithography #Photopolymerisation

Researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany created a technique to 3D-print objects using glass by mixing nanoparticles of high-purity quartz glass and a small quantity of liquid polymer. They then allowed the mixture to be cured by light at specific points – by means of stereo-lithography.

What is Stereo-lithography? It is a form of 3D printing technology mainly used for creating models, prototypes, patterns and production parts. The technology created the 3D print in a layer by layer fashion using photopolymerisation.

Photopolymerisation is a process by which light causes chains of molecules to link, thus forming polymers. The material which remains a liquid, is washed out in a solvent bath, leaving only the desired cured structure.

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Wow. This technology can be used to create detailed 3D structures.

Capturing distant images without long lens

#science #space #telescope #lens #SAVI #Imaging

A few scientists have developed a camera that can capture detailed images of distant objects without using a long lens. The system is knows as SAVI (Synthetic Apertures for long-range, subdiffraction-limited Visible Imaging).

Like the technique used to achieve the ‘Matrix’ special effect, the images are taken from slightly different angles, but with one camera that is moved between shots instead of many fired in sequence. The prototype only works with coherent illumination sources such as lasers.

However, if you want an aperture as big as half a foot, you might need at least 30 glass surfaces to remove aberrations and create a focused spot. This will make the lens very  big and bulky.

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This is pretty neat. I wonder if this will be used in actual laboratories in the future.

Solar powered device to harvest water

#Solar #MIT #waterHarvester #technology #science

The solar-powered harvester, constructed in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) can harvest liters of water from air everyday, even in desert conditions. All it needs is a minimum humidity of 20% in the air. Electric dehumidifier at homes produce very expensive water.

Currently, the prototype can pull 2.8 liters of water from the air over a 12-hour period, with humidity conditions to be around 20% – 30%.

The system consists of dust-sized MOF crystals compressed between a solar absorber and a condenser plate, placed inside a chamber open to the air. An ambient air diffuses through the porous MOF water molecules preferentially attach to the interior surfaces. Sunlight entering through a window heats up the MOF and drives the bound water toward the condenser. The vapor condenses as liquid water and drops into a collector. (*MOF = Metal organic framework, a special material produced at UC Berkeley)

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This is pretty interesting. Just imagine how many villages in developing countries can be helped using this!

New Horizons spacecraft reaches half the distance to its target

#NASA #science #space #NewHorizon #spacecraft #KuiperBelt #Pluto

No, no, it is just a science mission to collect information and explore faraway stars.

NASA’s New Horizon’s spacecraft has reached half the distance between Pluto and its next target – 2014 MU69, a Kuiper Belt object (KBO). The probe is believed to pass by MU69 on January 1, 2019.

The spacecraft is currently 5.7 billion kms away from earth and 0.78245 billion kms from Pluto. Hence, a radio signal sent from Earth to the spacecraft, at the speed of light, will take 5 hours and 20 minutes. (Sunlight takes 8 minutes to reach from the Sun to the Earth).

New Horizons has traveled near Pluto and has relayed data back to earth for 16 months after that, and lately has made breakthrough, distant observations of a dozen Kuiper Belt Objects (KBO).

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New Horizons, our hope to see and understand the Solar System and beyond.

A stopwatch that can measure billionth of a second!

#NASA #space #Topology #Earth #surface #height #physics #science #ICESat-2

I am so fascinated by NASA. Always having something new to show.

We will be able to record the precise height of sea ice, glaciers, forests and other Earth’s surface with the help of a stopwatch timer that NASA scientists developed. The timer can supposedly measure within a fraction of a billionth of a second.

The engineers at NASA built the timer for ICESat-2 (Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2) that is scheduled to launch in 2018. The satellite will use six green laser beams to measure the height.

The laser light will be pulsed to the ground and the time for each photon to return will be recorded. This when combined with the speed of light can tell us the flight distance, combined with the knowledge of exactly where the satellite is in space, the height of Earth’s surface can be measured.

If a stopwatch is highly accurate to a millionth of a second, ICESat-2 could only measure elevation to within 500 feet. But since the clock can calculate to the billionth of a second, the satellite can measure to within 2 inches.

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A robot skin, more sensitive than a human one

#robotics #solarenergy #prosthetic #science #technology #UniversityofGlasgow #RavinderDahiya

Professor Ravinder Dahiya, an electrical engineer at the University of Glasgow, along with his colleagues has developed an electronic, self-powered robotic surface that is more sensitive to touch than a human hand. According to Dahiya, the robotic surface can be used in prosthetic limbs for people, as well as more natural-feeling robots covered in soft-skinned bodies.

This skin is made of a single atomic layer of graphene, and it needs 20 nano-watts of power per square centimeter to operate. Since a solar panel is located just beneath the surface of the graphene layer, as much as 98 percent of the sunlight is absorbed by the solar cells, which generates power to be used to get the sensitivity.

Not only this, the transparent spin-coated graphene layer could be sewn into clothing, turning a pair of yoga pants into a highly accurate sweat sensor.

The best part is that Professor Dahiya is currently developing a low-cost 3-D printed prosthetic hand equipped with the skin, which will cost around $350 (excluding the labor cost), a price that is tens of thousands of dollars cheaper and affordable!

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Stephen Hawking to travel to space

#StephenHawking #science #VirginGroup #space #RichardBranson #VirginGalactic

Stephen Hawking’s most happy moment in life was the birth of his first child. However, after that blessed moment, the research physicist said that the experience he is looking most forward to now is going to space. Although, Professor Hawking never expected to get to travel to space in this lifetime, Richard Branson’s offer of a seat in the Virgin Galactic flight to the moon, was a one in a million opportunity and the professor just had to say an immediate Yes.

Stephen Hawking has already experienced a zero-gravity flight that allowed him to float weightlessness and says that traveling in space is what will make him happy now.

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Miniature lab for experiments in outer space

#lab #experiments #scientists #science #space #technology #SpacePharma

A tiny satellite with a laboratory, and as small as a tissue box, is helping scientists carry out experiments at zero-gravity. The said satellite is orbiting the earth at more than 500 kilometers.

The technology was launched into space last year by SpacePharma, a Swiss-Israeli company, which on Thursday announced that its first experiments have been completed successfully. Cells and molecules are believed to behave differently in a Zero-gravity environment and this helps researchers make discoveries in the fields of medicine and agriculture.

Usually experiments like these are sent to the International Space Station (ISS) where the astronauts help perform it, or are conducted in airplane flights that enjoy short bursts of weightlessness.

The experiments are carried out in custom-built glass chips and can be run multiple times to test different reactions, and clients can receive the data and images.

Currently, the satellite holds four experiments and another launch for four experiments is scheduled for August.

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